The Royals recap: 'The Spirit That I Have Seen'
As the title suggests, this week’s episode touched on the subject of spirits, and not the “ghosts of Christmas” type, either. Instead, the spirit in question was King Simon, who kept appearing to his depressed little brother in a series of weird, subversive visions meant to counter Cyrus’ manic desperation.
The first time Simon appeared was during a scene when Cyrus was getting dressed. Rude! No matter: Cyrus gets over seeing the ghost by giving his new boo Violet some new clothes to go with her new promotion as his “Lady of the Privy Chamber.” I guess the idea of sleeping with a mere maid doesn’t do it for him anymore?
Elsewhere in the palace, Mandy (who we learned last week is known as Samantha to her old flame Jasper) and Eleanor are looking blissful in that serene, morning after kind of way. However, this is the 21st century and any morning-after routine now includes cell phones, which is why they’re both busily texting in bed. Mandy is fielding texts from Jasper but lies to Eleanor when asked about who she’s typing missives to. “Ex-boyfriend,” lies Mandy. “Jealous of the new girlfriend.”
It’s clear that she doesn’t intend on playing by Jasper’s rules, and that becomes even more obvious when, moments later, the two meet in the palace’s underground tunnels. Despite Jasper’s annoying missives (said in American accent), it’s obvious Mandy’s gonna do Mandy, especially when she later goes to brunch with Eleanor and weasels out the truth about Jasper. “We kind of had a thing,” Eleanor tells her. “It was messed up; he was messed up. And like all great romances, he slept with my mum.” Mandy responds by giving her a bit fat smooch, which ends up being captured by the paps and published on the front page of the tabloids.
Helena is outraged over seeing her daughter dipping into the lady pond, but the Duchess isn’t. “Darling don’t tell me you haven’t tasted the rainbow once or twice in your life?” she asks Helena. Well, I guess we know where she stands!
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Meanwhile, Cyrus is seeing more visions of King Simon and this time decides to give him a piece of his mind. “You could have looked out for me, stepped aside from time to time. Let me see some of the sun,” Cyrus tells his dead brother’s ghost. “You could have helped me, but you never did.” But dead Simon has a response. “Instead of demanding respect, you manipulate, you lie, you threaten. You could never step out of my shadow because you don’t deserve the sun. You’re not a king, and you never will be, brother.” Ouch.
NEXT: Oh no he didn’t…
This is just the ammunition that Cyrus needed to come up with a plan to make himself a monarch that can’t be compared to his brother or to any other in England’s history. On the surface it looks like he’s trying to make nice with the press — he invites a cartoonist who made fun of him to a public event honoring an African activist — but at the event has the artist arrested and dragged away. “Nice is boring,” Cyrus says of his new strategy. “But the people will remember my name forever. They don’t have to like me. They will fear me.” Really, though?
The Prime Minister is also at the event, and it seems she has a new strategy, too — one that involves cozying up to Liam (who, by the way, has learned of Cyrus smashing his dad’s memorial). “I’m done being a pawn in other people’s games,” he says, just as the polo player from the season premiere spills some champagne on him, giving him a way of slowly backing away from the Prime Minister’s airspace. It turns out this purple-clad beauty could be just the support system Liam needs, as they bond over flutes of champagne during a walk in the garden. She’s not afraid of speaking her mind, sharing her opinion on love, family, and, later, Liam’s desire to walk away from the monarchy. “I get wanting to walk away, but you’re as in as anyone has ever been, and I think you always will be. Like it or not, you have an opportunity to inspire us to be great. If not the monarchy, then who? Corporations? Celebrity? Maybe the answer isn’t walking away. Maybe you should try changing it from the inside.” I kinda like this chick.
You know who I don’t like? Lucius, who tries covering up Lacey’s murder when the Queen presses him for details about her ex-lover’s whereabouts. Denials and lies don’t do it for Helena, though, and in an amazing scene, she slaps him in a way that signals that there’s more coming if he doesn’t fess up. “He’s dead,” says Lucius. “Everything I’ve done, I’ve done it out of love for you.” But what’s done is done — and the Queen orders him out of her sight and out of her life. His career in the palace is officially over, and Lucius is appropriately embarrassed, shamed into contemplating suicide.
However, Ted offers him a way to make up for having crossed the Queen. The solution? Taking the fall for the King’s death, a means of giving Helena some much-needed closure. “There’s a final thing you can do for your Queen,” he murmurs. “Our nation suffered a great blow when Simon died, and with no killer brought to justice, the wound refuses to heal… She needs this.” And with that, Lucius is convinced — and falsely confesses to the crime.
However, the Queen isn’t buying it — she knows Lucius too well. She tells Cyrus as much but lies to the twins about the king’s killer being found. “He’s confessed,” she tells them. “He’s in custody… Maybe now we can begin to heal.”
NEXT: Mandy makes her motive known
The twins seem to accept the news, and Eleanor trots off to spend some QT with her main Mandy. She’s not as brave as she appears to be, she tells Mandy, but her deceased father would “be glad I’ve finally found someone I really like.” After all, given that she decided to appear publicly with Mandy at the African honoree event, it seems like she’s all in. Unfortunately for her, though, Mandy has other ideas and tells Jasper in a later scene that she’s decided to move up the timeline for their big plan. So what scheme do these two have in mind anyway?
It turns out Jasper had originally sought work at the palace with an eye on getting his hands on the royal diamond that Cyrus wore a few episodes back. “The prince and princesses’ birthday party is the perfect opportunity,” she says. “So pack your bags, baby, because we’re stealing that diamond, and we’re getting the hell out of here together.
Um, I guess she doesn’t know that there’s one heck of a curse on that big rock?
Liz’s best lines:
“Thanks to this photo you’re now the poster child for the LGBTQ movement. What the hell does the Q stand for?”
“How’s our deputy prime minister? Still clawing your way to the middle?”
Real-life royal reference score: 1 (Although the acting prime minister tried to rock some bling of her own, it looked teeny-tiny compared to Helena’s massive diamonds. Why shouldn’t the queen have the biggest bling in all the land?)