The Royals was in full swing last week with its fifth episode marking halfway through season 2. Learning of Jasper’s secret plan with his partner in crime Mandy should’ve at least stood as a warning of what was to come. Even with the warnings from the cast on social media, I still wasn’t prepared. Go ahead and schedule yourself a nice vacation. It will definitely be needed after this impressively dramatic episode. Also don’t expect to listen to “Let It Go” by James Bay the same ever again. The truth has come out, and nothing will be the same. I will say that this is my favorite episode yet this season. Tom Austen (Jasper) and Alexandra Park (Eleanor) left me speechless. That doesn’t happen often. I’ve decided to break this episode down in three parts: the plan, the party, and the aftermath. Let’s jump in:
The episode centers around the twin’s birthday party. There was a change of plans of how the party usually goes. Normally Queen Helena takes full reign and makes the party more about her and her dignitaries rather than the twins. Liam’s friends and Mandy want to change that for obvious different reasons. Holden, Ashok, and Ivan ambush what they think to be a sleeping birthday boy with an immense amount of paint balls only to have the favor returned by Jasper and the birthday boy himself. Meanwhile, Mandy and Eleanor come stumbling into her room singing “Let It Go” by the ultimate bae James Bay. Eleanor shares a memory of her ninth birthday party that King Simon planned with “dodgems” and a cake that she and Liam jumped out of. (Dodgems are just British talk bumper cars, if you were wondering.) Mandy has her own idea of what the party should be, and it surely has a get-away route for her, the diamond, and Jasper. It’s totally simple: Get Eleanor to wear the diamond in a necklace, proceed to have Eleanor drink a bit too much, switch the necklace with a fake, and make a run for it.
When Jasper learns of the plan, you can see that he is still hesitant about it all. Mandy bribes him with stories from his past. There was one about a con and one about his family. She tells him that he’s so close to proving he’s not his father. His parents were only into the small cons and that didn’t get them anywhere. Jasper wanted in the big leagues, and Mandy is reminding him that their plan is exactly that.
The rest of the Royals don’t seem to have any agenda of showing up to the party. Instead they are taking a day for themselves. Queen Helena shows no interest in the passing of her succession bill but does in taking Rachel’s car for a spin. Queen Helena goes to Alistair’s cottage, clearly in grief of her lost love, and takes in the place they would come together over the past 30 years. SURPRISE! He’s not actually dead! Did you really think he was? Alistair throws down a whole truth speech on Helena about how he’s done with being strung along and her needing to spend more time with her children. Oh, he also wants a paternity test. As for Cyrus, he wants to take his “girlfriend” Violet out on a special day to the Opera – which she’s never been to. Cyrus begrudgingly bumps into Mrs. Holloway. After a civil, posh argument over her husband, Cyrus leaves with, “Enjoy the show. I hear there’s a surprise ending.” I repeat: I should’ve been more prepared of the drama that has yet to unfold.
With a birthday party flourishing in the palace following the twins jumping out of a cake and having bumper cars in the palace (Sound familiar?), it was hard for the twins not to be all smiley and enjoying themselves. Liam’s full of liquor and (hopefully) love after playing beer pong with some ambassadors and Wilhelmina who made the Prince happy with her appearance. There was so much flirting from these too during the episode that ultimately led them to a dunk tank full of champagne with Wilhelmina being the dunkee and Liam being the dunker. She assured Liam that she could “drink her way out” of the tank with a sly smile. I am completely all for these two! I guess Liam is as well, because he told Wilhelmina that there were clothes in his room she could wear. She stood her ground of not being the type of girl to leave waiting, and he guaranteed to meet her there. On the other hand, Eleanor can’t stop thanking Mandy for the amazing bash – obviously not knowing of her and the reluctant Jasper’s master scheme. It’s heartbreaking to watch and waiting for it all to crumble on this character you have come to love.
At the Opera, Cyrus has to assure Violet that the people looking at her are doing it out of adoration rather than her “doing something wrong” like she thought. We saw a sensitive and touching part of Cyrus when he told her, “With you by my side, the crown has never shone brighter.” Cyrus encounters some workers that are glad supporters of his alternative way of ruling and fans of his lady. Don’t blink! You may miss the look of possible shame on Cyrus’ face over the way the people view him. Don’t worry about the fact that I haven’t mentioned Helena in a while. Here’s the scoop: Alistair is worried about the fact that he was almost murdered and if the twins are his children. Helena thinks she can make all of that go away with an apology and time, but Alistair isn’t taking that as an answer. Somehow cutting your own hand to put blood on a handkerchief for a paternity test is a good idea. I feel like there may have been a better way to go about that but Alistair isn’t messing around about this test.
Basking in the beauty of her party following many shots of alcohol, Eleanor is met with someone who she doesn’t recognize. The woman reintroduces herself as a new and improved Imogen –thanks to her new man. Imogen is a woman that Eleanor met at the rehab center in season 1. I hear the congratulatory words of being “clean and happy” come out of Eleanor’s mouth, and I can’t help but want her to reflect on them herself. Sadly, the “great” man that Imogen speaks so highly of isn’t so fantastic. Luckily, Liam’s overly attractive and interesting friend Holden swooped in for the rescue during a confrontation between Imogen and her beau. Eleanor then decides to go and thank Mandy once more for the party. That’s when the switch happens. The plan is in motion.
Mandy lets Jasper know that everything is still going as planned. Jasper then does his best to get Eleanor to leave with him and tell her the truth, but she won’t budge. Do you blame her? That’s when Jasper heads for the tunnels to stop his old partner in crime. Luckily, he literally tied the gate closed with his tie so Mandy couldn’t make a quick exit. He struggles to get the diamond back and is caught by Eleanor.
Lenny is full of questions looking at one person she used to trust and one she thought she trusted up until this point. Why is her girlfriend leaving her party? How do Jasper and Mandy know each other? Has Jasper threatened Mandy? The only question I had was: Is Jasper going to do the right thing? After smashing the fake diamond and putting the real one back in Lenny’s hand, Jasper tells her the truth, “We came here to rob you.” The look on Eleanor’s face is complete agony. Jasper is the only one to see it, as Mandy is still trying to open the gate. Eleanor says, “If this is just about taking things from me. Here, take these.” She hands her diamond earring that her grandma gave her to Mandy. Mandy actually takes them. Eleanor tells Jasper to let Mandy go and he does. Mandy calls after Jasper to come with her, that this is his chance, and he goes with her!!!!!!!!! I was basically screaming at my television begging him not to do it. I kept hearing Liam’s advice from 2×02 to Jasper about being the one who doesn’t let her down. Through it all, I just wanted him to do the right thing so badly.
Cue “Let It Go” and my broken heart. Jasper didn’t let me down! As the song started rolling, Jasper is chasing Mandy (or Samantha, since that is her real name and what he called her) down to get the diamonds back with no success. He tells her, “You can come back to the palace with me. Just tell her you changed your mind.” Mandy has no plan of turning around and I think Jasper knows that. “Tell her, yeah, that this might have been the original reason you came here, but then you got here and you got to know her and you…you fell in love with her. That literally nothing else matters, because you will give up everything for a second chance with her.” Yes, I was totally gushing over the fact that Jasper admitted he loves Lenny. (I’m a huge fan of romantic speeches.) I mean, come on, we both know that declaration was not from Mandy’s viewpoint. Mandy doesn’t seem as emotional from his speech. She still leaves with the earrings.
Update on Cyrus: He is happily in love with Violet.
Eleanor numbly returns to her party with an order for everyone to leave. No one does, so she starts a mild fire to get everyone’s attention. I’m not sure why a blowtorch is just laying around at the palace. What do I know? As the sprinklers start literally raining on the twins’ party, Liam is seen on his way to meet Wilhelmina. He spots a blond girl across the room that he briefly interacted with earlier in the night, and flashes of memory come back to him. This could be the person who put the Domino necklace on him! He catches up with her and she tells him she can’t answer any questions because they’re “being watched”.
You may miss it but “Let It Go” starts over from the second line when we catch up with Helena deciding to not make the paternity test appointment. She hides the bloody handkerchief in a secret compartment of her desk drawer.
The song starts again as a defeated Lenny lies down in one of the bumper cars. Jasper appears in the doorway and just watches. You can feel the tension and the heartbreak. Tom Austen proceeds to rock the one single tear. There was so much emotion in this scene. The sadness is interrupted by a brief moment of confused happiness as Cyrus is picking out an engagement ring! Has he finally found the one in Violet?
Helena finds Eleanor and watches from a distance. I really wish King Simon was still around to lift Lenny back up. The looks shared are what really made the scene for me. To me, Helena is doing her best to understand her daughter and what must be going on, Jasper is trying to figure out how to fix everything (if he can), and Eleanor is completely broken. The Royals fades to black for the week, leaving us all wondering what happens next and incapable of listening to “Let It Go” ever again.
I dare you to try.
NEXT ON “THE ROYALS”
“Taint Not Thy Mind, Nor Let Thy Soul Contrive Against My Mother” (2×07)
Sunday, January 27th at 10/9c on E!