Anne finally gets what she wants

Dramatically speaking, this is the best thus far, with more political maneuvering than you can shake a stick at, and the way everyone scrambles to choose sides, after the death of a ruling monarch. Nice quiet Richard has finally come into his own, but he’s being given advice from two women who are causing him to stray from righteousness, thanks to poisoning his thoughts. Aneurin Barnard plays the youngest of the York brothers, Richard Duke of Gloucester, and up till now, was a sort of periphery character, but not anymore. He’s now fully in the limelight, and I’m impressed with Barnard’s portrayal of the only surviving brother. I’m glad they finally decided to add some years onto a few of the characters (too few), because, lets face it, in those days of bad skin and teeth, they wouldn’t keep youthful looks for very long, but the Queen is doing extremely well, even after a horde of children and a couple of hostile takeovers.

The year is now 1483, and we’re informed on screen — King Edward IV’s eldest son and heir, Prince Edward lives at Ludlow castle in Wales, under the guardianship of his uncle Anthony and half brother Richard Grey. Henry Tudor, the Lancastrian heir, remains exiled in Brittany with his uncle Jasper Tudor.

We do get to see a grown up Henry Tudor, as he shows off some of his sword skills, then one other scene showing off his bedding skills. Kingly indeed. The King and Queen are at dinner with their many children, who have mostly reached adulthood. Edward is clearly ill, and before too long, is on his deathbed. His dying wish is to make brother Richard Lord Protector, so that his eldest son and heir Edward, can be guided until he comes of age. The Queen unwillingly agrees, but in fear for her families life, goes into sanctuary — again.

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Richard grabs the young prince and locks him in the tower, claiming to do it for the boys safety, but even if this is the reason behind him originally doing so, he’s soon persuaded to do something else. This is in part, thanks to he and the Queen maneuvering without knowing what the other is up to, but always suspecting the worst. Jane Shaw finds a new bed to lie in, after being unceremoniously ejected from court. Margaret and Stanley are up to their old tricks, and at one point are almost caught, after Richard becomes more paranoid and has all the privy council members scrutinized.

The Queen even tries a spell on Richard, cursing his sword arm (of all things) and his children, but it doesn’t do much good. There was a scene at the beginning, immediately after the King dies, Duchess Cicely doesn’t bow to the Queen, telling her they are now equals. The Duchess and Anne, continually nip Richard’s head, telling him Elizabeth will kill them if he doesn’t take the crown for himself. Richard tells them all he’ll make his own decision, but they appear to get through to him anyway. He now has sights beyond lord protector.

Grade: A

Review by E. Blackadder, special to Influx Magazine

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