The Tudors: Present Day

Previously on The Tudors: Kate spent the holidays insulting Mary and making friends with the very affable Anne of Cleves. Her ladies-in-waiting, out of boredom, I guess, decided to facilitate her affair with Culpeper.

It’s a bright, sunny day, and Culpeper’s helping Henry get dressed in an oddly homoerotic manner. Once he’s done, Henry admires himself in the mirror for a moment.

In Kate’s rooms, she and her ladies are having a dancing lesson, under the tutelage of a French dance master, who urges them to be elegant, which none of them are capable of, because they’re too busy giggling like schoolgirls. Henry pokes his head in and observes the lesson for a little while, unnoticed until Kate turns around and spots him.

A moment later, she’s eating lunch or dinner with Henry, who apologizes for not having seen her for so long, on account of his being ill. She tells him she’s glad he’s better, and actually seems reasonably mature and not idiotic in that exaggerated way she’s been up until now, and I like her about 1,000 times more for that. It makes her seem like a real person for a moment (and also makes her previous scenes seem so much more cartoonish by comparison, unfortunately).

Henry asks her if she found something to amuse herself while he was away, and both Joan and Lady Rochford, who are in attendance, look slightly freaked out, while Culpeper just looks blasé. Kate tells Henry she missed him a lot, and even the gifts he sent couldn’t replace him. Henry calls Surrey over and tells him he’s going to make him a Knight of the Order of the Garter, in recognition of his kinship with Kate and his success in France. Good deal. Surrey is grateful for the honor. Henry turns his attention back to Kate and presents her with a huge, gaudy new ring. She thanks him and tells him it’s beautiful. Henry kisses her and Culpeper actually registers emotion for a change. Henry whispers to Kate that he’ll be stopping by her room later that night. Nice of him to give her a warning.

Henry limps through the castle gates and is quickly accosted by a bishop, who asks him to do a quick “laying on of hands” with some poor sick people who have gathered nearby. Henry obliges, holding people’s hands and saying “by the grace of God, I command you to be healed.” This sort of thing really did go on—kings believed they were God’s tools on earth and therefore actually had the power to heal the sick. His healing done, Henry mounts his horse and goes out for a ride as the thankful subjects raise their hands and thank him. We’ll see how thankful they are when they don’t actually get better.

Hever Castle, where Anne of Cleves is currently living and observing Elizabeth’s impromptu dance recital. Elizabeth seems to be a much more talented dancer than her stepmother, Kate. Anne applauds appreciatively, and then Henry, who’s been watching unnoticed (what’s with him and watching dance lessons this episode?) from the upper balcony, claps as well. Anne and Elizabeth sink into curtsies and Henry comes down to greet them. He asks after Elizabeth’s Latin and gives her a copy of a book by the Roman historian Tacitus. She thanks him and gives a really rote speech about how much she prays for his good health and hopes he’ll be king a long, long time. Either this speech of hers is incredibly rehearsed, or this girl is a terrible actress. It’s a little hard to tell. Henry doesn’t seem to mind, because he claps again, and then tells Anne he’s planning on staying for supper. She seems delighted to hear it.

Surrey’s having dinner with Seymour, who’s rather pompously telling Surrey that the Garter is a great honor. I’m pretty sure Surrey knows that already. Oddly, Henry’s making Seymour pay for the ceremony installing Surrey as a Knight of the Garter. Was that normal? It seems strange to make someone else pay for that out of their own pocket. Surrey just as pompously asks Seymour how long he’s been a member of the Order. A few months, Seymour answers proudly. Surrey sneers, because his father and four generations of his family have already belonged to the Order (but not you, Surrey, so suck it, Seymour still has seniority on you.)

Kate’s in her room with only Lady R for company. Kate chatters idly for a little while, then tells Lady R that she wants to see Culpeper again. Lady R, for some reason, is in a snippy mood and shortly tells Kate that’s fine, she can bring Culpeper to her own room and then keep watch outside. She then belatedly urges Kate to be careful, and Kate tells her she knows how to keep herself from getting knocked up, thanks.

Henry’s having a cozy supper with Anne, who sings his daughters’ praises. She’s a much better mom to them than Kate is. Once these domestic matters are dispensed with, she produces her wedding ring and asks Henry to break it, as a thing of no value. Henry looks a little reluctant, or maybe confused. Or gassy. Seriously, his face is really hard to read here.

Lady Rochford has done as she promised and lent Kate and Culpeper her room. She lurks outside, ostensibly keeping watch but really spying on them through the keyhole. We see her keyhole view of them making out, but then just see her eye as Kate and Culpeper start sexing.

Seymour and the other Garter knights present Surrey with his lovely new garter, which is embroidered with the words “Honi soit qui mal y pense”. Surrey thoughtfully translates that, incorrectly, as “Evil be to him that evil thinks.” That actually means “Shamed be he who thinks evil of it.” One of the other Knights ties the Garter on him and delivers a speech about him wearing it well and remaining loyal, etc. Surrey and the Knights all bow to each other, and he smiles smugly at Seymour.

