Scandal, lies, and salacious video footage. Nope, you’re not reading The Bachelor recap — but if you want scoop on the season finale of The Royals, then you’ve come to the right place. Wrapping up nine episodes of crazy drama leading up to the all-important matter of figuring out who killed King Simon, the night saw everyone basically go out of their mind and act out of character: Helena was inspired, Eleanor’s resolute, Liam was rage-y, and Cyrus was weirdly parental.
“The Serpent That Did Sting Thy Father’s Life” began with a flashback to the moment Robert’s plane was shot down before shifting to a scene of a young, cutie-pie prince playing in the palace in the moments before the twins were born. Turns out Queen Helena — standing in the great room and showing off plenty of cleavage as per the usual — is reminiscing about the good old days. Things might never be the same again, and given how our girl isn’t prone to regrets, you know things have gotten really screwed up. Which begs the question: Did we miss something?
Turns out, yeah, we did. The episode flashes to 36 hours earlier, where Liam — fresh off the revelation that Pryce killed the king — goes into Jasper’s creepy little closet to review the incriminating footage. Seeing Jasper’s claim substantiated makes him eager for revenge, but before he can seek it out, Jasper locks him inside. Saving him from himself (okay Jasper, I see you trying to be a nice person).
In another area of the palace, Helena — looking luscious in a sea foam green dress and a killer diamond lavaliere — approaches Cyrus with a peace offering, a stuffed tiger that was used to belong to Prince Robert. Though Helena is trying to make peace, Cyrus is in full-on creep mode as he basically reiterates his plan to remove her as queen by marrying Prudence. Still, Helena doesn’t rise to his snobbery. “Fighting got me nowhere,” she says. “Rather, it got me here, to this place.”
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Meanwhile, Liam’s told Eleanor, who’s feeling freshly resolute about finally moving on after Jasper, the truth about the night their dad was murdered. On hearing Pryce’s name, Eleanor instantly crumbles into a sad heap of sequins. Liam tries to be all manly and resolute though, saying that he has a plan. There’s just one thing: The plan involves Jasper. “I know you have trust issues, I know people have failed you, including Jasper, but he wouldn’t stop until he found the truth,” he says. “And he did.”
NEXT: This s— is b-a-n-a-n-a-s[pagebreak]
With Eleanor, Liam and Jasper all on the same page, Domino’s brother is giving Pryce his marching orders. They’ll take action at an upcoming football match (or soccer, as us stateside peeps refer to it) meant to commemorate the late King Simon. The plan? They’ll screen the Duchess’ confession to killing Domino to the crowd before the game kicks off, spinning a crowd of thousands into a rage against the royal family. But with Dominique eavesdropping, Liam and Eleanor are able to cobble a plan for revenge: They’ll substitute the Duchess’ video for the one of Ted Pryce stabbing their dad to death, a move that’s sure to end Pryce’s life.
Lest you think this episode was completely bloodthirsty, we get a bit of romance by way of Moorefield realizing that he wants to be with Princess Penelope. (And not her surgery-enhanced sister.) “As an antimonarchist, you’re so much lovelier now that you’re not the next in line for the throne,” he tells her. “So you want to get out of here?” I totally didn’t see that coming, especially as a) Who wants to be with a two-timing guy? and b) As Penelope says, her sister will do “anything” with boys. What kid of guy gives that up?
Next, Helena decides to join Eleanor, Liam, and Jasper in a meeting of the minds where they discuss turning the tides in their favor. “They want a public tribunal?” asks Helena. “We’ll give them one.” While those four are scheming in the tunnels, Cyrus and Prudence are married by the hottest officiant I’ve ever seen. Yummy. Anyway, it’s obvious that this marriage isn’t going to be a happy one, since Cyrus is being rude and Prudence is (understandably) super-cranky.
Next: Pryce realizes that there’s no way of getting out of his part in the football game scheme, since he’s being threatened and blackmailed by Domino’s brother at every turn. Sucks for you, bro.
Evening arrives, and with it, contractions for maid-turned-royal-baby-mama Prudence. (For the record though, that was the smallest, most fake-looking baby bump ever in the history of TV.) Thankfully, we’re spared a delivery scene – woohoo! – when Jasper goes to Eleanor’s for a final check in before the big football match.
“I never got to say thank you before,” she says. “For finding the evidence, not giving up.” Soon, it becomes clear that Eleanor isn’t feeling the same thirst for revenge as she did earlier in the episode. Thinking long and hard about the day to come, she’s come to the realization that if she commits a murder, she’s no better than her father’s killer. Hmm. However, those feelings haven’t changed her determination to cut Jasper out of the picture.
