Sometimes it feels like there isn’t anything more that television or movies can say about the time of the Tudors. But the truth is that even though it seems that way, it doesn’t mean it’s reality.
There is always something more to tell and Becoming Elizabeth examines just that. The time before she was Queen. The time right after her father died.
We can’t say that Elizabeth wasn’t always a pawn, because she was to most people in her life. Becoming Elizabeth shows just that, but also shows some thing that we really haven’t seen. A young Elizabeth, finding her way.
ELIZABETH, YOU MUST COME
Henry VIII was probably not the best father, being as the man was more obsessed with having a healthy male heir, than anything. He disregarded his children and they spent a lot of their lives afraid of the target on their back. After all, if your father is willing to murder you mother, he’s probably willing to come for you too.
With his death, England is in turmoil. Then again, it has been for years. But for Mary, Elizabeth, and Edward, this means that everyone is going to come for them. But how does one know if they are there because they care or because they want power?
When Henry’s children are gathered and brought together, they don’t know what has happened. The Duke of Somerset has come for them all, but when they are gathered, their father passing isn’t the first thing that has come to their mind. They fear for their safety.
The way that the actors playing these characters make you feel like they are all truly siblings and that they will protect each other at all costs feels real. As their worlds are turned upside down, as they find out that their adolescent brother is now the king, they feel as though they are going to find a way to protect each other.
Even when no one wants them to.
Even the next morning, when Elizabeth see’s Edward being taken off to God knows where, she runs after to make sure he is okay. The poor kid is too afraid to speak and the Duke too hungry for power to acknowledge that he needs some comfort. There was no time to grieve. There was not a second for them to come to terms with their father being dead and what it means.
Edward was forced to grow up over night. He didn’t know what he was doing and lets face it – he had every reason to be a crying mess. Imagine being 9 years old and having to rule a nation, as well as having the Duke of Somerset (who is scary and intimidating) all up in your face telling you what you need to do? Personally, we woulda pissed our pants and just sat there like a zombie.
Or you know there’s also that possibility with being drunk with power and having him beheaded.
TO CATHERINE’S HOUSE WE GO
Catherine Parr is cunning. She’s definitely not sad that Henry is dead, but hey, she never wanted to marry him in the first place. One can’t blame her for that, but one also had to wonder, was she that upset about it as she loved the power it gave her.
But him being gone opened her up to being able to be with and possibly marry the love of her life, Thomas Seymour. He’s Edward’s uncle and we’re kinda torn on him. He feels like he’s drunk for power, but also, we think that he’s just desperate to be loved.
However, sleeping with Catherine right after the Kings death – probably not the best idea. Also, making comments about the King is probably not the best idea. It feels like these two are just anxious to hold their place at court.
Catherine was Queen. Now that Henry’s dead, she wants to keep her power by being close to Edward. Her and Thomas want to be the people that control Edward, to tell him how to rule the kingdom.
Arriving at Catherines, she’s taken a back. Her – fuck, we don’t know what she is but she’s always there – Kat Ashley, tries to tell Elizabeth how to behave. When she enters the home, she doesn’t know what to think of it. She’s fully aware that she’s in a game of kill or be killed. She’s aware that he age doesn’t mean shit and won’t protect her from men.
Catherine though tries to comfort (aka manipulate) Elizabeth and let her know that all she wants for her is to be safe and happy. We call bullshit.
The Duke of Somerset is like everyone else, thirsty for power. But what we wonder is does no one understand family loyalty? Because it seems like no one in this time does.
The Duke is not afraid to fuck over his brother and so even thought Henry wanted 16 people to guide Edward, they’ve given up their stake and are letting the Duke be the voice for the King. He’s the Lord Protector now (even though we truly just feel like he’s thirsty AF for power).
The thing about the Seymour’s is that they aren’t worried about challenging each other. They aren’t worried about what people think, but both are drunk for a want for power.
You can’t watch this though and not think that part of Thomas really just wants approval from his brother. His brother means more than he cares to admit. We all go through a time where we are looking for acceptance, but also finding that acceptance can be the hardest thing to do. Especially when it is something that you are looking for from family.
Thomas wants power, but he also wants to make his brother suffer for not accepting who he is. He doesn’t like living in the shadows and he doesn’t like knowing that his own family would turn against him.
