You know what’s weird? In the 16th century, royals didn’t have Twitter. Okay, so that’s not weird because it was the 1500s, but it’s fascinating to think about a world where people didn’t know what their king and queen looked like. I mean, how were they supposed to know if they liked them if they couldn’t judge their clothes or jawline? I’m sort of kidding.
But that’s the premise of tonight’s episode, when Mary and Catherine have to pose as commoners, and more importantly, can pose as commoners. And in terms of the episode, I’m very happy that these two don’t know what hashtags are, because this episode was likely this season’s strongest comedic hour to date. The pairing of Catherine and Mary—much like Catherine and Henry last season—could be its own spin-off if need be. Yes, they’re that good. (Also they’re pretty. I’m stopping.)
This week’s episode can easily be divided up into the happenings within the castle, and those outside of it. Let’s start with the outside, shall we?
Outside the Castle
In the aftermath of Francis and Mary’s uterus-destroying fight last week, Mary jumps at the opportunity to get out of the castle when she hears that Catherine is taking a carriage to a noble’s party. Catherine claims that making an appearance at such an event is always a good idea. However, once inside the carriage, Mary quickly realizes they’re not going the right direction. Okay, so maybe Catherine was less so going to a party and more so going to give a speech thanking a village for its love. Wait, Catherine cares about commoners? To clarify: She doesn’t care about peasants individually, but in general, she cares a great deal, mostly because there’s 20 million of them and only one family of royals. Plus, she can buy their love, so there’s that.
But when their carriage ride is interrupted by some royal-hating folk, Catherine reveals one of her many secrets to surviving the royal life: Always have an escape hatch in your carriage. I half expected her to pull a hair pin out of her head and open it like she’s MacGyver or something, but there’s no time. Mary and Catherine quickly escape and remove their jewelry in order to look like commoners, and luckily for them, nature is feeling helpful today. After Catherine steps in a fox hole—which she claims is a badger hole because her feet are “too dainty to get caught in a fox hole”—Catherine and Mary limp their way to the nearest village.
Once there, Catherine tries to trick a man into giving them dinner without seeing coins first—after all, purses are for peasants (which I took personally)—but Mary steps in before things get too out of hand. Mary tells the man the she and her “mother” are lady’s maids who are willing to work for food and a place to sleep. But thanks to Catherine’s ankle, Mary is left to serve drinks and milk goats on her own. But you know what? She does it with class.
Soon after, the women are served dinner, and for some reason, I get great joy in watching them chow down with nothing but their hands. Royals: They’re just like us! And just like us, they don’t like secrets. When Catherine asks why Mary wanted to come with her on the journey, Mary finally fesses up that she was planning on seeing a physician with “knowledge of women’s problems.” Basically, infertility is an issue. However, Catherine thinks that Mary’s bigger issue is her “foolish romantic expectations” for her marriage. As someone who has walked the same road Mary’s currently walking, Catherine advises her to give up her dream and accept the distance between her and Francis. And if the crown weighs too heavily? Line it with velvet. It’s what Catherine does.
But is it what the queen and king do? Confused? Well, so are Catherine and Mary when they’re introduced to Mary and Francis impostors, who are doing their best to stomp all over Mary and Francis’ reputation by burning down farms, collecting money, and just generally telling awful stories about Catherine. Really guys, she never nailed a man’s eyes open. She simply stretched that one man—only a little—because he was a terrible hat maker. Get over it. It’s yesterday’s news. However, can we all agree that the worst thing the impostors are doing to Mary and Francis is making people believe that that’s how Mary exits a carriage, all blowing kisses and such? Gross.
However, the impostors’ arrival gives Mary an idea. She goes to the girl playing the queen, and together, she and Catherine convince her that they too are “tricksters.” And in exchange for Catherine’s crown—Mary’s idea, obviously—the fake queen agrees to give them a lift to the next town. That is until
that clone from Orphan Black her king enters and slaps her for her idiocy. Luckily, by this point, Mr. Sexy Castle Guard has shown up. Okay, so his real name is Gifford, but with that hair, I will be calling him Sexy Castle Guard. Deal?
But wait! He’s the one behind the impostors? So I guess his name is Gifford after all. Quickly, Gifford kills the male impostor and all of his guards and then swears the female imposter—his “love”—to secrecy as he sets out to bury Mary and Catherine. But thankfully, Mary has her dagger (because, you know) and Catherine has some sort of dangerous something. No, it’s not poison. If she carried that everywhere, she might accidentally kill herself. Royals: They’re nothing like us!
NEXT: Sorry, horse