'The Tudors' recap: Anne's nightmare
Hunker down, Tudors fans, ’cause we have boatloads to discuss. Yesterday’s excellent ep was certainly fitting for Mother’s Day. Forget that it was directed by a woman, it was all about women: Katherine as the martyred wife and mother, Lady Elizabeth as her loyal servant willing to give up a man for her boss, Mary as the forgotten daughter, and Anne (Natalie Dormer, pictured) as, let’s not mince words, the dotty, demanding “Kill your ex-wife and get me pregnant” bitch. And I say this with love. Anne’s neuroses and otherwise total wackiness, as PopWatch reader mr. face value might say, are right jolly entertainment: I don’t want to revel in someone’s downfall, but Anne’s is just so wonderfully spectacular! And who didn’t think she needed to give Henry a good pimp-slap/back-scratch during sex?
So let’s start with Anne’s nightmare, a.k.a. the fantastic dream sequence that opened the episode. It had everything, including references to Eve, Snow White, and Ophelia (not that the latter two would have been in Anne’s head, but I think they were certainly in the minds of the show’s creators). I have two questions, though: First, who was the old lady dressed in lavender and white and what did she mean? Was she supposed to represent a white witch? Anne in old age? Anne’s mother? A priestess? Second, why is it Thomas Wyatt who offers Anne an apple (which could signify Original Sin or a poisoned fruit) when she dismounts her horse? Is it because, as we know, he actually took her virginity? Does Thomas hold the secret to Anne’s downfall in his hands? Also, didn’t Anne’s green and red dress when she lambada’d with the king in a later scene remind you of an apple? And, minus Thomas Wyatt, didn’t the cast of characters watching them — Mark, Norris, Brereton, George — seem like a gathering of dead men walking?
addCredit(“Natalie Dormer: Jonathan Hession”)
Which brings me to this: What is in store for poet Wyatt? It must bemajor, correct? Otherwise, it makes little sense that Jamie Thomas King— though a fine actor — should get a shout out during the main titles,while David Alpay (Mark) and Padriac Delaney (George) just receivementions in the end credits. Their roles are twice as big as his! It’snot that Jamie’s name recognition demands a vanity credit either, like,say, Peter O’Toole’s. No, there is something big in Wyatt’s future andlet me tell you this: I actually pounded my fist against my heart whenhe found Elizabeth’s dead body hanging from the ceiling in Katherine’sabandoned house. Poor Thomas. I know this painful shock will bringabout some great poetry on his part, but I wouldn’t blame him if hejust toddled around drunk for the rest of the series singing TheSmiths’ “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” and sippingEnglish wine from a dirty chalice. He’s had a tough row to hoe.
Let’s just hope Wyatt doesn’t fall for Jane Seymour, too. Sweet Janemade her debut tonight — all blonde, fair, and dressed in white. Sovirginal… and so different from dark-haired, sultry Katherine and Anne.I swear, sometimes the king’s coterie reminds me of David Lee Roth’s”California Girls” video. In a good way, of course. As PopWatcher Clintsaid a few weeks ago “Variety is the spice of court!” The King hasalready arranged for Jane to become one of Anne’s ladies-in-waitingbehind her back. That announcement will go down about as easy as eating kangaroo knob for breakfast. And Anne has good reason to be ticked.When she and Henry got England into this whole mess (the arguments withSpain and France, the “King’s Great Matter,” etc.) they were a team —he couldn’t even think about Wolsey or Thomas More without asking herpermission first. But now he’s cut her out of his affairs entirely (shedoesn’t even know when he’s going to pop off hunting with Charles).Last night, when Henry harshly grabbed Anne’s hand during a mealand told her to bugger off, it reminded of when he did the same toKatherine at the dinner table last season. This signals the end of Annethe same way it did poor Katherine. (Though I got a chuckle out of theassassin being the one who checks Anne’s food for poison.) Now, Georgeis advising that Anne should just go out with dignity like Katherinerather than as an angry, jealous drunken loon. Which makes the modernwoman inside me want to scream: Not fair! She should be pissed, pissed!Then I remember that this is the 16th century.
Though you know who I think would second this opinion? Cranmer’sBoxcar Bertha (which is what I will call her until she gets a propername). Sure, even as a lapsed Catholic I can’t agree with everythingshe says about closing down the monasteries (even monks gotta eat,sister). But she speaks (maybe anachronistic) sense: She’s nobody’sdear, she wants to be respected equally for her ideas, and she thinksno one should be made to feel embarrassed of his or her body. Don’tthink she’ll be coming out of that box again soon. (P.S. I thought itwas sweet how she and Cranmer giggled and smiled at each other duringdinner, and from the look on Cromwell’s face I bet he took some of herranting to heart).
Another one speaking his mind? Mark Smeaton, who asked George totell his wife about their love affair. Was I the only one who thought,”Wait, you cannot possibly think that’s a smart idea”? (Plus, I’m sureshe’s figured it out already). However, maybe it’s not that volcanic asuggestion: Perhaps back then, with George being “like a god” and all,folks just would have shrugged. And about the raping: I agree with youguys, I think it was sodomy. Though, I suspect George may be bisexual,not gay. Remember when he jumped into bed with those two sisters lastyear? He was more than happy to love up them both.
My last point concerns the King and Brandon. Why do I have thesneaking suspicion that Brandon knew pretty Jane would be at Wolf Hall?Did you see the smile on his face when Henry agreed spend the nightthere? I was nearly blinded by incisors. That said, I did enjoy thedinner conversation between Henry, Brandon, and Lord Seymour. Itreminded me of the “good old boy” scenes from last year, with Brandon,Knivert, Compton and the King just yucking it up. I also liked hearingabout Henry’s war exploits (however obviously exaggerated), becausesometimes I forget that he’s not just a whiny lothario arse.
With only three episodes left, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover inthe next few weeks (SPOILER ALERT): The jousting accident, Anne’smiscarriage, Henry’s affair with Jane. The fifth man accused ofboinking Anne hasn’t even shown up. Sure, it won’t be hard for the showto condense time (did you notice how much Elizabeth I grew within thisone episode?), but how is it all going to make sense? We’ve also gotthe third season to think about. Discussing Henry Cavill last week mademe think of two other handsome Brit actors I think haven’t gotten theirdue because of their pretty faces: Greg Wise (Mr. Emma Thompson) and Jonathan Cake (watch this clip of him on Extras). Then I thought: I would love to see them on The Tudors. And Matthew Goode (so brilliant in He Knew He Was Right, Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Match Point, and The Inspector Lynley Mysteries — check him out herewith JRM). I know, I know, it’s silly to sit here and pretend to castthe show, but who do you think would make next year just perfect? Whodo you want to play Anne of Cleves (my vote: Shirley Henderson, she’s great in, oh, everything).
Lastly, I was trolling the Internet last night for Tudorscast interviews trying to get the “what’s what” on next season. Ididn’t find what I was looking for, but I stumbled upon some awesomethings, like scores of fan-made music videos featuring Tudors clips. This onefeaturing Charles and Margaret was my fave (I used to love thatVertical Horizon song). It reminded me how funny Margaret was, and whata good job Gabrielle Anwar did at making us forget that she’s nearlyold enough to be Henry Cavill’s mom. For Cavill fans, there’s also thisDunhill cologne ad (it’s a stunner, trust me) and even a making-of. And for hard-core Cavillains only, here’s some old footage of him in a modern day Little Red Riding Hood. Make sure you watch at least until the part when he’s in the car with his parents. I nearly laughed my kit off.