Edward is so scared of what is happening and the Duke that he just cowers and gives in. There is no real guidance for him. There is no one truly looking out for him, and so he’s doing whatever the first person that was there for him says. Thomas may be his favorite Uncle, but the one he fears is the one that has him cowering.
THOMAS MEET ELIZABETH
Thomas is infuriated that his brother got to Edward before him, and like most men of the time, he gets drunk. But there also is a sense of decorum that needs to be had and showing up at the Queen’s house, where the Princess is – probably not his best idea to be really damn drunk.
One would hope that we could all be like Elizabeth here where she finds the laughter in the situation. It’s Kat and Catherine that put a stop to everything and take them both to where they should be.
Catherine is excited when Thomas is around. She becomes a giddy school girl in love. She wants to make Thomas happy and she truly is trying to do just that. He’s upset that his brother is in charge of Edward, but Catherine reminds him, that she has her own pawn – Elizabeth.
There is something about Elizabeth that is fearless. She’s intrigued by Thomas, finds him attractive, and likes the way he flirts with her. We feel like Elizabeth has never had this attention and at the first sign of it, she’s not willing to ever let it go.
LET’S GET EDWARD HIS BRIDE
We get that a King needs to marry and have an heir, but must we forget that Edward is young and that his promised, Mary Queen of Scots, is five.
The Duke of Somerset is heading to Scotland for war, to get Mary. The Scots don’t want to hand her over and her doesn’t miss the chance to go to war. Which honestly sounds like he’s lost his shit.
Edward knows that he can’t afford a war, which is a lot for him to know being so young. BUT like why should he have to send an army to fetch a wife, especially one that is five.
The only thing that we cared about at that moment was that Edward gathered himself together and said that he was the fucking King. About time. We applauded when he told the Duke that if he looses that their would be serious consequences if he lost. Well, we all kinda figured that one out Edward, but at the same point would Edward follow through on that? It doesn’t feel like he would. It doesn’t feel like he’s doing anything but barking.
Edward knows that he needs to make decisions. We’re just guessing the weight of the world on the shoulders of a nine year old is too much. Elizabeth and Mary are where they need to be, supporting their brother.
The truth for Elizabeth is that she’s not sure how to feel about a lot of things. She would like to make decisions for herself. She wants to have control over her life. She’s also a grieving child who doesn’t know how to behave because her father just died and what she is upset that she didn’t know her father as well as others.
Thomas Seymour would be the last person that we would think of to offer comfort, but he does. Second shocker is that what he’s saying makes sense. He’s tired of decisions. He does know though that no one will ever forget Elizabeth’s father, because memories will keep him alive.
Thomas says you learn much about parents after death than when alive. He says no on really knows a king until 100 years later when the affect of their choices can be felt. And that’s the tea.
BROTHER AT WAR
Do any of us really care about the Duke of Somerset? No. We’re viewing this and we only care if we’re gonna one day watch his ass be slapped down to reality. He’s a miserable shit.
While he’s gone though, Thomas and Catherine take the chance to get married. They have to bribe a priest, because they know no one will allow them to get married. These two are like balls to the wall, give no fucks, wanna be tied together. Yet, what they are doing is treason.
Even married though, it’s not going to stop Thomas from flirting. The next time he shows up at Chelsea Manor, he flirts shamelessly with Elizabeth. She’s taken by it, Catherine is jealous, and Kat is well, surprised. She didn’t think Elizabeth was right, but she believes that she is now – that Thomas has an interest in her.
The thing about Thomas Seymour is that none of us trust him, we’re not even sure we like him. It’s the way that Tom Cullen plays him that makes anyone watching know that they would have fallen for that charm. Hell, our petticoats or whatever it is that they wore in those days, would have fallen off.
But Thomas is also lost and he’s not making strategic moves. Instead he’s making moves that will ultimately lead to his downfall. He’s just a wild card, but a wild card that we’re rooting for.
THE PISSING MATCH
When you’re playing the game for power, you have to be cognizant of everyones wants. Thomas is trying to support Edward, especially with his brother gone. There’s a big feast to celebrate the win in Scotland.
