The penultimate episode of The White Queen continues the show’s breakneck pace, with uprisings, backstabbing, and collusion to murder two boys.
Let’s bitch it out…
I’m exhausted by this show. There’s so much backstabbing and conniving, but no one to root for. I know I’ve said this before, but I think that’s the main problem with this series. There is so much plot and not enough time left over for character development (it would also be great if every third character didn’t have the same name, but such is history…). Even the awful characters (I’m looking at you, Lady Margaret) don’t make you care enough about their plight as anti-heroes. But I digress…
The focus of this episode, as the title suggests, is the fate of the two princes (one real, one fake) in the tower. Richard (Aneurin Barnard) has been King for about two minutes and already the sharks are circling. Richard provides gifts of titles and wealth to Lord Stanley (Rupert Graves) and Buckingham (Arthur Darvill) but that doesn’t stop Stanley’s wife Margaret (Amanda Hale) or Buckingham from looking for an angle to gain more power.
Enter Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson) who makes a deal with both of them. If they help her free Prince Edward and “Prince Richard” from the tower, she will marry Princess Elizabeth (Freya Mavor) to Henry Tudor and Buckingham’s daughter to Prince Edward, eventually making her a queen. Unfortunately, the initial attempt at attacking the tower fails, and a full-on uprising is planned against Richard.
Here’s where it gets a little tricky. Like “I need a flow chart to track all the double crossing” tricky. Stay with me: Margaret convinces Lord Buckingham to support the uprising against Richard with Elizabeth’s men, but then secretly murder her sons and turns against her and supports Henry as King (what’s in it for Buckingham you ask? Riches and power). Buckingham is onboard and pledges his fealty to Henry Tudor (Side Note: This doesn’t mean a whole lot considering he pledged his fealty to Richard about 5 seconds ago).
What Buckingham doesn’t know is that Henry is not going to battle with Elizabeth and Buckingham against Richard. Margaret tells her son to wait in the wings to defeat the victor. God, I hate Margaret.
You know who else is over Margaret? Her husband. Lord Stanley tells King Richard of the rebellion his wife is plotting. WHAT?! Talk about the long con. He waited ten years to back stab her in order to gain control of her entire fortune as her jailer (remember, she’s the richest woman in England!). I’m embarrassed that I did not see that coming; there have been enough references to Stanley playing both sides that I should have…
So what happens to the princes in the tower? Presumably they are dead, though we don’t see that on screen, just them being woken up in the middle of the night by an unidentified man (presumably to murder them). Personally, I like to think they lived out their days in a quiet village a la The Man in the Iron Mask. The rumor is that Richard killed them, which he is disgusted by because he would never kill his own nephews. Really Richard? You killed your own best friend last week – the boy’s uncle – as well as their brother. Then you crowned yourself King and your son Prince of Wales. I mean, you could see why this rumor would stick right?
As Margaret’s henchman tells Elizabeth of the deaths (and knows more about it than he should) you can see the light bulb go on above her head: Margaret and Buckingham have betrayed her and murdered her son. Side Note: the perpetrator could have also been Anne (Faye Marsay), who all but told their jailer they needed to be murdered in the beginning of the episode.
So it’s time for Elizabeth and her daughter…Elizabeth (argh!) to get their witchcraft on. They call for rain during the battle so the Buckingham and Tudor armies cannot unite against Richard. It works and Buckingham’s men flee, causing him to run for his life. And so Richard remains king. Having averted that crisis, Richard goes into “Operation Find Two Princes” mode and searches the tower everywhere (and I mean everywhere. Like did he really think the two boys hid in that chest by the bed?). When he can’t find them he visits Elizabeth, bringing the two characters together for the first time since the coup. He genuinely seems like a concerned uncle, seeing if she has the boys. He will grant them safety if they are there, he just wants to make sure they are okay. Unfortunately, Elizabeth has not seen them. Princess Elizabeth, really getting the hang of this witch thing, tells Richard that they will curse the murderer until all his sons die out. 1) I guess we’re not concerned about openly being witches anymore? and 2) Better hope Anne’s man wasn’t the one to succeed, otherwise Richard’s issue (to use parlance of the time) is in trouble…
- I liked the quiet moment when Elizabeth flashes back to her life with Edward. This show is always moving 100mph, so any time allotted to try to evoke emotion is much appreciated.
- Does Richard want to keep Princess Elizabeth “close to him” to neutralize a threat or because of a creepier reason? I got a weird vibe when he told his niece she had grown beautiful. Icky
- The “Save or Slaughter” scene – when Lord Stanley told Margaret to make the call to determine the princes’ fate – is great. It’s chilling when Margaret completely crosses over to the dark side: “obviously the men must kill them [the 9 and 12 year old princes]…” She essentially raised Richard, but that doesn’t stop her. Goosebumps.
- So Margaret possibly killed Elizabeth’s sons and betrayed her, but remember that Prince Richard wasn’t really in the tower. Instead he’s fled to sanctuary in Brittany with Lady Margaret’s son Henry. So does the betrothal of Henry and Princess Elizabeth still stands? Gives a whole new meaning to letting bygones be bygones.
What did you think of ‘The Princes In The Tower’? If you had to pick a favorite character still alive on this show, who would it be? Are you looking forward to the final episode?
The White Queen airs Saturdays at 9pm EST on STARZ