The White Princess Season 1 Episode 5 Review: Traitors

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Nothing weighs quite as heavy as a guilty heart. Just ask Lady Margaret.

Michelle Fairly showed use just how far the ambitious Queen's Mother was willing to go to protect herself and her son's reign on The White Princess Season 1 Episode 5. It was pretty damn far.

Over on the continent, Maggie paid a visit to her aunt and grandmother, but couldn't quite complete her mission for Henry. Smart girl, she just told him what he wanted to hear in a way that left her with a clear conscience. She may not like her Plantagenet name, but she still know how to maneuver a life at court.

Traitors - The White Princess Season 1 Episode 5

Fairly seriously knocked it out of the park this time. Up until now, I've had trouble reconciling Amanda Hale's beautifully crazed performance from The White Queen with Lady Margaret, 2.0, but no more.

You may think it that scene with Jasper that brought me around, but you'd be wrong.

Don't get me wrong that was a great scene. Not just because of Lady M's actions -- to me the strength lay in the words she spoke to Jasper before taking matters into her own hands. 

Jasper: We have offended God.
Lady Margaret: Did you not love me once, Jasper?
Jasper: I've never loved anyone else. But this...did I love you without ever knowing who you truly were?

But the scene that truly brought me round was the late night confessional in the chapel. It mirrored a scene from The White Queen beautifully. 

But the question of course is does Lady Margaret seek comfort from God because she truly believes that she is enacting His will, no matter how immoral it seems, or because she knows that she isn't?

For a woman of this era, raised not only to not expect to get the things that you want but with the idea that the very act of wanting is sinful for a woman, it's easy to imagine Lady Margaret (or anybody) claiming that their desire is really God's as a coping mechanism.

Lady Margaret: I am selfless. My only interest is the word of God.
Lord Stanley: How fortunate His will is so often in tune with yours.

Even though Elizabeth is treating her daughters terribly, I continue to adore her if for no other reason than how she gets all up in Lady Margaret's face.

This is a woman who doesn't know how to back down, and has learned to never show a weakness unless it's strategic. Of course, she's never seemed so much like her arch enemy as she does now. 

Because really, what's the point of unseating Henry, even if The Boy is Prince Richard? At one point, all she wanted was for her children to be safe. But she's been corrupted by her own desire for power. 

But there is fear in your eyes. What will you say to God when you see him? How will you explain all that blood on your hands?

Elizabeth [to Lady Margaret]

The funny thing is, that even if The Boy was Richard, and Duchess Margaret of Burgundy did manage to raise an army for him, and that army did successfully defeat Henry's army...who's to say that Richard would listen to Elizabeth even half as much as Henry listens to his mother?

How ironic that Duchess Cecily, who began as such a monster-in-law, a woman who played favorites with her children to the point of threatening to bastardize one of them, is the one who sees this matter clearly as a mother?

All she wants is for Richard to be safe and happy. Suddenly the mean old biddy is a hero.

Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy: Are you suggesting that we leave Henry Tudor be? That we allow him to rule while Richard is denied his birthright? I am fighting hard to win him allies, but we are just beginning.
Duchess Cecily: This is not the beginning of anything. This is the continuation of a conflict that has claimed *all* of my sons.

You could say, of course, that she's prioritizing one grandchild over another. Maggie is put in an untenable position by Henry, the poor thing.

Maggie's suffering just never seems to end. Even when she's living in the country, generally happy with her husband and son, her family can (and will) swoop in to disrupt things whenever it suits them.

For me, the worst bit is that Henry knows the position that he's putting her in. It's easy to see how his son's rule became so vicious -- he was simply "improving" on dear old dad's management style. 

Maggie: Aren't you happy about the betrothal?
Duchess Cecily [crying]: A betrothal means a marriage, and this marriage means war. He is my grandson. How can I be happy about that?

I'm really curious about what happens when (if) Maggie ever gets a chance to speak to Lizzie privately. Lizzie seems to have convinced herself that her younger brother is really dead, but how will Maggie's doubts affect her cousin?

While we're speaking about Maggie's adventure, one quick side note: How did poor Teddy in the Tower grow up to be so very good looking? And how sweet was his hug with little Henry?

Maggie wasn't the only one on a mission in Burgundy. I think that Richard Pole's task was easier though. I actually respect Henry for the theatrics of revealing the traitors against him. The seals made it irrefutable, and it had such flair!

Pole: What is it, Maggie?
Maggie: My grandmother. She believes the boy is Richard.
Pole: You cannot be surprised that she would say that.
Maggie: It is not simply that she says it. She believes it in her heart.

The royal couple will venture forth to Europe themselves on The White Princess Season 1 Episode 6 ("English Blood on English Soil"). It may be risky to leave home while a threat to you throne is gathering power, but it's a parent's responsibility to arrange marriages for their children.

Little Arthur is being set up with Catherine of Aragon, but only if the Tudors can keep their family drama on the DL. But while the cat's away the mice will play...

Thankfully for Lizzie and Henry, the mice have plenty of infighting to contend with. Who dares oppose Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy? We'll all have to tune in to find out.

You an catch up and watch The White Princess online, and remember, we want to hear your thoughts in the comments section!

What would you have done in Maggie's place? Do you think Perkin Warbeck is Richard, or just a suave imposter? Is little Prince Henry already showing his tyrannical ways? Disrupting a kid's ennobling celebration with a treasonous speech is pretty awful; what's the worst thing your mother's ever done?

Traitors Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (3 Votes)

Elizabeth Harlow was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She left the organization in October 2018.

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The White Princess Season 1 Episode 5 Quotes

But there is fear in your eyes. What will you say to God when you see him? How will you explain all that blood on your hands?

Elizabeth [to Lady Margaret]

Lady Margaret: I am selfless. My only interest is the word of God.
Lord Stanley: How fortunate His will is so often in tune with yours.