Love and Death isn’t anything like a Woody Allen movie. To me, if you call something “Love and Death,” you’re making a reference to a classic comedy, my personal favorite Allen film, especially if you’re going to change the title from what they saw in England, where it was called “Love and Marriage.” I was heartened to see they hired a new writer, Nicole Taylor, and the episode was paced faster and squeezed tension. Not as much as I would have liked, but there was suspense.
In “Love and Death,” you feel the castle walls closing in. Now that the expansion period of The White Queen’s game of thrones has gone the way of Lord Warwick, and there are no more kings to be made, the royal world grows smaller. Every woman character on The White Queen is getting the squeeze, one way or the other. The men are still squeezing themselves. Except for King Edward (Max Irons), he’s dunking his crumpets in someone else’s tea.
The White Queen herself, Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson), is coming to terms with what she’s given up for a crown of thrones. She’s got to accept that her son will be taken off and raised in Wales. She wants to be mother of a king. Her mother, Jacquetta (Janet McTeer), reminds her that when she married into the royal fambly she took on their traditions and their quirks, you know, like smothering old men in their sleep. (“When I saw you smother an old man, I stood by your side.” Oh? You saw that?) She could deal with that. But she draws the line at the King’s royal appetite for crumpet. And not just because it’s fattening. As her mother succumbs to heart failure, Elizabeth’s dealing with that blonde slut, Jane Shore and Emily Berrington plays her like that. She flirts with the camera in every shot. She does it when she dances right in Elizabeth’s best royal off-with-her-head face. I kept expecting her to scream it or poison her or something.
Master of the obvious moment: When Jaquetta tells Elizabeth that she has to be prepared for her not to be around anymore, Lizzy says, “You’ve been with me through everything.” Of course, that’s her mother and it goes with the biological territory. Speaking of biology, the prerequisite birth of the episode is a difficult birth, you’d think that after dropping like half a dozen kids it would get easier.
The biggest squeeze in the castle is happening to Anne Neville (Juliet Aubrey). She is a prisoner of the royal cunt, George (David Oakes), and his duchessy wife, her sister, Lady Isabel Neville (Eleanor Tomlinson). My favorite family dynamic is when Anne tells Isabel that her husband’s about to send her off to a nunnery. She yells, “you’ll never see me again” and Isabel gives her a look like why am I seeing you now? I expected her to say something like “remember when you cut off all my doll’s hair when I was six?” But Anne gets the last laugh and makes marriage loving and profitable. That’s how it goes when it’s kept in the royal family.
Lady Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale), who could be a poster child for the perils of inbreeding, isn’t exactly a necrophiliac, but she’s got some kind of death fetish. I understand that every death brings her son, Prince Henry (Michael Marcus), closer to her holy cause, but whenever she hears news that someone died she gets a look on her face that’s part orgasm, part private joke and part hairball. Her wedding night must have been tortuous. She’d already made arrangements with Lord Stanley (Rupert Graves) that he’s not getting any. So with all that death in the air, a mother and a baby, she’s probably half wet when Stan keeps up his end of the bargain.
Den of Geek Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars