White Queen 1×7 “Poison and Malmsey Wine”

FINALLY, this show has joined the ranks of a proper history soap opera! The costumes are looking up, they took a moment for simply a beautiful nature shot, they left room for some mystery…it has arrived. This is definitely my favorite episode so far.

SPOILERS:

-Margaret Beaufort, turns out you just needed things to Do other than mope around about your son and Lancaster in order to enliven the screen. The baby thing in itself and as your way in was dumb, but you went for it and by golly, anything that makes you stop bellyaching and start spying and speaking with dignity is excellent. However, it would have been that much better if you’d been seen subtly scaring off the other maid before she asked the queen to leave court, so it would be clear you’re still backstabbing and scheming away.

-David Oakes, your Juan pt. 2, the English One ends as outrageously as I had hoped. From the moment I saw you stroking your dog while watching brother-sex I was worried about the relationship. I was relieved to see it ended in a superstitious death. Also, I shall go ahead and give you credit for brainwashing Isabel for that year we didn’t see-getting her so afraid of Lizzie she could have died of voodoo-inspired fear was quite the accomplishment. Still a big fan of your hissyfits, but seeing one start with you in a bull mask was a special treat. Also, choosing a colorful way to go literally gains my approval.

-Edward…I love your lion outfit. Why do you keep whoring around and pretending to go to war so much when you’re obviously way too tired to make any kind of decent decisions ever and merely bend to wife, brothers, or the letter of the law without much foresight or zest? The year has not been kind to you, has it? Perhaps you’ve already got STDs and that accounts for it.

-Anne, why does everyone else get new clothes but you remain stuck in the one plain silhouette ALWAYS? I feel like this episode had you wanting to jump ship to Revenge, wanting to destroy someone for your fallen family member, clearly not knowing everything, needing Victoria’s advice about controlling powers that be instead of just having to choose a side…yeah, you’d fit RIGHT in. And they’d liven up your wardrobe, too.

-Elizabeth, I feel for you. One snarky comment about your womb being able to beat up everyone else’s womb and suddenly court is exploding in your face. What I’d like to know is how everyone somehow realized you were responsible for the storm that killed Izzy’s firstborn-don’t think that’s ever been comprehended before and it had no realization moment. However, storming after George in front of everyone served no useful purpose except to show off your sparkly gold dress. This is a schemey political show and you’ve got witchcraft-why bother to go after him yourself? It’s the least interesting choice. Your problem here seems, in fact, to be that you are too direct and honest. You let everyone know how you feel, you’re consistent, and you try to come at problems head-on. These are not the most useful problems from a TV perspective, but you’re doing them with flair.

-Richard, I am glad they let you speak up for George. On the other hand, your dealings with Anne are becoming too focused on dark looks. Your best moment really was when you got to blow up at your mom over her favoritism. Also, you at least have been paying attention to the foreshadowing. Please, let that not be played out as a self-fulfilling prophecy instead of actually your decision.

-Dear show, see how that works out for everyone when there’s not absolute clarity about a suspicious death? That’s what we’re looking for. That and more present complexities instead of filling in with repetitive foreshadowing. And more masquerades/intriguing scenery. Take note!

The White Queen 1×6 “Love and Death”

This is the episode where we find out how peace makes every woman’s life suck (as opposed to war).  Nevertheless, we persevere.

 

SPOILERS:

– Dear George, how marvelous you are in your blatant disregard of absolutely everything not you.

 

It really interested me to see how they drew parallels between Elizabeth and Anne as women who are both out  of the loop, even though one’s guardian is a bastard and the other’s does actually care for her.  Elizabeth’s problem seems simple to me-the difference with Jane the Mistress is that she flaunts it in front of everyone, including Elizabeth.  If she at least pretended that no one else knew she was the king’s mistress, Lizzie would get over it.  Alternatively, if she could’ve gotten a really good setup to put her in her place/insult her, things could have been fine.  Also, while yes, it is funny that Edward bursts out with this is what’s been bothering you? when talking about totally transparent adultery, compared to saying goodbye to her son, losing her mother, her newborn, and nearly her life, Jane should not perhaps be the highest priority.

 

Speaking of which, I shall miss Jacquetta.  And it was sweet to see her and the baby together, at least.  Although, even with their vague quick-shots at the birth, I have to say that I do not blame husbands back in the day for generally avoiding labor.

 

As for Anne…what is with this show?  Why not show the whole rumored story of George forcing her to live like a servant to prevent her getting in touch with anyone before she could be sen to the abbey, eh?  This is a schemey TV show here, folks, we want to see these things.  I’m very glad George called out Richard on the money angle, but…I’ve gotta say, that’s not how he’s been playing it.  Speaking of Richard, whether it’s for love or money, he was not being proactive enough this episode.  The boy needs to get cracking pretty soon here.  As for Isabel, I really wish they’d given her some more time to grow into her conniving role, controlling Anne with kindness for a little longer before they actually come to blows and she freezes.  As it was, I feel the actress did the best job she could to play her two faces without losing all possible plausibility.

