Episode Summary: In the last episode of The Tudors, while meeting with the King of France to sign the “Treaty of Universal Peace”, King Henry VIII decides he hates the French.
In this week’s episode Henry will meet with the King of Spain (Holy Roman Emperor and his wife’s nephew) to talk about a joint war against France.
We open on pageant rehearsals. The Spanish envoy is coming and the English want to put on a good show. At the moment it looks like they have some work to do…
Henry is too busy to rehearse. He is talking with his good friend Charles Brandon about his sister’s, Princess Margaret’s, upcoming marriage. Henry trusts Charles, but it’s obvious Charles cannot be trusted with any beautiful woman (even though he’s engaged to be married). Henry ignores better judgment and gives Charles the task anyway making him a Duke as well.
Thomas More meets with the Spanish ambassadors. They are surprised to hear that Henry himself is writing a religious pamphlet about the evilness of Martin Luther. More replies, “There are a great many things my king can do.” (Thomas, you have NO idea.)
Thomas Boleyn is talking with his brother, the Duke of Norfolk, about their plans for Anne. The goal is that Anne will seduce Henry, bringing the Boleyns into favor with the king. Once she is his mistress she will then be able to convince Henry that Wolsey is a loser. (Of course the Duke says this in a really sexual way which is just so wrong.)
It’s showtime (no pun intended)! The pageant begins and More explains to the Spaniards what’s going on. Each lady in white represents a virtue that the knights (also virtues) must rescue. Anne happens to be Perseverance (how fitting). Henry dressed as one of the knights (Honesty, ha!) goes straight for Anne who “happens” to be at the top by Margaret. They have a moment of very intense staring (a lot like Bella and Edward actually) and Henry tells her she is now his prisoner. While they dance together, Henry cannot keep his eyes off Anne. Before the pageant ends, we see Thomas Boleyn pay the pageant director for his careful placement of his daughter.
Now we really get to know Princess Margaret. Henry’s sister is not at all pleased about her upcoming marriage. The King of Portugal is really old. Henry doesn’t care. Margaret then talks to Charles about their upcoming journey together. She mentions that she would rather be traveling with someone of noble blood (but it’s pretty obvious the writers are setting them up for an affair).
The Spanish Ambassadors finally get to talk with Queen Catherine. They speak in Spanish perhaps hoping for a little privacy (however it’s easy to guess that the man the camera keeps focusing on knows Spanish and has been put there to listen). The Queen warns the Ambassadors to not trust Cardinal Wolsey.
The Ambassadors then meet with the king. Henry tells them they can absolutely trust Wolsey. Henry also wants the King of Spain to visit.
Henry and Wolsey talk about joining with Spain and invading France. Henry believes that what England lacks in men it can make up for in ships. He plans on building the world’s greatest navy and money is no object. His father left him plenty of money and he “Intends to spend it.”
So far things are going exactly as Thomas Boleyn has planned. The king even makes him a Knight of the Garter and head of his household. Thomas is thrilled and tells the king all about Anne, who is about to becoming one of Queen Catherine’s Ladies in Waiting.
Where is Anne now? She’s lying in a field with handsome (very handsome) poet Thomas Wyatt. Thomas is reciting a poem he’s recently written about Anne going to court and leaving him (which would leave him alone with his wife and absolutely heartbroken). Anne tells him she is leaving and warns him that if he values his life he must never speak of her (Anne already knows the dangers of life in Henry’s court).
Catherine is eating with Henry. She tells him about a dream she had in which Henry tells her, “All will be well and all matter of things will be well.” (REMEMBER THAT QUOTE!) She reassures him that she never slept with his brother, Arthur. Henry says nothing, kisses her forehead, and leaves. On his way out he sees another courtier in a low cut dress and has his men invite her to his rooms (What happened to the knight of Honesty!?!).
Catherine sleeps alone. She knows she is losing Henry but is strong in front of her ladies. She does not show her true emotions (Long live the Queen!).
We then see (although I’m sure none of us wanted to…) Wolsey with his mistress. (I think writers really want us to see how corrupt Wolsey is. I have no other thoughts as to why would we need this scene.)
More and Henry discuss his pamphlet. Henry wants More to take it to Rome and makes him a knight. More doesn’t believe he’s worthy of such an honor, to which Henry replies, “Now don’t be too modest Thomas, you are not a saint.” (Hahaha!) He also orders More to burn all copies of Luther’s books. (Thomas More is one character in The Tudors who actually has a strong moral compass. He is not however, without faults and tends to be extreme in his faith. This act is the first time we see how extreme More can be.)
We find out the French has discovered the English’s plans to team with Spain against them. Mr. Pace (Wolsey’s Spanish speaking ease-dropper we encountered earlier) is blamed with informing the French (because he can also speak French) and is sentenced with treason.
Charles the King of Spain (and his chin) have arrived. He talks with Henry about not only conquering France but the entire world. He then meets Princess Mary, his future bride and they dance (She’s what, six years old? Awkward).
Henry dances with Margaret who is still complaining about her marriage (she complains a lot, actually). She tells Henry that she will marry the King of Portugal if she must, but if (when) he dies, she will marry whoever she chooses (Gee, I wonder who that will be!).
Catherine talks with the nephew about Henry. She admits to him that Henry has been growing distant and fears he may ask her for a divorce. The King of Spain is shocked and tells her such a thing is impossible.
And now for the famous chase sequence. I can’t do this justice; you just need to watch it for yourself.
The episode ends with poor Mr. Pace being locked in the Tower of London. He is screaming of his innocence and tells us who the true traitor is. (Drum roll please!) It’s Wolsey. Who, according to Mr. Pace, is getting a pension from France. Wolsey, Wolsey, Wolsey!
Jen Says: Pageants, masks, dancing! What a perfect episode for Fat Tuesday! Happy Mardi Gras everyone. While the Tudors didn’t celebrate Mardi Gras in the same way we do today, the day before Ash Wednesday was still a special day known as Shrove Tuesday (and still is in many places). Shrove Tuesday was a time for confessing your sins (or shriving) as well as participating in all the things that couldn’t be done during Lent. For the Tudors, this would mean giving up certain foods (such as eggs and meat), dancing, the wearing of bright colors, drinking alcohol, etc. Several times in Phillipa Gregory’s The Boleyn Inheritance Henry’s fifth wife, Catherine Howard, comments on how very dull and boring Lent is. Lent is traditionally a very serious time set aside for reflection and preparation for Easter. Something that Henry VIII could have benefited from if he actually admitted to being a terrible husband, murdering thousands of people, and destroying hundreds of religious places. In England today it’s Pancake Day! Instead of letting the milk, butter, and eggs go bad over the next forty days, use them all up today and make pancakes! If anyone is running in a pancake race today I wish you the best of luck!!
For more on Lent check out this webpage from the BBC. Special thanks to RosesCrest for the YouTube video.