Archive for May, 2010

For avid Sex in the City fans, I have to sadly report that the long awaited sequel was a bit like “jumping the shark”.  Of course, in the true spirit of the series, it had the usual glamour, the gorgeous fashion (although some WAS a bit too much), the wonderful friendships between the four women, and it updated us on what married life is like for Carrie and “Big”.  Unfortunately, for those of us hoping for a plot we could sink our teeth into, this was not to be.

The beginning of the movie was actually a lot of fun, doing a sort of retro thing, Carrie takes us back to how and when she first met Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha.  It was quite hilarious, actually, and it really made you think the movie was off to a great start.

The movie kicks into high gear with an enormously over the top wedding for Stanford and Anthony.  It’s touching and humorous in parts, but mostly I found myself wincing and slinking down in my seat as Liza Minelli did a rendition of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” as an after wedding performance.  It was pretty painful to watch her using the same moves as Beyonce does in her video.  I know Liza was great in her time, and she still has great legs, but in my opinion, it’s not the sort of thing I want to see her doing.

Carrie starts to realize that her married life has settled into a sort of hum-drum routine, with no “sparkle”, Miranda is feeling very taken for granted at her job, Charlotte is feeling the pressures of motherhood overwhelming her, and Samantha is struggling with aging and menopause, but not going down without a fight.

Other cameos besides Liza Minelli include Miley Cyrus, who shows up to Smith Jarrod’s premiere in the same glittering cocktail dress as Samantha, and Penelope Cruz plays a banker who flirts with and chats up “Big”.

As the girls decide to take the plunge and make their way to Abu Dhabi (first class all the way, of course), things come up, such as Charlotte worrying about Harry cheating on her with the nanny and Carrie pondering over “rules” for marriages and what is appropriate and what is not.

When they arrive in Abu Dhabi, you instantly start to get a sense of the movie just being plain overdone and everything starts to look like a fantasy Disney movie.  It’s all just way too much.

Miranda instantly becomes a motivated planner during their trip, and I have to say, it’s nice to see her smile so much and have such a zest for life again.  It’s a side to her that I really enjoyed watching.  Charlotte becomes obsessed with reaching Harry, to ensure he is not cheating with the nanny.  Samantha’s vitamins and hormonal supplements get confiscated which leads to low libido and hot flashes.  Carrie is still pondering how to be married and still have sparkle when she runs into ex-boyfriend Aidan at a marketplace.

Things quickly go south from there.  They REALLY could have done without the scene where the four women get up and sing “I Am Woman,” on karoake.  HORRID.  What’s worse, is that they actually overdubbed and smoothed out all the wrinkles in their voices to have this overproduced, cheesy sound.  NOT a good moment for the usually fabulous ladies.  They could have at the very least picked a better song.

One of my favorite parts in the movie, is an ironically touching moment where Charlotte and Miranda confide in eachother about the hardships of parenthood.  It’s really wonderful, as throughout the series, they had always been at odds with eachother, especially about that particular topic.  It’s heartwarming to see them coming together and bonding over it.

And then… it hits bottom.  Carrie and Aidan kiss and she completely freaks out, not knowing if she should tell Big and worrying that she will lose him if she does, Samantha gets arrested for inappropriate behavior (gee, couldn’t see that one coming!), and as a result of Samantha’s arrest, the Sheik drops his business with Samantha and they have to high tail it out of the hotel in a hurry!  Carrie decides to tell Big about her kiss with Aidan and he responds by cutting her off and not speaking to her.  After lots more cheesiness and a lot of crazy stunts (like Samantha losing it in the middle of the marketplace and flashing condoms at the conservative Muslims), the finally get on the plane to go home.  Whew!

Back in New York, Big is no where to be found.  Carrie sweats it out.  Meanwhile, Charlotte finds that she is happy to be home after her break, Miranda finds that she CAN be a lot of fun, and Samantha is only too happy to have her vitamins back!

Big finally returns…. it’s a very good part of the movie, so I won’t spoil it, but it helps to make up for the previous lack of meaning throughout the movie.

The movie ends the usual Carrie way, with her insight and showing some changes in the lives of the four women, but somehow you left the theater feeling like if they were going to go to the trouble of making a sequel they really should have done a hell of a lot more with the two and a half hours that they wasted telling us nothing we didn’t already know.

All in all, Sex in the City fans, I would wait until it comes out on DVD.  There are some great laughs, and some good moments, but it’s an unfortunate fact that we really could have done without this sequel.


