This week’s installment of Will is a captivating contrast of dreams and madness, darkness and light. “What Dreams May Come” sets Shakespeare and the players on a mission to save the theatre, while Marlowe, Presto, and Topcliffe deal with their own demons.
Check out the synopsis below:
With the theatre in jeopardy, Will (Laurie Davidson) enlists the help of a beautiful and talented friend. Alice (Olivia DeJonge) turns to Southwell (Max Bennett) for comfort and an existential crisis leads Marlowe (Jamie Campbell Bower) back to the dubious Edward Kelly (Zubin Varla).
Now let’s break it down.
THE PLAY’S THE THING
Last week’s episode left off at a crucial moment – with the theatre in flames, courtesy of a distraught Presto. The company is alerted and bands together to put out the fire. Luckily, the building is more or less intact. Unluckily, Burbage finally comes clean about the back rent they owe and says they’ll have to close down.
It’s a dire situation, but rather than giving up, Will gets to work. He promises Alice that he’ll find a way to save the theatre. She’s not exactly receptive after Will, you know, calling her a whore – to which we say, You go, girl – but Will is on a mission here.
So, how’s a guy to make a ton of money in a very short amount of time? Find a benefactor. Shakespeare goes to visit Emilia Bassano (Jasmin Savoy Brown), looking for money from this lover of the arts – but she points out that none of her riches are actually hers. They belong to the powerful Lord Hunsdon. However, she’s willing to help. She just so happens to be visiting with a Lord Fortescue, who is very rich – and very in need of a poet, as he’s trying to convince a reluctant woman to marry him. With just one line – “The course of true love never did run smooth” – Will gets himself a commission. A private performance, meant to make Fortescue’s engagement happen.
Will gets the company on-board – minus Alice, who says she hates him and steers clear – and they get to work on what turns out to be A Midsummer Night’s Dream. With Alice’s rejection and some guidance from Emilia, Will lands on the theme of the play: love as a dream.
The performance comes together quickly, and it’s an amazing sequence to watch – with gorgeous costumes (loving Richard’s golden metal thong, just saying), humor, and magic. It’s a high-stakes situation, because if the beautiful Isabetta doesn’t agree to marry Fortescue, the players will get no money. But they manage to pull it off. The play is great, with glitter, magic, and dreams in action – and Isabetta is captivated. One of the closing lines, Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind, helps turn her in Fortescue’s favor. She accepts the proposal.
The company returns to the theatre with the money just in time to save the theatre from a new owner. Mission accomplished. It’s a moving scene, but Alice still isn’t looking at Will any more favorably. It’s going to take more than that to get back in her good graces, if it’s even possible.
A NEW POINT OF VIEW
While Will and the company work to save the theatre, Alice finds a listening ear in Southwell – who is more than willing to comfort her. Southwell gives Alice some writings on Mary Magdalene and gently brings her in to experience the underground Catholic world.
Alice seems to really be taken with what Southwell is doing. She attends a baptism and listens as Southwell explains the book he’s writing, which he believes will bring peace for all and peace for England.
Unfortunately, even while Alice’s eyes are opened, the Catholics face a serious setback. Topcliffe takes his crazy to new levels by telling his latest prisoner that he’ll rape the man’s daughter in front of his wife if he doesn’t reveal what he knows. Ultimately, this does the trick, and Topcliffe and his goons raid one of the Catholics’ hiding places – finding their printing press and taking many new prisoners as Southwell and Alice look on from afar. It’s a different kind of eye-opening experience, and we wonder if this will make Alice even more sympathetic to and involved with Southwell and the Catholics.
DANCING WITH THE DEVIL
In contrast with the whimsy, love, and magic of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Marlowe is experiencing a dark night of the soul – quite literally. He wakes in the same room where we last saw him, with his lover dead on the bed, and himself very much in distress. We really feel for the guy, but we’re both captivated and concerned by another great emo line he says: If your love cost me my soul, then here’s to damnation, darling. I shall see thee in hell.
Marlowe seems determined to take those words literally. He visits Edward Kelly and says he wants to sell his soul. This leads him to take part in a Satanic ritual in the woods, where he drinks blood (ew), but ultimately has a crisis of faith. The other worshippers say the Devil is there, but Marlowe doesn’t believe it. Kelly says that he has nothing because he believes in nothing. Welcome to Marlowe’s crisis of faith.
It seems that Kit won’t be rejoining the light side any time soon, though. His episode arc ends as he pitches a new play to Burbage’s competitor: Doctor Faustus. This will bring the Devil onto the stage – something very risky and cutting edge – but Marlowe reminds everyone that it’s only theatre. This should be interesting.
Meanwhile, Presto is dealing with his own devil: Topcliffe. He’s distraught from what happened and feels that it’s his fault his sister died. He’s also feeling guilty about setting fire to the theatre, which he did because he, too, wanted to die. Pres admits all this to Will – and also tells him about the incident with Topcliffe that set all of these events in motion.
Will is sympathetic and lets Pres stay in his room – but when he wakes up, the boy is gone… as is his knife. Shakespeare chases him down, barely stopping him from attempting to finish the job with Topcliffe – and only by telling him that he’ll forgive the kid for the fire. Killing Topcliffe seems like it will be a very difficult job, but Will says he owes Presto a vengeance – so we’re guessing that we’ll at least see them try.
Will airs Mondays on TNT.
Featured Image via TNT