The Tudors Season 4 Episode 8 (06/06/10)
On the front lines of England’s battle with France the English army is suffering. Many thousands of soldiers have died from “the bloody flux” (dysentery) and many thousands more are sick with it. A physician comes to advise the King and suggests to him that the sick should be separated from the healthy and sent back to England. The King hates this idea. He believes that the men aren’t really sick, they are just scared. He angrily tells the physician, “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!” The physician has no choice but to obey these orders.
The bloody flux is not the only hardship the soldiers are experiencing. There is a severe food shortage among both the soldiers and the French citizens. While the soldiers scramble for crusts of bread, the King and his advisors enjoy elaborate feasts with fresh fruit, meat, and jugs of wine
Back at Court, Queen Catherine meets with Bishop Gardner who wants to check in on the condition of the King. The Bishop also tells her there are more heretics discovered in the King’s privy chamber, specifically his barber and cook. Bishop Gardner wants the Queen to sign an indictment of them. Catherine says she has to ask the King first before she allows the men to be arrested. The Bishop looks at her warily, well aware that she, like these men, is one such heretic. Later in the episode Bishop Gardner hisses of the Queen, “It will be God’s work to destroy her.”
In the last episode, Charles Brandon took a female French soldier captive. In this episode he allows this woman to see her father who has also been captured. Brandon tells her he will let her father go if she promises not to escape. The daughter convinces her father this is a good arrangement and the father is released. Later Brandon shares his food with this woman and, after that, she visits him in his tent at night and they kiss and then have sex. Clearly a strong attraction is blooming between the two.
In the castle, the Lady Mary visits Queen Catherine with a gift. “I wanted to show you my translations on the Rasmussen’s Gospel of Saint John because I know how much our faith matters to you,” says Mary to the Queen. Mary is aware that the Queen’s religious beliefs are different than hers and this is a source of stress for Mary. After both Prince Edward and the Lady Elizabeth visit with Catherine, the Queen speaks secretly to a Lady in Waiting, Mistress Ashley, about raising Elizabeth as a reformer. Queen Catherine feels this is appropriate because Elizabeth’s mother, Queen Anne, was also a Protestant. This plan must be kept secret.
Back on the battlefield more and more men are dying. Many of the soldiers have been working for weeks on a tunnel to gain access into the French fortress. The King has ordered this tunnel blown up prematurely. While most of the laborers leave the tunnel, several unlucky men have to stay behind to light the dynamite. Above ground the King is impatient and can’t wait for it to blow. The men light the fuse and try to run out before the explosion collapses the tunnel. The tunnel caves in around them as they try to escape and several men are trapped. Inside the fortress the explosion causes turrets to come tumbling down and then the entire surrounding wall gives way. English soldiers work frantically to free the men trapped in the ruined tunnel. As it becomes clear that the French fortress is now destroyed, the English soldiers cheer and the King looks delighted. British soldiers then storm the fortress and Boulogne is captured.
Later on at an official handing-over ceremony the Governor of Boulogne surrenders the keys to the town and asks that the townsfolk be allowed to leave safely. “I congratulate Your Majesty. You have captured one of the most beautiful towns in France,” the Governor says as he looks sadly upon the pile of rubble that was once lovely Boulogne.
Though Brandon assumes the King will next want to march on Paris, the King has no such plans. He wishes to return to England for the winter along with his much reduced and weakened army. Lord Surrey is to stay behind and remain in charge. As the English march out of Boulogne many, many English graves are shown.
The Queen is thrilled to be reunited with the King. Though his health seems to be not ideal he is happy to be home. Also returning to England is the French woman Charles Brandon was holding captive. She has decided to accompany Brandon back home and to live with him even though Brandon is already married.
Ambassador Chapuis announces to the King and Queen that he is unwell and wishes to return to Spain. He thanks the Queen for her kindness toward Lady Mary and for “fostering friendship” between England and Spain. He also reveals that Spanish King signed a treaty with the French. Henry is angry about this.
The Lady Mary is heartbroken about Chapuis leaving, the Spanish Ambassador having been a supportive and loving figure all her life. She doesn’t want to be left with Catherine because she’s a heretic. Mary tells Chapuis that if she ever becomes Queen she will do anything necessary to make England “faithful” again. 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.” Chapuis hugs her goodbye and gives her a ring to remember him by, a ring originally owned by her mother, Katherine of Aragon.
At the end of the episode King Henry gets news that a French army is preparing to march on Boulogne, the city England has just captured. After this conversation he collapses alone in a chamber, his health taking an alarming turn for the worse.