Ah, fellow Tudors fans…. this episode seemed like such an anticlimax for me after all the craziness that Catherine Howard brought to the show.  I guess it had to slow down sometime, right?

Episode 6 of this new season starts with Mary rushing to tell Elizabeth that they have both been restored to the succession by an act of Parliment.  Mary is clearly overjoyed, but Elizabeth is hesitant.  When Mary asks her what is troubling her, she tells her that after what had happened to Queen Catherine, “as God as my witness I shall never marry.”  We all know historically that Elizabeth did indeed keep her promise, much to the dismay of many who tried to woo her or talk her into marriage, lol!

Meanwhile, the politics are getting sticky, as Eustace Chapuys comes to King Henry with an offer from King Charles for an alliance against the French.  Henry, always the opportunist, speaks with the French ambassador in an effort to investigate King Francis’ intentions.  When the ambassador “insults” Henry, he makes his decision.  He decides to order the Scots to break with their French alliance and acknowledge England’s suzerainty over them, giving  them one last chance before sending his troops to Scotland.   It’s clear that Henry has decided in favor of an alliance with the Spanish Emperor.

The Earl of Surrey very faithfully continues to be a very unpredictable character!  While playing cards at court, his opponent reveals that they were both related to the late queen and decides to chastize him and his family for turning a blind eye to the queen’s wanton and disreputable behavior.  He uses the term, “you Howards” to the ornery Earl, who takes it personally enough to bash the unsuspecting man in the head with a pitcher and beat him until  fellow courtiers pull him off, shouting that he will cut the man’s “fucking tongue out.”  Interesting.  In Tudor times, it was considered almost unthinkable to have violence like that at court, and it’s clear that Bishop Gardiner surely wants Surrey punished, but Henry sees fit to release him, as he would rather have him fighting in Scotland.

Finally, we come to meet Lady Latimer, aka Catherine Parr.  Lord Latimer is fearful of a shadow of treason hanging over his family for events that occured during the Northern Rebellion.  He invites Thomas Seymour to visit so he can ask him to make a submission on his behalf to the King, speaking of his loyalty. It’s clear that the man is very ill and is barely functioning and the stress and fear of being found treasonous is not helping.  For her part, Catherine seems to be a very patient and kind nurse to him, but we quickly learn that she is already making plans for her future.  A future that includes marrying Thomas Seymour.

In Scotland, Surrey is quite successful in battle and manages to capture several of the Scottish nobles.  He takes them back to London with him as captives.

In a meeting, Henry is only too happy to inform his council that the battle of Solway Moss was a great victory.  He also informs them that King James died, leaving his wife and new daughter behind, which means that Scotland has only a female heir to the throne.

Henry decides to have the Lady Mary preside over the Christmas festivities.  Prince Edward also has his first public duties.

The paranoid King also decides to confront Thomas Seymour for his remarks regarding his handling of the Earl of Surrey.  This unfortunately for Thomas, foreshadows some future disfavor from Henry.

Prince Edward is presented before the Scottish noblemen, and afterwards, the Earl of Hertford presents them with a proposal to marry the prince with the Scottish princess, uniting their countries through marriage.

The Christmas celebration is where Michael Hirst chooses to introduce Henry to Catherine Parr.  The shrewd king quickly assesses Thomas Seymour’s attraction to her and decides to make him squirm.  He commands an audience with Catherine, supposedly to speak with her about clearing Lord Latimer’s name of treason.  You can see the wheels turning in his about her already.

Unfortunately, for the long suffering Duke of Suffolk, Henry decides to chastise him for staying away from court too long, telling him, “You can be too careful, Your Grace.”  Charles quickly understands what the king means and submits to his will as always.  Henry asks him to do him a favor.  He orders Charles to bring a secret treaty to Embassador Chapuys, forming an alliance between Henry and King Charles.  Henry promises to support the Emperor whenever asked to do so and also vows to invade France.

When the King finally meets with Catherine Parr, he quickly assures her that there is no suspicion of treason against her husband or her family, which she is relieved to hear.  He realizes as he speaks to her that she is a very kind woman, intelligent and loyal.  The wheels in Henry’s head continue to turn.. round and round they go!!

Of course, this would not be the Tudor times, if one religion wasn’t trying to burn another for “heresy”.  Bishop Gardiner is determined to “flush” out the heretics and punish them all.  Gotta love all the crazy ambition in the name of saving a religion or faith.

Poor Catherine Parr.  She is now getting the usual King Henry wooing treatment, having gifts sent to her.  Pretty ballsy, considering her husband wasn’t even dead yet!  For her part, she seems pretty overwhelmed and scared by the attention.  Who wouldn’t be, at this point?  The man has been through five wives, for crying out loud, lol!

King Henry signs the treaty between himself and King Charles.  It’s official.  The Duke of Suffolk then presents the French embassador with an official declaration of war against France.  Needless to say, it was not well received.

Bishop Gardiner informs the king that he has found a “nest of heretics” and asks the king’s permission to arrest them and “examine” them closely, which obviously means torture.  A man named Tesswood is somehow connected to the Earl of Hertford and goes to him for help.  Edward Seymour shows no mercy, and his wife, Anne Stanhope, shows even less by threatening Tesswood, telling him things will go badly for his family if he mentions the Seymours in any way.  Such craziness!  So many subplots!!!  It’s getting to be a bit much packed into one episode, don’t you think?

Catherine meets with Thomas one last time.  They both know what getting gifts from the King means.  She is very alarmed, as she does NOT want to be queen.  But, how can anyone say no to the KING?  The king invites her over for dinner.  The more he is in her company, it’s very clear he likes her quite a bit.

Catherine thanks the king for the generous gifts, insisting she did nothing to deserve such things.  He explains he just wanted to give her good cheer.  She doesn’t look convinced, and frankly, neither am I.  The king asks her to play cards, where Mary and Chapuys notice Catherine might be next in line for the title of queen.

Catherine wins the card game, and Henry gifts her with a ring, which he insists she accept for “his sake.”  Thomas Seymour sees the exchange and realizes he is not going to be able to marry Catherine after all.  Ever the schemer, the king sends Thomas away to Brussels on permanent embassy.  OUCH!  That had to hurt!!!!

Lord Latimer is finally about to pass on.  His health is just about giving out.  They are saying his last rights and Catherine is looking both relieved for it all to be over and sad.  Here’s something I don’t quite understand.  She desperately tries to tell him “something” and he leans over and tells her to go to hell.. then dies.  What is THAT all about?  There has never been any evidence that Lord Latimer held any ill will towards his wife.  What is Michael Hirst trying to say with this?

Of course, the final scene is Edward Seymour, entering Catherine Parr’s home, offering the king’s hand in marriage.  Boy, he really didn’t waste any time!  The body was barely cold!  Pretty incredible stuff.

Tales from episode 7 coming soon!

****All pictures for this post were found on the site – Showtime’s Tudors Wiki (which has been SUPER helpful to me!) .

Being a fan of Marilyn Monroe since I was about 10 years old, I have to weigh in on the new movies portraying her.  My very honest first instincts?  Uneasy… skeptical…cynical… and defensive.  Marilyn has been portrayed several times in movies now, and I feel that most of them only barely touch on who she really was.  People only want to see the tragedies and the drama and believe the rumors and legends about her, they don’t want to know who the person inside actually was.  And, it’s sad.  Because she was very beautiful.  More so inside than out, and it’s extremely clear she was stunning on the outside.

The movie Naomi Watts is to star in is based on the book, “Blonde,” by Joyce Carol Oates, which happens to be ficitional.  While I understand it’s pure fiction, it still angers me a little to read it.  I feel it does an injustice to Marilyn.  But, I guess, people have a right to fictionalize whatever they want, right?  Maybe I am a bit biased with this particular movie to start with, but I also have my reservations about Naomi Watts as Marilyn.  I really just don’t see it.  Here is a promo pic… you be the judge.

Compare with the real Marilyn:

While it is known that wonders can be done with makeup to make a person look similar to someone else, will Naomi have what it takes to actually portray one of the most photographed women to ever live?  It’s not just looking like her, it’s a whole lot more.  There was no one like Marilyn and for fans like me, it’s hard to watch if it’s not quite right.

Michelle Williams is to star in a movie as Marilyn as well.  “My Week With Marilyn,” documents the time Marilyn spent in England while filming “The Prince and the Showgirl” with Laurence Olivier in 1957.  I am more interested in seeing this movie than in seeing “Blonde.”  Most likely, the reason is because it’s a more fact based movie, rather than the stereo-typical washed up sex symbol movie most people insist on doing about Marilyn.  I am not sure what to think of Michelle Williams portraying Marilyn yet…. here is a pic of Michelle Williams, and one of Marilyn.  You be the judge…. which one do you think will make a better Marilyn?

