HOLLYWOOD —On last Sunday night’s episode of “The Tudors” we saw the return of the tyrannical monarch Henry VIII when in an outrage he signed the execution orders of his wife Queen Katherine Howard, one of her ladies (who happened to be one of Henry’s own cousins), and his wife’s two lovers. One lover was convicted of having carnal knowledge of her majesty before marriage. Though anyone who has watched this series or read about the 15th century of England’s history, very well knows that one of her lovers preceded her marriage, but that was still an immoral issue with Henry, who desired a virginal wife in most instances. Thomas Culpeper, Henry’s favorite groomsman should have known that his dalliances with his master’s wife would end in tragedy for him.
Katherine, his teenage bride was the fifth in the line of six of Henry Tudor’s wives. She, however, was not too smart. After watching her cousin Ann Boleyn’s beheading for adultery, you’d think this nymph would be wiser. Her rise was fast, but her descent was even quicker. Edward Seymour, the eldest brother of the late Queen Jane Seymour, Henry’s third wife, took great joy in interrogating Katherine’s lovers, since Katherine’s uncle, the Duke of Surry, is a nemesis of the Seymour family. Surry even turned on his niece just before her execution. Looking at her in disgust as she tarnished the noble Howard name.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers is absolutely astounding as the aging King. His despair over being lied to again turned to rage and the actor hit all the right notes. Meyers is certainly a wonderful actor who manages to bring to life a huge figure in Western civilization’s history. Henry often teeters on being a Catholic only to turn away from it because England’s ruler unlike other European monarchs refuses to bow to the pope’s orders. The pope ordered him not to divorce Queen Katherine of Aragon, the eldest daughter of King Ferdinand and Isabella the Great of Spain. Henry successfully pushed the Roman Catholic Church out of England and then appointed himself as head of The Church of England, so he can now do anything he very well wants.
During the trials on Sunday night, Henry was so bloodthirsty for his wife’s maid’s head, that he ordered the British Parliament to throw aside a law that stated no one could execute a mentally ill prisoner, and once that impediment was out of the way, he signed the death warrant for his own cousin, Lady Rochford, who stupidly acted as a procurement clerk for the queen’s overly hungry sexual appetite. She was convicted of conspiring with the queen and Thomas Culpeper to commit adultery, and ultimately treason.
Princess Mary, played by Sarah Bolger reveled in the news that her stepmother was being held under arrest in the Tower of London. Mary denounced Katherine Howard as a good Catholic and while clutching to her prayer book, exclaimed, “She was no good Catholic at all. She only cared about pretty clothes and having fun.” The beautiful actress is playing a spinster in the series, and she does so excellently. Henry Cavill, who portrays King Henry’s best friend The Duke of Suffolk, regretted his part in bringing Katherine Howard to London to become the king’s wife. He’s still being haunted by the murderous campaign he was forced to unleash on the Catholics in the north of England, and the actor brilliantly shows the wear and tear of these atrocities and the emotional damage to his soul on his handsome face. Charles Brandon looks somber and broken. Cavill plays it brilliantly.
On this Sunday night, Queen Catherine Parr makes her appearance at Court to an older and more worried King Henry. Her cousins Edward and Thomas Seymour will force Catherine Parr, played by acclaimed actress Joely Richardson. Catherine Parr was the only woman who married Henry, that really did not want to marry him at all and become queen of England. She fears that after beheading two wives, divorce of two and the death of Queen Jane during childbirth, that Henry was a cursed monarch and she wanted nothing to do with his lifestyle or becoming one of his tragic queens.
Parr’s rise, like all of Henry’s wives, will be a swift one. In history we know she remained safe from Henry’s executioner’s ax or sword, but it shall be fascinating to watch what twists and turns Showtime has for the fabled sixth queen of Henry VIII ahead for viewers. Also, England under a madman King Henry will begin its invasion of Scotland to punish and force King James of Scotland and King Francis of France to submit to England.
This series continues to get better each week and this final season is titled, “The Last Seduction.” It’s thoroughly entertaining and yes, extremely seductive.