The Royals recap: Is This Not Something More Than Fantasy
The face-off between Queen Helena and the Prime Minister could change the future of the monarchy.
Say what you will about the writing and tone of The Royals, but one thing is for sure: Its female characters definitely aren’t wallflowers. This episode, each of them had something to say, baring their pride (and in some cases, their pettiness) with some pretty great dialogue and snappy one-liners.
Take for instance, Ophelia. She’s normally not the most forthcoming of women — in fact, for most of last season, she seemed pretty shy — but when Liam shows up at her NYC apartment unannounced, she stands firm, resisting any urge to fall straight into his arms. In fact, her time stateside seems to have given her a bit of a backbone, since she confronts him about fixing her audition. (Incorrectly, I should add, since that was all Gemma’s doing.)
“It was just like Monaco. Something that was real and truthful, something was twisted into something ugly because of your world.” And she doesn’t end there, stating plainly, “You have to go.” Damn, girl. Liam — all puppy-eyed and broken-hearted — obeys, but in short order returns to the apartment, hoping for one of those deliciously sappy, soap opera-esque second chances. But here, The Royals veers away from the usual formula. What Liam finds instead on his return to Ophelia’s is that she’s hooked up with — and is playing house with — Nick from last season. (Remember him?) Looks like our prince will have to find his happy ending elsewhere. (Which I approve of, since the prospect of a show with him and Ophelia as a couple is about as exciting as day-old tuna fish salad on white bread. Ew.)
While Ophelia is resolute about staying prince-less, Eleanor is playing stubborn, too. By now, we all know the story: Beck is the one person other than her father who saw her good side, and who seems to have been able to steer her on the straight and narrow. However, naked Beck just doesn’t quite stack up to the allure of a bubbling bong, and if she can have the two of them, all the better. That being said, when she reaches for her pipe post-coital, Beck is clearly disappointed. “So much for slowing down, Eleanor.” Since Eleanor isn’t about to ditch the drugs, he decides to whisk her away on a surprise trip to the country.
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“Tell me there’s a music festival or something nearby,” Eleanor says, after hopping out of the car. “I never understood why people liked going to the country. There’s nothing to do.” Not even the prospect of spending the whole weekend in bed can change how she feels, especially when there’s a hot club opening that night in Chelsea. Oh, Eleanor. However, our princess is a master manipulator and goes on picnics and plays footsie with Beck until he falls asleep that evening, providing her with the perfect opportunity to escape back to London to party. Once there, Eleanor finds herself defended from inquisitive phones by a sexy blonde. Hm. Also, did I mention that said blonde is skimpily dressed, brash, brave and totally reckless? Mandy is a lot like Eleanor, and two the strike up a quick friendship as they bond over booze and boy talk. “Timing is everything, right?” offers Mandy by way of commentary over Beck returning to Len’s life. It’s true – and Eleanor having second thoughts about their relationship just 24 hours into their reunion just doesn’t bode well for their future. So what’s a girl to do? Head back to the country to break up with Beck, obvi.
NEXT: Queen Helena meets her match
“Quiet is difficult for me right now, Beck. The noise is how I breathe. It’s what gets me though the day,” Eleanor tells her boo. “It’s what gets me through the day. “I can’t be quiet right now, Beck.” But Beck craves quiet, which means this relationship really is dunzo.
While Eleanor is debating matters of the heart, Liam gets over his breakup by sleeping with a leggy brunette he met at the club. He has his friends to thank for the hookup, since they kidnapped him upon his arrival to London in order to get him back to the party scene from which he’s been absent for oh, I don’t know, four episodes?
As her twins continue to make a big ol’ mess of their lives, Queen Helena is once again proving she’s on that next-level, boss-style tip in a one-one-one with the new acting prime minister. Quite the intimidating figure dressed in a red sheath accessorized with some serious diamonds, Helena is ready to draw blood — especially since the prime minister has already started off their relationship on a sour note by cancelling their previously scheduled meeting.
