'The Tudors' - 'Season Four Premiere' Recap (Season Premiere)
by Jane Boursaw, posted Apr 12th 2010 1:32AM
(S04E01) "My lady, you must give men leave to look, because they will look upon you. There is no hope for it." - Thomas Culpepper to Queen Katherine
What I love about 'The Tudors' is that there's really no other show on TV like it right now. It's not a crime show, a hospital show, a cop show, a family drama, a situation comedy, a sci-fi show or a reality show. I guess you'd classify it as historical drama, but it's so well done. Everything is top notch, from the costumes to the locations (it's shot in Ireland) to the music and, most definitely, the cast.
Season four -- the show's last season -- begins in August of 1540 with plenty of sex, drama, deceit, rape and even murder. King Henry has taken a fifth wife, the lusty teenager Katherine Howard, who has both a passion for life and a dubious sexual past that the King knows nothing about. We may have started the season with the nubile Katherine lying on a bed of roses and beckoning the King with "Will you not come to bed, my Lord?" But rest assured that things will take a horrible turn for the worse before the season ends. Being King Henry's queen is not all it's cracked up to be, especially when you've got people like Thomas Culpepper lurking around. He seemed like an ok guy until he did a number on that poor farm wife (and her husband). Good grief.
But what I love is that you can really see the progression of King Henry, where he started and where he is now. When 'The Tudors' debuted in 2007, Jonathan Rhys Meyers portrayed him as a randy, sex-crazed, power-mad royal. He's still all of that, but you can tell that he's slowing down a bit. When Queen Katherine wants to romp in bed, he tells her he's tired and has to get up early. She's his mid-life crisis, and he delights in seeing her dance at a feast and play in the mud with her ladies. She's just a kid, after all. But she's also way too much for him to handle on a sexual level, and she also has plenty to learn about being a queen.
Not only that, you just know that having Joan Bulmer around is going to go badly for her. That girl couldn't keep her mouth shut if her life depended on it (and it sort of does). She's bound to spill the beans about the queen's sexual prowess prior to hooking up with Henry. They didn't really pursue the lesbian hookup after the King retired to bed, but it seemed implied.
Anyway, Henry probably thinks Katherine is young enough to bear him all sorts of children, which has always been his M.O. when it comes to wives. Infertile and barren? Off with your head!
Then we've got the arrogant Lord Surrey -- a.k.a. Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey -- who's waging a war against the powerful Seymour clan. Even though he's the queen's uncle, he's not afraid to express his opinions, saying, "The court is full of mean creatures, many of them in the service of his majesty ... those men of vile birth, lawyers, university men, Machiavellian intriguers whose only desire is the destruction of the nobility of this country. And I hate them all."
I love that guy! Oh, he's a conceited ass, but he makes no bones about it, saying his goal in life is "to surpass the achievements of my father and my grandfather ... I'm a Howard. It is expected of me and always has been, and I will not fail." He's either very self-confident or totally clueless. I vote for both, because while his attitude got him far in life, it also got him executed later on. People knew better than to voice opinions that were opposed to the ruling clan.
Other points of interest:
Katherine's awkward chat with Lady Mary: "It gives me such pleasure to meet you ... it is my dearest wish that you and I may be kind and loving and warm to each other. After all, Lady Mary, you are now my stepdaughter." Then later, Katherine complained to the King that Mary wasn't treating her with respect. But, you know, Mary's no fool. There's a reason she went on to become "Bloody Mary" later in life.
Not only do the queens get no respect, but neither do their relatives. Henry showed the queen's cousin no mercy for killing a guy in a drunken brawl. Drag him through the streets and hang him in public for all to see!
Not sure what to make of Katherine meeting Henry's children, Prince Edward and Lady Elizabeth. It seemed nice enough, but again, somewhat awkward. Elizabeth can't be that much younger than Katherine. Crazy times.
I look forward to your thoughts. I hope enough people are watching 'The Tudors' and will comment here to keep these reviews going!