Compare with the real Marilyn:

I somehow can’t help but feel that Michelle Williams may be able to give Marilyn more depth than Naomi Watts.  Oh, and did anyone sort of think it’s strange that two women who had serious relationships with the late Heath Ledger are now starring in the same role, only different movies?  Strange coincidence, or are the publicists using this to have a field day and create buzz?  Again.. something to ponder….

The casting of Catherine Howard was fun and very easy.  I was actually amazed at how easy it was.  I have quite a few choices for her and I am going to share them all!

Catherine Howard was Henry VIII’s fifth wife.  She had quite an unsupervised type of adolescence which ultimately led to her execution.

Henry fell hard for the young Catherine in the last remaining days of his marriage to Anne of Cleves.   He thought she was everything he could possibly hope for in a wife.  Unfortunately, the King would find out he was terribly wrong in this assumption.  She was small and slender, with auburn hair, and was said to be kind yet frivolous and empty headed.

Here is an actual pic/painting of Catherine Howard:

Here are the actresses I picked to portray Catherine Howard.

My first choice is Erika Christensen.  I have seen her play a wide variety of roles and believe that she could play this role quite well.  She has played the out of control teenager before, in the movie, “Traffic,” and I really believe she would do Catherine justice.

My second choice is Mena Suvari.  I have also seen her play the rebellious teenager well onscreen.  Her role in “American Beauty” is what really leads me to believe she could play the seductive young girl and really capture that sexual essence that Catherine had even as young as she was.

My third choice is Amanda Detmer.  She has a very sunny, youthful appearance and I think she would make a good Catherine.

I have two other actresses who I had given some thought to, and although I am not entirely sure they would be right for the role, I will post their pics anyway.  They are Rachel McAdams and Dakota Fanning.

When Henry married Catherine, he had a medal struck to commemorate the occasion.  He quickly dubbed her his “Rose without a thorn.”  Little did he know at the time how much he would come to regret calling her that!  The young girl had absolutely no idea how to be a Queen of England and it was very apparent to everyone that the only thing she did know how to do was to “make merry and dance.”  She broke the king’s heart when he learned of her adultery and she became the second of Henry’s wives to lose her head.

Catherine’s motto was “No other will but his,” and her badge was a crowned Tudor rose.  She was only a mere 17 years old when she was executed for treason at the Tower of London.

Episode 5 of the final season, very aptly named, “The Bottom of the Pot,” brings us to the end of the young Catherine Howard’s life.

It is an EXTREMELY quick rundown of actual events that took place during this time period, but such is the way of this series.  The opening scene is Henry, showing Edward Seymour the letter that was sent to him, demanding to know what the letter is all about.  Edward seems just as puzzled as the King  as to the young queen’s past.  Being ever careful and paranoid, Henry tells the Earl of Hertford to investigate the matter thoroughly and to not stop until he reaches “the bottom of the pot.”

Catherine is quickly confined to her chambers with only Lady Rochford to attend her at Henry’s command.  Quickly, witnesses are rounded up, and Francis Derham is arrested.   It is clear that Henry does not believe at this time that Catherine is guilty, but still he is waiting on the results of the investigation to make his judgements.   The young queen is determined to find a way to speak to the King, sure that he will listen to her if he sees her.  It’s sad really, because this way of thinking, was actually quite true.  Henry could never get rid of someone who could get to him and speak to him… he almost always would relent.  Such is why, historically, when someone in the Tudor times was about meet their end, Henry would isolate himself from the person, often times leaving to get away.

Henry meets with his council and unfortunately, to his humiliation, finds that all the charges against Catherine are true.  What they don’t know about at this point, is that she had been having an affair with Thomas Culpepper.  They are only investigating claims about her past music teacher, Henry Mannox, and her prior relationship with Francis Derham.

When Thomas Seymour comes to tell the terrified girl of her fate, that she is no longer queen of England, that she will be taken to Syon Abbey and placed under house arrest, and that everything she has is forfeit, Catherine gets hysterical.  What happens next has been debated for years by historians.  According to legend, Catherine gets free of the men who are guarding her in an effort to find Henry.  She runs frantically to the chapel in Hampton Court to find him, screaming his name.  Just as she sees him, she is dragged away, beseeching him to look at her, to speak to her.  Michael Hirst chooses to use this particular legend in his series, which I think adds a poignancy and makes you feel a bit sorry for the young girl.  Henry does seem to be a bit moved, however, and sends Bishop Gardiner to interrogate Catherine.

