The Tudors: Fool

Previously on The Tudors: Brandon was sent north to needlessly slaughter a bunch of people, and started losing his mind a bit as a result. Henry’s joy at finally having a son was cut short when Jane died a few days after the birth.

In the chapel, Henry approaches Jane’s tomb, kneels beside it, and tells her he’ll be with her someday. And he was—they’re both buried at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, though I think they’re under the floor of the altar, not in tombs, but it’s been a few years since I visited, so I may be misremembering.

Meat market! Butchers hack apart dead animals and hang the carcasses up for buyers to peruse. For no reason at all (seriously, someone of this guy’s stature would have had no reason to be wandering around this part of town), an expensively dressed gentleman comes through and makes his way down a narrow side street, where he finds his way blocked by a peasant with a laden cart. He gets snippy with the peasant, who suddenly gets a bit scary and identifies the gentleman as Robert Packington, Member of Parliament and friend of Cromwell’s. Packington, a little nervously, asks the guy to step aside, because he’s in a hurry, so the peasant grabs a pistol out of his cart, shoots Packington right in the head (and leaves a wound that’s way too neat for a point-blank shot with a weapon from that time), and takes off through the market, still waving the gun. Uh, ok, so people are just killing people for being friends with Cromwell now? Come on, the guy wasn’t that hated. Maybe the peasant was just pissed about Packington’s expense reports or something.

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The Duchess of Duke Street: A Nice Class of Premises

Previously on The Duchess of Duke Street: Louisa’s dream of being the best cook in England got derailed slightly when the Prince of Wales decided he wanted to have her for a mistress. She was duly married off to former butler Gus Trotter and decamped to a lovely house in a nice area of town, where the prince could visit her discreetly.

Louisa’s got her own cook now, and the woman’s pretty indignant when a maid brings down dinner, uneaten. Louisa herself comes down a second later, railing about the crappy, curdled mayonnaise and starts lecturing the cook on proper technique. The cook gets snippy and goes to toss the mayo, but Louisa’s a proper middle-class girl who doesn’t deal well with waste, so she separates a couple of eggs and starts rescuing the mayo while the cook and the young maid watch. After a few moments, the maid screws up her courage and asks if she and the cook (Mrs. Wellkin) could go watch the queen’s funeral procession, so I guess we now know it’s 1901, sometime between January 22 and February 2, if you want to get really exact about it. Louisa gives them leave to watch, but she won’t be amongst the gawkers because, as she says, she takes no pleasure in funerals.

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The Tudors: Everybody Dies

Previously on The Tudors: Jane got pregnant, and to balance out that good news, the northernors rebelled again. Most of the rebels were executed, but Henry’s got a soft spot for Aske, so he’s just biding his time in the Tower for now.

Henry’s in his study, examining a model for a giant, magnificent barge, presumably for Jane’s coronation, and asking Cromwell if Brandon’s been sent north with his orders to start killing people at the earliest possible opportunity. Cromwell reassures him that he’s got his orders, and by the way, the Emperor’s going to be sending an envoy with a list of possible husbands for Mary. Henry kind of grunts at that and then calls Cromwell’s attention to the model, which is indeed for the barge Jane will ride to her coronation, which will take place after the birth. Henry, ever the optimist, is certain the baby will be a boy, although you’d think after all the years of disappointment he’d be a little more cautious by now. Cromwell risks Henry’s wrath by bringing up an unpleasant topic: A pamphlet being distributed by Pole and his buddies that condemns Henry as a heretic and an adulterer. Henry doesn’t seem too bothered, until he learns Pole’s in France, trying to get King Francis to help rekindle the recently suppressed rebellions in the north. Shockingly, though, Henry keeps his cool and goes back to play with the model.

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The Duchess of Duke Street: Honor and Obey

In her room at night, Louisa’s studying French cooking terms when Mary comes for a visit. Louisa invites her in and puts her to work as a study buddy. Well, she tries to. Turns out Mary can’t read, which shocks Louisa. Mary asks if Louisa can teach her, but Louisa’s kind of busy these days. And so’s her room—Ivy comes in next, to be nosey and bitchy and ask what’s going on. Louisa kicks both her and Mary out and gets back to her lesson.

The following day, Lord Henry’s reading the paper in his study when a footman comes in and announces Major Farjeon. The Major is, apparently, the Prince of Wales’s unofficial messenger, and Lord Henry thinks he’s come to deliver a scolding for having offended the prince the previous evening. That’s not why the Major’s there at all, though, because apparently no offense was taken by Lord Henry falling asleep on the billiard table. The Major’s come to request Louisa’s services for the prince’s upcoming dinner with the Kaiser (who was his nephew). Ooooh, M. Alex is going to be pissed about this! Lord Henry’s surprised, though honored, and worries that she might not be up for the job, but he gives the Major his blessing to make the necessary arrangements.

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The Tudors: Merry Christmas!

Previously on The Tudors: The whole north of England got pissed off and rebelled against the dissolution of the monasteries, and Henry had to give in to their requests (on paper, at least).

It’s Christmastime in London, where the snow is falling prettily and Henry and Jane are attending a candlelight mass with Mary and the rest of the court while a choir sings and walks in cross formation down the aisle of the chapel royal. Rich growls to Cromwell that it’s going to be pretty hard to banish Catholic ritual throughout the kingdom when it’s being practiced right at court. Oh, please, even the Protestants liked a Christmas carol now and then (well, except for the Puritans, but then, they weren’t really into fun or color, were they?) Aske, who’s come down for the holidays at Henry’s invitation, asks Jane’s brother Edward when he’ll be meeting with the king. Soon, says Edward. In the meantime, Henry wants Aske to write up a detailed account of everything he did during the rebellion and the reasons for it. Uh oh, that sounds like the type of document that could really get used against you someday, Aske. Judging by the look on his face, he agrees with me. Jane turns and catches his eye, smiling and nodding a greeting, which he returns.

