Pomp, Ceremony and Murder
After the decent reception of the pilot, I was looking for a slightly meatier episode, and that’s precisely what I got. I enjoyed the pilot immensely and was looking for even better this time round, so after the initial introduction, we get down to brass tacks. It’s coronation time and Elizabeth gets to dress up in all her fineries, but not everyone is happy for her. Like the King’s cousin, Lord Warwick (James Frain), who is scheming behind the Kings back. Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson) has her coronation, which the King and her children watch from behind a screen. I don’t know why this was done, but her brother removed her shoes before entering the abbey as was the custom back then. They must walk up barefoot and clothed in purple velvet, to be anointed queen. The whole fancy coronation is to silence the naysayers, but also to give the “people” some form of celebration, as they were married in secret.
Warwick is having none of it and even though the newly crowned Queen requests his daughters join as her Ladies, he shrugs her off with barely hidden contempt. There is much scheming in regards to France as Warwick continually asks Edward (Max Irons) to oversee some business, but is rejected at every turn, making him even more angry. He eventually captures King Henry, and after presenting him, very publicly, to the King, he asks for some favour so he can wed his daughters to titled men. The Queen is on her guard because she knows Warwick is up to something, as does the King, but if anything goes wrong, it’s not just the crown they’ll lose.
It was a very busy episode which jumped three years at one point, showing a lot, but skipping even more. Like the birth of their first child, which isn’t a boy. In fact, there are several children born, but all girls, leaving the King without a male heir, helping feed Warwick’s flame of hatred to the royal couple. What I found very interesting was Warwick’s daughters, as one of them, Isabel (Eleanor Tomlinson), seems like she will be a handful for the Queen as she shares his hatred of her. I enjoy this show, no question, but it lacks something that the likes of Game of Thrones has. The killings at the end had no real impact, which it most certainly should have, but it could get better. We can only hope.
Grade: B- (7/10)
Review by E. Blackadder, special to Influx Magazine