Meanwhile, they continue to torture Francis Derham, sure there is more to his story than he is telling.  (Well, that and Edward Seymour just loved to use torture, LOL!

Being a girl who wasn’t so bright to begin with, Catherine is given a way out, she is presented with a merciful bargain from Henry, only to continue lying and maintain her complete innocence.  She is devastated and broken and it is quite plain that she is not thinking clearly, whatsoever.  You are reminded that indeed, this is a young girl who really didn’t know what she was doing, really did not have the good sense to realize she had done herself in.  Her stories changed from day to day, they varied, first confessing things and then vehemently denying them, laughing them off.  It is my opinion, she was afraid to commit to anything for fear it would kill her, but in the end, she was to die anyway.

The Bishop Gardiner brings Henry the queen’s “confession,” however, Edward Seymour and the Duke of Suffolk have other suspicions.  Edward finally gets Francis Derham to crack under torture, giving him Thomas Culpepper’s name.  Then, all hell breaks loose.  At first, Henry was content with being able to annul the marriage.  Now, he would not be so generous.  It turns into this horrible “he said,” “she said,” triangle between Lady Rochford, Thomas Culpepper, and Catherine Howard.  It’s almost sad how they throw poor Lady Rochford under the bus, blaming her, saying she acted like a madame in a brothel.  Poor woman.  Wrong place, wrong time… ALWAYS.

Edward Seymour then has the unfortunate job of informing Henry that he has indeed scraped “the bottom of the pot.”  Henry is enraged (duh), and decides to have his just revenge on “that wicked bitch”.  The real twist in the knife is when Seymour reads Catherine’s letter to Culpepper to the king.  OUCH!!!!!  If Henry wasn’t such a tyrant, I would feel so sorry for him!  Of course, in typical Henry VIII fashion, he blames everyone but himself.  Didn’t we see that one coming?

Can someone explain to me just WTH is going on with this crap????  (See above picture)  Michael Hirst goes to the trouble to insinuate that Anne Stanhope’s  son Thomas is indeed her brother-in-law’s son, not her husband Edward’s?  Interesting touch, I guess.  You never know, lol!

Poor Lady Rochford.  She has gone mad, and Henry still wants her dead.  Henry is out for blood and even stoops to chiding the Duke of Suffolk at every turn for his involvement in “putting the queen before his notice.”   It’s kind of maddening how one person refused to ever take responsibility for his own actions.

I really love how Michael Hirst can turn a gruesome death into almost this most moving and beautiful moment.  You hear Catherine’s voice reciting her letter to Culpepper and her testimony about him and Francis Derham…. meanwhile you see Culpepper and Derham going to their deaths.  You see a young, vulnerable girl, dancing as if she were still at court, getting the feeling that she is in a whole other world… far away from her troubles.  As you hear her voice and as she dances, Culpepper is beheaded, Derham, hung, drawn and quartered.  I can’t say I was sad to see either of them go.

Catherine is brought to the Tower of London by the Duke of Suffolk.  Of course, Henry orders her death and gets an act of attainder to be able to execute the Lady Rochford as well.  Informed of her impending death, Catherine requests that the block be brought to her so that she may practice how to place her head and “make trial of it.”  Brave girl.  I don’t think I would have done the same.  But, I guess one doesn’t really know how you would act unless you were in that situation, correct?

And so we come to the end of this episode.  First mistake Michael Hirst made, and I am not entirely sure why, was that he had poor Lady Rochford executed first.  This is not fact.  Catherine Howard was executed before her Maid of Honor.

In the end, Michael Hirst let Catherine go out in a blaze of glory.  There is another legend concerning the queen that her last words were, “I die a queen, but would rather die a wife of Culpepper.”  This was found to be historically inaccurate, but Michael Hirst chooses to use it anyway, to sort of show us, that this was really the type of girl that Catherine was.  And, so ends the life of wife #5.

Stay tuned for episode six!

****All pictures for this post were found on the sites – Admiring Tamzin Merchant  – and Showtime’s Tudors Wiki (which has been SUPER helpful to me!) .

