Helena and Eleanor do some serious bonding as the shady story behind Domino's origins is revealed
Credit: E!
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O-M-G. Talk about secrets revealed: In the latest episode of The Royals, Helena finally told her daughter all about her humble beginnings, while the semi-shocking truth about Domino — what it is and what it stands for — finally came to light. Get your tea cups, and let’s get started, shall we?

First things first: After a few weeks jam-packed with mention of the twins’ birthday, it’s actually their freakin’ birthday! Woo hoo! However, after last week’s turn of events, excitement in the palace is basically at an all-time low. With Jasper and Liam reviewing party footage in hopes that it will help shed the truth behind the mysterious blonde connected to Domino, Eleanor and Helena are each in their bedrooms, mourning the end of their respective relationships. Helena, however, gets a rude awakening when the Duchess — a swank-looking Joan Collins wearing black velvet gloves over her iron fists — comes by and wakes her up. (Rather rudely, I might add.) “The monarchy is a brand. Promote it, protect it, or go out of business,” she says, peering down her overly masacara’d lashes at her daughter, who’s still wearing the clothes and makeup from the day before. (Shocking, right?)

This sparks Helena to action, though not the way you might think. Faced with her mother’s outrageous lack of compassion and microscopic attention to all things related to the monarchy, Helena decides to give her Eleanor an extraordinary birthday gift: her time. Although Eleanor probably would have turned her nose up and reached for the blow at the mention of some mommy-daughter time, Helena wisely broaches the subject of QT by asking her daughter if she’d like to see Charlie Jones.

It turns out that Charlie Jones is Eleanor’s beloved horse, and over a horseback ride and a stroll through the beautiful palace gardens, Helena tells Eleanor all about her humble past as a girl who wanted nothing more than to be married to the local boy who worked as the help on her family’s farm. All of this comes as huge revelation to Eleanor, who slowly realizes that she and her mother had more in common than she’d ever thought. But what about the fact that Helena slept with Jasper? Helena explains it off by saying that she was trying to protect Eleanor — and her heart. Now she sees the error of her ways, Helena says, and wants her daughter to “have a chance at love.” Awww. Also, this: “You say no one will love you for who you really are,” she tells Eleanor. “Someone already does. I do. I always have, and I always will.” Seriously, all the feels. It’s enough to make a girl want to forgive her mom for everything, and Eleanor seems to, which makes this a mother-daughter bonding session for the ages.

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While Helena is showing off her softer side and doing her best to make up for her transgressions as a parent, the Duchess — or “Duchy,” as Eleanor affectionately calls her — is doing what she does best. No, not picking out jewelry or ordering around the servants: cozying up to the crown. Well aware that Cyrus is hook, line, and sinker into his lady, the Duchess counsels him that he better dump the help if he wants to get on the good side of the aristocracy. “Ditch the bitch,” she says.

NEXT: Domino’s story (nope, not the pizza place)

However, Cyrus isn’t feeling that idea and says that he’s going to try winning over the public Violet’s way, which is by telling the truth about his illness in a TV broadcast. I know, I know — the words “truth” and “Cyrus” don’t quite belong together. However, after initially shrugging off Violet’s proposal, he’s super into it — even though he’s feeling a bit rejected since she hasn’t said “I love you” back to him.

Still, Violet’s heart is in the right place — and she proves it when, in a later scene, she tells Cyrus that she feels the same way and runs out to go get him a keepsake her grandmother gave her as a little girl. If it worked for her back in the day, why wouldn’t it work for a 45-year-old man before a national broadcast, right? That’s the power of logical reasoning, people. So off Violet goes, all perfectly curled hair and brand-new pricey shoes.

While Cyrus is busy prepping for his tell-all telecast, Liam and Pryce are busily working on figuring out the 411 on Domino. (Though neither of them knows that the other is playing detective, natch.) Admittedly, Pryce has a head start, since at the top of the episode, he gets a invitation from a Domino-marked envelope to meet at a strange home at a designated time. He goes, gun in hand, and what does he find? An innocent-looking dude stirring a pot of potato leek soup in the kitchen. I don’t know about you, but that is not what I envisioned a violent anti-monarchist and the head of Domino to look like.