Back at Hever, Henry thanks Anne for being so obliging about the divorce. She warmly says she just wants to please him, and she was happy to be allowed to stay in England. Henry tells her that, according to the French ambassador, she’s totally won over the English people. She smiles modestly and seems touched by that, but says Henry has a new queen, and Anne likes her quite a lot.

At court, Kate and Culpeper are still going at it, but Lady R finally calls a halt to the proceedings and sends Kate back to her room before they’re found out.

In Seymour’s room, his wife’s talking him down from his snit by telling him he did what he had to. Seymour rightly calls Surrey insufferable, saying the man clearly thinks he was entitled to the Garter honor all along. Anne Seymour easily says that what is done can often be undone. Seymour doubts it, since Surrey’s a member of Kate’s family, but Anne wins several points with me by telling her husband that Kate’s just a frivolous and stupid girl, and Henry will probably get sick of her at some point. Anne’s real target is Surrey, though, because she’s still smarting over that poem he wrote where he called her a she-wolf. She urges her husband to arrange for some misfortune to befall Surrey.

Lady R, dressed for bed, walks around her room, drinking. At last, she unlaces her nightgown, removes it, and climbs into bed with Culpeper. Has he been lying there like that since Kate left? There’s something icky about this.

Still in his Garter finery, Surrey wanders into a riotous tavern, where he’s evidently well known. He announces his induction into the Order, and after everyone cheers he orders ale, joins some friends, and makes a lewd pass at a barmaid, all under the watchful eye of someone who I’m sure’ll be important later. After Surrey gives the barmaid a giant ring, the mysterious man gets up and leaves with one last glance at Surrey and his companions.

Henry and the Mini Council are having a meeting about Henry’s proposed progress to the North. It doesn’t look like Brandon’s in the Mini Council today—is this, perhaps, the first episode in which he does not appear? Oh, no, never mind, there he is. And that one quick camera sweep is all we get to see of him this week, unfortunately. Henry wants this progress to be a big PR thing, so he can show all the northerners that he doesn’t hold a grudge over that whole rebellion a few years back. As he speaks, Kate races through the castle corridors and bursts into Henry’s study. Henry takes her into an adjoining room and starts to chastise her, but before he can get far, she excitedly tells him she thinks she’s pregnant. Henry, of course, is delighted to hear it, and urges her not to overexert or excite herself. He sends her off with a kiss and a fond smile, then returns to the Mini Council.

Mary’s at her place in the country, taking a walk with Chapuys in the garden, as they do. How does he find the time to go visit her all the time? He was a busy guy, and it’s not like Hunsdon (where I’m guessing they are) was that close to London. I’m pretty sure it would have been more than a day trip. Eh, whatever, I like these two together, so I’m not going to worry about it too much. He tells her that Henry’s been feeling lots better lately and is planning to make a progress to the North.

After a long pause during which Chapuys clearly has a nice internal struggle (see, Henry, that’s how you do subtle face acting!), he tells her he’s heard rumors that Kate’s pregnant. Mary coolly says Henry would happily welcome a Duke of York. Chapuys brightsides that, if she doesn’t have a son, the succession would be kind of up for grabs. Mary seems doubtful, since she knows Edward would be first in line. Chapuys says that there are some who question Jane’s legitimacy as queen, since she was never crowned, as Katherine of Aragon was. Bullshit. I don’t recall hearing anything ever about Jane’s and Henry’s marriage being in doubt just because she wasn’t crowned. She didn’t need to be. She was married to the king (unquestionably), which automatically made her queen. No need for a whole separate crowning to make that true. There have been plenty of queens who haven’t been formally crowned, but they were still queens, and their children still inherited without a problem.

Whatever. Chapuys reassures her there are plenty at court who eagerly anticipate the day Mary becomes queen and returns England to the true church. Mary definitely looks pleased by the idea, but diplomatically tells him it’ll only be “if God wills it.” See, actively hoping for such a thing would be treasonous of her. She’s a smart girl.

At court, Henry and Kate are taking a walk in the gardens and he’s giving her the full itinerary for the progress. She’s totally reverted to her cartoonish persona, sadly (we only got a human for that one scene) and tells Henry she’s just sooooo excited, especially since she gets to order new clothes. She invites him to visit her that night but he refuses, saying it’s too dangerous while she’s pregnant. She gets really quiet for a little while, and then tells him she was wrong about the whole pregnancy thing. Henry jerks away from her and stalks off, disappointed.

Kate returns to her room to sulk and stare longingly at Culpeper as he returns from a ride. Later that night, she tearfully and stupidly writes him a love letter, which he hands over to Lady R to read and make fun of. What’s this guy’s deal? I thought he was totally in love with Kate, or, at least, totally enamored of her. Why’s he still carrying on with this other woman and passing Kate’s love letters around?