The casting of Anne of Cleves was an incredibly difficult one.  In the end, I could only find two women whom I thought came close to representing her well enough.  Anne of Cleves traveled from Germany to become Henry VIII’s fourth wife.  Little did she know what she was in for!  I would imagine the girl was overwhelmed and a bit scared to say the least.  After all, she spoke almost no English, and had little means to communicate with the King.

Anne of Cleves did show that she had intelligence.  She learned English quickly.  When the King of England proposed a divorce, she quickly did her homework and learned from her predecessors.  She gave the King what he asked for and received a generous settlement from him for her cooperation.

Here is an actual pic of Anne of Cleves:

Here are the actresses that I picked to portray Anne of Cleves.

First, I went with another choice of Michael Hirst’s.  I think he sees some really wonderful potential in a person that not everyone would think of to choose for a particular role.   I chose Joss Stone.  I think she truly illustrates the way Anne of Cleves most likely was in life.  She really seems to get all of the subtle nuances that became Anne after she divorced from Henry, and does a very good job of showing the sort of grace one would have if they were raised as a princess.

My next choice is Julia Stiles.  Although she does not traditionally have dark hair like Anne of Cleves, I have seen her with darker hair and I believe she would be a good fit.  I think she would give Anne of Cleves the same sort of inner intelligence and glow that Joss Stone does.

When Henry VIII first laid eyes on Anne of Cleves, he was not pleased to find he had been mislead by his trusted advisor, Thomas Cromwell.  “I like her not,” were the King’s words.   She was, however, found to be one of the most “sweet, gracious, and humane queens they had ever had.”  She was queen for a mere six months.

Anne’s choice of badge was the insignia of the Duchy of Cleves and her motto was “God send me well to keep.”  She was the only one of Henry’s wives to live after being discarded by him.  Although she treasured her relationships with Mary and Elizabeth Tudor, she never had any children of her own.

(Picture taken by me at VIP soundcheck on Sunday, August 9th, 2009 at the Cabooze in Minneapolis, MN)

I have to confess, Daughtry is one of my current favorite bands.  I have seen them in concert twice now, and will see them a third time this coming Wednesday, May 19th at the Target Center in Minneapolis.  My friends and I have front row, and I couldn’t be more excited!

As most people know, Daughtry appeared on American Idol last Wednesday night.  They performed “September,” which is a track off of their latest album, “Leave This Town.”  This particular song holds a special place in Chris Daughtry’s heart, as it is a reminiscence of his childhood.  It is a personal favorite of mine as well.

I was surprised to see that Chris Daughtry looked so nervous during his performance.  When I have seen him in concert, he seems to be so at home on the stage.  He looked like the shy newbie he was when he first performed on American Idol.  It was kind of endearing to know that after a lot of touring and two wonderful albums, he is not jaded.

Looking forward to May 19th!  It cannot come fast enough for me!

For all you Doors fans out there, this one is NOT to be missed!  “When You’re Strange,” a documentary about The Doors is being broadcast tonight, on your local PBS station at 8pm CST.  It’s narrated by Johnny Depp, whom I also happen to be a huge fan of!  Could this get any better?  I am sure it’s been edited for TV and all that, but if you are one of thousands of fans out there who were bummed that this wasn’t playing in a theater ANYWHERE near you, this is total win!!!!

Here is what the director of the movie wrote:

“The story of The Doors is one of the most compelling in the history of American rock music; three hugely talented musicians and a lead singer whose commitment to artistic freedom was so intense he rocketed them to a success that always hovered on the edge of chaos. As an independent filmmaker this sensibility affected me greatly.”
– Tom DiCillo, director and writer, When You’re Strange

I think that says quite a bit, don’t you, ladies and gentlemen???

“The movie will begin in five moments
The mindless voice announced
All those unseated will await the next show.

We filed slowly, languidly into the hall
The auditorium was vast and silent
As we seated and were darkened, the voice continued.

The program for this evening is not new
You’ve seen this entertainment through and through
You’ve seen your birth your life and death
You might recall all of the rest
Did you have a good world when you died?
Enough to base a movie on?”

(Lyrics from The Movie by The Doors)

More lyrics:

Here is a link for more info:’reStrange

Haunted by the past…. it would be a very apt way to describe episode 4 of The Tudors’ new season.  For, throughout this episode, there are ghosts from the past everywhere.

