Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Tudors: Season Four, Episode 2

"I have formed a sinister opinion that most of you are liars and flatterers...!"

And the King was in such a good mood last episode...

Anne of Cleves may be divorced from Henry but she still dines regularly with the King's two daughters and, oddly, gets on well with Mary in spite of their religious differences. She is innocent, nice, discreet and possesses all the qualities needed to help her to keep her head. This is a good thing; Henry is in a foul mood. Cromwell's execution means that there is no longer a chief minister and he has to actually do some work for a change. 

The Scots are getting restive as James V, who hasn't yet stepped in front of that cannon, plans to invade. Henry has problems, so it's good for the kingdom, I suppose, that he gets to release tension in some very hard sex with Catherine. Unfortunately for Catherine, her past sexual escapades are slowly coming back to bite her, and she isn't anywhere near bright enough to know how to handle this. Meanwhile, there are hints that the Duke of Surrey may be a secret Protestant. All this intrigue reminds me of the first season.

It's New Year 1541 and Anne of Cleves, incredibly, is invited to court and even embraced by the King, much to the dislike of his spoiled and hubristic new wife. Everyone else likes her, however. It's clear that Catherine is not actually liked by anyone but the King, and is largely seen, in rather misogynistic terms, as a whore.

The King, though, is not well; his old would from five years ago has turned gangrenous. This doesn't help his moods as Catherine and Mary clash, with Mary furiously leaving court without permission.

At least the campaign against the Scots has been successful. But storm clouds are gathering. Plots arise for the horrible Culpeper to bed Catherine, while Henry's would gets worse and worse, leading to questions over his survival that infuriate him and lead to a furious outburst before his ministers. He is beginning to regret to executions of competent ministers such as Wolsey, More and Cromwell.

Culpeper's ludt for Cathetrine is cruelly manipulated by Lady Rochford, surely plotting the death of this poor, thick young girl. This is an episode of plot threads being put into position before storm clouds furiously break. The air is charged with tension...

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