Thursday, 15 May 2014

The Tudors: Season Four, Episode 3

"Without knowledge, life will not be worth living."

It`s about time it was said; Henry is getting fatter, yes, but not fat enough for verismilitude. Television needs a Henry with sex appeal and brooding good looks. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is superb, but he`s not natural casting for a dirty old man. And he is old, by the standards of 1541; in a nicely judged scene we see him looking rather satisfied at having "cured" some peasants of the "King`s Evil", and the next moment being disgusted at the reminder of his own mortality.

Catherine has slept with Culpeper and is irreversibly on the path to her doom, but the episode is no more pregnant with foreboding than Catherine is pregnant with Henry`s child, and she s too simple to see it. She and the King have little in common besides sex anyway; Henry discusses Tactus with little Elizabeth, but he certainly can`t do that with Catherine. In fact, he comes increasingly to rely on Anne of Cleves, of all people, for companionship, the only person who will not let him win at cards and a good de facto mother to his two intelligent daughters. He respects her. And it`s implied he sleeps with her. I suspect the sex would have been less wild but rather more fulfilling. This is not good for Catherine, but then she and Henry could never have been soulmates.

The increasingly unlikeable and badly acted Earl of Surrey gets made a Knight of the Garter, and then proceeds to get rat-arsed in a tavern, making bawdy jokes and giving away an expensive ring to a peasant barmaid. The Garter means nothing to one so posh as him, both an intellectual and social snob to whom such honours are an expected family possession.

The King heads through the recently harrowed north on his way north to parley with James V, King of Scots. We get to see what an awesome sight a travelling king is to passing peasants, while Seymour, in charge at London, investigates Surrey. Meanwhile, the affair between Catherine and Culpeper gets increasingly reckless...

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