The White Queen: Episode 4; The Bad Queen

This episode was kind of bland for me. I still like the show, but it feels like the characters are playing musical chairs with the throne of England. It would help matters if there was a character that really elicited the audience’s sympathy. Someone to cheer for. But alas there is no one. Even Elizabeth is no longer interesting or likeable.

The bitch is back. Veerle Baetens as Margaret of Anjou.
The bitch is back. Veerle Baetens as Margaret of Anjou.

The best part of this episode is that the Bad Queen has finally arrived! She makes a melodramatic entrance worthy of a soap opera. The music suddenly gets louder and more dramatic. It’s like the arrival of Maleficent or something. And I love it. Margaret of Anjou is a total bitch and she’s pretty justified in it. She and her husband were kicked off their thrones by Edward after all. Margaret of Anjou is finally the one to call out Warwick on his BS (that’s what made me really like her). Warwick gets away with his scheming with everyone else, saying he is just doing right by God. But Margaret knows that he’s really just trying to promote himself. Margaret is now running the show, not Warwick.

Michael Maloney as Henry Stafford and Amanda Hale as Margaret Beaufort.
Michael Maloney as Henry Stafford and Amanda Hale as Margaret Beaufort.

The MVP of this episode is by far Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale). Of all the characters on The White Queen, Margaret is the only one to be fully realized. Everyone else is flat and fairly stereotypical. But Margaret is special. She’s a conniving bitch who has no conscience. She does everything in the name of God and for her son’s sake, she believes he will one day be king. But she also has her moments of weakness and doubt. And her relationship with her son, Henry, is fragile and quite sad for her. I don’t like Margaret, but I find her quite interesting and Amanda Hale does some amazing acting. Margaret stands out from the pack, as she really has since day one. But her best scenes are in this episode. When she confides in her husband, fearing that she is being punished for her father’s sins. And the scene in which Henry comes to love and he truly believes he will be king. You can see the joy radiate from within Margaret. Finally her son loves and trusts her. It is a very touching moment.
• WTF does Elizabeth see in her vision? It just looks like some cloth floating in the water to me.
• Poor Anne. I almost feel sorry for her. She’s married off to a real d-bag (Star Lord’s words). Too bad like Margaret of Anjou I also find Anne to be plain in terms of both looks and personality. She’s a mouse. Although I think she has some backbone that has yet to be revealed.
• Anne’s pining for Richard is becoming seriously laughable. Get over it! Has she ever even had a conversation with him? All I remember her doing was staring at him and sighing.
• George finally does something! He attacks Warwick! And then he just stops and proceeds to let Warwick tell him what to do. George is as big a pawn as any of the women on the show.
• “When I was a girl, I thought I was destined for greatness…sainthood.” Margaret really should have been a nun, she’s so dedicated to God.

Jacquetta (Janet McTeer) on trial for witchcraft.
Jacquetta (Janet McTeer) on trial for witchcraft.

• How dare Warwick arrest Jacquetta?! Bastard.
• “Fortune’s wheel will never stop turning.” Yes, Margaret of Anjou. Once someone gets the throne they are thrown off it the next episode. And then on it again. I can’t keep track.
• Anne’s rape was pretty brutal. It can be easy to forget how much rape went on during this time as the period is kind of romanticized today.
• Why does Anne’s eye go droopy just before her husband rapes her? It was so bizarre, I laughed (I probably would laugh at a funeral).
• Poor Henry Stafford. He’s a pretty good husband to Margaret, yet he’s still the odd one out.
• Mad King Henry is back on the throne, but probably has no idea what is going on.
• I wish there was more Isabel. I realize she’s a minor character, but still. I like her.
• Elizabeth finally gives birth to a boy. But isn’t it kinda too late for that? That would have been awesome an episode or two ago.
• Ewwww, did we really have to see the baby’s head crowning?

The White Queen: Episode 3; The Storm.

For about the first half of this episode it was a little boring. Just a sequence of events, but not a lot of character development. Which annoyed me because the characters are my favorite part. But once “the storm” of the title occurs, wow, suddenly everything was very exciting and it ended up quite well (well not for Isabel…).

The beautiful, but tragic Isabel Neville played wonderfully by Eleanor Tomlinson.
The beautiful, but tragic Isabel Neville played wonderfully by Eleanor Tomlinson.

The highlight for me this episode was Eleanor Tomlinson as Isabel Neville. Wow, she blew me away I was so very, very impressed. She’s my new favorite on the show, my MVP (sorry Elizabeth/Rebecca Ferguson). And she’s so beautiful with those big, wonderful eyes. Isabel is the only truly sympathetic character on the show. She seems like a normal young girl caught up in schemes that she wants no part of. She says repeatedly that she does not want to be queen, but her father, Warwick, does not care what Isabel wants. She realizes that she and her sister, Anne, are just “their pieces on a board,” pawns to be used by their father and George. Isabel doesn’t trust her father, she feels he could easily betray her as he did Edward. This admission shows that she isn’t totally stupid, but it’s also quite sad. Isabel is alone in the world, unable to trust her own family. It’s also sad when Isabel tells Anne, “we will never have what [Elizabeth] has.” In other words, they will never marry for love (well I’m not so sure about Anne…). Everything to do with Isabel is just so sad! The pain over her baby needlessly dying… it made me cry a little. That would be such a frightening experience. This time the episode ends with her wanting revenge. Elizabeth and her Evil Eye better watch out!

