I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by the opening scene of tonight's episode. Wait, let me explain. Not only did they employ some fancy camerawork to get their point across, but there was a well-timed, ahem, pin prick. But mostly what impressed me was Henry's restraint. He could have found any willing maiden to satisfy his "need," but he wanted to remain true to Anne. If I had any doubt before about Henry's devotion to Anne, I don't now.
Suffolk and Norfolk are appointed copresidents of the council. Suffolk, as always, is pleased by any favor the king shows him. Norfolk was not so pleased to share his title. Norfolk also had to remind Brandon that Wolsey is still a threat, even if he is banished to York.
Banishment doesn't suit Wolsey. After futilely writing to Anne for help in restoring himself to the king's favor, he decides to employ another cunning and much more dangerous tactic: He writes to Katherine and to the pope. The pope issues an edict commanding Henry to leave Anne and return to Katherine. The edict also forbids Henry to remarry while the issue of his marriage is still being considering by the papal authorities.
The king is only answerable to God (or so says Luther). More and more, Henry is listening to the writings of Luther. He is intrigued and perhaps seduced by any writings that proclaim that he answer to no one but himself.
More persecutes those who don't recognize the supremacy of Christendom in the king's realm. More burns six people at the stake. Although he once believed in freedom of speech and expression, he thinks the king's subjects have taken it too far and are attacking the church. Although More is told that Henry is receptive to what some of the reformers (reformationists?) have to say, More doesn't think Henry will break from Rome. Henry also asks More to set up a parliament.
Anne causes a slight scandal by wearing purple, the color of the royals. She goes even further in insulting the queen. Although some at court are scandalized by Anne, Henry is blinded by love. He even ennobles Anne's family.
Cromwell suggests his little problem with Katherine is a theological matter, not a problem for the courts. Henry gives him leave to travel to the universities of Europe and see who will come down on the side of the king.
Henry realizes how much Wolsey did for his kingdom and he did it without complaint. Henry isn't happy with the counsel. He's broke and there is unrest. When Norfolk hears that Wolsey might be gaining the king's favor, he helps uncover the plot between Wolsey, Katherine and the pope. Wolsey asks for God's forgiveness before taking his own life.
There was a lot of good stuff in this episode, enough to tide me over until Season 2. Did you hear that
Peter O'Toole will be joining the cast? Check out the story
But back to this episode. I think More is drunk with power. He takes his job very seriously, but I have to say I'm always surprised by what people do in the name of religion. I understand (sort of) that being burned at the stake was a way of cleansing the soul as it left this earthly plane, but, um, yuck. It's messy and it seems unusually cruel. Doesn't More pride himself on being a humanist? I guess any amount of power corrupts.
England is also becoming a scary place for those who don't believe in the absolute moral authority of the papacy. It's true that Wolsey and other clerics like him abused their positions of authority. But it's also true that some men (and women) given any position of authority will abuse it.... That goes for the church and it goes for the kingdom. Wolsey wasn't the only abuser here; Norfolk and Suffolk are guilty of it as well. So are Anne and even Henry. I'm not really sure anyone is above reproach.
I was surprised when Wolsey committed suicide. Things weren't going his way at all, but it didn't seem like all hope was lost. Yes, he had been sent to York to live the remainder of his days without any servants or money. Yes, he couldn't enlist Anne to help him get back in the good graces of the king. Yes, he came up with a scheme to help Katherine get her husband back and restore the power of the papacy. And yes, he was charged with treason and was awaiting trial. But to be so forlorn to think that no one would come to his aid in his greatest time of need? That's got to be a very lonely and scary place to be. I liked that Henry reacted so strongly to the news of Wolsey's death. Every once in a while it's nice to see him so shaken.
And finally, the consummation. Henry and Anne are tired of waiting. They're tired of doing the "right thing." Their little tryst in the woods was an interesting sight. But when Anne has to push Henry off her at the last second, Henry's frustration is palpable. He's the king of England - when is he going to get some satisfaction? When will he get what he wants?
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I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by the opening scene of tonights episode. Wait, let me explain. Not only did they employ some fancy camerawork to get their point across, but there was a well-timed, ahem, pin prick. But mostly what impressed me was Henrys restraint. He could have found any willing maiden to satisfy his need, but he wanted to remain true to Anne. If I had any doubt before about Henrys devotion to Anne, I dont now.Highlights:Suffolk and Norfolk are appointed copresidents of the council. Suffolk, as always, is pleased by any favor the king shows him. Norfolk was not so pleased to share his title. Norfolk also had to remind Brandon that Wolsey is still a threat, even if he is banished to York.Banishment doesnt suit Wolsey. After futilely writing to Anne for help in restoring himself to the kings favor, he decides to employ another cunning and much more dangerous tactic: He writes to Katherine and to the pope. The...