The White Princess Season 1 Episode 2 Review: Hearts and Minds

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The whole York family was under lock and key on The White Princess Season 1 Episode 2.

Elizabeth was tricked into captivity at the palace, Lizzie can't go out to play because she's pregnant and medieval attitudes about her condition are scary close to those of present day gynoticians, and poor, simple Teddy is a threat.

Even Cecily, who thinks she's a gatekeeper, is captive. She may think they're under quarantine from the plague, but she wouldn't be allowed anywhere even if half of England weren't dying.

Queen in the Tower - The White Princess

Cecily is just the worst. I want to give her some benefit of the doubt, but my god, she just doesn't give us anything to work with, does she?

I mean, sure, she's the often overlooked second daughter – always an afterthought, she was literally the backup bride for Lizzie's original engagement to the dauphin of France.

Her childhood was punctuated by periods of living in sanctuary at Westminster Abbey; she and her family facing a very real threat of death. 

And even outside of the rituals of court, she was in her sister's shadow. In The White Queen, Lizzie alone was the one trained in the old ways by Elizabeth and Jocasta.

Bitchy Cecily - The White Princess Season 1 Episode 2

That's a pretty rough upbringing, and it's certainly understandable that she's a little jaded. I could forgive her betrayal of her mother and Lizzie the way that she's turned to Lady Margaret as a mentor.

Except for Bridget, Catherine, and Anne. The three little princesses who get locked up with their mother. We saw her care for them in The White Princess Season 1 Episode 1. What happened?

Her pragmatism may be partially understandable, but it's certainly not endearing.

Lizzie [about Teddy's imprisonment]: Cecily, he is our cousin.
Cecily: And Henry is my brother-in-law, and king. So if I must choose within my family, I'd rather choose the side I'm afraid of.

As much as my dislike for the Princess is, the question is if her big sister Elizabeth can forgive her...and if she should. Not "should" in the moral sense, but more pragmatically. Because pragmatism should always be your first consideration at court.

And even if she forgives her, should she ever truly trust Cecily again? Personally, I'd want her safely married and installed in some country manor far away from court. Forgiveness, at a distance. 

Lizzie's got other relationships to reevaluate as well. Elizabeth has been acting rashly, and the fallout is raining down on Lizzie and her cousins. 

I really loved seeing Jodie Comer bring Lizzie into her own against her mother. I think everyone has that "aha" moment when you realize that the control your parents have over you is limited. Lizzie's may have come a little late, but damn, did she own it.

Your moves are far too obvious. He knows already that it was you who sent Lovell in with a knife. You will have us all thrown under lock and key, and how will that help York? Or victory?

Lizzie [to her mother]

I do wish there had been a little more revealed about Lizzie's changing attitude towards Henry. Is it simply because of her pregnancy and the realization that they're stuck with each other? Is it rebellion against her mother, or desire for her own power?

She was so gung-ho about killing Henry in the premiere; it's a wonder that she didn't pull a knife on him herself at some point or another. 

I guess I could understand her fledgling allegiance to her unborn child, but that wouldn't preclude her wanting Henry dead by whatever means necessary. And if she truly wanted power, that would be her best option – bear the heir, then rule as regent. 

Bishop Morton [as guards break into the treasury on Lizzie's command]: Stop! This is robbery, and treason.
Lizzie: Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.
Morton: Thou shalt not steal. And this gold is the king's.
Lizzie: It is our royal duty to provide. As you well know, as you served on my father's council.
Morton: You are not crowned queen, and have no jurisdiction.
Lizzie: Unless you plan to hold me down, I shall do it anyway.

Even more than her standing up to her mother, I adored her standing up to the woman-hating disgusting sack of meat that is Bishop Morton. The (no-so-very) good Bishop reminds me of the subset of today's politicians who do everything they can to suppress women, minorities, and the poor.

There is one aspect of the politics of the era that Lizzie hasn't quite mastered yet. It seemed she'd figured it out by the end of "Hearts and Minds" though. She needs to really lean into her relationship with Henry. She can only wield as much power as he allows her.

At least Henry's figured out that she's got a knack for knowing what the common people want. Their courtship seems backward for the times – he's respecting her mind first, not usually the first quality medieval men admired in a woman. Hell, a cunning woman is what set off the Cousin's War in the first place.

If only we could work together, we could be a *king* for England.

Henry [to Lizzie]

The younger generation seems to be making strides, grasping to take the power that is rightfully theirs. I think that this intergenerational struggle is at least half as compelling as the struggle between the families. I take that back – it's twice as compelling.

The battle between generations is one that ceaselessly repeats itself, after all. How much damage are Lady Margaret and Elizabeth willing to inflict on their families (and the country) to get their own way? Their behavior makes us question their motives – do they really want their sons to rule for any other reason than the wish to rule themselves?

If you spent less time flirting with my Uncle Jasper, perhaps you might give better counsel.

Henry [to his mother]

So far, Dowager Queen Elizabeth has been the one with the schemes, but Lady Margaret will show us that she can plot with the best of them on The White Princess Season 1 Episode 3 ("Burgundy"). 

We'll finally get to meet Lizzie's aunt, the Duchess of Burgundy, and my god, you guys are going to love her court. A certain peace ambassador is going to find plenty to admire as well, so Henry's plan to separate his uncle and his mother might last a little longer than he initially planned.

Prince Arthur will arrive, but Lizzie won't get the chance to enjoy motherhood the way she should with Lady Margaret swooping in and taking over. Minor spoiler: there's a great scene of Lizzie's "churching" ceremony for all the history nerds out there!

Lizzie: [about Henry]: If I have to hear about his years in exile one more time, I think I will choke him with the pheasant legs he has such a taste for.

If you're behind, no big deal, you can always watch The White Princess online. Once you start, you won't be able to stop, so make sure you don't have anything else scheduled!

Let us know what you thought of "Hearts and Minds" down in the comments section! Does anybody have a sister worse than Cecily? Who's figuring out how to make a plague mask for Halloween? Do you think Teddy will ever be released from the Tower?

Hearts and Minds Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (18 Votes)

Elizabeth Harlow is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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The White Princess Season 1 Episode 2 Quotes

Lizzie: [about Henry]: If I have to hear about his years in exile one more time, I think I will choke him with the pheasant legs he has such a taste for.

Elizabeth: Your smile is almost convincing.
Lizzie: My face aches from it.