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September 16, 2014

The Tudors: Episode 2-10 (season finale)

by Kristin Sample, posted Jun 1st 2008 10:33PM
Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn
(S02E10) I'm just going to come out and say it. I really enjoyed the season finale of The Tudors. The wife-number-two storyline is all wrapped up. And now next season we'll move on to wife-number-three, Jane Seymour. I think I'm even more excited for next season because I know next to nothing about Henry's wives post Boleyn drama. I know many of you history buffs will disagree, saying that you'd rather they keep to the facts because Tudor history alone is interesting enough. I feel, at this point, I'd rather just watch the story --which is basically a primetime melodrama with corsets and crowns and public executions. So, I'm not as worried about accuracy. And by the way, public executions on Melrose Place would have been awesome.

But, enough about what's to be, let's talk about what happened tonight. My review of the season finale is after the jump.

Anne BoleynThe season finale revolved around Anne Boleyn's beheading, which was painfully delayed when the headsman got stuck coming from Dover. The king, in his mercy, ordered that she not be burned but beheaded and that this expert swordsman from Calais be brought in to perform the execution.

The episode was full of well-acted scenes with Natalie Dormer, whom I will definitely miss next season. Anne Boleyn met her death with a mix of masked fear, hope of forgiveness, and true faith and courage. I thought Dormer delivered many of her lines with all three notes.

The first poignant scene we get is when Anne gives her last confession to Archbishop Cranmer. She admits to being envious of the king and not always respecting her husband. But she professes her innocence. You could tell by both Cranmer's and the constable's reaction that she meant it -- and she was telling the truth.

Ahh, the way we were...The second set of evocative scenes were when the constable comes to tell her that the execution has been postponed. I loved when Anne laughs after the constable assures her that she would have a clean, painless death. The queen adds that she only has a little neck anyway. It reminded me of how charming and witty Anne was when she first seduced Henry.

When the constable comes the second time, Anne grabs him and suggests, rather desperately, that the king might mean to call off the execution, to teach her a lesson, to send her to a nunnery. I felt like that was such a natural reaction.

The third and saddest scene (I'm not going linearly, I know.) was when Thomas Boleyn got out of prison. I was nearly moved to tears when Anne waved at her father from the tower and he barely looked at her. His shame combined with her agony and despair -- just plain sad. That was hands-down the best scene of the night.

The execution itself was slightly anti-climatic (but only slightly). The queen's speech was good, well-delivered by Dormer. However, what "made" the scene for me was Sir Thomas Wyatt and Charles Brandon with his son in tow. Wyatt, probably the only man on the show who ever loved and understood Anne (i.e. could match her wits), weeps from behind a stone wall. This is a man watching the woman he loves die. It was heartbreaking. Also sad was when Charles Brandon kneels down with his son for the actual beheading. I thought this gesture was a little symbolic. HIs kneeling was less to go with crowd, after all he outranks all of them and more out of sympathy (maybe sympathy isn't the exact word). I think you could see in his face that while he hated the former queen, he realized she was the victim of Henry's whims and other men's machinations.

Here's my questions for you readers:

1. Did you like the season finale?
2. Did you like season two of The Tudors better than season one?
3. Will you be watching season three of The Tudors?
4. I'm not discussing Henry and Jane. I feel all self-righteously angry with him for killing yet another wife. So, what did you think about the king this episode?

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charles davis

Re the Tudors. I enjoy history ,I teach it at the college level and I love the Tudors. Not exactly true to history but much closer than many so called historical dramas. Everyone raves over Gone With the Wind, what horsecrap. The period dress is not accurate but it dresses up the set considerably if you like dirty brown,dull brown, farmyard brown,tan and off tan i guess you would love the period dress. For a complete surprise I would love the actor that played Tony Soprano to come in to portray Henry in season number 3; like one of the early posters stated Henry was well past his pretty boy state he soon becomes the size of an area code and that was before there were area codes and that was when 300 pounds were often 3 times the average male weight of probably a third of the king's denizens. I thougth Natalie Dormer stole both seasons , she was by far the best actor,actress (what ever the hell is p.c.). She should be considering a couple of dozen offers after her magnificent performance. She is and will be a huge star and if she can make a rather dull Tudor time teenager so bewitching and interesting what else might she be able to do in the future. Accolades all around, Showtime,the creators,the directors,the writers, the actors. On a scale of 1-5 season one 3.25 season 2 4.5 and once more accolades for Natalie Dormer. Charles Davis

June 06 2008 at 3:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dkcincos

My daughter and I freaked out when the servants brought in the covered platter to Henry thinking they were delivering Anne's head!

