Monday, 26 May 2014

The Tudors: Season Four, Episode 7

"This is a different war; a war of guns."

We see the King marry his sixth wife, and Catherine Parr continues to endear herself to both of her daughters, but soon we're off to war, a modern war of cannon and muskets that makes all the jousting of Henry's youth seem so old-fashioned. Moreover, wars with guns are egalitarian, leaving less space for nobility to seize glory by prancing about on their horses. A new age is dawning, sort of; the death of cavalry will be a long, drawn-out affair of centuries.

Henry looks old. There's certainly no question of his leading the fight; it is Brandon who leads the attack on Boulogne, Edward Seymour who is Admiral of the Fleet and the insufferable Earl of Surrey who is appointed Field Marshal. An impatient Henry neglects the preparations, naturally. Still, at least he's still quite good at all the Henry V speechifying. Throughout the preparations, though, it is Catherine who nurses him as his leg continues to plague him. This is not a passionate love affair but something much more pragmatic, and this Cathetine already seems much, much safer than her predecessor.

Bishop Gardiner is, by now, gearing up for a full-on purge against the Protestants, with even Elizabeth coming under suspicion. His suspicions extend also to the Queen but is unable to act, as she is Regent while Henry remains at his CGI siege of Boulogne across the Channel. She is able to appoint future martyr Hugh Latimer as her chaplain, but must be discreet. 

Meanwhile Brandon finds himself a yong French lover who calls Henry the "English Nero", and Lord Surrey is downed, but not killed, by friendly fire. Things are not going well for the English as an outbreak of dysentery threatens to make the expedition all for naught...

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