The Royals Season 4 Episode 1 Review: How Prodigal the Soul

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It's been over a year since we last caught an episode of The Royals, but The Royals Season 4 Episode 1 doesn't skip a beat. 

We pick up right after the coronation of King Robert and watch his time as King play out in the span of fourth months. 

In those four months, it doesn't seem like he does much of anything except fight with his brother and flirt with Willow, the woman at the top of his potential bride-to-be's list. 

Long Live the King - The Royals Season 4 Episode 1

And somehow, he still manages to have a positive reputation with the people of England. Well, most of them at least. 

His reputation with his brother, however, is shoddy. 

Prince Liam is making some bold accusations about Robert; he claims he paid off Ted Pryce to kill his father (who never really had a motive) and pretended to be stranded on the island until the deed was done and he could weasel his way into the crown.

If he actually did it maybe he actually deserves to be King.

Prince Cyrus

Liam obviously realizes how insane those claims sound because the only person he tells is the man he knows will help him come up with a plan to defeat him — Prince Cyrus. 

For most of the earlier seasons, Liam and Cyrus never saw eye-to-eye, so seeing them together is a bit unconventional.

But they do have a fair share of things in common, namely, Cyrus's ability to understand what it's like to be second best -- the lesser brother. 

We're Alike  - The Royals Season 4 Episode 1

Liam is inherently good, which is why he needs his uncle to push his agenda. Taking down the King requires playing the long game. 

Cyrus agrees to help mainly because he's getting a second chance at taking down a King and thus, a second chance at scoring the crown.

Speaking of we're late. Shit. Shower. Shave.

Prince Cyrus

Liam has proven that he doesn't care about the title, he merely wants it stripped from someone who doesn't deserve it. If he helps Liam, in return, Liam might put in a good word for him.

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At one point, Cyrus called Robert a "psycho" that is "operating on a level we can't begin to understand." It may be the most accurate analysis of this King I've ever heard.

Ever since Robert's epic return from what could have been, arguably, the best alibi in the world, I've gotten terrible vibes from him. Something just isn't right.  

Queen Helena: Let me get this straight. You chase off the last man I got close too, admittedly with good reason, and now you're pimping out a married politician.
King Robert: I take issue with you sleeping with the help. I have no issue with you sleeping with someone who can help.

Everything he does is manipulative and phony. Take for example what he did to his mother by sending Spencer away. He encapsulated his actions as "protective," but really, he knew Spencer was a distraction and wanted to push her towards Yorke, a man that could give them a leg up in Parliament. 

Robert & Willow  - The Royals Season 4 Episode 1

Same goes for manipulating Eleanor and Jasper's relationship to the point where she needed to get away. 

Although on this one, I'll agree that whatever was happening between them was toxic, and a break was necessary. 

She needed to find herself after being cooped up in the palace for her whole life. Jasper was her way of trying to rebel, which was a reason it kept failing.

For them to have a real shot, it was imperative she clear her mind, figure things out and feel like she's something more than just born into the royal family.

But someone once taught me that, to find yourself, to find your truth, you need to get lost a bit first.

Princess Eleanor

And that's precisely what happened while she was away working on Hoteleanor. Brilliant name, by the way. 

The series kept teasing Sebastian as the other man in Eleanor's life and even portrayed him as being someone who wanted to compete for her heart, but I'm so grateful that during their fourth months away, they remained friends. 

It's nice to see Eleanor in a healthy place for once; there are no more destructive behavior and drugs. 

Sadly, that might all change on The Royals Season 4 Episode 2 now that Jasper is fighting for his life.

At Your Service - The Royals Season 4 Episode 1

Timing. It's such a tricky thing. We always seem to think we have a lot of it and put off the crucial conversations until tomorrow, but tomorrow may never come. 

In this case, the moment Eleanor waltzed into the palace, happy and ready to give their relationship another try, is the moment he took a bullet for Robert. 

If he dies, I will probably be more upset than she is because I've become invested in their love story; a love story that never got a real chance! 

However, this loops me back to my theory about Robert being a psychopath. 

Yes, I said a psychopath. The qualities of a psychopath are glibness, charm, grandiose self-worth, cunningness, and manipulativeness. Check times five. 

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Robert matches every single one of them to a tee, just look at home persuasive he was at convincing Willow to have "one drink" or what he did to Kathryn by having her fall in love with him, sleeping with her and then calling her a "common whore." 

Very King-y of him.

Something about him questioning Jasper about writing to Eleanor and then saying "these things have a way of working themselves out," right before leaving the vehicle, seemed suspicious.

It almost seemed like he knew someone was going to shoot -- because he planted the shooter -- and knew Jasper would take the bullet for him. Heck, maybe the shooter was aiming for Jasper the whole time.

Think about it -- he eliminates the guy who won't leave his sister alone,  gets major press and the whole country praises his ability to avoid death twice. He's a dang hero!

I definitely wouldn't put it past him. And quite honestly, it would make him a much more riveting King. 

Bleeding Heart - The Royals Season 4 Episode 1

And is it common protocol to leave one of your own men behind? I understand getting the King out of danger but what about his security detail? Does anyone care about him?

Related: The Royals: Mark Schwahn Fired After Sexual Misconduct Investigation

I was surprised that the series still acknowledged Mark Schwahn as the creator. He may have been the brains behind this show, but given all that happened with his sexual harassment allegations, I would think they would try to distance themselves from him completely. Maybe that's legally impossible?

King Robert: Rachel tells me you're bored AF.
Queen Helena: No, I was bored AF, but now I have television.

Also, did any One Tree Hill fans catch the moment where Queen Helena stated "people always leave," quoting one of the most famous lines from the series?

As a reminder, the follow up is a bit more optimistic: "Sometimes, they come back."

She may need that optimism if her only duty this season is to plan a royal wedding -- is Willow really a contender for Ms. Meghan Markle?

What do you think she has in store for staying relevant after Robert picks a bride?

Keep up and watch The Royals online right here at TV Fanatic. Then, leave your thoughts and comments below! 

How Prodigal the Soul Review

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Lizzy Buczak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and read her personal blog at CraveYouTV.

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The Royals Season 4 Episode 1 Quotes

If he actually did it maybe he actually deserves to be King.

Prince Cyrus

But someone once taught me that, to find yourself, to find your truth, you need to get lost a bit first.

Princess Eleanor