The White Queen: Are You There, God?

The White QueenPreviously on The White Queen: The Woodvilles snubbed, shunned, and thwarted Warwick until he got sick of it, allied with Edward’s brother George, and started up a rebellion. Off in the hinterlands, Lady Margaret started bringing out the serious crazy as she tried manoeuvring to put her own son on the throne someday.

In the Tower, Elizabeth spies on old King Henry being stripped and bathed by a manservant. Why is she watching this? Guess we’ll never find out. Her mother arrives and asks Elizabeth if there’s been any word of her captured husband. There hasn’t, and Elizabeth stresses about him possibly meeting the same fate as her father and brother. She whines about King Henry being safe and in comfort while god-knows-what is happening to her husband.

Her husband is giving Warwick a tongue lashing, while Warwick remains calm and merely asks Edward to take his old advisors back and get rid of all the Riverses. Edward refuses and demands to know where Elizabeth is. Warwick informs him that she’s safely barricaded herself in the Tower. Edward calms down enough to sit back and order up some venison and ale and his brother, because he has a few words to say to him.

The Neville girls, who have been listening in from an adjacent room, try to sneak past, but Edward spots them and turns his anger on Isabel, mocking her for being married to George. Warwick rushes his family out of the room, and once they’re out of Edward’s earshot, his wife confirms that Isabel is pregnant. He thinks this means they have God’s blessing and asks if it’s a boy. Isabel, of course, has no idea. Warwick says they need to declare George and Isabel King and Queen quickly, then. Isabel insists that Parliament would never go along with that, but her mother says they must, since they all hate Elizabeth so much. Warwick yells at her for questioning him and sends the girls away.

Word of Parliament’s plan to meet at York and decide what to do with the throne has reached Margaret, who gleefully tells her husband of it and happily says they should just lop Edward’s head off. Her husband mildly asks if she’d do such a thing, and of course she would, because God tells her to. Careful, folks. It’s just one small step from there to a Labrador speaking to you and telling you to go out killing people. Stafford kind of teases her a bit and she shuts down, saying that Jasper understands her. He reminds her that she’s not married to Jasper Tudor, she’s married to him, and it looks like semi-playful time is over.

At Warwick Castle, Edward spots George in the courtyard and yells at him to come and face him like a man. George yells back that Edward hasn’t been much of a king since he started schtupping Elizabeth. Warwick calls George away and they leave, riding to York.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth’s coronation robes have been shipped to Isabel. Anne’s delighted at the thought of her sister being queen, but she notes that Isabel’s not exactly doing cartwheels. She reminds Isabel that their father did this for her, which is completely untrue and she knows it. Isabel replies that the country already has too many queens, and that’s not a queue she’s jumping into anytime soon. Isabel wonders what’ll happen if their father turns against her, as he has the others. Anne doubts he’d do that, especially when Isabel’s carrying his grandson. Isabel doesn’t think there’s anything their father wouldn’t do. Anne tries to distract her by draping the robes around her shoulders and reminds her of how they used to play at queens when they were children. Isabel will not be comforted.

Parliament bickers while Warwick and George argue. Edward paces, Elizabeth prays and fingers her curse locket. A servant fits Isabel in the coronation robes. Richard, sitting in Parliament, speaks out against George and Warwick.

Back the two men come to Warwick Castle, where Edward gleefully notes they must have lost. He tells George he’s going to have to either let him go or kill him, because there’s no other end. George goes for plan B, but Warwick calls him off.

In Isabel’s room, Anne tries on the robe, but then their mother comes in and screams at her to take it off. She abruptly announces that George will not be king, and that their father has risked much and lost. Isabel looks sick.

