The comparisons between The White Queen and Game of Thrones will never cease, as long as I have something to say about it. The two shows are doing an end run to a crown, but each of the royal houses is playing a different game. The game on the Game of Thrones is probably chess, a noble game played by strategic minded people who see several moves ahead of where their game is in play. It is also a game of naked Twister and we thank them for that. The White Queen doesn’t play chess, not even checkers. It’s not Stratego or Monopoly either. The White Queen is a card game and it’s not strip poker. Which is probably a good thing because last week’s sex scenes were so very, very sad.
The White Queen’s characters are playing five card stud where there’s no ace in the hole, just a couple of queens. All the best cards are face up and no one knows how to bluff. Poker is the one game where emotion can overcome logic. A bluff can trump mathematics. Everyone on The White Queen wears their cards on their sleeves. Which is also where they blow their nose. There are four queens, one sits on a throne, one is in exile, another is in a tower and one doesn’t want to be there. There are four players who would be king. Nothing is wild on the show but you need jacks or better to open. Warwick (James Frain) can bluff, but he has an obvious tell. It’s no wonder that little Henry Tudor (Michael Marcus), who is playing crazy eights with his mother the Lancastrian Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale), will beat these dulled British card sharps.
Warwick is still playing at his Machiavelli machismo. George (David Oakes) thinks he’s about to rule England, which means the kingmaker Warwick will still be calling the shots, whispering in his ear, yelling over his horse and blowing bubbles up his ass. The young women are just waiting to be queen so they could question Warwick. I’m sure a lot of them would like to interrogate him. The Earl of Warwick really doesn’t like Queen Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson) at all. He lopped off the heads of her father and brother last week and can’t sell George’s crown to parliament. He doesn’t hide his hatred for Elizabeth, never did, doesn’t care to. Warwick’s family, Lady Anne Neville (Faye Marsay), Lady Isabel Neville (Eleanor Tomlinson), and Lady Anne Neville (Juliet Aubrey) are starting to get on Elizabeth’s tit too. King Edward King Edward’s (Max Irons) thinks he’s manipulating Warwick, but Warwick never stops playing him.
Elizabeth isn’t hiding her magic that much, I wonder how she’s not tried as a witch, what with her blowing out candles with her peeved mind. In my favorite scene Elizabeth tells the Neville Sisters that they’ll dance to whatever tune she’s singing and then makes a dramatic exit. I assumed she was leaving to get her lute and, indeed, the next scene had jugglers and dancers. I figured she’d make them dance to “Living in the Past” which is in 5/4 time just to mess with the dancefloor.
Elizabeth tells her mother, Lady Rivers (Janet McTeer), that to stay in the game she has to have a son, so they go fishing again, like they did a few weeks ago when they caught her husband, the king. Elizabeth, her mother and her daughter all whistle a magical charm so tunelessly that it kills Isabel’s baby.
Last week Elizabeth did a ritual to whatever gods she worships as a closet witch for the death of her enemies Warwick and George by her will. Ooh scary, she must not have a lot of will, because neither are dead yet. In tonight’s episode, Elizabeth and all the female characters do a kind of West Side Story take as they turn to god to do their killing. Please dear god, strike down this one, while you’re at it, god, can you kill this other one? Oh and if it’s no bother, I’d like to screw the gardener, blurring the ethical difference between the dark pagans and the even darker Christians.
Directed by James Kent and written by Emma Frost again, this round went to King Edward, who had a straight to the Queen. Do they shuffle or draw a new deck?
Den of Geek Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars