Previously on The Tudors: Henry dragged his wife and court north on a progress to tell the northerners there were no hard feelings over that whole rebellion misunderstanding. Katherine continued her incredibly foolish affair with Culpeper, managing to take it to a whole new level of gross.
Pontefract Castle (remember Pontefract?). Everyone who lives there is all lined up in the courtyard as Henry and his entourage arrive in extremely cheesy slow motion. They’re greeted by Ralph, the one rebel who managed to evade slaughter by selling out his buddies. Henry greets him and the others as his “faithful servants” and introduces Kate and Mary. Ralph, who’s now sporting the Beard of Instant Aging, welcomes them all. Henry dismounts, embraces him, and then pulls Culpeper aside to tell him he plans to sleep with Kate that night. Ralph falls into step beside Charles and observes that Henry seems pretty peppy. Charles puts it down to his new marriage and the success of the progress.
Both men head into the castle, where Charles looks around sadly and tells Ralph the place is full of ghosts and memories he’d rather forget. Ralph says he feels the same way. Charles asks him, man to man, how the people really feel about their brand new religion. Ralph says there are some that grumble, but now Cromwell’s out of the way, the reforming zeal has backed off a bit and people are more tolerant.
That night, Henry’s at work in his room as Kate arrives in an antechamber and is met by Culpeper. He tells her Henry’s ready to receive her, and she reaches out, strokes his hand, and purrs “later?” Idiot. Culpeper pulls away and leads her into Henry’s room. Henry doesn’t even look up at her as she comes in, he just keeps writing the letter or whatever it is he’s scribbling away at. He shortly tells her the King of France and the Emperor are on the brink of war. Sensing an opening, Kate suggests he may not want to have sex with her, at such a time, since he’s so busy and all. Au contraire. Henry gets up and walks over to her, as she looks at him nervously. He sweeps her into his arms, carries her over to the bed, and has some seriously unsexy and slightly rough sex with her. Kate does not look pleased.
In the banquet hall, Surrey, Charles, Ralph, and most of the other men are gathered around the table, talking and eating. Surrey starts to talk about all the men who have died there—the important men, that is, such as Richard II, who was imprisoned in the castle after he was deposed. Surrey says that Richard made the fatal mistake of favoring lesser men over greater ones and threatening the true nobility. Charles isn’t fooled and pulls the poorly hidden message right out of this little history lesson and tells Surrey that, while that might be a problem sometimes, he’s sure the men Henry elevates deserve it. Surrey doesn’t agree, of course. He declares the men will suffer, once Henry’s dead. Charles warns him against predicting or seeming to call for the death of the king.
Further down the table, Thomas Seymour’s buddy tells him Surrey seems to be talking about him, as evidenced by the really obvious stink eye Surrey keeps shooting his way. Tom and his buddy laugh.
In his room, Henry’s back at work, looking tired. Oh, the cares of the kingdom, they never let one sleep, do they?
His wife, meanwhile, is back in her own room, getting it on with Culpeper again. Thankfully, it looks like they’re not having sex in a bathroom this time around. Culpeper does appear to be more interested in foreplay than Henry was earlier, and Kate seems much more interested in the proceedings than she was with her husband.
The next day, the people of the area stream into the courtyard to see Henry. Ralph calls them to order, and Henry ascends a small stage they’ve built for him, stifling a groan. Guess the leg’s bothering him again. The local clergyman, a Mr. Sidwell, has apparently been designated the locals’ mouthpiece. He apologizes profusely to Henry for the rebellion and assures him they won’t be doing it again. Henry tells them it’s cool and he forgives them all. The crowd cheers, and then cheers again (even louder) when Mary comes out to see them.
Inside the castle, Joan wakes Kate, who apparently overslept. She hurries over to the window just in time to see Mary urge the crowd to pray for the king, and reassure them that all will be well. The crowd cheers again and Kate looks pissed.
