Victoria: An Ordinary Woman

Previously on Victoria: Victoria and Albert met and didn’t really like each other. But then they loved each other! And got engaged! History!

So, these two crazy kids are getting married, and that means it’s time for… pettiness and political wrangling. Leopold follows his congratulations up with an immediate demand that Albert get the same deal he did: £50,000 a year (woah, Leopold got £50,000 a year in 1816? That was a hell of a lot of money back then!). Plus, Albert wants a seat in the House of Lords and some sort of official title in England, because Her Majesty’s Stallion just isn’t going to cut it.

Unfortunately, Leopold has unwittingly screwed his nephew over by continuing to take that annual allowance, even loooong after he was widowed and therefore no longer really a part of the British royal family. So the government spitefully digs in its heels, refuses Albert his title (Germans? In the House of Lords? Outrageous! Despite the fact that the people sitting on the throne are super, super German. Apparently that’s fine.) and offers up the fairly measly allowance of £20,000 a year. Poor darling. Victoria doesn’t really get why her husband needs his own money at all, which seems startlingly clueless for a young woman who totally reveled in her own sudden independence and certainly knew its value. But, well, consistent character development is not one of this show’s strong suits.

While everyone argues over the boring stuff, Albert heads back to Coburg for a bit. He’s barely closed the carriage door before absolutely everyone around Victoria starts chattering about how men always have mistresses–even her father did (before he married her mother)! Totally just what men do! Albert probably doesn’t have a mistress yet, but he will! He totally will!

[cryout-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]This show is following the Downton Abbey formula of assuming its audience is both stupid and has the attention span of gnats[/cryout-pullquote]

Sigh. Who in God’s name would say this to a young woman RIGHT BEFORE HER WEDDING? No one, that’s who. And again, this show is following the Downton Abbey formula of assuming its audience is both stupid and has the attention span of gnats and can’t remember anything from one scene to the next, so numerous characters have to say the same thing over and over and over again. We. Get. It.

Victoria, of course, freaks out and assumes that Albert’s pushing for this allowance because he wants to keep a mistress and not because, you know, he doesn’t just want to be a kept man forced to beg his wife for cash every time he wants some new shoes or whatever. Albert reassures her this is not the case, that he has no intention of ever taking a mistress. And Victoria believes him. He’s hot. It’s convincing.

While over in Coburg, however, Ernst decided it might be a good idea for his baby brother to get a little pre-marital instruction in the finer points of sex, so he takes him to a very high-class brothel. Albert balks, because all the man-whore genes went to Ernst in this family. Ernst urges his brother to look at this like some sort of university class. Albert takes him a bit more literally than Ernst probably intended, and tells his assigned prostitute, Gretchen, that he’s not interested in sleeping with her, but he is interested in learning everything he needs to know to make sure his wedding night goes smoothly. Is she cool with him taking notes? Gretchen is baffled, but then clearly realises this is the easiest and probably nicest client she’s ever had and helps him out.

So Albert and Victoria get married, of course, as we all know they would. And the German contingent brings along some maid who has a history with Penge. After a few meaningful looks between the two, they meet on the stairs and he instigates one of those, ‘Why didn’t you ever answer my letters?’ ‘What letters? I received no letters,’ exchanges. The last we see of Penge this episode, he’s… reading those letters. Wait, so, he never even sent them? Or did he keep copies? This is strange and confusing.

But whatever. Victoria and Albert get to go to Windsor for two whole days for their honeymoon. The camera cuts away from the innocent lovers on their wedding night and takes us to Ernst, who got to have a really sweet moment with his brother earlier in the episode, where he touchingly tells Albert how much he’s going to miss him. He’s apparently applying the balm of sex, diving right into Victorian London’s whorehouses. Stay safe, Ernst!

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