Sorry Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson) you're not my favorite anymore.
Sorry Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson) you’re not my favorite anymore.

Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson) started to become very unlikeable to me this episode. She’s starting to come off as the annoying, nagging wife. I understand she’s upset about her father and brother’s deaths. But when Edward tells her to drop it, she should just listen! Instead she keeps moping about it for the whole hour. Except for when she suddenly gets horny and jumps Edward’s bones. She’s all happy because her fortune said they would have a boy. But ick, her sudden change of mood was just…weird…dirty even. Maybe it’s because Anne had to unlace Elizabeth while she was making out with Edward. It was all so cringe worthy. And Elizabeth gets naked while Anne is still in the room?! That seems like something a whore would do, not a queen. I guess she wanted to show off, but still…yuck! Rebecca’s acting is excellent during the scene in which she confronts the Neville girls for the first time since the murders. She is commanding, mad, sad, basically everything all at once. And with Jacquetta looming over her shoulder, it was an awesome scene.
The storm sequence of the episode was very exciting and I can’t wait to see what the fallout will be. I hope Isabel somehow gets revenge on Elizabeth (since her voodoo created the storm).
• When Warwick asks his pregnant daughter, Isabel, “Is it a boy?” Umm far as I know sonograms didn’t exist back then. Was he really expecting an answer? Is he dumb or were people that ignorant in the Middle Ages?
• Margaret (Amanda Hale doing some very good acting) says she would cut off Edward’s head if she could. I seriously believe it, she scares me a little.
• Anne Neville is very much like her father, Warwick. She doesn’t fear his schemes, as Isabel does. Maybe that’s why I don’t like Anne.
• Isabel is worried about Elizabeth’s “evil eye.” Hahaha, I thought I was the only one who said that kind of thing.
• Warwick is so monotone while talking to Elizabeth, but is all perky and happy once Cecily walks over. Hahaha, he’s a sneaky snake.
• Margaret is the best manipulator of anyone on the show. Anyone who underestimates her is making a serious mistake!

Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale) praying/scheming.
Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale) praying/scheming.

• Stafford puts up with a lot of shit from his wife, Margaret. If she was my wife I would never let her out of my sight!
• Margaret finally gets to live with her son, but he does not give one fuck. Both humorous and sad. I think she is so determined to make him king because she wants to make up for the years she could not be there for him. Or, you know, she just wants power.
• “God’s work” really just means “Margaret’s work.” 😛
• Men fight battles and women…pray. A silly, but true montage.
• Edward just suddenly kills the guy who basically saves his life. What the fuck kind of sense was that?! I thought Edward was a lover, not a fighter.
• Margaret gives no fucks about her brother’s death or that she is the one most responsible for it. Can she be anymore unlikeable?

The White Queen: Episode 2; The Price of Power.

This episode wasn’t as good as the first one. It was a little bit of a letdown. The best thing about it was the fast pace. It was never boring. I just would have liked to see more character development.

Queen at last. Rebecca Ferguson as Elizabeth Woodville.
Queen at last. Rebecca Ferguson as Elizabeth Woodville.

There was an emphasis again on women orchestrating things in the background. But the limitations of this were also shown. Anthony, Elizabeth’s brother, tells her “You must do the thinking for [Edward].” Elizabeth initially succeeds in bending Edward to her will using her sexuality, but also simply appealing to his ego. This backfires though as all Elizabeth does is piss off Warwick even more, thus causing him to rebel against Edward. Poor Elizabeth has it pretty rough this episode. You would think now that she’s queen things would be smooth sailing. But that isn’t the case in Medieval England when you have three daughters, but no male heirs. To Warwick, she’s even more of a failure because of this and he uses it to his advantage.
Jacquetta doesn’t have too much to do this episode which is a shame. She strengthens her family’s position through beneficial marriages. What else are you going to do when you have so many daughters? The funniest part of the episode was the betrothal ceremony of young Catherine to the future Duke of Buckingham. The little girl is thrilled while the boy sulks his way through the ceremony.
Margaret Beaufort was shown more in this episode. She’s a strange character. Mostly I find her annoying, what with her constant praying. She comes off as nearly delusional. But the audience does sympathize with her. She has had her son taken away and she was unable to marry the man she loves. Margaret’s mother tells her, “You are a girl. You live the life your mother chooses for you. Or your husband does.” It’s a bitchy thing to say, but an unfortunate reality for women at the time. Elizabeth’s situation is the exception, not the rule. I admire Margaret’s determination to see her son succeed (and eventually steal the throne). But she really is annoying with her constant preaching. The girl needs to loosen up.
The best part of the episode came in at about the last ten minutes. Rebecca Ferguson shines in the scene where Elizabeth and Jacquetta discuss the deaths of Elizabeth’s father and brother. Elizabeth finally breaks down from all the stress she has had to endure. She cries, she screams, and she captivates the screen. She wants revenge. The sheer power of her will is so vehement that the audience really believes she can curse George and Warwick. I really love the witchcraft on the show, it’s made to be very believable. I’ll just have to wait till next episode to see if the curse actually works.
• Margaret’s mother tells her, “I do not care if you are happy.” What a bitch!
• Anne Warwick annoys me. Her sister, Isabel, is much more interesting and a better actress. I wish their roles were reversed.
• I liked that the narrative skipped ahead three years. It keeps the show fast paced.
• Apparently George hates his brother so much that he would side with Warwick and try to disinherit him? That just came out of nowhere, George’s motivations should have been explored more.
• RIP Elizabeth’s father and brother whose name I can’t remember and no one cared about until now.
• Death to George! Death to Warwick!