Edward rides hard to the Tower and wakes his joyful wife, who embraces him tightly. They rouse Anthony, Richard, and Jacquetta for a celebratory drink and storytime. Warwick basically had to let Edward go. He ‘let him out for exercise’ so he could save face, and off Edward rode. Elizabeth figures that now Warwick will pay for what he did to her father and brother, but Edward says that’s not the plan. He tells her that they need peace, and he was a fool for not seeing how he shut Warwick out. He goes on to say that Warwick knows he’s lost, so he should be nice and humble now. Not only will Edward forgive them, he’s actually going to hand out rewards. Warwick’s nephew and heir is to be made Duke of Bedford, which was Jacquetta’s first husband’s title. Wow. What a total slap in the face to Elizabeth and her mother. An unnecessary one, too. He’s also going to hand over their eldest daughter to Bedford to seal the alliance. Elizabeth’s so astonished and hurt she can’t even process this, and I have to say, I’m on her side here. This is so gobsmackingly, unbelievably stupid I can hardly wrap my head around it. You want peace, Edward? Fine. Forgive them, bring them to court, even, but keep a close eye on them. A really close eye. Actually, bringing them to court would be best for that. Never let them leave. But for God’s sake, don’t reward them! That sets such an appalling precedent. For one thing, it’s got to breed some sort of resentment amongst those who stayed loyal to you. Why stay loyal when leading an armed rebellion gets rewarded? And you’re just making people whose loyalty is tenuous at best more wealthy and more powerful, which’ll make it easier for them to rebel again later. Jesus, Edward! Why do you honestly think these people will now remain loyal? This type of rebellion is not something you get out of your system once you’ve passed your teens!

Elizabeth, naturally, insists that her daughter will never marry a Warwick, but Edward pulls husband rank and stomps out.

Margaret’s praying, of course. Stafford interrupts to tell her that he’s no longer the king’s sheriff, and he’s also been passed over for a family title, because it’s been discovered that Margaret and Jasper were writing to George and offering their support. Nice job, Margaret. Don’t play politics, you suck at it. Stafford tells her she’s not to write any more letters, and if she tries, he’ll take everything away from her, including her visits to her son. To his credit, it’s clear that doing this hurts him, because Stafford’s actually a really good guy, but he also has to do something to protect himself from his nutty wife.

Warwick and family arrive at court for Christmas, watched by Jacquetta, who growls that she’s not even out of mourning yet. In their carriage, Isabel wails that Elizabeth will hate them and will surely know she wore her robes. Inside, Elizabeth decides to make the Neville girls her ladies-in-waiting, so she can keep them close and let her curse work.

Edward emerges and greets his brother and Warwick, coolly at first, but then with an embrace that both of them just barely tolerate. George actually looks like he might throw up.

The Neville ladies arrive in Elizabeth’s rooms, and the countess, obviously going the rip-off-the-band-aid route, immediately tells Elizabeth and her mother that she’s sorry for their loss. Elizabeth coldly confirms that the loss she refers to is the brutal slaying of her father and brother. The countess foolishly tries to defend her husband, but Elizabeth won’t have it. She puts her foot down hard and tells the Nevilles they’re to do what she says from now on. Trailed by her mother, she goes into the great hall, where festivities are underway. The music shuts down quickly when she and her black-clad mother appear, and everyone bows. Anthony asks Elizabeth to dance, but she turns him down, then nods for the musicians to continue. The Neville ladies slink in and join George and Duchess Cecily. Warwick comes strolling in and approaches Elizabeth, and her mother flees but her oldest son angrily tells him he shouldn’t be there. Elizabeth gently hushes him and sends him away, then tells Warwick she’s just glad he and his brother weren’t with her father to be butchered by Warwick’s axe.

‘So am I, that would have been too awful for you,’ he says evenly. I know I shouldn’t laugh at that, but HEE! It’s all in the delivery—James Frain is really at his best when he gets to be kinda snarky. Elizabeth promises never to forgive Warwick. Cecily strolls over to greet Warwick and abruptly tells Elizabeth that George is going to be a father soon. This is clearly news to Elizabeth. Cecily pushes a little further and observes that Edward’s a man again, now that certain forces at court are a bit weakened. Elizabeth sharply tells them both that he’s always been a man, though that apparently wasn’t enough for those who were supposed to love him. She leaves, passing George on her way out, and finds Edward at work. She asks if he’s giving more land to the traitors and Edward says that this is the business of being king. They’re joined by Warwick, and Edward hands him some paperwork and asks how George and Isabel are doing. Warwick says they’re hoping for a baby boy soon. Elizabeth fingers her curse locket and leaves.