This episode starts with Henry’s progress taking him to Pontefract Castle in York, the only castle the rebels in the North had succeeded in taking over during the Pilgrimage of Grace.  They receive a warm welcome, which makes Henry very happy and he feels invigorated.  Unfortunately, for Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, the Northern progress is not such a happy one.  It is filled with moments of betrayal, unhappiness and regrets.  He is feeling haunted by his guilt for carrying out the King’s orders during the great rebellion against his own conscience.

The King sends for Catherine, intending to try again for another heir.  Catherine, for her part is already starting to make excuses not to sleep with Henry.  She can only think of seeing Thomas Culpepper and does so shortly after spending time with the King.  One cannot help but think this girl definitely pushes her luck in a most careless way!

Once again, the people of the North seek forgiveness from King Henry for their earlier transgressions and once again, the King benevolently forgives them.  The Lady Mary leads the cheering and happy crowd in a prayer.  It’s wonderful to see Henry recognizing Catherine of Aragon’s natural dignity and grace in Mary.  I think at this point, it almost gives him comfort.

The young and frivolous queen is also being haunted by her past as Francis Dereham comes to court, blackmailing her into giving him a position of favor.  She appoints him her private secretary and usher.

Later, at dinner, Catherine informs the King that she appointed a new private secretary and usher to her chambers.  Henry laughs it off, thinking it silly that she would need a secretary.

At the very same dinner, while toasting the young queen, Charles Brandon notices something is not quite right between her and the young Culpepper.  We see a bit of foreshadowing of what is to come!

Francis Dereham, for his part, doesn’t seem to care about the inherent dangers of his lewd behavior.  He saunters in, taunting Joan Bulmer about the past, kissing her as he leaves to find himself somewhere to sleep.  He’s rather slimy and I won’t be sad to see him go when his time is up!

The ghost of Lord Darcy pays the Duke of Suffolk a visit.  Charles asks forgiveness for his betrayal and receives none.  You feel so sorry for him, for it is so clear that he is a broken man.  His allegiance to his King above everything else has taken its toll on him.  It’s so sad to see him broken and crying!

One heartwarming spot in this episode is that Michael Hirst shows us the growing relationship between Elizabeth and her brother Edward.  She is helping him with his lessons and spending time helping to guide him.  She tells him how she would like him to be a just ruler and assures him he will be a great king.  It’s so sweet and touching, and also a very true part of history.  They did love eachother very much.

Paying Catherine a visit, Culpepper decides to confront her about Francis’ presence as her new usher.  Of course, she behaves indignantly, in order to defend herself, informing him that she has a “store of other lovers” besides him.  It seems to work, for Culpepper endeavors to keep his distance for a short while.

Unfortunately for the now very beleaguered queen, Francis is making scenes at meals, embarassing her in front of her other ladies and gentlemen of her chamber.  Lady Rochford questions Joan about his “familiar” ways and is not pleased to discover that it is a large part of his personality.  It’s pretty sickening what a giant ass this guy makes of himself and once again, I cannot help but be glad he will soon meet his end.

Elizabeth goes into Prince Edward’s chamber to kiss him goodnight and finds that he is dangerously ill.  She immediately calls for Lady Bryant who sends for Lord Hertford.  If Edward were to die, it could unseat the entire Tudor Dynasty.  The Earl of Hertford delays in sending for the King, hoping the Prince’s fever will soon break.  The poor little thing.  He looks so helpless in his big bed and all they can do is pray for his health to return.

Catherine decides she has been away from Culpepper for far too long and asks Lady Rochford to send a message to him, asking him to meet her.  When Culpepper finally meets with her, he makes her promise to get rid of Dereham.  She does so willingly, telling him once they reach London, she will dismiss him.

The Earl of Surrey continues to be a sort of anarchistic character, writing poetry, some of it rather eloquent, some of it rather insulting, often speaking to the Duke of Suffolk about the way the nobility SHOULD be, how the men of low and vile birth are ruining the realm.  It’s almost as if he is living continually in the past, wishing for something beyond his grasp.  While he is brash and cocky, he is also melancholy and pensive.  Strange combination, but I am hoping that in the scheme of things, Michael Hirst is going somewhere with it.  Nevertheless, he is interesting to watch.  🙂

King Henry awaits his visit from the King of Scotland, only to find that he is not coming.  To make matters worse, the Scots cause an upheaval,  killing all who oppose them and destroying everything in their path.  It infuriates Henry, makes him feel like an utter fool and he decides to send troops to teach them a lesson.  In the midst of this awful moment, a messenger is finally sent to inform the King of Prince Edward’s illness.  He races off to Windsor Castle immediately.  He is shattered to find his sweet boy so ill, but I am sure he was also terrified beyond reason for the Tudor Dynasty as well.  He stays with Edward, not leaving his side.  Edward’s fever finally breaks, much to the rejoicing of everyone.

