The White Princess Finale Review: Old Curses

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Sometimes an episode covers so much ground, it leaves us reeling when it's all down. With so much ground covered during The White Princess Season 1 Episode 8, we've got a lot to process!

The season finale may have resolved Henry and Lizzie's problems with The Boy -- or Richard as we can now acknowledge him -- but there's always consequences. We just won't know until Starz announces The White Princess' fate if we'll be privy to them or not.

Collapse - The White Princess Season 1 Episode 8

There's at least one more season to be eeked out of Henry and Lizzie's rule, so fingers crossed for a renewal. Arthur's betrothal is just the start of another really great and often overlooked period of English history.

His marriage to Catherine and subsequent death is almost always talked about through the lens of Henry VIII and the story of his many wives, so a different take would be refreshing. And what will Lizzie do when the curse she decided was nonsense seems to come true?

There's definite potential there, and personally I'd love to see more of Ferdinand & Isabella at their Spanish court. I wouldn't even mind changing the protagonist to little Catalina. 

Lady Margaret: You must go to Henry. You must tell him there is no curse.
Lizzie: But there is.
Lady Margaret: A widow and a virgin hurling oaths against their enemies because words are all they have. That is not a curse.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves! There were so many great, greatgreat scenes in the finale. It's really hard for me to pick a favorite. Maggie completed her journey to strength, Lizzie found her inner resolve and accepted that sometimes there's no right choice, just the best choice for you in a certain moment. And Henry....

Henry finally stood up to his mother and took some responsibility for himself. Sure, he may have immeadiately let Lizzie take the lead instead, but at least he stopped acting whiny and insecure.

She does not come near me! She does not speak to me! She does not speak for me! Nobody listens to her.

Henry [after nearly strangling his mother and throwing her out of his rooms]

Despite being king, Henry's seemed a secondary character to me. The White Princess (as well as it's predecessor, The White Queen) is about women and the English throne after all.

Maybe it's just that Jacob Levy Collins is new to acting, but Henry never seemed to have deep motivations. I never felt like there was a world inside of him the way there was with Lizzie or Maggie or even Lady M. 

But his scene with his mother was amazing. Not just because Margaret Beaufort was finally on the receiving end of some well deserved retribution, but because there was so much feeling behind Henry's actions.

She killed the rightful king, and put me on the throne. It's all been lies. Our boys. Our beautiful boys are damned.

Henry [to Lizzie, about his mother]

The revelation of his mother's actions forced Henry to experience and then express some complex emotions. Levy Collins finally showed us his acting chops, helped along by some excellent directing. I'm sure having Michelle Fairly to play off of didn't hurt either. 

She really was such an excellent foil for, well, everybody. She even got Maggie all riled up. Still, he exchanage with Lizzie on the walk through the castle grounds was her best scene by far.

I don't think it was quite as strong of a performance from the Game of Thrones veteran as her post Jasper Tudor murder depression, but it was up there. For all of her claims that she did everything for Henry, Lady M seemed more upset about losing power than her relationship with her son.

If you are not shocked by what you will do for your children, if you are not appalled by how far you will go for those they dragged out of you while you screamed, then you are not a woman worthy of the name.

Lady Margaret [to Lizzie]

One thing that really struck me about Lizzie's interactions was how much she was becoming like Lady Margaret and her own mother even though she's spent her whole life resenting them for their actions.

The thought of losing Henry certainly played into her decision of course, but it was the threat to Arthur's betrothal that seemed to push her over the edge. If she was only concerned about her children's safety, she had no real reason to worry.

So despite denouncing Lady M and accusing her of child murder and any number of sins, and acknowledging what her own mother's ambition led to...she did the same thing. She still didn't seem as power hungry as the older two women, but she certainly wasn't able to give it up. 

Lizzie: You are the king.
Henry: In name only. I was not given the right.
Lizzie: The right is not given, Henry. It is taken. It is taken by blood, by murder. Where is God in that?

I do wish that Lizzie's turmoil had been paced better. Her acceptance of The Boy as her brother Richard felt like it went from 0 to sixty in these last two episodes.

Obviously there was a lot of time to be covered in just eight hours, but giving Maggie an opportunity to reveal her suspicions earlier would have made the evolution feel less forced. It also would have made her ultimate decision to execute Richard and Teddy more impactful. 

The reunited siblings really only had the one moment of her openly recognizing him before meeting on the Tower green. If Starz had allowed a ten episode run, we might have gotten more than "your laugh is just like my father's." And maybe Cecily could have shown up!

The Boy: You have the look of our mother. That doesn't please you?
Lizzie: I loved her very much, but I didn't always like her. I hated her ambition. What it did to us. Nothing else mattered but power.
The Boy: She was a queen.
Lizzie: And look where we are from her ambition. I would like to ask her if it was all worth it.

Cecily's essential banishment is one of my biggest disappointment with The White Princess. She wasn't really a likable character, at least not as the jealous little sister we met, but maybe marriage or her brother's return would have changed her. I really wanted to find out.

Unfortunately, even if a second season or a sequel is given the go ahead, I don't see her returning. With Richard gone, there's no need for her return. I'll keep my fingers crossed for Cathy Gordon's return instead. 

If you loved The White Princess as much as I did, you can watch The White Princess online, but more importantly, let Starz know how you feel! Creator Emma Frost has been stressing the importance of audience communication in securing a second season, so get to it Fanatics!

Old Curses Review

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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 8 Quotes

The king should be sending for his lords, he should be marshaling his forces but instead he sends for his mother? Who rules us, him or you?

Lord Stanley [to his wife]

By all the saints, I wonder how you walk in a straight line, your wits are so dismally few.

Lady Margaret