Back in the great hall, she finds her mother, and tells her that she has to have a son. Like Jacquetta doesn’t know that. Jacquetta nods once, briefly.

That night, they do the old pick a thread and reel it in trick. Elizabeth reels in a baby spoon with ‘Edward’ carved in the back and she weeps with joy, sure this means she’s to have a baby named Edward. I think you’re putting too much faith in these talismans, Elizabeth. They were probably all baby spoons. Also, at the rate you and Edward are going, you’re bound to have a son at some point, and it’s more than likely that he’ll be named after his father, so this isn’t really all that illuminating.

Still, she’s heartened, and she goes inside and bids Edward come to bed. They repair to her room, already wrapped around each other and clawing at each other’s clothes. Anne Neville tries to slip out, but Elizabeth meanly tells her to stay and unlace her dress. Elizabeth, this is kind of…weird. Poor little Anne does so as well as she can while Edward’s feeling his wife up and hissing for Anne to hurry up. Edward and Elizabeth continue to toss their laundry at the girl as they strip and get down to business. If she didn’t hate them before, Anne sure does now.

She immediately goes to her father and begs him to let her leave court. He pulls her onto his knee and reassures her she’ll have her moment in the light. She realizes he’s talking about marrying her to someone, and she figures she’s for Richard, but that’s not so. Warwick tells her to do her duty and never to forget who she is and how great her name is.

Elizabeth lazes about blissfully in bed while her girls play nearby. Her sister comes in with bad news, which is apparently that there’s yet another uprising. Elizabeth immediately goes to Edward, who’s all armoured up and ready to go, but doesn’t know who’s behind this particular uprising. He thinks it’s Margaret of Anjou. Elizabeth whinily asks for someone else to lead the army and tells him she’s pregnant again and doesn’t want him to go. He hugs her happily but tells her he needs to defend his crown for his coming son. She asks where Warwick and George fall in all this and he reassures her that they’re off raising more men for Edward’s cause. He promises to come back with peaches and salt cod by May Day. They kiss and he departs.

Up north, things are busy at Warwick Castle. Warwick gets word of the rebellion but is markedly unconcerned.

Margaret, too, is getting word, straight from Jasper Tudor’s mouth. He excitedly tells her that their time has come at last. He tells Stafford that Margaret of Anjou is rallying people as they speak, and he can deliver half of Wales. I think you may be overstating your importance there, Jasper. Margaret, however, is so excited she can barely contain herself. She tells Stafford he has to arm their tenants and go. Stafford takes a long look at her, and then decides he won’t move a muscle for this nonsense. Jasper’s astonished, but Stafford knows this will just go on and on, until they’re all dead. Plus, he feels that Edward’s the better king anyway. Margaret disagrees, because to her God’s rightful king should be sitting in the big chair, even if he is so insane he can’t effectively do anything at all. This woman’s a nut. Stafford reminds her that Edward is also anointed by God, so maybe God’s confused. She accuses him of being a coward and tells him she’s terribly ashamed to be married to him.

Outside, Jasper tells her he feels bad for her, stuck with such a man. She wishes she could ride out with him, and he says she is as fierce as any man. He goes on to confide that this uprising is not by Margaret of Anjou but George and Warwick, and furthermore, George has promised to give her son his title back. She’s a bit confused, because she guesses they mean to put George on the throne, not her Henry, but Jasper says that George is weak, and they’ll soon tire of him, and it’ll be Henry’s turn. Margaret quickly promises to go to her brother and get him to raise an army for Jasper. She gives Jasper the cross she wears around her neck and he kisses her hand, watched from a window by Stafford.

Isabel weeps, having just learned that Warwick is in rebellion again. She wails that she doesn’t want to be queen, she just wants her baby. She asks why their father needs to do this, and her mother quite simply doesn’t even know. But she does know that they need to support him, because what else are they gonna do?

Margaret goes to her husband to apologise for being rude earlier and butter him up with sex so he’ll take her to visit her brother. It works, because poor Stafford’s a bit gullible and does actually seem to want this marriage to work.

