The Tudors Review: Greetings, Catherine Parr

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Last week’s episode was so macabre and enjoyable that I had a hard time even wanting to watch this week. 

I felt for sure that I would be let down after all the excitement of torture and executions.  Turns out I was right to be concerned; this episode was a bit of a snooze and also shorter than others (just 42 minutes).  Maybe the writers needed a little break after all the kooky stuff that went on seven days before.

We were introduced to Catherine Parr, the future wife of our King, and she sticks out as being both older than a teenager and for being one of the few wives so far who really would prefer not to be with the King (besides Anne of Cleves, the other girls threw themselves at him).  Catherine looks nowhere near as fun as our beloved Catherine Howard. 

This newer Catherine has already been married and widowed once and really just wants to run off with Thomas Seymour as soon as her current husband kicks the bucket. 

She spends her time wandering about their manor home wringing her hands and looking miserable.

The King

She and Thomas (quick pause: What on earth is with this Thomas Seymour?  His brother’s wife just had his baby and he’s also shacking up with a married cougar.  He looks all meek and mild but clearly has a way with the ladies) are having an affair while her husband dies of some mysterious ailment that causes him to clutch his stomach, moan, and conk out in very uncomfortable-looking chairs. 

They can barely wait until this old dude is six feet under so they can get hitched.

Dum-dee-dum-dum. Too bad for them because the King wants to put a ring on it, too.  He sees Catherine at a Court Christmas celebration and probably thinks, “Hmm... my last wife was a teenage floozy and that didn’t go too well.  This broad looks like she’s been around the block a few times and she probably won’t be jumping the bones of any guy who walks by.  Let’s go for it.” 

Catherine sees what’s coming when she starts receiving gifts from the King and isn’t too excited, understandably.  She knows what happens to Queens ‘round these parts.  Her poor dying husband, still shuffling around their manor home looking ready to keel over at any moment, sees it too and gets pissy because his wife is clearly not waiting for him to collapse before she moves on. 

On his deathbed, Catherine is crouched near to him, crying.  It appears that he has something to say to her so she leans in closer, ready to hear his last words of love.  But what comes out of his mouth?  “Go to hell.”

The King is becoming more and more grotesque with each passing episode.  I know this is historically accurate because he was supposedly morbidly obese with a stanky leg wound by this point.  But I have to admit that I love this show partly because Jonathan Rhys Meyers is so dang hot and it’s distressing to see him looking like a farty old coot. 

His spray-in gray hair and porn star ‘stache are part of it, the fakey limp is another part, the eating of greasy meals with bare hands and an open mouth further add to the grossness.  I can’t imagine if I were forced to marry him.  I might poison myself with hemlock or fling myself off the Tower bridge.  Not only is the King losing his sex appeal, he is also becoming more and more war-obsessed.  His intense desire for a fight with France reminded me a bit of George W. Bush looking for weapons of mass destruction and so excited to go to war that pretty much any reason was a good one.

These Hartfords are becoming more and more entertaining, aren’t they?  Last week’s episode was so chock-full of great crap to talk about that I didn’t even get to mention how Lady Hartford popped out her brother-in-law’s kid.  I loved when Lord Hartford was like, “Well done, wife.  What shall we name him?”  When Lady Hartford said, “Thomas” the look on her husband’s face was priceless. 

It was almost like he didn’t really care that this baby wasn’t really his.  He was like, “Eh, whatever.  It’s not worth a fight.”  In tonight’s episode Lord Hartford made a brief mention of how hard it is to be away from his family and Lady Hartford looked totally amused; she knows her marriage is a sham and her kid is a bastard.  This is the same couple that enjoys doling out advice about being “true Christians”.  Talk about hypocritical.

This episode wasn’t a total wash, though.  It had one of my favorite things:  old-timey chamber music played by an invisible band with opera music sung by an invisible soprano!  We were also treated to a Tudor-era Cirque du Soliel-like troupe of acrobats.  Bonus! 

To be honest, I do love that music.  I have a CD entitled “An Olde English Christmas” and I play that shit year-round.  I can see why the nobles of yore always had it playing whenever there was a get-together of any sort.  There’s something very addictive about it.  I love my CD of ye olde music so much it’s worth dealing with the embarrassment of my coworkers walking by, pausing as they listen to the music, raising their eyebrows at me and saying:

“You know it’s almost June, right?”

406 Review

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

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