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.

408 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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