will tnt your houses

‘Will’ 1×08 Review: “Your Houses”

The hits keep on coming. In this week’s installment of Will – “Your Houses” – Will walks the dangerous line of staying on Topcliffe’s good side while trying to take him down, Alice delves deeper into the Catholic world, Marlowe deals with his own demons, and Richard faces a harsh reality. Things are getting darker, and we’re not sure our hearts can handle it.

Check out the synopsis below:

Will (Laurie Davidson) is shocked to learn of Alice’s (Olivia DeJonge) new passion. Haunted by his inability to write, Marlowe (Jamie Campbell Bower) embarks on a self-destructive path. Plague haunts London, and Richard (Mattias Inwood) discovers what he believes in.

Now let’s break it down.


Topcliffe is still on the warpath, carrying out a public hanging of his Catholic prisoner who sold out Southwell’s whereabouts in an effort to protect his family. Southwell risks his life to watch the horrible scene, saying last rites (we think?) for the poor soul.

And it seems like the dude is about to get even more power. Will urges Emilia to have Lord Hunsdon speak out against Topcliffe to the Queen – but she reveals that Hunsdon will instead be championing Topcliffe as Her Majesty’s new spymaster. Emilia encourages Will to “be the hero [he] was born to be” and fight with words.

Shakespeare takes these words to heart. He sits down with Topcliffe, seemingly trying to get a better understanding of how he thinks – specifically, how he thinks of Catholics. Know thy enemy. Topcliffe is peddling terror in the service of god – and Will intends to bring him down with a political play. He’ll have to write it so it can get past the censor, but he’s compelled to make a stand. This will be Presto’s vengeance, and so much more.


Will goes to Alice for her help with the play, calling her his one true muse. She’s still angry and refuses to help. Indeed, she has a new passion: Catholicism. Alice is carrying secret messages to Southwell – and we learn that the Pope has approved his plan for the Queen.

Alice comes to Will the following day, revealing that she has been meeting with Southwell – something she thanks Will for. Shakespeare warns her that the danger is real, and that this association could put her in Topcliffe’s sights. He warns Alice not to be used, which sets her off again. For a guy with so many words, Will sure could wield them better around her.

Will confronts Southwell, furious that he’s putting Alice in harm’s way. Southwell is nonplussed – in his eyes, Alice has removed herself from the only danger that matters, the danger to her soul. Will reveals his plan to write a play exposing Topcliffe as a hypocrite, which causes his cousin to accuse him of putting Alice in danger. They don’t reach a resolution, each angry with the other and storming away.

Will returns to Alice and warns her again that Southwell won’t hesitate to sacrifice her. He confesses that he loves her, and that he can’t stop. She rightly confronts him about his changeability – in love, in faith, and in life.


Marlowe is hard at work on writing Faustus. And apparently, his process involves bloodletting. At least it’s his own, this time. He seems to be having some serious issues – pulling lines from hallucinations of himself and his dead lover, who appears as the Devil. He’s wrestling with the nature of hell and damnation, and it doesn’t seem fun.

Marlowe seems to be in a serious tailspin. He spurns a former flame – very harshly – and then sets out to prove how little he feels by inciting a violent fight with a burly thug in the pub. He gets the shit beat out of him, but the pain doesn’t seem to have any effect on him.

Marlowe isn’t the only one plagued by devils. Will has hallucinations of his own as he’s wrecking his quarters, distressed by Alice’s rejection. Writer’s block is a bitch. Despite this outburst and Southwell’s warning, Presto reaffirms that Will needs to write his political play.

Marlowe bursts into the inn, searching for Shakespeare. The pain is finally having an effect. He says he needs to believe that there is more to life than what he sees and horrible people – and asks Will to explain how he believes. He’s looking for faith. Marlowe says that Will is special, and that’s why he saved him – for his faith. And in return, Will must save Marlowe – who wants to confess his sins to Southwell.

With some prodding from Presto, Will tells Marlowe how to find his cousin. Marlowe thanks him and says that his debt is cleared. And thanks to Marlowe calling Presto an oracle, Will realizes how he can get his play through the censor. He’ll tell a story set in the past to illuminate something about the present. Topcliffe is going down. Hello, Richard III.

Will confesses to Richard who the play is really about – and that if Topcliffe throws a fit, he’ll have to cop to the accusations in the writing. Richard is reluctant and says it’s too dangerous. But after his friend in the company falls ill with the plague, he says he’ll do it – when the friend gets out of the boarded-up plague house. Richard then follows him inside, to wait out the illness together – or die trying. OUR HEARTS.

Alice comes across the house and sees the plague sign on the door. She falls into Will’s arms, crying, and together they pray for Richard. And as the episode ends, we see someone else seeking God: Marlowe, who has made it to Southwell.

Will airs Mondays on TNT. 

Featured Image by: Steffan Hill

Fangirl, avid reader, & Anglophile. Current obsessions include: Dylan O'Brien, Teen Wolf, Game of Thrones, brunch, SDCC, and gingerbread lattes. Not a queen, a Khaleesi. Contact: chloe@fangirlish.com.