Last night’s episode was all about guts and goolies: The assassin’s, Brandon’s, and More’s guts, and Cranmer’s, Wyatt’s, and the King’s goolies.
First off, the assassin. He’s cheeky. Not only does he plan to kill Anne, but he taunts her beforehand by sneaking into her rooms and placing three very meaningful playing cards on her desk. They are a King marked as Henry, a Queen marked as Katherine, and a lady marked as Anne — with her head cut off. “It’s a prophecy,” Anne says when she finds them. (At least she gets it. Her faith in her own invincibility was becoming tiresome.) And how clever is it of the assassin to tease her with a deck of cards, since we know Henry hates them and how good Anne thinks she is at playing games?
So who is this hooded avenger? Well, we know he is welcome at court and important enough to travel to Paris with the King for Anne’s official presentation to the French Royals (and that’s where he first tries to murder her, but Henry gets in the way). We know from the ten percent of his body that’s not covered by a black cloak that he is clean-shaven, which knocks out the bearded Brandon, Wyatt, and the court musician Mark Smeaton. He speaks with a British accent. And if he hates Anne but likes Katherine, he’s most likely a Catholic, not a Protestant. Though with the shifting allegiances of the characters in this show, who knows? My guess — and this is assuming he’s a lad we’ve already met, not some new bloke whose face they’re covering up just to be clever — is that it’s season 1’s Anthony Knivert (played by Callum Blue, pictured). Remember him? He whacked the king in the face during a joust, held down Buckingham as his head was chopped off, and got ticked off at Brandon for ascending up the Royal ranks faster than he did? Unless he died last season (the real guy croaked in 1512) and I totally missed it, I think he’s the one. Callum did play the Grim Reaper on Dead Like Me, so it would be fitting, wouldn’t it?
addCredit(“Callum Blue: Francois Rousseau”)
Now to Brandon. As we saw last week (and he said last night), he’s”grown up.” This means he’s settled down with his ward, he’s raisinghis kid, and he’s not feeling the least bit bashful about ticking offthe King or his buds if it’s the right thing to do. First, he speaks upabout Anne not being, how do you say it, virgo intacto like sheclaims. This gets him banished from court. He’s barely back in Henry’sgood graces when he tells Papa Boleyn (the King’s future father in-law)to bugger off after the old man invites him to dine with the family.Seriously though, who didn’t want to get up and cheer at this point?That schemer had it coming. Also, Brandon has boldly been nothing butsweet to persona non grata Katherine, even if he seems to always be theone bringing her bad news, like yesterday’s “Henry’s getting married,don’t even think about coming back to court. Sorry.”
Thomas More is a tougher nut to crack. Sure, it’s brave of him torally England’s Catholics against Henry’s wish to split from Rome andto refuse to speak out against the daring friar who at a Christmastime mass likens Henry and Anne to Ahab and Jezebel. On the other hand, More canalmost be properly described as a religious fanatic. He did burnseveral Lutherans alive last season. If I didn’t know my history, I’dsay he was the assassin gunning for Lady Anne. The way the showpresents him, he’s losing his marbles years before he loses his head.
Speaking of heads, soon-to-beArchbishop Cranmer’s pretty much started out his reign as the SpecialEnvoy to the Court of the Emperor by thinking with the wrong one. Whilepassing through Lutheran Germany (where priests are allowed to havewives), he picked up a lady and he married her. That’s not going to go over well in jolly old England. They’re not that reformed. Yet. He evenhad to smuggle her back to London in a wooden crate — a stunt sheforgave a bit too easily, methinks. He’s cute but not that cute. Thenthere is Thomas Wyatt. Poor guy is still in love with Anne. Hasn’t itbeen like seven years since she walked out on him during their tryst in thewoods? He tries to get over her by snogging Lady Elizabeth against atree (presumably his favorite mating spot), but it doesn’t work — as hetells Smeaton, who seems to be the confidant of all the lesser courtmembers. Wyatt tells him about Anne. Mary Boleyn tells him about herimpotent dead hubby. What we need to know now are his dark secrets. Heplays too many instruments — à la Thomas Tallis — not to be aninteresting lot. Okay, in writing that, I think I just figured outwhere they are going with his character. See if you can.
Lastly, there’s Henry. He’s pretty much twisted around the wholepolitical and religious structure of England in order to make it withAnne and he finally got what he wanted last night. First, he gives herthe Queen’s jewels, so she fondles his. Then he introduces her to theFrench court, so she seduces him with some darned wacky dirty talk:”Now my Lord, let me conceive and we will have a son.” Everything’shunky dory except that there’s no way she’s giving him a boy and thateveryone (even the French king, whom she may have bedded) knows shelied to Henry when she swore he was her first. And Henry, we allknow, hates to be promised things he’ll never get and to be made afool. Anne is doing both.
So tune in next week when she has her baby (welcome Elizabeth!) tosee his reaction. Plus, the King debuts a new ‘do and takes a newlover! We also meet a grown up Princess Mary. And the assassin may — Imake no promises — be revealed!