Later, Kate and the Tri-Delts are walking in the garden when a man goes galloping by on a horse. Kate’s face falls, and Joan, who was walking beside her, recognizes the guy immediately as Francis Dereham.
Francis’s first order of business is to see Kate in her rooms. He bows extravagantly to her and hands over a letter of recommendation. He, like Joan, wants a job in Kate’s household. As with Joan, Kate turns him down, and like Joan, Dereham resorts to blackmail. Kate folds and just asks him to be discreet.
Culpeper leads the French ambassador through the banqueting hall, where Henry and the others are enjoying a fine repast. Henry tells the ambassador to pass along what he saw to the French king: thousands of former rebels coming to offer their supplication to their king. Thousands? Hardly, Henry. Maybe 150. The ambassador promises to send the word along. Henry urges him to add that it would be foolish for the French king to consider invading England, believing it to be full of pockets of rebels and the like. The ambassador assures him the king has no desire to invade at all. Henry noisily gulps some wine and dismisses the ambassador. Odd moment, that.
As the party recommences, Henry turns to Charles and asks how the preparations are going for their upcoming visit to York. Charles runs down the plans—it sounds like the Scottish king, James, plans to join them. Once that business is dispensed with, Henry asks Kate how she’s doing, and she says she’s appointed Dereham her secretary and usher. Henry’s as amused as I am at the thought she might actually need a secretary, but he doesn’t mind the hire. Kate starts staring at Culpeper so obviously even Charles notices. But Charles is soon distracted by the sight of Lord Darcy standing on the opposite side of the hall. Oh, are we going to have a recurrence of the “Charles is seeing dead people” plotline from last season? Will it go anywhere this time?
Joan’s alone in Kate’s room, sewing, and is soon joined by Dereham. She’s not all that excited to see him, but he doesn’t care. He just thinks it’s funny that Kate’s actually queen of England. Joan sharply tells him not to get any ideas, because Kate belongs to the king now. Dereham saucily asks her where he should sleep, and she firmly tells him it won’t be there, or with any of the ladies. He has to do the proper thing and ask the king’s chamberlain for a place. Where has this strong-willed girl been? I kind of like her. Dereham gets up and kisses her on the cheek, for old times’ sake, before leaving.
Charles, perhaps unwisely, wanders the corridors of the castle, which are all claustrophobic and creepy. He thinks he hears something and asks who’s there, but of course there’s nothing. He gets to his room and pours a glass of wine, then senses Darcy’s in the room. When he turns, Darcy’s sitting by the fire, as if he’s come by for a visit. Charles sits opposite him and needlessly reminds Darcy that he’s dead. Darcy agrees, but says that the living don’t tend to realize the dead are always around them. Charles asks what he wants and Darcy keeps talking about how busy ghosts are, always rushing about, until all their earthly accounts are settled and they can finally rest. Charles asks for forgiveness but Darcy can’t give it. He accuses the living of being selfish, thinking of nothing but themselves.
Windsor Castle. Elizabeth is with Edward, teaching him Latin, although Edward just wants to play with his toys, like most four-year-olds. Elizabeth finally releases him to go play, but not before telling him he’ll be a good king someday, and that she wants him to be a just ruler. Edward dashes off adorably.
Back at Pontefract, Kate’s standing around in her room, looking nervous. Dereham comes in and announces Culpeper, and Kate dismisses Dereham and the Tri-Delts so they can talk. Culpeper immediately asks who Dereham is, where he came from, and how well Kate knew him. He’s starting to ease into rather creepy jealous boyfriend territory. The cold way he’s speaking and looking at her makes me cringe in anticipation of him backhanding her or something. She explains a bit about her past with Dereham, without going into detail, and Culpeper gets a bit pissy, so she gets pissy right back. She tells him she’s got plenty of other lovers besides him and shouts at him to get out and leave her alone. Culpeper coolly bows and withdraws.
The court follows Henry into York Minster Cathedral, where he’s met by the Archbishop of York and the clergy and gentlemen of the York area. The Archbishop welcomes him and, like everyone else before him, apologizes for rebelling and hands over some cash to make up for it. Henry thanks him and everyone applauds politely. Henry turns to Charles and asks if everything is prepared for King James’s visit. Charles says it is. As soon as Henry heads off, the smile drops from the Archbishop’s face and he looks a little like he may need to change his shorts.
Later, Kate and her household are having dinner together as Lady Rochford and Joan watch. Joan quietly tells Lady R that Dereham is, in fact, the same man who used to visit Kate in her rooms at the Dowager Duchess’s, all those years ago, and that he’s pretty much the same douchebag now that he was then. Lady R is a little worried about this, but there’s not much she can do. She and Joan go into the dining room and take their seats. Dereham pushily offers Kate more wine, and she has to turn him down twice before he backs off. He giggles drunkenly and Lady R and Joan exchange alarmed looks. Yeah, this guy’s definitely going to be a liability.
Kate rises and announces she’s going to bed. Once she and the ladies are gone, Dereham goes to pour himself more wine, and one of the other grooms takes it upon himself to tell Dereham that he has no right to be so familiar with the queen. Dereham tells the man, Mr. Fell, that he and Kate used to be very close indeed. Definite liability.
At Windsor, Elizabeth goes in to say goodnight to Edward, and when she bends down to kiss him, it quickly becomes clear that he’s not doing well at all. Elizabeth calls for Lady Bryan and Lady Bryan quickly sends for a doctor.
In York, Fell’s still castigating Dereham, asking him to please, in the future, refrain from speaking about Kate in ways that “offend her proper dignity.” Dereham snorts over the word “dignity” and says he’ll speak of her as he likes. Fell tries to be a friend here, telling Dereham he’s just going to get into trouble if he keeps talking like this, and I guess Dereham has a death wish or something, because he comes right out and says he’s had sex with Kate, in one of the crudest ways possible.
As Joan and Lady Rochford help Kate get ready for bed, Kate asks Lady R to get a message to Culpeper, asking him to come by the following day. Joan tries to warn her off but Kate won’t heed her. Lady R and Joan exchange another alarmed look, but there’s not much they can do.
Seymour arrives at Windsor, where a doctor’s attending the young prince. Seymour asks if the kid’s life is in danger and the doctor admits that it is, if the fever persists. Lady Bryan asks if they should tell the king and, after a moment of internal debate, Seymour says no, because it would be a shame if he cut his progress short to come running south, only to find the kid recovered. He urges the doctor to do all he can to eradicate the fever.
It’s a fine afternoon up north, and Kate and the Tri-Delts are enjoying a picnic in the garden. Henry wanders by and pulls Kate aside to apologize for not being around much lately. He tells her James will be stopping by for a visit and to sign a peace treaty, and then they’ll all be heading back to London. Kate’s fine with that. Henry asks her if she’s pregnant and she shakes her head. Henry gathers up Tom Seymour and Culpeper and walks away.
That night, Kate and her household are once again hanging out in her dining room, and Dereham is once again drunk. Here’s what I think they should do: fire Dereham for failing to act in a dignified and professional manner, and then if he says anything about Kate after that, play it off as a disgruntled former employee’s lies. Who’s going to back him up, Joan? I don’t think so. Not judging from the look of absolute loathing she’s shooting him in this scene as he goes on about how the streets of York will be full of brawny Scots in their “togas.” Moron. Kate pulls Lady R aside and asks if Culpeper will be coming by later. Lady R nods. Further discussion is prevented by Dereham remembering a Scotsman, Mannox, whom he, Joan, and Kate knew. He goes over to Kate and starts stroking her face and she weakly tells him to leave off. Dereham turns to Joan and says she must remember Mannox, before collapsing onto the table, giggling like a schoolgirl. Fell tells him to pull himself together as Kate gathers the ladies and departs.
Fell turns on Dereham as soon as Kate’s out of the room and promises to tell Henry about Dereham’s behavior. Dereham flies off the handle and starts whaling on Fell, until one of the other servants manages to pull him off.