The last scene of this episode shows Bishop Gardiner leading a mass, giving thanks to God for Catherine.  You then see a letter being placed on the seat next to where the King is standing!  How ironic that at the very moment Henry is showing his thanks and happiness to have Catherine for his wife, he is about to receive news that she is NOTHING that he thought she was!

Stay tuned for more on this season of The Tudors!!!

****All pictures for this post were found on the sites – Admiring Tamzin Merchant  – and Showtime’s Tudors Wiki (which has been SUPER helpful to me!) .

My, oh my, but you can always count on Michael Hirst to make history work for his own purposes.  I have to say, though, if you are going to give historical events your own little twist, he certainly does it right!!!

Episode three of the new season is a bit more on the sentimental side, it shows Henry’s demeanor changing, softening in ways you wouldn’t expect from the aging and paranoid monarch.  The King is feeling well enough to be up and about, and he goes to see Queen Catherine immediately.  He makes it plain that he wants her to conceive his child as soon as possible.  Catherine, however, is developing very strong feelings for Thomas Culpepper.  They arrange to meet much more frequently as the time passes.

The Earl of Surrey is made a Knight of the Garter, much to the Seymour’s dismay, but I am lead to think that perhaps Edward Seymour sees it as keeping his enemy close in order to keep a better eye on him.  The Earl of Surrey is an increasingly proud and bawdy character, and I have to confess, he downright makes me laugh.  I think David O’Hara does a wonderful job at portraying him.

King Henry is first ecstatic to learn that Catherine is pregnant, only to be abruptly brought back down to earth when she explains later that she was mistaken.  He is very predictably NOT happy with her.  I do have to say, they are portraying Henry as possibly tiring of the young queen’s childish antics and not as interested in her.  Historically, this was NOT true.  Henry remained besotted with Catherine up until the moment it was proved to him that she had committed adultery.

Another diversion from history, although it does make one’s imagination run wild, is Henry paying a visit to Anne of Cleves and his daughter, Lady Elizabeth.  For the second time now, you see Henry’s tenderness and affection growing for Elizabeth and he presents her with the gift of a book in Latin.  He enjoys his visit, playing cards with Anne, and finds he likes her much more than he thought possible.  He asks to come to her bed and she, of course (you can’t say no to the king) says yes.

Henry also has Edward brought to him and presents him with the gift of a jeweled dagger.  There is a moment where everyone gasps, because when the young prince pulls it out of it’s sheath, he holds it up to Henry’s throat.  Henry tells Edward he sees his mother in him.  It’s a very tender moment between father and son.  The King asks Edward if he knows who his mother was, and Edward nods, digs into his pocket and pulls out a locket with her picture and a thimble that had onced belonged to her.  I really liked this scene because you never see Henry speak of any of his children’s mothers until this moment.  It had to be difficult to never be able to ask your father about your own mother!

King Henry, Queen Catherine and the Lady Mary go on a progress in the North to impress the people, hoping to put the matter of the Pilgrimage of Grace in the past.  The King and Lady Mary receive a most wonderful reception and it is clear that it gives both Henry and the Lady Mary hope for the future.  It is very apparent that Mary carries herself in much the same way her mother, Catherine of Aragon did and she is instantly loved by the people as her mother was.  They all attend Mass in Lincolnshire, where Henry forgives all of the people for “their trespasses against him”.  It is also very clear that this makes Lady Mary very happy.  She positively GLOWS in this episode!

Of course, the ever helpful (and I think a bit creepy and crazy) Lady Rochford finds ways to aid the queen in furthering her relationship with Mr. Culpepper.  She arranges for her to have a room that is easily accessible to him and she wastes no time in meeting with him.  The episode ends with Thomas and Catherine having sex in her “stool chamber”.  In my opinion, knowing how those things must have smelled back then, it’s not so romantic or hot to me, lol!

Stay tuned for my synopsis of the next episode!

****All pictures for this post were found on the sites – Admiring Tamzin Merchant  – and Showtime’s Tudors Wiki (which has been SUPER helpful to me!) .

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