Saturday, 12 April 2014

The Tudors: Season One, Episode 9

"You have destroyed me!"

Events continue on their inevitable path and, for the first time in many episodes, stuff actually happens. Hallelujah.

The Queen is being tried for having apparently consummated her marriage with Arthur. Therefore, it is said, she is not the king's true wife and, having flounced off, she is said to be in contempt of court. She is dignified, defiant, and extremely popular with England 's splendidly bloody-minded people.

Wolsey remains desperate for the divorce to happen, but whatever he does Catherine will still be the daughter of Charles V, who controls the Pope. The Boleyn tribe certainly expect him to fall. And the king's mood is not much improved by a speech in which Catherine's friend Bishop Fisher compares him to Herod.

Wolsey had an interesting chat with Sir Thomas More; he realises that all depends on events on the continent, and is desperate to prevent peace between France and the Empire, something which horrifies the pious and idealistic More. Wolsey fears that Charles may go to war if Henry divorces his aunt.

Tempers are frayed all round, not least between Henry and Campeggio. Henry lectures the Papal Legate on Vatican corruption, and states that perhaps the Lutherans "have a point". This is, then, a rather odd moment for him to be shown composing "Greensleeves"!

Even the trial is a washout: it is all postponed for a final decision at Rome, and has thus been a massive waste of time. Worse than that: it has all been ultimately directed by the Emperor. Relations between Henry and the Papacy are at a low ebb, so much so that Anne Boleyn is able to speak Protestantism to the King, and even gets him to read a book.

Princess Margaret, meanwhile, is sick and dying, and scenes of her on her deathbed are nicely juxtaposed with her husband Brandon shagging another woman. So it goes in the Tudor court. The king is rather displeased at his neglect.

Other news is not good. Charles V sends another Spanish ambassador, Chapuys, who wastes no time in getting pally with the Queen. And peace is finally made between France, the Empire and the Pope. Little England, naturally, is sidelined. There will be no divorce.

This is it for Wolsey, who is made to suffer a thousand small humiliations as he is slowly frozen out. He is dismissed, disgraced, and demoted to Bishop of York. At least he's alive. For now.

We end with Henry appointing his new Lord Chancellor to replace Wolsey- Sir Thomas More, against his consent. Henry assures him that his disagreement with the King over his divorce will not be a problem, but this cannot possibly end well...

At last, some movement. But the second half of this series has been agonisingly slow.

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