Previously on The Tudors: Kate, Culpeper, Dereham, and Lady Rochford all got their heads chopped off. So, they’re out of the credits now, replaced by Special Guest Star Joley Richardson.
Hunsdon House. Mary tracks down Elizabeth and happily tells her they’re both being restored to the succession. Mary’s over the moon, but Elizabeth couldn’t seem to care less. She’s downcast after Kate’s death, and she’s made up her mind never to marry.
Henry receives Chapuys in his study, which is once again darkened and emo’d out. Chapuys wastes no time in telling Henry the Emperor’s at war with France again and wants Henry’s help. In return, Henry would get back Aquitaine. Henry sends him off without an answer.
Out in the great hall, Chapuys and the French ambassador exchange a glare before the French ambassador’s shown in to see Henry. Henry asks about this war and the ambassador, Marillac, says it’s true. Henry calls the French king out on being behind in payments due to Henry and Marillac promises to bring it up with Francis. He urges Henry to maintain the English-French alliance and Henry once again sends an ambassador off without giving an answer. Once Marillac’s gone, Henry tells Seymour to write to the king of Scotland and order him to break off his alliances with the French and the Pope and to join with Henry instead. Seymour is also to head up to Scotland with Surrey, to make sure Henry’s demands are met.
Surrey’s playing cards with a friend, Mr. Lee, and losing, it seems. Lee starts pointing out the things he and Surrey have in common, including their mutual familial relationship with Kate. Lee’s pissed at the Howards for turning a blind eye to Kate’s behavior, which resulted in all her relatives being tarnished. Surrey takes offense and starts beating the crap out of Lee until he’s pulled off by some guards. Wow, what’s his problem? Talk about a short fuse.
Tom Seymour’s spending some time out in the country, visiting a sickly middle-aged man named Lord Latimer. The visit is just a pretense for Tom to visit Latimer’s much younger, lovely wife, Katherine Parr (yes, another Katherine), who’s played by Joley Richardson. Latimer asks Tom to speak to Henry on his family’s behalf, since they got accidentally caught up in that northern rebellion nonsense and Latimer doesn’t want the family name mucked up. He gets himself so worked up he causes actual pain, and his wife hurries to soothe and nurse him.
Once Latimer’s asleep, Katherine and Tom withdraw to another room to embrace and talk about their future. Tom’s eagerly looking forward to the day they can be together, which he figures will be soon.
Back at court, Gardiner breaks the news to Henry that Surrey’s in prison for fighting. Surrey’s demanding his immediate release, but Gardiner’s already told him he’s got to stop being such a douche if he wants to be let out of prison. Henry tells him to release him, because he’s needed in Scotland…
…which is soon being trashed. The English have kicked the Scots’ asses, it seems. Surrey, blood-spattered, is introduced to three noble captives whom he will be sending back to London.
Once they arrive, Henry happily tells the council that they’ve had a great victory at Solway Moss, thanks to Surrey and Seymour. Furthemore, the King of Scotland is dead, succeeded by an infant daughter. Gardiner calls this an act of divine intervention on their behalf. Henry predicts a happy Christmas, which will be hostessed by Mary and which will see little Edward performing his first public duties.
Henry dismisses the council but keeps Tom back because he’s heard that Tom doesn’t approve of Henry letting Surrey go. He scolds Tom sharply for daring to question Henry’s decision. Tom happily leaves when kicked out.
Katherine heads to court for Christmas, where she greets Mary familiarly. Mary asks after Latimer and hears he’s still very ill. She offers her prayers and good wishes. Katherine moves away and is replaced by the French ambassador, who tells Mary he still hopes to see her married to the Duke of Orleans.
Little Edward comes dashing in, followed closely by Elizabeth, who is herself soon followed by Seymour and his wife. Seymour takes command of his nephew and introduces him to the captured Scottish lords, who are being entertained there for the holidays. Edward formally welcomes them and is then hustled away by Elizabeth. Seymour takes over the conversation, proposing an engagement between Edward and Mary of Scotland. If the lords agree to advocate for the marriage, they’ll be handsomely rewarded and released immediately. Nice deal.
Charles says hello to Mary next and asks how Henry’s doing. She confides that Henry’s been melancholy, but lately he’s perked up a bit. Further discussion is put on hold by the arrival of the man himself, who wishes everyone a merry Christmas before taking his seat on the throne. Tumblers perform, to the delight of the court; when they’re done, Tom Seymour approaches Henry, gets a cool reception, but is finally permitted to introduce Katherine, who’s come in person to ask Henry to lift the taint of treason from her husband. Henry guesses Tom’s got the hots for Katherine, who will soon be a wealthy widow.
Tom departs and Henry calls over Charles, who cuts short his discussion with the French ambassador to join the king. Henry observes that Charles has been away and wonders if it’s because he thought Henry was still mad at him for shoving him in Kate’s direction. He tells Charles he has a task for him.
Charles is dispatched to Chapuys’s room, where the ambassador is in bed with gout. Charles presents Chapuys with a secret treaty between Henry and the Emperor, in which Henry promises to invade France, along with the Emperor’s army. Chapuys is very pleased and promises to send it off immediately.
Katherine is shown into Henry’s study for a private audience, in a scene that’s set up the exact same way as his first meeting with Kate, so there’s a creepy callback for you. Henry reassures her he no longer thinks her husband is a traitor. She’s relieved to hear it. They talk a bit about her current and previous (dead) husband. She seems to be making all the right answers, and Henry seems pleased.
Henry’s secretary, Risley, catches up with Gardiner and hands over some papers to be signed. Gardiner mentions he knows about the treaty with the Emperor, a great champion of Catholicism (and yet, he sacked Rome and took the pope prisoner). With Henry now on the Emperor’s side, Gardiner doesn’t see why they can’t start rounding up and punishing all the Lutherans in the kingdom. He starts to talk a little crazy about how they breed like rats and spread disease and should be burned. Risley seems a bit disturbed by this.
Latimer makes his way slowly and painfully into his wife’s room, where he finds her staring down a table covered in gifts that have arrived from Henry. Katherine seems a little uncomfortable with these rich gifts. She thinks she should return them, but her husband says she can’t do that, she must thank Henry for them instead. He sadly says he feels like he’s dead already. These poor people—what a lose-lose situation.
In London, Henry’s formally signing the treaty, in front of the whole council and Chapuys. Everyone applauds as he signs.
After the signing, everyone leaves the throne room, streaming past the French ambassador. The ambassador asks Chapuys if it’s true there’s been a treaty, and accuses the Emperor of planning to take over all of Europe. Chapuys says that’s simply not true, although that seems to be the aim of France’s allies, the Turks. Charles joins them and hands the French ambassador a formal declaration of war against France. They wasted no time with that.
Katherine returns to court and goes immediately to see Tom. She tells him about Henry’s gifts, and Tom’s face says he knows exactly what that means. She’s quick to insist she didn’t give Henry any reason to send the gifts, and he seems to believe her. He asks if she’s interested in being queen, and she freaks out and says she’s not, because she knows what happens to women who marry Henry. She’s scared to death. Tom comforts her, saying Henry’s just a lonely old man. He soothes her with a kiss.
Henry’s with his council, getting news that the regent queen of Scotland’s agreed to start negotiations for the marriage between her daughter and Edward, which would unite the English and Scottish thrones. Henry’s pleased, then moves on to some business Gardiner wants to discuss: a nest of heretics at the heart of Henry’s household, as Gardiner rather grandiosely puts it. It seems these dangerous renegades are none other than the royal musicians. Damn musicians and their heresy! Gardiner wants permission to arrest and examine the musicians, which Henry gives. Seymour looks disturbed, which makes me wonder: when did he become Protestant? Jane was pretty pro-Catholic, so I thought her family was pretty much the same way. Guess not.
