Tudor Tuesdays – Episode 2: Simply Henry


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Episode Summary: We enter on Val’dor, The Valley of Gold (or what I like to call a sad replica of the Quidditch World Cup). Henry and his court are meeting the French to sign the treaty. The countries are also celebrating the arranged marriage of Princess Mary to the Dauphin of France. Mary however, does not feel like celebrating and shoves the Dauphin down in front of everyone (Perhaps this is an early sign of Mary’s violent tendencies?). The French King gives Henry a gift of jewels. In return, Henry gives the King a pastry… A pastry that live birds fly out of when the King slices it open (Is anyone else wondering how the birds stayed alive during baking or how lucky it is the King didn’t impale one with the knife?).

During dinner the King of France brags to Henry about sleeping with the English woman at the French court, particularly Mary Boleyn. If the King of France knew anything, he would know better than to brag to Henry VIII about women. Henry cannot let the insult stand and makes plans to have Mary himself. Thomas Boleyn gives Mary the good news while at some wild party (Keep it classy, Boleyn family!).

Thomas Tallus, the aspiring musician, gets a chance to sing for Henry (Thomas has been somewhat of a background character but will have more of a role later).

The Duke of Buckingham is still throwing a fit about not being king. In the last episode, he tells Thomas Boleyn and the Duke of Norfolk about his plans to assassinate Henry. Bad move. Thomas now tells Wolsey about the plot.

Meanwhile, Henry is getting angrier with the French. The French King is now bragging about how much better the French are at everything (which reminds me of France and England competing for the 2012 Olympics). Henry has heard enough and challenges the King to a wrestling match. He quickly loses and demands a rematch but is denied. Furious, he raves to Thomas More that he refuses to sign the treaty. More tells Henry that if he refuses he will be forever known as a childish king who goes back on his word (Sounds about right. A brave move on Thomas More’s part, it’s a sign of Henry’s youth that he can be told “no” by someone and doesn’t immediately call for their death).

Henry signs the treaty but is still so angry by his meeting with France he throws a hissy fit and destroys his rooms.

Once back in England, Mary Boleyn continues to try and seduce Henry. He however has lost interest and sends her away (Easy come, easy go!).

Thomas More talks more to the Henry about what it means to be a good king. Henry has been reading Machiavelli’s The Prince and asks the question if it is better to be loved or to be feared.

Later Wolsey tells More that, “if he wants to keep the love of the prince, be prepared to give him the thing you most care for.” More replies the thing he most cares for is his dignity (Remember this!!).

To show his loyalty, Buckingham gives Henry a present, a clock. Henry tells him it is his “greatest gift” (Red flag! Henry is always kind to people he’s about to kill). And shortly after Buckingham is arrested for treason and taken to the Tower of London, the clock he gave Henry is waiting in his cell (Burn!). Wolsey advises Henry to give Buckingham a light sentence, as not to upset Buckingham’s many friends, but the council (led by the Duke of Norfolk) finds him guilty of treason and sentences him to death.

Meanwhile, Lady Blount gives birth to a boy. Henry is overjoyed to finally have a son. This does not bode well for Queen Catherine. Henry now has proof that it is not his fault they have not been able to produce a male heir.

Buckingham is taken to the scaffold and beheaded (A few interesting points here: 1. Henry is never present for the deaths of the people he condemns. 2. This is the first beheading of the series and we see no bloodshed, something very unusual for this series.)

Buckingham is dead and Henry has a son. Henry is so happy he throws a party. Queen Catherine comes in briefly to show her respects and then leaves.

In Rome, the Cardinals talk politics as the Pope dies. When he dies, another pope is elected, and it isn’t Cardinal Wolsey. At the end of the episode Wolsey follows his advice to More and gives Henry his home, Hampton Court.

Again, we end with the Boleyn family. Thomas Boleyn has a private chat with his daughter Anne. He is discouraged Henry was done with Mary so quickly but confident that not only can Anne become his new mistress, but that she can find a way to hold his interest (Surely he means her impressive intellect and pleasing demeanor!).

Jen Says: Does anyone remember the MTV Show Diary? Every episode profiled a different celebrity and the show always started with them saying “You think you know, but you have no idea.” That’s what the intro to every Tudor’s episode reminds me of. Henry says, “You think you know the story, but you only know how it ends. To get to the heart of the story, you have to go back to the beginning.” Henry and his court were the celebrities of their time. Click here to watch Actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers talk about Henry the rockstar in a Showtime interview.

Jonathan talking about Henry “looking the fool” makes me really feel for Queen Catherine, especially in this episode. Henry makes himself look like a fool when he challenges the French King to wrestle and then loses. And what about Catherine? How does this woman who was brought up by some of the greatest royalty of the age (Her father was King of Aragon and her mother Queen of Castile in her own right) sit back and watch her husband act like a child in front of France? During the entire ordeal she remains calm and composed and well, royal. She is the only Englishman in the room who represents the grace and dignity of England. She is remarkable and to me is the only one of Henry’s wives who truly embodies all the things a queen should be.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1156830028 Adriene Galindo

    Season 1 has me tearing my hair out for Catherine’s sake. Why, Henry? Why?