Will we finally see some action in this episode? We begin as Mary, Queen of Scots visits Rahima in her cell. Mary knows all too well that it was Catherine who sent Rahima to her rooms. Mary tells her about “her true nature”, and we return to the wedding day joust.
Henry’s eye is pierced, but he is still alive as he is taken upstairs. Catherine blocks Diane from entering the room, and Catherine briefly cries for him. Catherine yells at him why he did not stop, and he tells her that he wanted her dream to come true. The court awaits the news, but Francis nearly collapses as he hears that the King’s life cannot be saved. Diane brutally has several criminals’ eyes impaled so that the surgeon can practice removing the wood on them. Finally, the wood is removed, and Henry shakily attends a banquet in his honour. Diane is deliriously happy before Henry spews blood and collapses. He dies in Diane’s arms as Catherine looks on in horror. Diane refuses to believe that he is gone, but Catherine tells her that the King is dead.
The Holy Roman Emperor meets with Mary, and he wishes to unite Europe under “the one true faith.” Meanwhile, a devastated Catherine visits Ruggeri and asks him why Henry still died when she changed her mind. He shows her that he took the King’s heart after the embalmment and presents her with a drink with the heart crushed into it. Diane leaves the court in tears upon Catherine’s orders. Catherine is dressed in full black, even though white is considered the traditional colour for mourning.
A terrified Francis prays over his father’s coffin, and the Holy Roman Emperor manages to flirt with Catherine as they stand over the casket. I find his presence rather strange as he was already dead in reality. He antagonises Catherine by telling her that he will watch as Mary burns the country to the ground. Later, Francis discusses his wife’s claims to the English throne in the privy council. A decree making Protestantism illegal goes into effect as Francis ignores his mother’s advice. One of the counsellors once again treats Mary, now not only Queen of Scots but also Queen of France, like a child, and I am seriously in awe that he still has his head. Catherine watches a mass hanging in horror. The timeline seems to be taking a leap into the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of 1572 to make it more exciting.
Catherine plots to separate Francis and Mary and thus remove Mary’s influence. She also promises to restore the Protestant Bourbons to the privy council. Catherine plans to have Francis kidnapped as he travels in the wood of Chambord. During the ride, Catherine asks Francis to reconsider the alliance with the Holy Roman Emperor, but he refuses. He accuses her of not believing in his ability to lead. He then coughs up blood.
Back in the present, Mary tells Rahima that she believes Catherine to be responsible for Francis’s death. Rahima kisses her hand as Mary asks Rahima to find a letter from Queen Elizabeth I of England for her. Rahima tells her that she wants to help Mary get rid of the Serpent Queen. She finds the letter in Catherine’s room but is confronted by Catherine. She tells her that she earned Mary’s trust, and Catherine praises her.
As the penultimate episode of the season, there’s finally some action. The timeline is a little wonky still, but it seems to work for the flow of the episode. With just one more episode to go, will Catherine finally achieve power?
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