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The Tudors: Look to God First

“They tell such lies, these people. Who can I trust?”

"Look to God First" represents a relative low point in the latter part of Season One. There’s just so much to be done before the finale. Stories have to be progressed, loose ends need tying up. The episode is basically fulfilling a massive plot to do list.

The Lovers

Anne definitely has the power in their relationship. I love the way he tenderly begs her to stay at court before screaming at her “I’m the King of England!” In my opinion, he’s trying to remind himself of that fact more than Anne. She should be the one hanging on his every word not the other way around. She has him wrapped around her little finger and he knows it. Anne’s turned his world topsy-turvy in more than one way.

Although someone having power over him isn’t new (think Wolsey), Henry realizing they have that power is. While his various advisors and so-called “friends” have been able to subversively manipulate him in the past, Anne controls him in a much more hands-on way. Don’t get me wrong, she can manipulate with the best of them, but lately her style has been less subtle and more “Do this or I’ll leave you.” Whatever he claims later, Henry is truly in love with Anne and will do anything to keep her.

The Rivals

Cromwell reveals his true colors and begins to show himself as a major up-and-coming player in court politics. He is ever so slightly hesitant to dismiss Wolsey to his unfortunate fate, showing that his driving force isn’t a desire personal power or a specific political agenda, but religion. He doesn’t hate Wolsey as Charles, Norfolk, and Boleyn do; he disagrees with him on religious grounds and knows that Wolsey’s downfall will help pave the way for the forthcoming Reformation. It will be much easier for Henry to break with Rome if his right hand man isn’t a Cardinal.

Poor Wolsey. His downfall continues. Refused a room and abandoned by the King, Wolsey has found himself out of Henry’s good graces. At least he has the good sense to be terrified. Once again, Henry lies to Wolsey’s face, denouncing “these people,” a.k.a. the Boleyn faction, as liars. Wolsey even believes him for a second. I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again: Henry deserves a place in the liar hall of fame. Along with Benjamin Linus, of course. Even though I knew Henry was going to turn on Wolsey, I found myself believing his lies. Who does Henry believe? Who does he trust? The answer is known only to himself and may in fact be ‘no one.’

The Siblings

Margaret dies this week, thankfully. I’ve said before I like Gabrielle Anwar, and I do, but after her marriage to Charles, Margaret never had much to do but pull faces and complain about her husband and his lovers and her brother and his lover. It was getting tedious.

I love Henry’s response to her death, because it is so characteristic of his personality. His first response (after shock) is anger and the desire to focus everything on him. Why did no one tell him? After all, isn’t it all about him? Yes, it’s probably just a defense mechanism, but it’s one Henry consistently displays. He doesn’t like surprises and generally tends to blame the surprises on other people.

Random Historical Fact:

The brags Willoughby attributes to Prince Arthur at the trial were, in fact, said by Arthur. It is likely, however, that he was just putting on a display of bravado. Most historians agree that Catherine and Arthur never consummated their marriage, although we’ll never know for sure.

Costumes of the Episode:

Catherine of Aragon
Anne Boleyn



Miscellanea:

Greensleeves makes its first appearance in the series. Legend has it that Henry VIII wrote it for Anne Boleyn. That legend has been disproven, but it was still cute to include it.

Seeing Margaret in the coffin always reminds me of Fall of the House of Usher.

Most Illustrious Quotations:

Drunk Guy #3: “A toast to Queen Catherine, who doesn’t give a fig. God bless her!”
Drunk Guy #1: “To the Queen of England!”
Clearly, Catherine still has the support of the English people. I love how they make fun of her but still love her.

Henry: “Alright, so you were a fucking virgin! That’s not the point.”
The point is I got the hots for this new chick and you’re always around!

Anne: “I have a book to show you.”
And with these seven words, the English Reformation is begun.

Henry: “You see what kind of monster I am?”

Henry: “You have a fine, sharp mind.”
More: “No.”
Henry: “No what?”
More: “No I don’t want to be Chancellor.”
Henry: “You will do as I command!” Laughs awkwardly
Yeah, the awkward laugh totally saves that exchange. Eye roll.

decent, but overshadowed by the fantastic episodes preceding and following it
two and a half out of four mysterious illnesses

3 comments:

  1. I was so pleased to read your (as always!) excellent review because I found myself not enjoying this episode as much as I have the ones in the past. Glad it's one of the lower points and it's not just me.

    I must admit to getting royally (see what I did there???) sick of Anne. She's such a pain in the backside. When she was whining about the Queen, I so wanted to shout "what did you expect? The man is married!" Or, maybe that's just my 21st century view superimposed on hers. The other thing is a piece of advice I heard a long time ago, and boy howdy is it ever true: if they cheat with you, they cheat on you.

    I am enjoying watching Wolsey come down in the world. The little scene at the end where the crowd was jeering him was fantastically done.

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  2. See, I never get tired of Anne. I don't know if it's the Natalie Dormer of her or just my inner skank, but I've always loved her character. If the situation was taking place today, I'd agree with you, but it was the 16th century and the only way for a woman to gain wealth or prestige was to marry someone rich and powerful. I've always found her ambition and determination oddly admirable.

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  3. I to am a complete and utter fanatic for Anne Boleyn. I love Natalie Former playing the part of Anne and feel there is no other person to have played it better. But the true historical figure of Anne is who I admire. Her character is so strong for that century.

    I truly believe maybe Anne at first liked the attention she attracted upon the king but feel she did truly fall in love with the man, not the King. Which is evident by her jealousy and just the overal dynamic of their relationship. She was smart, clever, ambitious, and has much persevearance (as she even played that part in a play) but the most admiring was her character for that time period of standing up for herself and her ground for that time period. Had there not been women over the centuries like her , women not the world today would not be where we are now.

    With that said, I am definitely pro Anne but had much admiration for Catherine too... I feel like the animosity between them was unavoidable. I don't think Anne intentionally wanted to hurt the Queen at first but ended up that way quickly. I feel like Anne is not given the respect she deserves from women today. I do think she may have been a strong woman with a slight temper but this doesn't mean that she was a "bi*%$" as many women (and men) to say try to portray her as. I feel when Anne did fall in love with the king his marriage with Catherine was already all but over. Just as many kings in the past divorced wives when they still needed an heir. Henry just had some very bad timing and Catherine had the support of the poor and Charles trying to prevent it at that time.

    In any case, I feel that Henry honestly regretted what he did in the and to Anne. I don't think he ever fall out of love with Anne. I just think they were going through a rough time and Henry was impulsive. Anne's enemies struck at the right time. Anne most likely did say hurtful things about the king due to anger with him seeing Jane Seymour. And Anne's enemies most likely twisted it into more than it was at the right time. I feel Henry may have possibly believed some of it even at the quick of the moment when it fell down upon his shoulders. I don't think Henry would have planned to leave in the middle of the may day joust to set that up. That was more of a plan by her enemies to work fast and without time for Anne and others to find out. Anyhow,,, speaking of Jane. She is the only one I have little to NO sympathy for but that is a topic in and of itself.

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