The Tudors Review: The King as a Real Housewife

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Though I do like this show a lot and have watched it faithfully since the first season, I am beginning to feel like the finale can’t come too soon.  Am I alone in thinking that it’s getting pretty boring as things wind down to a conclusion? 

I know that the writers are attempting to be historically accurate and therefore have to include all this information about England’s war with France, as well as his new plain yogurt wife.  But, honestly, none of it is particularly compelling.  It’s nowhere near as exciting as some of the other plotlines we’ve seen and so that feels like a bit of a letdown to me.  I miss the guillotines and the Tower of London and the teenage brides! 

I long for the days of Anne Boleyn and of people sleeping with each other’s relatives and of heinous acts of torture.  That was infinitely more fun.

Triumphant Henry

However, I will say that I found this episode’s focus on the plight of the English soldiers fascinating. These poor men are inflicted with raging cases of dysentery while simultaneously starving to death. They scrounge around for crusts of bread like Victorian orphans and try to avoid getting tossed into a mass grave while their leaders enjoy lavish meals of fresh fruit, meat, and jugs of wine. 

That is one loyal army you have there, King Henry.  No one would blame them if they got the idea to mutiny over this food situation and their crummy leadership.  But they don’t.  Many of them die and what is worse is that they die without the King really even acknowledging that they have a legitimate illness.

When the poor battlefield physician comes to tell Henry about the dire current status of “the bloody flux” the King goes all Teresa from The Real Housewives of New Jersey on him - flipping a table and having a meltdown.  He screams, “These men are not sick from the flux but from cowardess and I will not send cowards home!  They will either fight or I will hang them by the wayside!  You get them from their sick beds and back into that trench or I’ll make you a head shorter!” 

I love that he calls these men cowards.  They’re out there busting their asses for his stupid war and he doesn’t have an ounce of respect toward them.  I’d like to see how he’d fare out on the battlefield.  We all know he’d be cowering under the closest wheelbarrow within the first three minutes, that is if he didn’t get an immediate arrow through the neck.

And let’s pause for a moment to mull over the King’s current attitude.  His ever-present sneer makes it look like he is constantly smelling something bad.  He either screams or speaks in a growling, strained whisper and, as the episode goes on, his mumblings become increasingly incomprehensible.  Getting in and out of chairs requires lots of grunting and huffing and he walks as stiffly as I do when I’ve sat on the couch all day watching a marathon of old Project Runway episodes.  It’s high time for him to be shot like a lame horse.  Someone put him out of his (and our) misery, please.

Also, the aging effects they are using on Jonathan Rhys Meyers leave a bit to be desired, don’t they?  I swear the only “effect” seems to be that Touch of Gray men’s hair dye and, of course, the unreliable fakey limp I mentioned in my last review.  Hello - at least make him look wrinkly or warty or craggy or something! 

Look at movies like A Beautiful Mind or The Curious Case of Benjamin Button where makeup artists managed to make handsome young men look like creaky old grandpas.  This show seems to have a substantial budget; surely more could be done on this front.

In other news, it was no secret that a romantic attraction would brew between Charles Brandon and his captured French lady soldier.  (By the way, what is her name?  Am I missing it?  I don’t think it’s been mentioned but please correct me if I am wrong.)  She looks pretty damn good for someone who was dressing like a boy, engaging in hand-to-hand combat in the dirt, roughly captured, stuffed in a tent as a prisoner, and denied weeks’ worth of bucket baths. 

Not only is her hair perfectly coiffed but, by some miracle, her eyebrows are immaculately plucked despite a total lack of mirrors and tweezers. Ladies, we all know how impossible this is.  They’re hard enough to maintain with all the conveniences of the modern world!   Can I get an amen? 

I love when this chick says in her sultry French accent, “Why do you keep me?”  Brandon’s like, “Schwing!”  And then they have sex, of course, and it looks totally erotic.  If this actually happened in reality, I think it would have been the opposite of hot because you know both of them probably had intense B.O. and her armpit and leg hair was probably three inches long.  But, whatever, they appear to be smitten and she seems so excited with her new man that she wants to move to England with him when the war is over.  Even though he’s already married. 

You can’t really blame the girl, though. Charles Brandon is probably the cutest guy on the show.  I hope they’ll be happy together in his manor home forever trying to avoid his frigid wife.  Good luck with that.

Moving on.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  Poor, poor Lady Mary.  Her newest crisis is that her close bud Ambassador Chapuis is getting out of dodge and moving back to Spain.  Bienvenidos! Honestly, I do feel bad for this girl.  She has had so few long-term and trustworthy relationships and this one is close to her heart and is now ending.

