After what I’d consider a rather uninspiring series start, this episode is the best so far. Now that we’re familiar with all the main players, “The Storm” allows viewers to experience a rebellion from the widely different viewpoints of various ladies involved, including Queen Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson), the Neville sisters, and Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale).
Let’s bitch it out…
When we left off, King Edward (Max Irons) is being held captive by Warwick (James Frain). Warwick holds Edward so he can convince Parliament to back George (David Oakes) as King instead. Unfortunately for Warwick, the Kingmaker may have lost his edge. Parliament denies his attempt to usurp the crown and he is forced to free Edward.
When Edward and Elizabeth reunite, she expects him to avenge the death of her father and brother by murdering Warwick. Edward shocks her by not only denying her the chance at retribution, but going a step further and giving their daughter’s hand in marriage to Warwick’s nephew. He is convinced what England needs is strengthened ties between the Yorks to ensure no further rebellions down the line. We see later, however, that this is all for naught as Warwick and George yet again attempt-and fail-to overthrow Edward. Those two are starting to remind me of Pinky and the Brain.
Though Elizabeth is denied the chance for proper revenge for her father’s murder, the next time Warwick and his family are at the castle (Merry Christmas!), she takes every opportunity to exude strength. She puts Countess Warwick in her place after she deigned to give her condolences (bad move), and makes Anne (Faye Marsay) her lady-in-waiting, putting her in degrading positions (if one can call being forced to watch Max Irons undress a degrading position).
When Elizabeth finds out Isabel (Eleanor Tomlinson) is pregnant, potentially with George’s heir, she realizes she needs a boy ASAP to keep the crown. She returns to her “destiny strings.” When Elizabeth selects one and begins pulling it out of a lake, she finds a baby spoon engraved with the name Edward…that is some magical body of water! Sigh of relief, she will have a boy soon!
It’s over in the Warwick camp that we really see how women (at least those without magic) have no control over their futures during this period. The Countess of Warwick fears for her and her daughters’ future every time her husband makes another power grab without consulting her. Isabel ends up delivering a stillborn and is reminded by her husband that she better suck it up because they need to have another heir right away. And Anne, who is super eager to marry Edward’s brother Richard, is told by her father that won’t happen, after being promised earlier that it would.
And finally, over in the Lancastrian camp, Margaret Beaufort continues to be the least relatable woman in this series. Jasper (Tom McKay) informs her that her son Henry could get his title back if she supports Warwick and George’s rebellion. When her husband won’t support it, because frankly Edward is the better King and he’s sick of seeing men die, she calls him a coward. Then she begs her brother to support the rebellion, tricking him into thinking it will result in a Lancastrian on the throne, not George. This ultimately results in his death. I just have absolutely no emotional investment in seeing Margaret succeed.
Margaret is also part of the most awkward love triangle I’ve seen in quite some time. To use the parlance of the time, Margaret is completely making a cuckold out of her husband as she tells him “Jasper and I are one in all things,” and then proceeds to make out with Jasper on the stairs. I wouldn’t mind it if Margaret got run over a horse and her husband gets his own spin off in which he meets a nice, quiet Countess.
- This is my favorite acting from Max Irons thus far. During the scene in which he is captured by Warwick, he exudes this great confident, aloof strength. Later when Edward has to tell his wife that he will not avenge her father’s death for political reasons, he nails it.
- Points to The White Queen for aging Elizabeth’s boys during each episode. Considering the show is blowing through the timeline like a tornado, it’s helpful to gauge just where we are.
- I don’t understand why King Edward killed Margaret Beaufort’s brother so quickly. Dude was trying to help him out and warned him about George’s attempt on his life! I mean, that at least deserves a full discussion, not a knife in the gut before he’s even done speaking…
So what did you think? Do you think the show is starting to find its stride or are you still unconvinced? Which of the main women do you hope to see more of in the future?
The White Queen airs Saturdays at 9pm EST on STARZ.