“The Final Battle” is the final episode of The White Queen. The rest is up to history. History is written by the winners and you’d think they’d pay for a little humor in their somber adaptations.
The sun is shining brilliantly and Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson) and Margaret (Amanda Hale) are both brimming with joy, which is a bad sign in England. Word is echoing through the streets that Henry Tudor (Michael Marcus) and the bastard girl Elizabeth (Freya Mavor) are the royal family of the year that can unite all the houses into a neighborhood of semi-attached row homes. Meanwhile King Richard (Aneurin Barnard) seems to be losing to the curse of the White Queen.
Lord Stanley (Rupert Graves) is a last minute man. He has his chuckles. He’s probably sick of always being in the middle of conversations between his wife and god and that’s why he talks about the royal sex gossip. Stanley picks the juiciest. Elizabeth is schtupping King Richard, her uncle. Why would Stanley start laugh to himself in the middle of dinner unless he wants to drive his wife, Margaret, out of the room so he could finish his dinner in peace.
This is what broke up the White Stripes. King Richard is only screwing his niece to keep up appearances. It doesn’t matter what it appears to be doing to Queen Anne (Faye Marsay), just so long as he give the impression that Henry Tudor will be getting second hand flowers. He’s a cold one, that Richard, and power and royalty have certainly gone to his head. When his son, Edward (Sonny Ashbourne Serkis), is dying, he commands him to live, he is the king and he commands his son to breathe. He waits a little too long as his son had already stopped breathing, but what’s he thinking? They have doctors for that.
It’s too bad that his son has to die, but when you think about it with a father like that, what chance did he really have? While Anne is in full grief and coming to grips with her son’s sudden death, he tries to cheer her by very quickly suggesting, well let’s have another son. I could have sworn I heard Richard ask Anne something about swallowing, but she’s also realizing that as a dried up old prune, she’ll be checking the castle rental listings in that Sunday’s news scroll. I’m not too convinced that Anne is the barren one in the marriage. After months of conversational foreplay, when Richard and Elizabeth finally do get a chance to be alone, he excuses himself for pressing business. Ultimately though, Elizabeth is an uncle fucker.
The tide turns at the full solar eclipse. Everyone in England sees it. No one was expecting it, they all break their days to study its signs. Margaret intently peers to see what portends it tells. Elizabeth, the witch, barely pays attention. Maybe someone warned her about looking directly at an eclipse. Of course if that were true the entire Royal family would have been blinded on the eve of war.
The king is dead and long live the new king, Stanley can just stay kneeling, because it’s Margaret Regina who wears the crown in this family. Her divine magick made for a good brew with the White Queen’s burnt curses. The White Queen was not the most compelling rose in the garden of British Royalty grab television. As complete as it was as a drama, it gave only a slanted depth to the characters. It is a harrowing look at the treatment of women in the royal houses. They were at best disposable and at worse, good prospects for marriage. It’s not just the entitled titled men who handle their royal ladies with the care they usually reserve for the stable horses. The women, queen mothers all, see even their daughters as sacks for sons. Everything is permissible as long as the throne stays in the family. The throne isn’t even comfortable. Maybe that is the point.
The White Queen is still methadone for Game of Thrones junkies. It doesn’t actually get you high, but it keeps you from scratching your face off while you’re waiting for the new season.
“The Princes in the Tower” was directed by Colin Teague and written by Emma Frost.
Den of Geek Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars