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'The Tudors' recap: Show of Hans

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Hansmathesontudors_l

Hansmathesontudors_lI can’t tell you how stoked I was to pen the first Tudors TV Watch. Yet now that I’m actually writing it, I’m beginning to feel the whole idea may be barmy. Just think about it. We can’t really speculate on what will happen in future episodes; to do that with even the loosest of historical fictions is, well, too easy. We don’t think we know what will happen to Anne, Henry, Brandon and the five Tommys (More, Cromwell, Wyatt, Cranmer, and Boleyn). We know. Or at least I hope we do. (Here’s a mnemonic device to remember what happened to Henry’s wives, at least: divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived.)

We could stick to dissecting the episodes, which poses its own problems. If we ream a character’s (say Henry’s) behavior (he is awfully cruel to Katherine), we can’t forget that he is based on an actual person. It’s not like the writers had a choice in the matter: He did divorce and banish her. On the other hand, we don’t want to talk only about the performances (does Jonathan Rhys Meyers really play Henry too dour?) or get bogged down with what’s accurate and what’s not (I’m no scholar, but I’m pretty sure the real Tudors didn’t drop so many F-bombs). We might very well be, like Brandon was in every season 1 episode, screwed.

That said, let’s jump right in, shall we? This episode takes place two years after last season’s finale and the first thing I noticed was that everyone had a lot more hair (the King, Brandon, Wyatt). Maybe the fashions changed? Did the Reformation bring curls? The second thing that caught my eye was Hans Matheson (pictured) joining the cast as Henry’s new personal chaplain, Thomas Cranmer. I love this guy. He was perfect as Yury in the recent Doctor Zhivago remake (I know… I know… but it is possible to be as good as, if not better than, Omar Sharif). If you call yourself a fan of costume drama and you haven’t seen it, I suggest Netflixing Zhivago post haste. Matheson has a whole page dedicated to him in the Tudors press release, so I’m guessing he’ll be a big part of the show, especially with Henry becoming head of the English church and all.

addCredit(“Hans Matheson: Julie Dennis Brothers”)

Speaking of the church, Peter O’Toole is just plain rock star asthe new Pope. I’m thinking he’s here to provide the snark that lastseason so desperately lacked. What did he say about his predecessor?”Although it was very wrong for some people to dig up his dead bodyand stab it in the streets, I can understand their sentiments.” Andabout Anne? “Why doesn’t someone just get rid of her.” My sentimentexactly.

To be honest, Natalie Dormer as Anne had begun to bore me towardsthe end of last year. She was all smirks and turned up nose. I’m hopingAnne’s impending hardships (hint: she’s not going to give Henry thatmale heir she so often promised) bring back her range. However, whileI’m happy to see Charles Brandon grow up and finally get serious withone woman, I’m afraid this means there could be a major decline inbodice ripping—which I have a feeling is going to be replaced byviolence anyway. Forget last year’s vomit-inducing bloodlettings, we’reonly one episode in and already someone’s been BOILED ALIVE. We alsonow have a hooded assassin going after Anne.

It seems silly not to comment on JRM as Henry, but really, hehardly stood out. It wasn’t until the end, when he gave that poor boy abeating for delivering Katherine’s goodbye message, that I really beganto feel like the King was there at all. That wasn’t necessarily a badthing: Who hasn’t had their moments when they thought Cromwell,Princess Magaret, or even Thomas Tallis (remember him?), were just asinteresting? And this year gives us a couple of great downfalls to lookforward to: Anne’s, Thomas More’s. I know little about Thomas Wyatt thereal person, but in the show he’s shaping up to be one crazy stalker.That can’t be good when your infatuation is with the future Queen. I’vegot a feeling he’s in for a right bollocking from the King.

So PopWatchers, who can’t wait for next week when that hitman goesafter Anne? Any history buffs know who the masked man is? Anyone spotany major inaccuracies or love a particular moment?