 

Margaret, Margaret, Margaret, this is the deathbed conversation I wish had happened between Jane Eyre and her aunt.  Jane Eyre was too nice, it made me like Margaret.  As did her cool moving-on reaction to romantic rejection.  I like to see a woman of means using them.  And as for New Husband, I like his strategic mindset.  And his lack of actually wanting her affection, which was the previous guy’s downfall, in my opinion.  Lancaster Business Partners, Kingmakers Inc. has arrived!  On top of which, it’s an excellent time.  Elizabeth is vulnerable and in need of a new confidante, and Margaret will hate George and whoever else at court Elizabeth hates with true venom.  All she needs to do is humiliate Jane the Mistress for being a whore, and voila-Margaret is in.

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Similar Posts:

-https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/the-white-queen-1×4-the-bad-queen/

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The White Queen 1×5 “War at First Hand”

SPOILERS:

Well, Finally we have gotten through Warwick’s story.  Surprisingly enough, this episode that reaches the climax of everyone-knows-no-matter-what-something-is-going-to-suck managed to show all the characters at their best.  Warwick shows protectiveness towards his daughter, Isabel.  Isabel bears up bravely in her loneliness and supreme something’s-about-to-suckage.  Seriously, Isabel has become far and away my favorite character.  Anne grows up in leaps and bounds, although sometimes not very plausibly.  The “Bad Queen” Margaret flaunts her strengths for battle and commonsense.  Remarkably, her respect for commonsense is so great she gives up any extra jibing at Anne.  Unfortunately, her practicality put Anne at a disadvantage in my eyes for awhile.  (Yelling you’re the Kingmaker’s daughter is not going to help you against the folks who killed him, Anne!)  Even Anne’s husband comes across as just an arrogant prick instead of a horror.

 

Where they lost me was Warwick himself.  First, the man is not Boromir!  He doesn’t need this music and kneeling-in-the-leaves thing!  Second, call me something if you want, but I would’ve been much happier if the York boys had actually at least tried to kill him.  I know there’s this thing going about where the “good guys” no longer actually dispatch their enemies, but for God’s sake, we KNOW Edward gets his hands dirty, has no time for anything but, AND we’ve already gone over how he doesn’t want to, so at least let him act like he’s willing to do what he has to do for his realm.  Jeesh.  Just made him look like a wimp to me.

 

As for the royalty, Jacquetta managed to come up with a way for them to help the battle, magically of course.  Elizabeth showed great aplomb and practicality in attempting to defend her brood against Edward-in-disguise, and other times, which makes me like her.  “Most men would prefer to die in their sleep” indeed, Elizabeth!  You rock on!  (Until she gave Isabel that death look anyhow.  You keep your machinations off of Isabel!  Remember how sorry you felt for her and her newborn, will you?)  Edward continued to act very nobly, as always (So nobly and courageous in fact that it tired me out just watching him run about even more after all these episodes), and this time added sensitivity.  His demeanor about his son and about Warwick set him markedly apart.  They finally let Richard in on the action there, too, talking down to George.  Speaking of which, even GEORGE at least acknowledged how he should be feeling about his wife being Warwick’s daughter.  When you can get George to admit something honorable, you’re really on a roll!  (Isn’t he the most magnificent bastard?)

 

And on the Lancastrian side, even Margaret of Anjou and her husband made out well, character-wise.  Husband Henry showed determination, integrity, and as always, commonsense.  Margaret meanwhile proved that she can actually put aside her quest to think of others when things are dire, and that she can bear up well under more trials so long as she’s sure she did all she could.  It makes me think how frustrating it must be to not be able to really influence or ACT to effect the outcomes you want as a woman in those times, and how hard it would be for me also to shut up about anything without that power, how hard not to play manipulative emotion games when that’s all you have.  This episode showed that, so long as Margaret could do things and felt she had done all she could do, she can actually show some grace.

 

Plotwise of course, everything was supposed to be all war! Battle!  Blood!  However, that first blood-soaked face they close-upped on reminded me so much of the time I made a Vlad-the-Impaler cake (https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/vlad-the-impalers-just-desserts/) and sprayed red food coloring and strawberry syrup everywhere for blood that the taste of that scrumptious creation came to my mouth.  Naturally, after that whenever I was supposed to think about blood and death and the misery of it all, I just tasted and thought-CAKE!  So, that kindof fell apart for me, but ya know, a very enjoyable experience for my own reasons.

 

Also, I am disappointed that the show has taken no stand on the death of Edward Lancaster.  Died in battle, indeed.  What about the more controversial stories and rumors, eh?  This is a Starz freaking TV history version, if you take out the controversies, what on earth are we doing here???  Which brings us to:

-Suffocating King Henry in bed.  Well, I know what they’re going for with that, but…I have no strong feelings.  Sorry.  Have you?