“I appreciate what you’ve done for us, but once this is all over, I need you to leave and not come back,” Eleanor tells Jasper. “I can’t see you anymore. It’s too hard.” You go, girl! Yasss!
NEXT: Liam goes rogue[pagebreak]
And now, the big day: Liam switches things up by riding in Helena’s car with Pryce, a move that takes the latter totally by surprise. By the way Liam’s acting, it’s pretty clear that he’s hiding a gun in his suit jacket. He draws it on Pryce and has his finger on the trigger, when Pryce’s phone rings… it’s Eleanor on the phone.
“This is exactly what Dad wanted all along,” she tells him. “It’s who you thought you couldn’t be for him and for the world. But if you do this, and pull that trigger, that’s when you’re failing dad …And I can’t afford to lose you, Liam.” The girl’s right: if Liam pulls the trigger, he loses the respect of the people and will break the law in one foul swoop. DON’T DO IT.
Things get even more bananas when after the call, Pryce pulls a fast one and takes Liam’s gun, offering him his own instead so it’ll look like either a suicide or shootout in self-defense. Clearly, Pryce has realized that being the bad guy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be — especially when his actions stemmed from the fact that Helena was less than kind to him after his wife’s death. Okay, then.
“You know that fire, that hatred you feel, the one that’s fed by anger and vengeance and retribution? I called it justice. But it wasn’t,” Pryce tells Liam. “It was merely retaliation, and that fire never goes out, no matter what. It just consumes you. It just burns you up.”
So what’s Liam going to do? Pull the trigger or face the world as that video plays? There’s a third option — and that’s the move he’s been planning throughout the episode.
As Liam and Pryce step out of the car into the stadium, Eleanor and Jasper are uploading the video of Pryce assassinating the king onto the building’s media hub. 5, 4, 3, 2 … Eleanor can’t bring herself to press “play,” but Jasper does. The crowd’s cheers at seeing the king in the video turns into screams of shock, and then an ugly cry for revenge as they realize that the man in the video is the security guard by Liam’s side. It takes just seconds for the crowd to rush the field and to make their way to Pryce, where they begin to bash him into a bloody pulp. It’s worth noting that Pryce makes sure Liam gets into a nearby car safely; he could have saved himself by ducking in too, but he’s resigned to his fate; to escape it would be to live a lie.
NEXT: Helena gets the shock of a lifetime[pagebreak]
Meanwhile, Jasper and Eleanor’s hands seem to have made their way to one another as he shields her from the scrutiny of the press and escorts her to the palace. Liam’s already back and is brooding over the future. In another room, Cyrus — who’s become quite the doting dad — has just discovered that his baby has gone missing. So it’s off to the tunnels he goes (seriously? Is that where the royals automatically assume anything shady has transpired?), where he sees Helena locking up a gate. She’s helped Prudence and her baby boy escape — and she’s very proud of it, too. “You take away my future, I take away yours,” she gloats. “Enjoy cancer.” Oh, and that hot officiant? Turns out he was Helena’s gynecologist, rendering Cyrus & Prudence’s marriage invalid.
Helena’s not done for the day either, judging by a scene where she confers with Rachel at a chapel within the palace. “Let’s make things right,” says Helena, referencing her plan to make Liam the rightful heir to the throne. “Get me those bones.” Breaking into a tomb for DNA of a dead man? No biggie. There’s just one problem: When palace staff open Simon’s tomb, something seems wrong. Where’s the casket? And where is Simon’s body??? Is this Cyrus’ doing? If Helena can’t prove Liam’s paternity, he’ll never, ever be king — and where does that leave the monarchy?
It’s a pressing, troubling question, especially as the following scene reveals a peek at a bloodied fist being flexed. A wide shot reveals a grassy landscape, the site of Robert’s downed plane. Could it be? Is it true?
IS ROBERT ALIVE?
So what do you think? Fans, do you feel satisfied with season 2? I personally felt that the second season felt more like the back half of season 1. With an absence of new, major plot points, and only three or so new characters, there wasn’t much to make this feel like a stand-alone season. That said, there’s plenty of interest to make me tune in when The Royals returns later this year. Where’s King Simon’s body? Will Helena ever be happy? What lengths will Cyrus go to find revenge? Will Eleanor and Jasper get together? And finally, a biggie: Will we see Liam become king?
Liz’s best lines:
“I’d rather attend an execution. In many ways, one and the same.”
“The jig, as you say, is now officially up.”
[Dramatic pause] “Team Helena.”
Real-life royal reference score: 3 [The points are all wardrobe-based: tiny Prince Robert’s short pants are the same ones that Prince George rocks; Cyrus’ baby was wrapped in purple silk because duhhhh; Prudence wore a major fascinator for her faux wedding because that’s what rich British royals do.]