Elsewhere in the castle, Surrey’s working on a poem when he’s joined by Charles, who predicts Surrey will one day be remembered as a great poet. Charmed by the compliment, Surrey allows Charles to read what he’s working on: a translation, in sonnet form, one of Martial’s epigrams. The translation will become this poem:
Martial, the things that do attain
The happy life be these, I find:–
The richesse left, not got with pain;
The fruitful ground, the quiet mind;
The equal friend; no grudge, no strife;
No charge of rule, nor governance;
Without disease, the healthful life;
The household of continuance;
The mean diet, no delicate fare;
True wisdom join’d with simpleness;
The night discharged of all care,,
Where wine the wit may not oppress.
The faithful wife, without debate;
Such sleeps as may beguile the night:
Contented with thine own estate
Ne wish for death, ne fear his might.
After his chat with Dead Darcy the other night, I’m sure this’ll strike a nice chord with Charles. Charles is especially struck by the lines about the ‘quiet mind’ and the ‘night discharged of all care’ and wishes he could have that. Surrey says Charles, by not having that, or anything else the poem calls for, is like Surrey himself, and, indeed, like most people.
Kate’s sitting up in her bedroom, waiting for Culpeper, who finally arrives. He’s a bit chilly towards her still, so she lays it on thick, telling him she loves him and her heart dies a little when she can’t see him. Culpeper finally unbends and says he loves her too, but she has to get rid of Dereham. She promises to do so once they get back to London. She begs him not to be angry with her, and he finally grabs her and they start making out. They pause and he tells her she knows what he wants. He orders her to do it, so she pushes him down on the bed and starts going down on him. God, this relationship is creepy. The way he orders her around and controls her…Not that I should be surprised this guy would be an abusive boyfriend.
At Windsor, things aren’t going any better with Edward. Seymour takes a look at him, then slams his hand down on the footboard of the bed in frustration before striding out of the room.
York Minster. Two grooms bring out Henry’s gift for King James: a giant jewel-encrusted gold egg. Henry approves and stands beside it, waiting for James to show. When James doesn’t materialize right away, Henry gets antsy and starts pacing and playing with the candles as Kate fidgets. Finally, a messenger shows up, hurries to Henry, and tells him James isn’t coming. He’s gone back to Edinburgh, and furthermore a Scottish army has crossed the border and is raiding England. Henry calls Tom Seymour over and tells him to rally the troops and start kicking some serious Scottish ass. Seymour hurries off to do so, and Henry picks up the egg and childishly throws it onto the floor, scattering pearls all over the place. Another messegner chooses this very inopportune moment to try to speak to Henry, who totally goes nuts, grabs the guy, and starts dragging him around the Minster. The poor guy still manages to gasp that Edward’s ill. Henry releases him and hurries off.
Windsor. Henry arrives and finds Edward still sick and in bed, watched by the doctor and Seymour. Henry gathers the child up in his arms and rocks him for a moment before laying him back down and gently kissing him on his forehead. His face crumples as he looks down at his little heir.
Mary, meanwhile, is kneeling before a giant gold cross, praying with all her heart. And Kate, naturally, is getting ridden hard by Culpeper. What a caring stepmom.
Late at night, Edward finally rouses and starts playing with Henry’s hair. Henry, who’s asleep with his head on the edge of Edward’s bed, takes a moment to wake, but when he does and realizes the child’s fever has broken, he breaks into a delighted smile, which the boy returns. The scenes between Henry and this kid are easily the most humanizing we’ve seen in a while. It’s quite sweet, really. Henry tells Seymour to send for the Bishop of London and have masses of thanksgiving said for the life of little Edward.
Somewhere, an unknown person writes a letter. We see the hand but no face. Shortly after, we see the letter, sealed, being carried by a faceless messenger.
Henry, Kate, and the court are at the thanksgiving mass. As Bishop Fischer starts the mass, which praises Kate quite heavily, the unknown messenger places the mysterious letter on Henry’s throne.