Thursday, 8 May 2014

The Tudors: Season Three, Episode 6

"We have both lost our youth, and there is nothing in the world that can return it to us."

 No predominant plot thread this week, just lots of pieces being moved, all over the board, so that they`re in place for the season finale in a couple of episodes` time. That probably isn`t good news for Cromwell.

We begin with Henry appointing Brandon as chief minister in preference to Cromwell, a signnot only of Cromwell`s slow fall but an indication that the king, now in his late forties, is putting his trust in old friends of his own generation. He isn`t getting any younger and that leg of his bleeding well hurts. He is forced to have a painful operation to remove the ulcer, but there is only so much that can be done; Henry is shown parading the young Edward before adoring crowds, but his limp is as pronounced as ever.

 It`s not a good episode to be a close family member of Cardinal Reginald Pole, all of whom are arrested for treason by Sir Francis Bryan. Including the small boy. Such is justice for those who threaten the king by having the effrontery to have a stronger claim to the throne than he does. Pole`s brother, Lord Montague, is interrogated by Edward Seymour, and things don`t look good; he is, after all,described as "the last of the Plantagenets, the last of the White Rose". Most disturbingly, Henry, not in the best of moods because of his leg, fulminates against little boy Pole. That`s the thing with aritrary, authoritarian rule; coming to the attention of the ruler while said ruler is in a bad mood can be fatal. We end with Lady Salisbury`s cruelly sudden execution ("Have you not been praying, Lady? Your head is going to be cut off now"). She dies scared, pleading. Her little grandson`s fate is unertain.

In what should in theory be happier news, the King is looking for bride number four, and Cromwellis anxious that it should be to someone from the Protestant League, which consists of a million German microstates only theoretical allegiance to their Catholic, Habsburg Emperor. The only serious Catholic candidate, the Duchess of Milan, comes subject to Charles V`s veto, which can only end on way. The Catholic route is closed, so Cromwell suggests one of the Cleves sisters...

Cromwell, following last episode`s epiphany that the rather high church Henry is not exactly his kindred spirit in matters of religion, is in a spot of bother; his friend John Lambert is refusing to sign the Six Articles of which we heard last week,and faces being burnt as a heretic. We see him being burnt at the stake ina typically graphic execution scene.

Cromwell now faces, by association, scrutiny of his own beliefs. He even finds himself interrogated by the King; his position is looking increasingly precarious.

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