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The Tudors: Northern Exposure

Previously on The Tudors: Henry married Jane Seymour, who persuaded him to forgive Mary. He did so, but only after she signed a document acknowledging her mother’s marriage to Henry as unlawful. Meanwhile, up north, Robert Aske and a few other Catholics got the common people whipped into a frenzy over the dissolution of the monastaries and started their very own rebellion pilgrimage.

At Whitehall, Rich catches up with Cromwell and asks what the latest news is. Both good and bad. The rebels in Linconlnshire dispersed after being promised a royal pardon (and a royal ass-kicking at the hands of the king’s army if they stuck around), but in Yorkshire it’s a different matter. The rebels have taken the city of York and there’re rumors they plan to march south.

We hurry north ourselves to see what’s up. The rebels are indeed on the move, and they’re now followed by a large gang of women—wives and hangers-on—just like a real army. Meanwhile, Lord Darcy, the Warden of the East Marches, who’s in charge of Pontefract Castle, is writing to the king, begging for more soldiers and arms, as he’s certain he won’t be able to hold the castle against the approaching rebel force, even though he’s got his own garrison there, prepping for battle. He urges Henry to negotiate with the rebels. Yeah, I’m sure that suggestion will go over well.

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The Tudors: Peace and War

And we’re back with season 3 of The Tudors. As you’ll no doubt recall, season 2 ended with Anne Boleyn and most of her family and friends either beheaded or banished. Also gone from the show is the original Jane—for some reason, Anita Briem was replaced by Annabelle Wallis for this season. I hope you weren’t too attached to her. Since they’re both sort of blandly pretty blondes, I didn’t really notice the difference, to be honest. Briem must have been pissed to be let go right before the season that features her character so prominently, though.

Not much change to the credits, other than the banishment of all characters Boleyn (except for one quick glance of Anne at the very end). There are a few shots of body-strewn battlefields, so it looks like we’ll be seeing the Pilgrimage of Grace. Goody!

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Boardwalk Empire: Truth and Consequences

Photo: Abbot Genser/HBO

Well, we’ve come down to it—the final episode of season one of Boardwalk Empire, and I have to say, I was quite pleased with it. I think it set up the start of season two quite nicely, and it wasn’t too maddening with the cliffhangers. Plus, I think just about every character who’s showed up over the course of the season was onscreen at some point (well, except Sebso, poor man), so it was like a charming reunion. With shotguns and corruption. But enough of this, on with the recap!

Van Alden kicks things off this week by–what else?—preaching. He’s reciting the words of St. Augustine to a bunch of agents gathered at the Post/Fed Field office. What he’s saying basically boils down to this—cities like AC (and Carthage in Augustine’s case) are modern-day Sodoms and Gomorrahs full of temptation that they must all resist. It seems these men are there to apply for Van Alden’s job. He warns them they’ll be bribed, coerced, and tempted every day. This prompts one guy to crack: “bring on the dancing girls,” which earns him a vicious slap across the face from Van Alden. It’s so brutal all the other guys recoil in shock. Supervisor Elliott, who’s sitting right there, does jack all, of course. Van Alden’s got the blazing crazy eyes on today, and tells the jokey recruit that his partner, Sebso, died in the line of duty of a heart attack (!!) and he won’t have his name sullied by infantile humor. He died of a heart attack in the middle of a lake? Did they not do autopsies on fairly young people who just dropped dead back then? Because if they had, I’m pretty sure those lungs would’ve been full of water, which would have put paid that heart attack excuse. Whatever, I guess we’re supposed to just accept this. But I really expect better than that from an HBO show.

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The Tudors: Off With Her Head!

Previously on The Tudors: Henry fell for Jane Seymour and decided to jettison Anne. Anne, her brother, and several other men were arrested and charged with treason. All but Wyatt were sentenced to death, and the men all lost their heads.

Someone is polishing a very impressive sword by candlelight. Once the job is done, he blows out the candle, and we learn it’s May 15, 1536.

In England, we get a montage set to some lovely churchy choir music. A rider gallops through a misty field. In the fog-shrouded Tower, Anne prays. Henry lies awake in bed in the palace. At the Brandon house, Charles and Duchess Kate are fast asleep as a little boy squirms up between them. Charles wakes up for a moment, then rolls over and throws his arm over his wife and son. Aww. Back at the palace, Henry stands at the window, looking out at two swans on the lake. Then, he’s in the chapel, kneeling, as a women’s choir carrying candles stands behind him, singing the music we’ve been listening to this whole time. Leave it to Henry to have a women’s choir. And to be an asshole for no reason at all. He suddenly turns, looks at the choir for a moment, turns back to the alter, and then screams for them to be quiet before turning around and hurrying out of the chapel.

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Boardwalk Empire: Fight Night

We open with a strangely red-lit shot of a man who’s clearly hanging upside-down and struggling against some sort of restraints. Why, are we seeing the great Hardeen at last? Yes we (or, rather, Margaret, Nucky, Annabelle, and her idiot) are, during a semi-private show at Babette’s. Seems Hardeen’s not as good as his brother—it’s taking him quite a while to get out of those restraints, and the crowd’s getting restless. When he does finally manage to free himself, the applause is pretty weak. During the show, Annabelle notes that her idiot’s looking a bit nervous. He says it’s the show that’s making him tense, but we’ll soon learn it’s a bit more than that.

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