Wow, this episode covered a lot of ground!
It starts at Elizabeth's* coronation, which is as grand as they can make it because the people have been denied a royal wedding and they want everyone to accept her as Queen. Warwick is not happy, and still wants to sign a treaty with France; in an attempt to win back the favor he once had, he goes out almost single-handedly and captures the fugitive King Henry. Edward still doesn't give him the power he wants; he turns down Warwick's petition to marry his daughters to Edward's brothers. Warwick wants to put his own family into succession and get the throne, but Elizabeth wants to marry off her (approximately) forty-two sisters to shore up the families around them and further legitimize her and Edward's rule. She happens to birth three daughters over the next three years, and her sons are from a different Line and can't be the heirs he wants, so things are still shaky.
Meanwhile, Margaret is cracking up, and sees a vision from God that her son, Henry Tudor**, will be king. Except that he's five and has been forcibly taken away from her and raised by his uncle, the man she actually loves and would have liked to have married when her original husband died, except that her mother is power-hungry and petty at the same time and married her to Stafford. He's good, but too safe and timid, and a lot older than her. She believes in her vision so deeply that she tells Henry he's going to be king, tells him always to remember it, then sides with Warwick when he marries his older daughter Isabelle to Edward's brother George against the King's wishes and declares him the true legitimate king.
He's raising an army against Edward. Edward gets captured. While trying to get free of the first attack, Elizabeth's father and brother are beheaded without a trial, and only Anthony makes it back; they all have to flee to safety before Warwick and George come after them. Enraged and grief-stricken, Elizabeth turns to her mother's magic and curses the ones she holds responsible, even though that's wildly illegal.
- Heirs born: None, but three girls
- People Dead: Lord Rivers, John Rivers
- Claimants to the throne: Edward, George, the previous Henry, soon Henry Tudor
- Kings in jail: Edward, Previous Henry
- Strategic marriages: Elizabeth's little sister to a child Duke, one of Edward's cousins; Isabelle Warwick to would-be-king George; several more proposed
- Mystical happenings: One vision from God, two curses
- Does anyone else feel like they need a flowchart*** to keep all of this straight? Admittedly, figuring out the arcane secrets of the rules of succession and the bizarrely complicated family alliances is part of the fun, but I still find myself wishing that people didn't all have the same names. Or that they conveniently wore family colors more often like they do in Game of Thrones.
The show continues to be gorgeous, however, and the same level of drama, tenseness and power that was in the first episode is here, too. If anything, things have gotten tenser and more prone to moving power around than ever before, and this is only the second episode! Despite the fact that this one episode covers somewhere around four years, things never feel rushed; we get enough tips of the story moving along that we aren't left confused, and there are pauses along the way to show Elizabeth big with child, having the baby and Edward being happy for her even though she isn't a son, and catching back up three years later, when Warwick has raised the army against them. It was shocking that Lord Rivers was killed; I was expecting Edward to be killed in battle when he was dumb enough to try to escape to fortify London without taking any guards with him.
This week's favorite scene was when Isabelle tells Anne the story of the previous queen and how she was a warrior and a demon and consorted with the devil to have the other previous heir.
Overall, this was a strong episode, and I can't wait to see what happens next.
How did you like The White Queen "The Price of Power"?
*I had no idea there were so many Elizabeths in English history. In this story we have this Elizabeth and she names her daughter Lizzy, which is also Elizabeth, and then we know that Henry Tudor has an Elizabeth, too. Not to mention the current Elizabeth.
**And so he will be king, except, you know, he is father to the royal line leading to Henry VIII who dismantles the church and starts a new one so that he can variously abandon, kill or divorce eight wives, which causes almost as much trouble as all of this anyway.
***Or at the very least, the show should come with a printable family tree with pictures that just automatically prints itself out of the TV when you watch it.