Chapuis tries to comfort Mary by reminding her that Queen Catherine is very loving toward her but Mary doesn’t want to be left with Catherine because she’s a heretic.  Religion is Mary’s priority numero uno and anyone who isn’t Catholic is on Mary’s shit list, nice as they may be.  Mary says that if she ever becomes Queen she will make it her greatest agenda to restore England to Catholicism.

Methinks a spin-off is afoot!  She says, “I will do whatever it takes.  I will burn however many heretics I have to.  I will spill as much blood as I have to to make this unfortunate realm Catholic again and to heal it, so help me God.”  Ah, the prospect of mass murder to please God is such a charming notion. How very Christian of you, Mary!

I have to say that when the King collapsed at the end of the episode I just started laughing.  How can I feel bad for this man?  He’s so mean and so horrible to almost everyone in his life.  It’s refreshing to see him suffer a bit.  When I watched him go down I immediately thought of that old, “Help!  I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” commercial for Medic Alert bracelets or whatever. 

Did anyone else think about that too?  It’s unfortunate that this fabulous technology was not yet available to assist the old codger.  He really could have used it.


Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (6 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


I dont feel bad anymore for Lady Mary as I came to remember that she becomes Bloody Mary.


you're review is funny, yes. but about some things i can't agree. first of all, king henry wasn't that old. people in this time didn't became as old as people do nowadays. they were lucky if they made it up to 50 or 60 years. so take a look at a 50 year old man and you'll see, that he's not wrinkly as benjamin button. so, they keep it realistic and i like that. as a matter of fact, they show takes a lot of freedom with historic facts, but that's the right of creativity. i also think that joely richardson does a great job as cathrine parr. those women had not an easy job, beeing married to a king that is getting older and his attitudes of unpredictable moods gave her surley a hard time. in fact, she didn't even wanted to marry him. if you would have read some history books, then you would know, that mary's speech about bringing back catholism to england was not an empty one. her short reign brought no good to england. yes, king henry was a hard man, but try to imagine under what pressure he stood. surounded by families with a claim to the throne, enemys everywhere, he had to be like that, otherwise he would not have been king for a long time and just a note in the history. there were to many weak kings before him and they nearly ruined the country. also a reason why he was so desperate for a son and set all the actions he did not because he was such a macho and womanizer. he searched hard for a women that was able to give his country the badly needed heir to his throne, to stabilize the internal politics. To bad for him, that the only women who ever was able to give him what he wanted had to die, poor jane seymore. and i think the marrige with cathrine was, because she is like jane would be, if she hadn't died. a more grown up version. and i think the series shows perfectly his desperate need for a companion in his old days. not a young girl like kathrine howard, that expects from him, to act like a young guy. but a women that understands his needs and that can be trusted, cause she didn't wanted the power she was given. and lets not forget, that henry also felt betrayed by the other kings of his time. every alliance he try to made with france or spain was betrayed in some way. who can you trust, if can't even trust the one's that are on your own level. but lets not forget, this were hard times, the people lived in, we can't realy imagine what it ment. and i absolutly disagree about henry beeing a coward. if he would have been younger at the time of the siege of bologne, he would have stood in the first row, to fight and to proof his bravery. but he could not allow himself to die there, because his son was still to young and always in danger of dying and he was afraid of leaving his country without a strong heir to his throne. i guess that was his greatest sorrow in all his life.
by they way, i hope the are going on with the show after henry's death, cause it's called the tudors not henry VIII. so i would love to see the very short reign of his son edward, of course of princess mary and absolutly the reign of elisabeth. her life has as much potential for drama, sex and intrigues like the life of her father had. sorry for my englisch, it's not my mothertounge.


Each time, reading your review is a great moment and I laughed a lot with this one ! I also have the feeling that Jonathan Rhys Meyer is a bit bored with this part even if he continues to do a good job everytime... Anyway, best part of the episode : CHARLES' AFFAIR ! (come on ladies !) By the way, his mistress' name is Brigitte (she told him in the last episode !) ;)
Sorry for my bad English !


i sort of wish they'd continue on into elizabeth's reign instead of ending with henry's death. that being said, mary's run basically consisted of her burning heretics (bloody mary) and trying, unsuccessfully, to get pregnant. feel like i've seen enough of that on this show.


My dear porch light, your comment warms my snarky heart. I'm glad to hear you're reading and enjoying!


Actually I'm not exactly watching the show right now, I did though, way back at the beginnings and I found it pretty good, liked it a lot but at some point I just lost track somehow.. shame
But.. I adore your reviews, I don't know what it is but I just love to read them every week. They're smart and exceedingly funny. Just thougt I tell ya even though I'm not even sure you'll read this ^^ whatever.. so thanks and keep reviewing =)


I think you're crazy. They've heavily aged Henry although it has been subtle changes from week to week. The circles and bags around the eyes, etc. I think Rhys Meyers has done an incredible job. It is sad to see Henry declining, even though he was a psycho.

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