June 02 2008 at 12:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dkcincos's comment
nattyff

ME TOO!!! lol

June 08 2008 at 4:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cdawg

Just started watching it on Demand. Too bad I missed the first season. It's good - not great. If it wasn't set in the Reformation it would just be a crappy prime time soap. But the drama is excellent.

How far off is the show from actual history? I mean I know the basics, but what is just made up here?

June 02 2008 at 11:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lena

It's interesting how history really balanced things out for the Tudors. Henry moved heaven & earth to get a male heir & Edward only reigned 9 years and left no children. Anne paid with her life, yet her daughter became one of the greatest monarchs. Mary & Elizabeth left no heirs. Henry's direct line ended with his children whose lives he played with at his pleasure.

June 02 2008 at 11:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mj green

I'm one of those darn history buffs. The show is pretty, but accurate? No. When I watch it, I have to keep telling myself this is fiction, a story. If I didn't, I would sit there and constantly say, that didn't happen, that didn't happen!!! Ok, I still do it.

June 02 2008 at 6:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rex from Ars

Hahahahahaha!!! You worked one of my "Melrose" references into your recap! ;)

1. Did you like the season finale?

Yes, although I don't remember it 100%, as I watched it this past Tuesday night on demand.

2. Did you like season two of The Tudors better than season one?

I liked season 1's "storyline" better, but I thought this season had better acting. It just "gelled" better than season 1.

3. Will you be watching season three of The Tudors?

Sure... why not? Although I *wish* they'd somehow age Henry and make him fat. Historically speaking, we're way beyond the "pretty Henry" phase of his life. I guess the closing scene of the finale is a hint of that.

4. I'm not discussing Henry and Jane. I feel all self-righteously angry with him for killing yet another wife.

Bwah? Henry didn't murder Jane Seymour; she died shortly after childbirth. For the record, Henry only killed two of his wives:

Katherine of Aragon: died of cancer. Henry's neglect didn't help, but she would have died even if the two of them were still together.

Anne Boelyn: Executed for treason (sleeping around on Henry; most historians consider the allegations against Anne to be false).

Jane Seymour: Died shortly after childbirth, probably due to puerperal fever. Henry considered her to be his "one true love" and her name was reportedly the last thing Henry VIII said as he lay dying.

Anne of Cleves: Both Henry and Anne considered their marriage to be a mistake; they married in January, and the marriage was annulled in July of the same year. Remained in England for the rest of her life and survived Henry by 10 years.

Catherine Howard: Executed for the same reason as Anne, but in Catherine's case the rumors were true. She had a "flirty" relationship with one Thomas Culpeper. Although she swore up and down that she and Thomas did NOT have sex, LOTS of people in Henry's court knew they were having an affair of some sort. Henry weighed over 300 pounds at this point and his ulcer (seen earlier this season) had to be drained daily. Gross!

Catherine Parr: Outlived Henry by a around a year and a half.

June 02 2008 at 2:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rex from Ars's comment
Kristin Sample

Thanks for all the info, Jim. And I knew you'd like the Melrose bit. :)

When I said he killed yet another wife, I meant Anne. I meant he "killed" Catherine and literally killed Anne. I knew Jane died in childbirth. In fact, I thought the lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth telling the other lady that her best bet was to marry rich and die in childbirth or from the plague was a nice foreshadowing.

June 02 2008 at 2:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff N.

I thought Season 2 was better than season 1.

June 02 2008 at 1:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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