Guards bust up a musicians’ rehearsal and start arresting people, but one of them, Mr. Testwood, gets away and runs right to Seymour, who tells him there’s nothing he can do. Anne Seymour suggests Testwood just tell Gardiner what he wants to hear, like the guy’s a mystical mindreader or something. The guy is smart enough to be terrified of torture, so Seymour just urges him to find bravery in his faith. Testwood finds that as unlikely as I do. When Seymour leaves, Anne takes a moment to threaten Testwood’s family, if he so much as breathes a word about her husband during his questioning. Damn, this lady’s gotten scary all of a sudden.
Chapuys is visiting Mary, who asks what the court gossip is. He tells her about a new law that requires anyone hoping to marry the king to disclose any past peccadilloes. Although this narrows the field somewhat, Mary’s sure Henry will want to marry again. Chapuys points out that Henry’s not exactly considered primo material, considering his past.
Testwood’s fears were totally correct, it seems. The man’s chained to a wall, bloodied, and being questioned by Gardiner. Gardiner pulls the “I’ll save you if you help me out a bit” gambit, but Testwood won’t give up any names. Gardiner asks specifically about Seymour, because he seems to really want to nail him, for some reason. Since when did they hate each other?
Katherine, Henry, the Seymour brothers, and a few other guests are having a little dinner party. Katherine thanks Henry for his gifts and he tells her he sent them because she seemed so sad and he wanted to cheer her up. She smiles, which pleases him. As does talk of war with France, which Henry, Surrey, and Charles are all looking forward to. I guess Surrey’s looking forward to it. His line reading is so utterly wooden it’s hard to tell if he’s just saying what’s expected of him, or if the actor’s just phoning it in.
After dinner, Mary observes to Chapuys that Henry seems rather taken with Katherine, who’s playing cards with the king and having a really good time at it. While they’re busy, Charles asks Seymour what the deal is wit the musicians. They’re all in the Tower currently. Seymour asks why Charles is curious and Charles rudely rebuffs him. So they hate each other again? Since when? What’s the deal here?
Tom gets up and watches Henry and Katherine play their game from a distance, looking anguished. Katherine wins the hand and Henry hands over a pouch as her prize. It’s his usual gift of a huge piece of jewelry, in this case, a ring. She tells him she’s touched but she can’t accept it. Henry gently insists, looking surprisingly tender and vulnerable, so she puts it on her finger and closes her eyes for just a second, clearly understanding the implications and the path she’s been put on. It’s such a relief to have a good actress back in the role of Henry’s wife.
Henry calls Tom over and informs him he’s being sent to Brussels for the foreseeable future to act as envoy to the court there. Cold, Henry. Though, I guess when it comes to getting rid of romantic rivals, it is good to be the king. And after what happened with the last wife, you can’t really blame him for being careful this time around.
Later, after all the other guests have departed, Charles sits down with Henry and asks him if he plans to remarry. Henry’s not sure yet. Charles is surprised to hear it, which Henry takes as a slur on his manhood, so he starts to get pissy. Charles, being a grownup, just sits there calmly until Henry gets over his snit.
Latimer’s receiving last rites, with Katherine dutifully at his side. Crying, she tells him she needs to say something. He turns to look at her, whispers “Go to hell,” and expires. Harsh, dude! Was that about her love affair with Tom? Because if it’s about the king, it’s not as if she had any control over that, not really. But I guess it’s kind of her fault for selfishly trying to ease her own conscience by attempting to confess to a man who was dying.
Whitehall. Henry lies awake in bed, listening to the churchbells ring.
Seymour and Risley arrive at Katherine’s house, where she’s dressed in deep mourning, veiled, and sitting quietly. Seymour wastes no time in telling her Henry wants to marry her after her period of mourning is over. The camera pushes in on Katherine’s face, which looks utterly devastated.