Margaret and Stafford arrive at her brother’s and are greeted by that bitchy mother of hers, whose voice drips with honey as she asks to what they owe such an honour. Margaret quickly grabs her brother and asks him to pray with her. Once they’re alone in the chapel, she tells him that God has created a rebellion to strike down King Edward. Furthermore, God has spoken of her brother, Richard, who’s to gather an army and join the rebellion. Richard, who’s even more gullible than Stafford, and super wet behind the ears to boot, is easily manipulated by his sister, though he’s clearly terrified.

All the ladies pray for their men. Except for Margaret, who prays for God to strike down Edward and to protect Jasper and her brother.

At the battlefield, Richard’s staying with Jasper, and looking more tense by the minute. Jasper, like an idiot, starts monologuing with the kid, telling him how Warwick and George plan to turn on Edward and kill him during the battle. Richard is confused by this whole plan, and then freaked out when Jasper says that they’ll all have a traitor’s death if it doesn’t work out. Richard sweats and panics and then runs out of the tent and straight to Edward’s. He’s stopped by two guards and insists he needs to see the king. Edward comes strolling over and Richard tells him there’s a plot to kill him. He tells him all about Warwick’s and George’s plan, and Edward’s response is to…run the kid through with a sword. What. The. HELL? Let me get this straight, Edward: people who rebel against you get land, titles, riches, rewards, and an invitation to the company Christmas party. The guy who tries to warn you gets murdered for no reason whatsoever. Where is this coming from? Is Edward insane? Is he taking a leaf out of Warwick’s book, to execute first and ask questions later? I don’t understand this at all.

Word of young Richard’s death reaches his mother, who begins howling in grief, bringing even Margaret out of the chapel to investigate. Stafford tries to comfort his mother-in-law while Margaret frostily wonders how this could happen, because God promised her and everything! God can be so fickle, right? Margaret reads the message and figures God turned against her brother because he was a traitor. Stafford tells her to button up, because the kid’s dead, and her mother’s shattered, but Margaret will do no such thing. As her mother flees inside, another messenger arrives and Margaret gets a letter from Jasper, telling her he’s had to flee to France, which leaves young Henry completely alone and exposed. She starts to panic and insists they have to go and get him. Stafford says they will, once it’s safe to do so, but she can’t wait. She insists they fetch him now. Stafford promises to go get him. Margaret begs to go with him, and she’s so clearly desperate he agrees, but gently tells her that perhaps now she’ll understand her mother’s grief. Margaret’s face says that empathy is hard.

Elizabeth, too, has received notice that Warwick and George are at it again, though Edward’s safe. Jacquetta, thankfully, calls Edward out in absentia for killing Richard in cold blood merely for warning him of a plot against him. She figures this will forever tarnish Edward’s image as the golden boy, and now the Beaufort family is going to be thoroughly against him. Yes, Edward is incredibly stupid. He got to where he is now through Warwick’s cunning, and now he doesn’t have him to do his thinking for him, he’s thinking with the brain he doesn’t have.

Isabel pants, clearly in pain, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of Warwick and George. Warwick insists they haven’t lost, they’re just experiencing a little setback, but right now, they need to get out of there and head to France for a bit. Isabel’s aghast and reminds him she’s in her confinement, and not only would a well-born lady not show herself at that time, it was flat-out unsafe for her to travel. Warwick won’t listen to objections.

Elizabeth rushes to tell her mother that Warwick and George are heading to Calais, and they need to act now. Her mother gets a warning tone in her voice, but Elizabeth reminds her that these men killed her husband and her son, which I don’t think she’s going to forget anytime soon. Elizabeth notes some storm clouds gathering outside, and then pours some water into a basin on the table. She dangles her curse necklace over it and starts to gently whistle. Jacquetta joins her, and then one of Elizabeth’s moppets joins in, because nothing says good parenting like involving your kid in something they used to burn people alive for at that time.

The Neville party arrives at Calais, and it’s getting really windy. Isabel’s freaking out, but her father insists she get on board. Anne tries to reassure her.

