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  – http://tamzinmerchant.net/ and Showtime’s Tudors Wiki (which has been SUPER helpful to me!)  http://tudorswiki.sho.com/photos .

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