Henry takes comfort in Anne of Cleves’s company, joining her for a game of cards, which is played with many significant looks from his side and lots of playful giggles from hers. She wins the hand (excellent teaching, Charles!) and Henry compliments her skills. She goes to collect her winnings, and out of nowhere, Henry asks to sleep with her. She looks a bit caught off guard, which makes a lot of sense.

Culpeper’s with Kate again, and once again, they’re in Lady R’s room and she’s spying on them through the keyhole.

Henry, meanwhile, is in bed with Anne. Well, that is a surprise. For her as well as me. They’re all spooned up together and it’s actually kind of cute.

Some days later, Lady Bryan arrives at court for Prince Edward’s visit with his dad and Uncle Seymour. The moppet bows to them both, and Seymour smiles fondly at him as he bows back. Henry goes to the moppet and gives him the gift of a knife, which is a terrible idea to give a four-year-old, as Edward himself proves when he nearly stabs his dad in the throat with it. Big gift-giving episode, this. Henry hands Lady Bryan a vial of something he’s whipped up himself to dose the kid with if he gets sick. Henry looks at the boy and quietly comments that he can see Jane in him. He asks Edward if he knows who Jane is, and Edward nods and produces a miniature of his mother and her thimble, which he apparently keeps with him. Awwww! Henry kisses the hand wearing the thimble, tells Edward he’s a good boy, and hands him his new knife before sending him on his way.

Kate’s lying in bed, snacking and paging through the midwifery book she was given. Henry comes in and shortly informs her they’ll be leaving in two days, and that Mary will be coming with them. Kate whines, and Henry gets annoyed with her, for once, informing her that Mary is a much-loved figure in the North, where they need to score some points just now. He goes to leave and she calls after him that she’s sorry she turned out not to be pregnant. Henry looks at her for a moment, and then turns and leaves. Kate returns to her book.

Out in the countryside, a group of peasants are raking hay when one kid hears the noise of the royal entourage passing by. He abandons his hay-raking duties to go watch. Surrey waves to him, and the kid falls into step beside a servant walking two huge Irish wolfhounds. Finally, Henry rides by and gestures for a soldier to toss a coin to the boy. Other peasants join them and cheer as Henry, Kate, and Mary ride past. Henry observes to his wife that the people clearly love their king. Kate, like an idiot, turns in her saddle and stares longingly at Culpeper, who’s riding behind them. He smiles smarmily back at her. Man, this guy gives me the creeps.

Seymour’s missing out on the trip so he can stay back in London and run things. He tells Bishop Gardiner that the progress is going just dandy, but Gardiner really doesn’t seem to care. Gardiner’s more concerned with the fact that Surrey’s been behaving badly. It seems the guy in the tavern reported back to Gardiner about Surrey’s antics that night; Gardiner hands over a full report to Seymour, who reads it with great interest. Seymour promises to investigate the matter further, which Gardiner is happy to hear, because he understands Surrey and his friends to be Lutherans (come again? Surrey was from a family that was well known to be devoutly Catholic). Gardiner thinks Surrey should be burned for that, and Seymour takes a moment to absorb that before sending him on his way. Once Gardiner’s gone, Seymour smirks, delighted to have something to use against Surrey at last.

Henry and his entourage arrive at Lincoln, where he and Kate parade majestically up the aisle of the packed cathedral, trailed by Mary. They kneel before the altar and the bishop or archbishop or whatever he is blesses them. Henry rises and climbs the pulpit so he can address the crowd. Perhaps unwisely, he starts off by reminding the people of Lincoln that not so long ago they rebelled against him. Mary looks a little uncomfortable as he speaks, but after a little while Henry moves on and tells everyone he forgives and pardons them. They all cheer and applaud him enthusiastically.

Kate, accompanied by Lady R, explores her rooms in whatever palace they’re staying in. Kate finds one door that leads to a back staircase that goes to Henry’s bedroom.

Later, Culpeper’s tending to Henry’s leg, which isn’t doing so well, probably irritated by the journey. Henry pouts that he won’t be able to visit Kate that night, and he says she looked so “pure” and lovely in the cathedral earlier.

In her own room, Kate’s anxiously waiting for word that Henry’s gone to sleep so she can send for Culpeper. Once word arrives (via Joan), Kate sends Lady R off to bring in Culpeper. Lady R obliges, bringing him up by the back staircase. Joan dashes off to keep watch, and Lady R makes herself scarce so Kate can totally throw herself on her lover. For some incredibly bizarre reason, she doesn’t want to have sex with him in the bedroom. Instead, she leads him to the adjoining stool closet. Ewww. Can you imagine how much those must have reeked? What’s wrong with this girl? It doesn’t seem to bother Culpeper, though, and they quickly get to it, as Henry lies awake in his bed, not so far away.

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