“I’m the Queen of England. I speak first, I sit first, and I certainly don’t wait for you,” says Helena in that imperial-sounding tone we all know and love. “You wait for me. And you don’t cancel.” Uh oh. Things just escalate from here, with some serious smack talk between the two, covering all kinds of sensitive territory like age, fake boobs, and (gasp!) fake Jimmy Choos. Amusing verbal sparring aside, Rani (which means queen, duh) makes it clear that she won’t be supporting Helena’s bill and plans to supplant her as the people’s choice.
Helena’s practically foaming at the mouth after this exchange, and approaches Cyrus about replacing her. But Cyrus — who’s not in the best of moods because a) he’s been told he has to have one of his testicles removed and b) his public make-good in the form of “hobo hugging” hasn’t been successful — declines. His strategy is now as follows: Approve Rani as Prime Minister = Cyrus makes good with the people.
That being the case, Helena takes up her assistant Rachel’s suggestion to “play the feather” rather than the whip. She’s good, that one. And thus, Raina finds herself the recipient of a brand-new pair of Jimmy Choo stiletto heels. (They’re black of course, like the color of Helena’s heart.) But wait! They could be perceived as a bribe, so Rani doesn’t accept them and adds little dig by way of her refusal.
“We employ the same tactics, the icy glares, so you never have to raise your voice, a little cleavage, the occasional bat of the eyes, all to hide the fact that you’re the smartest person in the room,” Rani tells Helena. “The difference is, I’m in a more relevant position of power.” Burn. Then comes the icing on the proverbial snarky cake: “The monarchy is on its last legs,” snarks Rani. “My legs are better.”
NEXT: Cyrus vs. cancer
This has quite the effect on Helena, who is so stressed out that she goes snooping for Eleanor’s secret weed stash. As she lights up a joint ever so elegantly (methinks she’s had some practice), she and Rachel pow-wow, with the later retreating to go dig up some dirt on Raina. Any thoughts on what she might find?
While the events that unfolded this episode seem to have brought out a hardened, battle-ready Helena, we’re also introduced to a different side of Cyrus. He’s decidedly down after having been dealt a double whammy by way of having a cancerous testicle removed while undergoing negative scrutiny as monarch.
“You wait your entire life to be king and then they cut off your balls,” reflects Cyrus. At the idea of losing a nut, he starts tearing up ‚ and if we’re being honest, I almost did too. I mean, Cyrus actually feeling feelings? Unreal. Good news comes in the form of examining some testicle samples. Lucius has dogs brought in so he can examine different dogs, and eventually he settles on a bulldog. Sizeable, I guess?
But the prospect of replacing his manhood isn’t enough to cheer up HRH. With more and more comparisons to his nephew — dubbed “the people’s prince” by the press — Cyrus is absolutely desperate for a remedy, anything to restore what little respect the public had for him. That being the case, a post-surgery Cyrus is pleasantly surprised (and let’s be honest, more than a little relieved) when he’s shown some kindness by a new maid in his employ at the palace. Violet is uncharacteristically cheery and concerned about his cancer. (She says she recognizes the signs from her father, but I think she’s l-y-i-n-g.) Cyrus — who I should note has been totally terrified of anyone learning about his nut cancer and subsequent surgery — lets his guard down a bit with her.
“They don’t like me,” he confesses, the true sources of his ailment. “Well, I like you,” responds Violet. Why is she being so nice? Doesn’t she know Cyrus rapes the help? Her next words come as somewhat of a surprise from someone so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. “What do you care if they like you or not? You’re the king of England, they still have to do what you say.” What is Violet’s deal? Is Lucius behind her sudden appearance; a band-aid for Cyrus’ paranoia?
Liz’s best lines:
“Don’t get too comfortable. These are shark-infested waters, and those fake tits won’t keep you afloat for long.”
“I’m not kissing her ring. She should be kissing my ass.”
Real-life royal reference score: 3 (+1 for Beck, because why wouldn’t he have access to an impressive country estate? Newly-single Liam gets a point this episode because the sheer number of girls who fawn over him, and Cyrus scores since he has no idea who Violet is — with a large palace staff, it makes sense that a royal wouldn’t recognize a random maid.)