Our favorite (fictional) royal family is back! If the season premiere is any indication, the series aims to top last year’s sinfully good escapades, with plenty of sex, wisecracks, filthy one-liners, and ridiculously scandalous scenes. If you’re looking for subtle, poignant drama, The Royals isn’t for you — but if you’re into pretty people doing very bad things, E!’s scripted show definitely doesn’t disappoint. Let’s get started!
“It Is Not, nor It Cannot Come to Good” picks up two months after King Simon’s death, with a polo match scene where it appears that Liam — looking as cute as ever — and Eleanor have begun to resume some semblance of normal life. But that’s just on the outside looking in, because their father’s murder, their mother’s revelation about their bastard status, and their brother’s absence has left the royal siblings absolutely shattered.
In comparison, Cyrus took about two weeks to get over his brother’s death. He’s loving every single minute as king, though; he’s really working to earn the people’s love, by tossing pound notes (imprinted with his face, because having those made was clearly a top priority) to the public. Also putting in some serious work? Queen Helena, who trying her darndest to resuscitate the royal family’s image while simultaneously trying to control the twins. “The people find them sympathetic,” Helena shares during a tête-à-tête with Cyrus. His response is deliciously snarky: “Emphasis on pathetic.” (We’ve missed you, Cyrus!)
To “make it look like they work for us, and not against us,” Cyrus plans to reinstate their royal titles and security detail. Ah, the things a king will do in the name of saving face. “All I ask for is a modicum of respect and an apology,” he tells the twins. Liam basically says “hell nah,” but surprisingly, Eleanor apologizes. She even stoops to kiss Cyrus’ ring. Is she on drugs? Drunk? W-T-F.
She’s not. If there’s anything that fans learned last season, it’s that Eleanor isn’t to be underestimated. She’s feisty, smart, loyal and resourceful — a lethal combination for anyone, much less a royal. It turns out our princess has her own play in mind. “If we want answers, we need access,” she tells her brother. Her plan? “We get rid of them.”
In the next scene (which takes us back to the polo match at the episode’s open), Helena is seen cozying up to the press in a series of one-on-one interviews. “This is a period of transition and healing for us,” she tells a journalist. Girlfriend has her talking points down — which means she’s caught off guard when said journo asks about Liam going to Gibraltar.
Turns out that Liam didn’t head out for some R&R — he was undergoing blood tests with Dr. Cohen to see if his mother’s claims about his illegitimacy were true. But the queen’s reach is long, and thanks to her trusty minion Lucius, the entire thing is fixed.
Then, in a flashback (this episode was chock-full of them), to the polo match, we see Jasper, stealthily eyeing Eleanor from the sidelines. “You realize you’ve been stalking me?” she spits out, citing similar situations in Paris and Spain. “Stop following me!” His response isn’t exactly charming, as he calls her a sh—show, and basically demands forgiveness. Eleanor’s not having it, (I’m with you, girl!), and goes off to have vanilla sex with a Nacho Figueras look-alike.
In the next scene — during a post-polo luncheon — Jasper and Liam unexpectedly join forces to take down Mr. Holloway, who’s rumored to be nurturing some animosity toward our royal prince. So wait — are these two actually working together now? Can’t say I saw it coming, but these two, as much as they are opposites, complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses quite well, meaning that together, they might just have a chance at dismantling Cyrus’ regime and identifying King Simon’s murderer. (Especially when, under gunpoint, Holloway blows Cyrus’ alibi by admitting the two weren’t together at the time of the murder.)
Jasper and Liam’s newfound bro-ness gives way to another mind-blowing revelation: The studly bodyguard speaks in a British accent when he’s with Liam. WHO ARE YOU, JASPER? The two are effectively bro-ing out when Liam shares that he and Ophelia aren’t together anymore and don’t even keep in touch. Good, ‘cause that chick was just about as interesting as a pumpkin spice latte. Next!
Jasper and Liam’s new partnership however, seems child’s play in comparison to a scheme the queen has concocted. She’s persuaded Mr. Moorefield (remember him? He’s the leader of the anti-monarchy movement) to seduce Cyrus’ daughters. Those poor, awkward, girls — the only man who’s paid attention to them is coerced into doing so.
That’s not the extent of Helena’s insane schemes, either. With the help of her assistant — who shadows as a dominatrix — she’s blackmailed the prime minister. With a flick of her panties, Helena’s played yet another hand in her plan to become the ruling monarch. The other HBIC’s on TV pale in comparison to this queen, whose ability to meticulously take down the petty minions is pretty awe-inspiring.