Friday, 11 April 2014

The Tudors, Season One, Episode 7

"And this ointment will comfort your cock if it is sore..."

So, we get a sweating sickness episode. In a sense, this is padding, a means of having the plot tread water for an episode to allow us to get to the end of the season before Wolsey's inevitable downfall. The facts remain the same: Henry wants a divorce. Catherine doesn't. Wolsey is under pressure to get said divorce. Catherine's uncle, Charles V, is the most powerful man in Europe, has Pope Clement by the balls and will never allow said divorce. Irresistible force, meet immovable object.

Wolsey's mates, the French, are at war with said Habsburg dominions, and they and the Genoese besiege the Emperor in Naples. Henry sends a diplomat to Pope Clement, but nothing of substance happens. A papal legate is on his way, but nothing has changed, or will change.

Still, it's interesting seeing the main cast succumb to the plague, one by one. Only Sir William Compton dies (Thomas Tallis observes discreetly), but Henry, Anne Boleyn and Wolsey all survive. Henry's state of mind is much affected, however: why is God punishing his kingdom thus? He still refuses to sleep with Anne in his stubborn piety.

There is, of course, a bit of "Bring out your dead". Which inevitably recalls Monty Python and the Holy Grail. There are hints of the future as Sir Thomas More angrily denounces Lutheranism as a "disease", which has ignited civil war in Germany. But this is, for the first time, an episode in which not enough happens.

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