Friday, 11 April 2014
The Tudors: Season One, Episode 8
"God has given me gout as a great trial."
The status quo is as it has been for several episodes, but at least, unlike last episode, stuff happens this time. There is a papal legate, Cardinal Campeggio, who us to finally rule on the king's "great matter". There is no doubt as to the outcome, but at least there is potential for drama.
Wolsey has, unwisely, made assurances to Henry, and is increasingly desperate. He attempts to pressure Campeggio with the risk of England turning Protestant, but it is to no avail. Henry is told, humiliatingly, that until a decision is made he must return to Catherine, for appearances. Ouch.
Henry tries to pressure Catherine to go to a nunnery, a typical example of the gender double standards at work; unwanted women are expected to go into a convent while the men shag whom they please. Unsurprisingly, the Queen is not keen.
The Reformation is moving into the foreground as Thomas Cromwell makes links with Anne Boleyn while Catherine entrenches her position in confession to Cardinal Campeggio; she insists that she never had any carnal knowledge of the King's late brother Arthur. She will neither go to a convent or divorce Henry.
Elsewhere, pieces are being moved for the season finale. Charles Brandon is back at court with his new wife and failing marriage. Thomas Tallus is having what seems to be a serious relationship with a woman.
The Queen is rapidly becoming persona non grata at court, but sticks to her guns. And the King, inevitably, is turning against Wolsey, who has to fall to his knees and beg. There is no pleasant way that this can end. Cromwell is to go to Rome to make vague threats of independence, while Brandon is to investigate Wolsey's French sympathies. It's not looking good.
The Queen is getting chilly with a bishop called Miller; much of the Church supports her. But many don't, and Cromwell's report from his visit to Pope Clement is not positive.
Wolsey is desperate, desperate enough to get violent with Campeggio. But we all know where this is heading, and because of that it's getting hard to pad out these last few episodes of the season until Wolsey's fall. The Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk and the Boleyns are all conspiring against him by now...