• Not enough sex. Isabel and George don’t do it for me.

The White Queen: Episode 1; In Love with the King.


It hasn’t come to light on this blog yet, but I am a huge history buff. When I read books, whether they are fiction or non-fiction, they are usually about history and in particular women. So when I saw this DVD at Walmart I picked it up without any hesitation.
The White Queen is a mini-series produced by Starz and the BBC about the English War of the Roses. It is based on books by Philippa Gregory. I haven’t read the books this series is based on, but I have read the sequel The White Princess. Wow, was it a terrible novel, I hope they do better with the show if they make another installment. It is repetitive and boring and the main character is completely bland and unlikeable. I don’t know how Gregory continues to sell so many books, they are terrible for the most part. So when I finally sat down to watch this show after the DVD sat under a thick layer of dust, I was prepared for the worst. But I was very pleasantly surprised. I really like this show. Border line love it actually.

Edward IV (Max Irons) and Elizabeth Woodville (Rebecca Ferguson). Is it love?
Edward IV (Max Irons) and Elizabeth Woodville (Rebecca Ferguson). Is it love?

As I said before, I love reading about female historical figures. I’ve read quite a bit about the wives of Henry VIII and a few other random queens and mistresses from all over the European continent and all through the ages. Marie Antoinette will always be my favorite, but English history comes in a close second. I don’t totally understand all the details of the time in which this series starts, but basically the old Lancastrian King, Henry VI has been disposed by the new York King, Edward IV. Our protagonist is Elizabeth Woodville, a woman from a Lancastrian family that’s on hard times. In the first episode she ends up falling in love with (or is it seducing?) the King and becomes the Queen, despite many protests against her. As a woman I really enjoyed the focus on powerful women and I look forward to seeing it explored more, especially now that Elizabeth is at court. I loved the part when Elizabeth pulls a knife on Edward when he tries to rape her. It’s refreshing to see women that aren’t damsels in distress.

Rebecca Ferguson.
Rebecca Ferguson.

The acting on this show is really good, I was quite surprised. I was expecting something a little more like a soap opera. The stand out, the girl who steals both the heart of the King and the hearts of the audience is Elizabeth played by Rebecca Ferguson. Wow, she was absolutely stunning. She makes Elizabeth likeable and intelligent. There’s a mystery behind her eyes. The audience doesn’t know how conniving Elizabeth really is. Did she seduce the King for her own gain? She doesn’t act like it, she acts genuinely in love. But there is one conversation that subtly hints otherwise. Rebecca’s face is beautiful, captivating. It’s easy to see why the King would go so far as to marry her. Rebecca Ferguson is currently filming the next Mission Impossible movie and I’ll be watching her closely then. I think she has great potential.

Jacquetta Woodville (Janet McTeer) with her daughter, Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson).
Jacquetta Woodville (Janet McTeer) with her daughter, Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson).

The other stand out for me was Janet McTeer who plays Elizabeth’s mother, Jacquetta. She was excellent. Anyone would love to have her for a mother. A highlight of the episode for me was when she tells off Duchess Cecily (Edward’s mother). She keeps her cool, but she’s also firm and knows how to look after her family. I really enjoyed the magic and almost witchcraft that she used to predict Elizabeth’s future. I thought it was a good way to set up the rest of the series and the two actresses made it seem very believable.
This show has me hooked. It’s a very interesting time in history, the production values are really good, and the acting is outstanding. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
• Edward doesn’t seem very kingly so far. Maybe he will grow into it. He was only 19 at the time.
• I like that Elizabeth is smart, but she’s not a genius. She makes a few understandable mistakes. It makes her all the more human and likeable.
• Warwick is going to be trouble. James Frain is great in this role.
• Margaret Beaufort is going to be a bitch, I just know it!
• Cecily tries to get away with the lowest curtsy ever. Haha, no way was Elizabeth going to let that slide.