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Becoming Elizabeth Episode #3

by Karen Walcott about a month ago in tv review
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Elizabeth as a Spoiled Royal Brat

Elizabeth and Thomas Seymour are caught by Catherine Parr

What Happened in Episode 3: Be Silent and Learn

Catherine Parr discovers that she is pregnant. I will spare you the medieval method used to detect pregnancy via urine. It's disgusting. Catherine is dismayed. She believes that both she and the child will die during childbirth.

Jane Grey tries to reassure her:

"My mother lives. Your mother lived. The Lord Protector's wife has been delivered safe of 10 children."

"The Lord Protector's wife? I doubt anything could kill her."

Historical Note: Catherine Parr and Anne Stanhope (Edward Seymour's wife) were friendly when Catherine was the Queen Dowager. When Catherine married Thomas Seymour, Anne thought that she should take precedence over Catherine since her husband was Lord Protector and thus the de facto King of England. Anne was successful in securing Catherine's royal jewels, arguing that they should be worn by the Queen of England. Catherine referred to Anne as "That Hell."

Jane manages to alleviate some of Catherine's worries by stating that any child would be lucky to have Catherine and Sir Thomas as parents.

Thomas and Elizabeth

Thomas Seymour comes upon Elizabeth in a room alone and teases her about a messenger arriving from Robert Dudley. He acts jealous and calls her, "My Elizabeth."

Catherine Parr and Kat Ashley (Elizabeth's governess) approach. Catherine clearly wants to tell Thomas about her pregnancy, but Thomas is too busy play-flirting with Elizabeth. He makes fun of Elizabeth for still being dressed in Black mourning clothes. Thomas draws his sword and begins to cut Elizabeth's dress to pieces. Elizabeth tries to run away, but Catherine and Thomas chase her. Catherine holds her as Thomas finishes his work and strips Elizabeth down to her revealing shift.


Mary is in a room at Framlingham Castle, sitting before a fire and rereading Elizabeth's letter to her where she refuses to be her advocate at Edward's Protestant court. Pedro gently takes the letter from Mary and puts it in the fireplace.

Later Pedro sends a message to the Lord Protector. I hope that Pedro is not a spy.

The Tower of London

The Lord Protector and Lord Dudley arrive at the Tower of London to release Catholic Bishop, Stephen Gardiner, and return him to his former seat on the Privy Council. The Lord Protector feels compelled to release Gardiner in order to show Princess Mary (and the rest of the Catholics in England) that the new government has no intentions of persecuting Catholics.

Elizabeth and the Council

Elizabeth is called before the king and his privy council and Catherine and Thomas to answer for her letter to Mary. Elizabeth is lambasted by Catherine for sending a letter indicating that Elizabeth and Edward are united against her. Edward (a sign of his youth) is dismayed that his beloved elder sister might be angry with him. The rest of the council is more concerned that if Mary feels persecuted that she will lead a Catholic rebellion against Edward and his court.

Later at Dinner

Elizabeth is upset at the scolding that she received from Catherine and the council. Catherine mocks Elizabeth for being upset for being reprimanded, but Thomas reminds Catherine that Elizabeth doesn't understand what the release of Bishop Gardiner means. Catherine explains that Bishop Gardiner spoke to King Henry about Catherine possibly being a Protestant. Gardiner questioned Catherine's ladies and friends to get evidence on the Queen. He famously racked Anne Askew himself (women were generally not tortured in Henry's England) in order to gain evidence against Catherine. Catherine managed to escape arrest only by pleading to Henry directly just before Gardiner and his cohorts arrived with a warrant for her arrest.

Catherine was right in asserting that Henry very nearly almost had a third wife executed. Elizabeth still foolishly insists that Henry would have never had Catherine executed.

Mary, Gardiner, and Pedro

This Catholic trio dine together and discuss the morality of the Lord Protector. Gardiner tries to push Mary into leading a Catholic rebellion. Mary refuses to tear apart both her family and her country. Mary's mother, Catherine of Aragon, famously refused to do the same thing even when she was facing severe mistreatment from Henry.

Elizabeth and Thomas

Elizabeth seeks out Thomas for late night shenanigans. I dislike that the writers and showrunners are trying to make it seem as if 15 year old Elizabeth, was in consensual relationship with this 40 something man. It makes me question if they are trying to make the audience question Elizabeth's judgment and morality.

After messing around with Elizabeth, Thomas goes back to Catherine and they scheme for more power. They decide to stage a huge celebration to celebrate Elizabeth's 15th birthday. It's really just an excuse to have Edward spend time with Jane Grey. Catherine and Thomas are hellbent on getting Edward to marry their ward Jane Grey so that they can have influence over the young king.

Elizabeth's Birthday Celebration

Catherine and Thomas set the lake at their Chelsea manor on fire and then launch fireworks for Elizabeth's birthday. Elizabeth is touched by all the fanfare in her honor.

Catherine spends a lot of time with her stepson, the king, trying to influence him to assert his kingly authority and defy the Lord Protector. I know that the actor that plays Edward is older, but historically Edward was only 9 or 10 years-old at this time. Catherine manipulating him so that she and her husband can have more power is utterly despicable.

Elizabeth and Robert Dudley are playing cards. Robert notices Catherine sitting with Jane and King Edward and rightly refers to Catherine as a "ruthless turtle dove," and Thomas Seymour as a "unstable Popinjay." He also mentions that the king and Jane Grey seem to be the center of attention at Elizabeth's birthday celebration and not Elizabeth herself. Elizabeth is immediately suspicious.

Later at Dinner

Elizabeth tries to talk to Thomas Seymour, but he brushes her off to go speak to King Edward. Thomas then makes a toast to Elizabeth . . .and King Edward. Elizabeth is pissed off now and takes it out on Jane Grey.

Elizabeth announces to the room that Jane has been preparing a love song to sing to Edward. Both Elizabeth and Lord Henry Grey insist that Jane perform for the king. Jane's voice is awful. It's off key and the whole performance is utterly awful.

Jane leaves the room in tears and King Edward refers to the performance as "shit." What a charming little boy king.

Elizabeth grabs Thomas and mentions that she knows of his schemes and is upset that he and Catherine kept those plans a secret from her.

Robert manages to see Elizabeth alone and upbraids her for using her royal power to humiliate a timid child. Elizabeth exhibits an awful trait. She acts oblivious. She acts as if she has no idea what Robin is talking about.

We get to see Elizabeth's self-centeredness here as well as her insecurity and need for constant praise and admiration. I think that is really at the heart of Elizabeth's so called "love" for Thomas Seymour. He pays attention to her and praises her.

Jane is being whipped by her father for her awful performance. Elizabeth puts a stop to it and tries to comfort Jane by giving her half an apology and offering her the use of one of her dresses, since Jane's dress has been ruined by her father.

After the Party

Thomas goes to visit Elizabeth in her bed chamber. He kisses her and starts to open her shift, when Catherine comes in. Thomas immediately denies any wrongdoing, but Catherine refuses to talk about it until the next day after their guests have left.

Mary and Pedro

Mary talks to Pedro and laments that she wasn't invited to Elizabeth's birthday party. Mary explains that all she wants is to show Edward and the Lord Protector that she is not a threat. She believes that if she does this, then they won't persecute her or the other English Catholics. I'm so proud of Mary and I feel that this portrayal is close to how she felt during this time of her life. I think that Mary, at this age, just wanted to exist peacefully with her siblings and to practice her religion in private.

Be Silent and Learn

Catherine and Thomas interrupt a privy council meeting. Catherine tries to encourage Edward to rebuke the Lord Protector for assuming too much kingly authority and for also releasing Catholic Bishop Gardiner. The Lord Protector quickly shuts Edward, Catherine, and Thomas down. He reveals Catherine and Thomas' plan to have Edward marry Jane Grey. Edward is taken aback. The Lord Protector then goes on to tell Edward that he is still a child and that his only goal right now is to be silent and learn from those who actually rule the country. King Edward is visibly chastened.

The Showdown: Catherine vs. Elizabeth

To her credit, Catherine asks Elizabeth, "What has my husband done?" Catherine wisely holds the adult to blame in this situation and not an impressionable teenager in her care. Elizabeth unwisely claims that neither she nor Sir Thomas have done anything wrong. I cannot tell if it is Elizabeth's fear or pride that will not allow her to admit to her actions with Thomas. She also stupidly pretends to be affronted by Catherine's accusations. Catherine compares Elizabeth's deceit to her mother's and then goes off in search of her husband.

The Showdown: Catherine vs. Thomas

Catherine maybe blind to many of Thomas' shortcomings, but she realizes that at the core of Thomas' interest in Elizabeth is his lust for power. She tells him that such an ambition will only end with his head on the block. Catherine also finally tells Thomas that she is pregnant.

The episode ends with Catherine sending Elizabeth away and warning her that her reputation can either kill her or keep her safe. She warns her to remember that in the future. Elizabeth is stunned that she is being sent away. She's even more stunned that Thomas isn't going with her.

Historically, Catherine and Elizabeth never see each other again. Although they do exchange many loving letters. Elizabeth should have had more respect for Catherine and she should have told her the truth. Catherine gave her ever opportunity to tell her the truth without blame, but Elizabeth refused.

This series is not making me like Elizabeth. It is really showing her as a spoiled and selfish brat.

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Karen Walcott

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