Sunday, 18 May 2014

The Tudors: Season Four, Episode 4

"For God`s sake don`t spoil it. Not for us and not for her."

 The King is proceeding north for a wee chat with King James V, king of a smaller nation yet also head of a dynasty which is destined to replace his in but two generations` time. This means that once again we see Pontefract and Sir Ralph Whatsit, an Archbishop of York played by a former Master from Doctor Who, and the Duke of Suffolk feeling intense remorse about what he did. In a nicely Shakespearean touch he is even haunted by the ghost of Lord Darcy. Of course, Hamlet lies some sixty years in the future and represents future generations, not men of the past like Henry and Charles Brandon.

Henry enjoys his popularity; Cromwell is dead and the future of religious reform is uncertain. Yet it is clear that Mary is more popular than her father. War between France and the Habsurgs also beckons, as usual. All of this is above Catherine Howard`s pretty little head, but this doesn`t stop Henry from seizing her for some vigorous sex. There`s life in the old dog yet.

 The Earl of Surrey continues to be an interesting character, badly acted- he`s arrogant, well-read, philosophical, Martial-quoting mysterious, laddish and snobbish as only someone posher than the King can be. Disdaining the "new men" with whom the King has surrounded himself, he skirts with treason in stating, to Suffolk, that Richard II (a deposed king!) died from trusting "lesser men". This has parallels with the later comparisons of Elizabeth I to Richard II by the Earl of Essex during his ill-fated rebellion of 1601.

Catherine is sailing ever closer to the wind; she oversleeps because she slept wth Thomas Culpeper, and the tendency of old acquaintances to blackmail her for favours reaches new deaths with Francis Dereham- lecherous, a former lover, and indiscreet. Catherine has no relationship to speak of with any of Henry`s children (it is Elizabeth, his older sister, whom we see being close to little Edward), and she even starts to alienate Culpeper with dangerous talk of "a store of other lovers".

All this is in the context of things not going well for Henry; James V fails to turn up and has his armies raid the marches, and Edward is dangerously ill. Edward soon recovers, but a letter is waiting for the King. This is gripping stuff.

No comments:

Post a Comment