Fraaaaaaaaaaaaaaancis…is probably laughing it up in Heaven right now, because French Court is a mess. For Mary less husband means mo’ problems, and Catherine pings from a similar situation to a sexy, feminist, Kate-Winslet-in-the–Dressmaker awakening I’ll be scandalised by later. Meanwhile, even Elizabeth knows Francis is dead, yet we never even see a postcard of condolence from Kenna. Does the Pony Express not go to weird Russian provinces, you heartless hippie? Does UPS?! Not to worry, Amy ‘not sex buddy Olivia, but similar’ Dudley’s bringing the hippie-dippie crazy eyes we used to rely on Kenna for, and Greer’s just plain bringing the crazy eyes at the size of Mary’s peplums o’ pain. Also, Fraaaaaaaaaaaaaaancis…
WTF #5: How many Bashes can a bish-Bash bosh?
Alhough my fellow YKYLFer Ann has taken charge of recapping this season, we do still occasionally rely on each other to figure out which Bash is which. I mean, here’s Bash…
…and here’s Bash again.
Okay, I know it’s Charles (although he’s starting to look startingly like Eddie Redmayne to me for some reason), but if he exhibited half of Bash’s canniness when it comes to lords of the council bearing gifts, I’d dub him Bash Junior on the spot. I might still do, as they both have a thing for sword belt/sashes.
So the long and the short of this episode is that Mary pretended Catherine persuaded her to pull French troops out of Scotland, so the council made Catherine regent, and Baby Bash wants Mary to hang in France while she finds a new hubs, which is not only creepy, but also has historical inaccuracies out the wazoo.
Also, Charles keeps accidentally making bedroom eyes at Mary. Is this an acting choice? Is it a plot point? Am I conflating Bash I and Bash II from when Bash and Mary were a thing?!
I know, Mary, I’m scared too – mostly that your ears are going to be pulled off your head by those semi-precious perspex shards (?) you’re clearly wearing as penance for Francis’ death.
The phrase ‘you in danger, girl’ doesn’t cover half of it.
WTF #4: Feminism, rage, and feminist rage
It seems the writers are already conspiring to ruin the best age gap romance ever. We first encounter ‘Stéphane‘ asking about Lola’s fantasies, complete with puppy murderer eyes.
Lola is understandably reticent.
Well, a bit more than reticent.
To give Narcisse his due, Lola is wearing the most vanilla peignoir I’ve ever seen. Where are Greer and her classy-yet-slutty window dressing skills when we need her?
By contrast, Catherine’s hair takes centre stage this episode. There’s braid action, curl action, and half a bottle of horse shampoo texturising action. It is nothing short of queenly.
And then she gets nothing short of kneel-y, and does something to Narcisse I dare not mention before nine o’clock at night. It suffices to say I now hate him again.
At one point, Mary hilariously suggests Catherine assauges her grief via the virginals.
This turns out to be a prophetic instrument, as she stumbles upon a pair of servants going at it behind this purposeless gauzy curtain at the back of the music room (seriously, there’s no reason for it to be there other than to hide stuff. Is it just a sex curtain? Was it Henry’s?!)
Her HBIC-ness tells said couple to get off back to their servant holes, whereupon this bright young thing insinuates that’s not the kind of getting off she’s after, and smoulders gently.
Since his title is apparently Layer of the Fires, it’s appropriate.
This, on the other hand, isn’t. The power of mood lighting, y’all.
WTF #3: Claudefish
Previously on the Princess and the Pauper, Leith admitted he lurves Claude approximately a second after sexing her lady-in-waiting, Alexandra. Her having dumped him, Claude has the brilliant idea of catfishing Leith in order to spend time with him. She invents a rich alderman with a daughter named Juliet (Shakespeare isn’t around yet, remember, thus he doesn’t get it) whom she orders Leith to pursue.
If she could first condition her hair and quit wearing thermalwear under prom dresses, I’d be immensely gratified. Priorities, Your Highness.
Leith, beautiful and, despite his experience with Greer, still rather slow, agrees.
This sneaky princess then attempts to teach her prey how to dance for his future bride-to-be, which ends with Leith showing Claude how they get down in the village, and then adorably getting down with her like they do in the village.
She’s surprisingly adept.