Stafford and Margaret are on the road. Stafford notes the storm brewing and says they’ll have to stop if it gets worse. It doesn’t look like Margaret’s stopping for hell or high water.

It’s getting stormier out on the water. Anne tries to brightside that they have the best cabin, and isn’t that nice? But Isabel will not be cheered, because she’s realized she’s gone into labour and she starts screaming her head off in pain and fear.

Stafford tries to get his wife to take shelter in the violent storm, but she presses on.

The countess reaches her daughter’s side and sends Anne to get whatever help she can. Anne tells some guy he has to light a fire, but he says this is a witch’s wind and they can’t do so. Also, water is pouring in through windows and the hatches on deck. Anne tries to command him, but he just laughs at her. George shows up and asks what’s up. Anne sends him for linen. He grabs the bottle out of the other guy’s hand and gives it to Anne, telling her Isabel may need it. Well, that was kinda sweet, I guess.

Jacquetta and Elizabeth watch the storm, surprised by its fury, and Jacquetta warns her that she rather overshot the mark with this one.

Stafford and Margaret arrive at the castle and are rather coldly and formally greeted by young Henry, who’s grown a bit since we last saw him. He asks them where Jasper is and Stafford says he’s safe, but he’s not with them. Henry looks a little alarmed and asks if he’ll be back. Margaret breaks in and says they’re going to take him with them. Henry cuts her off, telling her he’s fine where he is, thank you very much, and now he’ll go see to the horses. He swiftly ducks out and Margaret crumples onto the bed, realizing he doesn’t even know her, and that he’s Jasper’s boy now. Stafford kindly tells her that she’ll now make him hers.

Isabel labours and Anne wonders what’s taking so long. The countess says the baby’s stuck inside her and that she needs a midwife. Anne goes to ask how long before they arrive in Calais. Warwick happily reports that they’re sailing into port now, and George adds that soon they’ll have the best physicians in France. But their joy is short-lived, because Calais raises the harbor chain, indicating the city’s remained loyal to Edward. Anne returns to her mother and tells her it’s not looking good. The countess makes a snap decision and tells Anne she’ll have to turn the baby, because she has the smallest hands. Yeesh. Anne weeps in horror and fear and Isabel, pale and deathly looking, sobs that she doesn’t want to die.

At Pembroke Castle, Margaret’s coming down the stairs when who should come in but Jasper. She rushes to him and they kiss, and then she weeps and apologises for her brother’s betrayal. He tells her not to worry about it, but says he’s on his way to France to raise an army. He didn’t want to leave without seeing her first. She leans in to kiss him again, but Stafford comes walking in, and after a moment quietly tells Jasper that he should see Henry before he leaves, because the boy is close to him. Awww, that actually was rather sweet.

The storm’s over. Anne, bloodstained halfway up her arm, cries as she watches her mother quietly cut the baby’s cord and wrap it in a cloth. Isabel lies on the bed, wrecked. The countess takes the baby away and gently tells her daughter it was a boy (though, in reality, it was likely a girl named Anne). Isabel curls into a foetal position and sobs.

Jasper tells Henry that he has to leave and Henry will have to live with his mother and keep her safe. He urges him to be like a Tudor and Henry promises. At the doorway, Jasper turns, calls Henry over, and hugs him tightly. Awww again! He gives Margaret one last look, which is not lost on Stafford, and then leaves. Margaret asks Henry if he wants to go pray with her, but he coolly tells her no thank you.

Edward returns to his wife, along with the promised delivery of peaches and salt cod. Wow, that’s a lot of peaches for England in early May. Impressive, Edward.

Now that Isabel’s been cleaned up a bit, George arrives to see her and tells her he’s sorry for her loss. She corrects that it’s their loss. Perhaps sensing he can’t really say much or win here, he merely says there will be others and turns to leave. Isabel hauls herself up and says that if they’d stayed at Warwick Castle her baby would have lived. She adds that it’s his fault. George tells her that Elizabeth is pregnant again, and they need to have a son before she does. I think that ship has sailed, George. He says this isn’t the end, but Isabel weeps that it is the end of her baby.

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