While you see Edward distant with The Duke, you see him trusting in Thomas. Though trusting Thomas means telling him that he wants him to marry, well, Mary. hard pass. It does force the hand that Catherine and Thomas have to tell Edward about their marriage.
The regret that Thomas has over marrying Catherine is evident. Having to answer for it, it’s not something that he wants to do. Especially if he has to answer to his brother. His brother, who will put him down and tell him that he shouldn’t have done it and try to punish them.
Their fights are happening left and right, but Thomas has a point when he tells him that he really can’t enforce them not seeing Edward. The Duke is of course going to challenge being challenged, but that’s okay. It won’t change anything – what’s done is done. Thomas reminds him that he wouldn’t have let him marry anyone – especially Mary or Elizabeth. Duke is like they’re princesses and neither one of them are meant to marry Princesses.
We can see why the Duke ran to get the kids that night that Henry VIII died, because it’s the only thing that he had. It was the only thing that he had to make sure that he had control, because if he lost it, he had nothing. And he didn’t want his brother or anyone to have that.
THE HOUSE HAS GREY
Elizabeth is genuinely trying to figure everything out, but she does know one thing – she doesn’t really like Jane Grey. It seems as though this is a family that has judged her and has put her down.
Elizabeth is not pleased at all that Jane Grey is moving into Chelsea. She goes to confront Jane and when Jane speaks out of turn, she is quick to put it back. Jane wanted to stay with her family. It’s something that sounds so simple, but it triggers Elizabeth. Elizabeth doesn’t care and asks her if she think she’s ever got what I wanted.
There can be a lot of misconceptions, but Elizabeth doesn’t have control. She’s a Princess and that doesn’t grant her the freedom that Jane thinks it does.
We didn’t expect Elizabeth to run and speak her mind. However, her telling Catherine how she feels about everything and how she’s not thrilled that Jane is there. It shows that she trusts her. However, when Thomas is there, she shuts down. She doesn’t want to be out of turn.
She’s given the choice for Jane to leave, but she says it’s fine that she’s there. Elizabeth seems to shut down in one way and come alive in another when Thomas is around. Not sure how we feel about that.
But she’s also like a bashful child and when she has the chance to tell Thomas in her own way that she’s not thrilled that he’s married, he has an excuse/explanation. He tells her that he had to move fast, because Edward wanted him to marry Mary, but the Lord Protector says that Thomas isn’t meant to marry princesses.
Turning on the charm, he asks her if he had the choice of sisters and which one he would marry, does she know which one he’d choose? Elizabeth is like my stepmother. Savage.
He’s made his choice.
To use your own words Thomas, choices are choices and you’re bound by the ones you make.
MVP OF EPISODE ONE – Thomas Seymour. Charming shit he is.
- Edward crying – dude, I woulda been a puddle.
- Elizabeth is so observant that it’s sometimes freaky.
- Mary is kinda always stoic. Now, I know girl has a target on her back, but like girl… that is not good for anyone.
- Kat saying that a Queen is made by marriage to a king, if he’s dead or alive is not the issue – we laughed. Like Kat, you know better.
- Thomas Seymour telling Elizabeth that he would remember her even if she wasn’t a Princess, we admit, we were like dude – he’s charming AF.
- Catherine Parr is scary smart and cunning.
- Thomas puking made me wanna puke and I’d never like to see anything like that again.
- Spain’s ambassador asking Mary what they should follow and her not even thinking of trying to get the throne for herself… kudos for being loyal when no one in this show seems loyal.
- Thomas and Elizabeth’s conversation in the council chambers is so sweet. We feel like he’s trying.
- Tom Cullen – we admit we didn’t know much about you, but like your acting has charmed the pants off of us.
- Elizabeth knowing about Thomas being promoted to admiral and Catherine not knowing is well… reminding Catherine that she’s loosing her status.
- The fact that Elizabeth is always worried about people thinking of her like they think of her mother is sad for us. We aren’t our parents, but being compared to one of the most infamous women ever, that has to be hard.
- Elizabeth interested in marrying Thomas, well, that’s bold.
- Catherine say that they won’t be executed cause they’re family… that’s laughable.
- France helping to smuggle Mary out of Scotland and the English loosing what they went to war for is well… figures.
New episodes of Becoming Elizabeth premiere Sundays on Starz.