It turns out that the guy isn’t concerned with taking down the monarchy for political reasons: His agenda is strictly revenge-driven. Here’s the scoop: Domino was his deceased sister Dominique. Nicknamed Domino, she was “kind, clever, and elegant,” loved by everyone, and especially the former King Simon. It turns out that in their youth, Simon and Domino were sweethearts, and Simon was set on marrying her until Domino, a competitive horseback rider, was thrown from her horse after a competition. Although there was a formal investigation into her death, the circumstances of her passing were mysterious — and since the King married very soon afterward (in order to boost public morale and reverse the effects of a really bad recession), our mystery man has had a long-simmering agenda against Simon and wanted to take him and the entire royal family d-o-w-n for years. In fact, he’s made avenging Domino’s death into a family enterprise, even enlisting his daughter, the cute blonde whom Liam remembered as standing over him during the kidnapping, for help.

It’s worth noting that the daughter has a little more to add to the story of Dominique’s death after her riding competition, which she shares with Liam after he successfully tracks her down.

“Liam, your mother’s family hosted the event. They planned the whole thing,” she says of that fateful competition, implying that Helena’s family was behind it. “My dad, his whole family destroyed. Emotionally, financially, everything. Proving Dominique was killed, getting justice — it’s the family business.”

NEXT: Helena snaps back to her old self

Also, here’s something of interest: Both she and her dad deny having anything to do with either King Simon or Robert’s deaths. In fact, her dad seems 100 percent certain that Pryce killed the king. But did he? Pryce says nothing to incriminate himself, and with no proof offered up, it’s a hard sell.

In any case, Helena is careful — maybe too careful — to leave out any mention of Dominique when she recounts her own love story to Eleanor, implying that when the King suddenly became single, she found herself on a short list of prospective wives and, under pressure from her mother, reluctantly ditched her long-time love and married the King. But could she have had something to do with Dominique’s death? Could she have poisoned Dominique’s horse? Is there more to the story than Helena is sharing? It certainly looks that way, especially when later, as Eleanor is poring over old photos of Helena, Liam strolls in and realizes that a ripped-up photo of Helena next to a horse seems to be the missing half to a photo of Simon and Dominique looking all lovey-dovey. The motive is all over Helena’s face in that old photo, since she’s giving serious side eye and looks totally jealous. Hmm.

It’s obvious that, though Helena was seemingly in mommy mode during her time with Eleanor, she hasn’t given up any of her old tricks — something which is all too apparent at the close of the episode. How, you may ask? On being told by the Duchess that Cyrus plans to propose to his maid-turned-consort — a prospect that would leave Violet as queen should Cyrus die — Helena kicks into high gear, ditching the laid-back look (which still includes fur and jewels, mind you) for a velvet gown and egg-sized diamonds that she wears while standing in the great room as Cyrus gives his TV broadcast. And guess what: Violet, as fate would have it, is nowhere to be found. Could Helena have had something to do with Violet taking just a wee bit long to go grab her grandma’s keepsake? In any case, the broadcast couldn’t have gone any better if she had planned it, since Cyrus — PO’d over Violet’s absence — turns his planned confessional into a full-blown kiss off. With a king bordering on tyrannical and the public in a sour mode, it looks like Helena’s plan for a monarchical takeover is back on track. (If a possible connection to Domino isn’t exposed first!)

Liz’s best lines:

“The only thing more offensive than you throwing a bottle of vodka at my head is this paltry brand.”

“People are always telling me what an ungrateful spoiled little brat you are. You have been given all the material things in life, that’s true. But perhaps I should have given you more of myself.”

“She could break the spirit of any animal, human or otherwise. You’ve never seen that side of your grandmother… Her anger can be terrifying.”

Real-life royal reference score: 2 (Of course Eleanor’s most prized possession is a horse — how regal of her! Also, tea on a marble table outside? Come on, now!)

So who do you think is really to blame for Domino’s death? Is Violet gone for good? Could Cyrus fall into another downward spiral — one that he might not ever recover from? And was it just me, or did I sense some sparks between Liam and Domino’s beautiful blonde niece?

Episode Recaps

The Royals
2015 TV Series
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