The Tudors: Boiling Point

Previously on The Tudors: All of season one. Henry partied, made and broke treaties all over Europe, and freaked out about not having a son to succeed him. So, he told his right-hand man Wolsey to magically bring about a divorce between Henry and his wife Katherine, so Henry could marry Anne Boleyn. Wolsey failed, was arrested, and committed suicide in one of the most affecting scenes of the entire season. Henry took the news hard, but nonetheless pushed forward with his plan to make himself pope in England, essentially, by forcing through some major religious reforms. This is not going to sit well at all with his heretic-burning chancellor and mentor, Thomas More.

Looks like we’ve got some new shots in the credits (mostly of Anne Boleyn being crowned) and a couple of new cast members, including Peter O’Toole and the rather unpleasant Hans Matheson. This should be fun.

Season two starts in 1532, in the cavernous royal chapel, which is dark, despite the many candles lit. Henry and Anne are kneeling at the altar, receiving communion. Alone in their private chapels, Katherine and More pray.

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The Tudors: Baby, Light My Fire

Previously on The Tudors: Henry failed to get his divorce and blamed it on Wolsey, who found himself kicked out of office and arrested. More took his old job, reluctantly. Anne started to convert Henry.

Well, we might as well just get right to it. We open on Henry masturbating, while leaning on a servant and fantasizing about Anne sewing. That is so utterly not something I needed to see. And also, I hope the guy playing that poor servant fired his agent, because that is the worst few seconds of screentime ever.

Calmer now (and fully dressed), Henry enters his council chamber to meet with the council. He rails about Wolsey’s doings, without actually naming him, and names Norfolk President of the Council, along with Brandon, who smirks a little at the announcement. Norfolk takes that with surprising grace. Henry tells everyone they’ll reconvene soon to discuss the divorce.

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The Tudors: Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall

Previously on the Tudors: The long, hard fall of Cardinal Wolsey began in earnest.

We open at Blackfriars Church, where Wolsey is continuing the trial without Katherine, trying to determine whether or not she and Prince Arthur ever consummated the marriage. He calls up his first witness, Sir Anthony Willoughby, who was part of the prince’s entourage on his wedding night. Apparently, the morning after, Arthur asked Willoughby to bring him some ale and mentioned that the night before, he was in the midst of Spain. The audience finds this hilarious; Henry, less so. Willoughby also mentions that Arthur told his friends that it was a good pastime to have a wife. Wolsey says he’s pretty sure they have the bloodstained sheets to corroborate Willoughby’s story. Excuse me? First of all, who would keep those? For decades? Second, if they did exist, wouldn’t they have caused some problems with the original dispensation, since they’d indicate the marriage had been consummated? And finally, who could prove they weren’t just a random set of sheets with blood on them? It’s not like they had DNA testing back then.

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The Tudors: The Beginning of the End

Previously on The Tudors: The Sweating Sickness kicked England’s ass. Wolsey and Anne survived; Compton and others weren’t quite so lucky.

An artist is looking through a magnifying glass at Henry and Katherine, who appear to be sitting for a miniature. Henry, what did I say about the mixed messages?

Meanwhile, Wolsey’s in his study when a servant enters and announces Cardinal Campeggio, the pope’s representative in the divorce case. Campeggio enters slowly, using a cane and leaning on an assistant. Wolsey greets him with a hug and calls him Lorenzo, so clearly they’ve been friends for a while. Campeggio apologizes for his immobility—he has gout, apparently. The two cardinals sit down near the fire and Wolsey tells Campeggio that Henry wants the court to be set up to try the case as soon as possible. Campeggio understands, but he reminds Wolsey that his decision will be final, there’ll be no appeals here. He reveals that the pope wants to keep Henry happy, but it’ll be best to persuade Henry to give up this case. Wolsey rather impatiently tells Campeggio that if Henry doesn’t get his way, the church will lose England altogether.

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The Tudors: Bring Out Your Dead

Previously on the Tudors: Henry wanted Wolsey to get him a divorce, and Wolsey became the last person on earth to discover that Henry is dating Anne. Brandon and Henry made up. Katherine sent a message to her nephew, the emperor, telling him that Henry plans to divorce her.

At his country house, Compton’s in bed and not looking too good. He’s writhing and moaning and flinching at the light. Servants scurry to fetch a physician, who arrives looking grim. The doctor scolds the servants for letting Compton fall asleep, since sleep is fatal in these cases (and how did he think they would know that? It’s not like they have a copy of Ye Olde Guide to Plague First Aid hanging around). Compton has the sweating sickness. The servants flee from the room in fear. The physician gets to work, cutting into Compton’s back because he’s heard that it sometimes works. Horribly, he starts hammering a small spike into the guy’s back. Yay, 16th century medicine!

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The Tudors: Cardinal Clueless

Previously on The Tudors: Henry decided to jettison Katherine and promised Anne he wouldn’t sleep with her until they were married. Speaking of marriage, Henry’s sister Margaret married his buddy, Charles Brandon, and got herself banished from court as punishment. Henry got tired of his alliance with the Holy Roman Emperor and got back into bed with the French. The Emperor got annoyed and sacked Rome, taking the pope hostage.

At Hever, Anne’s reading yet another sappy letter from Henry aloud to her father and uncle. It gets awkward when Anne gets to the part about Henry wanting to kiss her breasts, but they get past it. Boleyn, finally acting like he cares about his own child, asks her how she feels about all this, and Anne admits she wasn’t happy about it at first, but it seems she’s starting to develop actual feelings for Henry. Norfolk advises her not to fall for her own masquerade but to use the king’s love to get rid of Wolsey. Her father tells her Wolsey’s standing in the family’s way and it’s her job to make sure he’s gone.

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The Tudors: Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very-Bad Days

Previously on the Tudors: Henry freaked out about not having an heir. His sister Margaret banged Charles Brandon, married the King of Portugal, and then murdered her husband. Wolsey’s job description now includes procuring royal divorces.

Unsurprisingly, we open at Whitehall, where Cromwell is reading a proclamation making Thomas Boleyn Lord Rochford. Boleyn accepts his new scepter of state and bows to the king, stepping away as Henry’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, is ushered in. He’s a fairly adorable blonde kid who looks to be about 4 years old. He’s wearing a miniature robe of state and kneels at his father’s feet as he’s proclaimed Duke of Richmond and Somerset, as well as Earl of Nottingham. Bessie looks on proudly while Katherine listens in, hidden behind a tapestry.

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The Tudors: I Only Do It Because I Love You!

Previously on the Tudors: Henry flirted with and then fantasized about Anne, the Emperor came to visit and meet his future wife, Princess Mary, Henry made Brandon a duke so he could escort Henry’s sister Margaret to Portugal to marry their aged king, and Wolsey sent the king’s secretary to the Tower for supposedly spying for the French.

Margaret, Brandon, and other courtiers are waiting in an antechamber when Henry’s announced. She curtsies a bit stiffly, obviously not happy. Henry tells her to be a good little wife, now, and she hugs him tightly and tells him to remember his promise (to let her marry whomever she chooses the next time around). She moves aside, and Henry tells Brandon to take care of her. Brandon promises he’ll look after her as he would his own sister, and Margaret sniffs. Henry sends everyone off with a blessing and a prayer.

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