Then there are some longing stares…
…some heartfelt reveals…
…and they’re getting down like they do in the village, because there is no Juliet and everyone’s clearly forgotten that Leith belongs with Greer, whose persistent side-braid wig-weave makes me suspect that whatever Torrance Coombs did to annoy the writers, Celina Sinden was in on it.
Sorry, I was meant to be talking about Cleith. Awww.
WTF #2: This is the part where I fangirl over Rachel Skarsten
Bless, you’re expecting some genuine fashion commentary, aren’t you?
Well, you’re in luck! I am head-over-heels for the wardrobe department’s ability to do for Liz precisely what they fail to do for Mary: make her costumes sort of historically accurate, but still pretty and flouncy and very Chloé. This pseudo-ruff, for example! *squeal*
Since Robbie is hiding from Lizzie, Lizzie has decided to make Amy Keeper of the Swans, meaning her husband has to come to court in order to visit her. Amy is not impressed.
Amy is even less impressed when Dudley falls for it, after yet another one of those pro forma ‘we can’t do this’ conversations which are kind of making me wish the writers smoosh history with an Elizabeth/Mary/Ghost!Francis love triangle.
Moody Robert = neither Amy nor I are happy.
Being a character in this show, Amy has the power to do something about all this, which is to get this physician to say she has stress-induced cancer and needs to go to Cornwall.
Say what you like about her methods, but she always gets the job done.
Elizabeth basically says, ‘God is telling us to be together’ about Amy’s fake cancer, so Robert is all, ‘that is not politically correct, hush your mouth, I’m off to Cornwall’, and Liz cries bitter tears while I covet her spider earrings. She’s like an amazing pantomime villain sometimes.
Even her hair is styled similar to how the real Elizabeth’s is styled in her portraits, and as for that green satin? Sigh. The history nerd in me is practically giddy.
Knowing that we’re all in love with her and will find our way back to her somehow, Elizabeth takes this ad break in her love life to fire Nicholas the stock English courtier for being all up in Mary’s business. I’m going to call what she’s wearing an evil dressing gown, and buy myself one for Christmas. Gold embroidery and resting bitch face are a girl’s best friends, am I right?
Scotland-loving Nick is to be replaced by – please hold for the stereotype – Gideon Blackburn. Elizabeth rocks up to the Tower in goldenrod with magnificent Maleficent shoulders, twelve feet of hair, and a little light backstory about how Gideon spied on her for her sister.
HOW DO YOU EVEN, RACHEL ALICE MARIE SKARSTEN.
So Gideon tried to make young Lizzie fall in love with him to plumb her secrets (oo-er), but she was already too Team Robert to fall victim to his charms. The recently widowed Queen of Scots, however? Time will tell, gentle reader.
Gideon’s another cookie-cutter white guy with stylised facial hair, in case you’re wondering:
WTF #1: Mourning glory
Tenderly, Mary lays out the outfit Francis wore on their wedding day, and all I can think is, ‘you guys danced a lot, that’s probably super sweaty’.
Since Mary started wearing pretty much nothing but monochrome in season two, though, all this black isn’t coming as that much of a shock. In fact, it’s sort of underwhelming, and I kind of hate the fact that it’s underwhelming, because Francis’ death has all the whelm.
Widow or wife, Mary is nothing without her peplums.
This one is worn on her shoulders.
If she were a curtain, this would be called a pelmet.
Greer is so astounded by the aforementioned pelmet, she forgot to notice that her husband fell down a plot hole, her ex-boyf is Clauding it up, and she’s been reduced to dressing like a Dementor and writing Frary fan fiction.
Once again, Adelaide Kane is killing it. I found her marginally more heart-rending during the Storyline We Don’t Speak Of, but her portrayal of Mary’s grief is pain personified.
Also, she and Megan Follows have more chemistry than any other characters. Their dynamic is electric, and this show being lady rather than love-led for month can only be a good thing.
Upon accepting Charles’ invitation to stay in France and setting scholars everywhere spinning, Mary puts on some lipgloss and hoiks up her enormous sleeves.
She does up her collar and hooks on her chandeliers. She makes soulful eye contact with someone we could care less about.
And she puts away Francis’ presumably sweaty doublet, and with it, a piece of herself. I swear, you see it go into that chest.
And then she Renaissance Snapchats Don Carlos, who accused Elizabeth of having man parts.
This should be interesting.