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!) http://tudorswiki.sho.com/photos .