 

Other thoughts:

-Anne’s a freaking princess now, she can’t get at least a fancier hairdo like her mom has??

-Having Queen Margaret offer to make Richard king instead of having him figure it out all on its own just seems to weaken his character for no good reason.  Foreshadowing?  I don’t know.  It throws me off.

-Having Richard dramatically rescue Anne like that is a bit over the top, yes?

-I actually really like seeing little Elizabeth join her mom and grandma in magic.  It at least gives her a glimmer of her own power, which I’ve never felt she had before.  It’s nice.

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Similar Posts:

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-https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/bones-belonged-to-richard-iii/

 

The White Queen 1×2 “The Price of Power”

This episode is all about drawing allegiance lines and telling the audience what side everyone’s on.  Also, about jumping right to the parts that have the simplest bad guy/good guy dynamics and, when that won’t quite fit in, have characters tell fairy tale versions of things where the “bad” people are devilspawn and werewolves.  It’s kindof relaxing, really.  They like to tell you things rather than expecting you to think, so you can just plunk yourself down and revel in all the foreshadowing.  Which is not to say things are bad, it just feels more like watching a romance drama than a political scheming intrigue one.  Usually, you feel compelled to side with schemers, etc.  With this one you’re really just letting them take care of their own fights and leaning into the ride.  Need to be in the right mood.

 

SAFE-TO-READ thoughts:

1. I am starting to really like Isabel Neville this episode.  The second the script let her grow more than one dimension she became engaging, particularly in her relationship with Anne.

2. Anne Neville herself has clearly been told to play her single dimension up as much as she can, and she complies.  It had better change soon.

3. I love Warwick’s furry-shoulders cape.

4. I appreciate how they make everything feel sudden.  Very helpful for keeping up interest, when you already know what’s going to happen.  It also feels more authentic.

5. It is really amusing to see what lengths they will go to to make sure everyone in the audience knows who everyone’s going to be as soon as humanly possible.

6. The magic sideline begins to swing in a dull direction rather than the fun one here, though.  Swing back-swing it back!

7. This portrayal of Richard remains sidelined, absurd, and somehow geek-vibed, though.  They had all better get on that.

 

SPOILERS:

1.The Duke of Buckingham and Catherine together-I luuuuuurve it.  Particularly when she’s swinging her feet.  Child-Marriage, FTW!

2. Okay, seriously, Edward rides off WITHOUT A SINGLE DAMN BODYGUARD when he retreats from Warwick’s army??  No.  Just no.  Take his fucking head when that happens.

3. So, they just let Edward send off letters giving Elizabeth advice?  And with a messenger that got there faster than Anthony?  >.>

4. I do appreciate how they’re keeping all the butchery things somehow one place removed-through dreams or flashbacks.  It lets the actual sadness of the moment and the drama of the living characters overshadow everything and connects the audience to them, rather than their own thoughts, feelings, or lack there of concerning the deaths.  I think that’s smart, especially considering how short a time we’ve known anyone in this show.

5. Is it just me or did the wording of all concerned when Warwick made his move just sound like Woodvilles=Always Right!, even Edward IV=wrong!?  Cause that’ll get annoying.

6. Margaret Beaufort, why don’t I care about this version of you?

7. I am saddened that Henry VI did not get to indulge his insanity on camera.  It’s his one opportunity to have fun, after all.

King Richard III Day

Today is the day that Richard III took power!  However, during the Tudor dynasty Richard III became the target of one of the most successful slanders in history.  William Shakespeare could not afford to love the last Stuart ruler while under the Tudors’ reign.  Hence, Richard III became an ugly, vile character, as if Shakespeare decided:

“Since I cannot prove a lover, I am determined to prove a villain.”

 

Of course, good ol’ Will made the king so charismatic that he could use his play “Richard III” for other ends, as well:

Upon a time when Burbage played Richard III, there was a citizen grew so far in liking with him that before she went from the play she appointed him to come that night unto her by the name of Richard the Third. Shakespeare overhearing their conclusion went before, was entertained, and at his game ere Burbage came. Then message being brought that Richard the Third was at the door, Shakespeare caused return to be made that William the Conqueror was before Richard the Third.

— E. K. Chambers, William Shakespeare. A Study of Facts and Problems (1930), ii. 212
(from John Manningham’s Diary, Harl. MS. 5353, f. 29v, ed. J. Bruce (1868) ).

I just love that story.

 

The real Richard of Gloucester:

1. Was not a humpback.

2. Had nothing to do with the execution of his brother.  In fact, he even resigned one of his posts for a day so he wouldn’t be forced to have any hand in putting Clarence to death.  (Also, by all accounts Clarence was a really bad egg, particularly to Richard’s wife.)

3. Has lots of evidence that he treated his wife Anne well.

4. Was an excellent military commander.

5. May or may not have killed his nephews, the princes in the tower.  For the record, I happen to believe he is innocent, but the debate over who killed the princes is always fierce.  What better day to declare my side of it than that of Richard III’s triumph?