With Robert’s return comes the question of transitioning power: will Cyrus abdicate in favor of the prodigal son? Based on past experience, I’m going to bet no.
The Front of the Balcony
Helena hopes that Cyrus is ready to step back in favor of Robert, but Robert thinks they need to handle the situation delicately. Helena tries to sell Cyrus on Robert being front and center, but he’s not interested. “Robert will be a great king! Someday. Not today,” Cyrus responds in an interview. He goes on to explain that a sitting king has never been dethroned in England, and he’s not about to be the first. Helena argues that this isn’t what the people want, but Cyrus is unconcerned; he plans on delaying Robert’s coronation for as long as he’s alive. Robert reminds Helena that they’re trying to rehab the royal family’s image and promises that he’ll work on it.
Robert appeals to Cyrus as his “Uncle Scar” (GET IT?), reminding him that he was the uncle Robert went to when Simon was too harsh. Robert insists that the crown should be Cyrus’s and that he’s not going to fight him for it. He also appeals to him for guidance, since Simon and Lucius are no longer in the household. Cyrus agrees that they should let a privy council decide behind closed doors. Helena isn’t overly thrilled that Robert allowed Cyrus to have the balcony, but he has a good argument: “Would you rather have the balcony? Or the throne?”
The Return of Lord Twysden Beckwith II
Beck, returned in the name of Robert’s presentation, wakes Princess Eleanor up with breakfast. “Darling Beckwith II, my first love, I don’t think you should just walk into my room anymore,” she says, establishing a boundary. Beck immediately realizes that this means Eleanor has a boyfriend, but she won’t tell him who it is. Eleanor gives him the boot…just in time for Jasper to look up and see him leaving on the security cameras.
Beck gets Robert to spill Eleanor and Jasper’s secret relationship. “What is it with this family and the help?” he says, earning my disgust immediately. Beck finds Jasper and treats him like a servant. “You’re not good enough for her–don’t get above your station,” he warns. Jasper manages to keep calm, at least until Liam walks in and he says, “May I have permission to throw him off the goddamn roof?”
Eleanor confronts Beck about his behavior. “Class isn’t about who you are, it’s how you act…have some grace, arsehole,” she says, bitching him out. Beck later apologizes, which Eleanor accepts. Jasper sees the two of them hugging on the security cameras and imagines what everyone must be thinking about the two of them. Eleanor confronts Jasper in the tunnels. Jasper argues that Eleanor is too good for him, while Eleanor asserts that he shouldn’t be listening to anyone but her. “I trust you. Now please trust me,” she asks. To seal this, they have sex in the throne room. On the throne. Brazen.
The Love Triangle No One Asked For
Kathryn and Robert mull over details of their relationship I’m not interested in at all. Two newer characters on screen together means I can barely pay attention to what they’re saying, but I tried. After Robert prattles on, Kathryn explains that her family didn’t understand why she was so upset when he went missing–perhaps a subtle dig about the secrecy? Robert explains that it’s days like these that helped him stay alive on the island and alludes to maybe picking up where they left off, pending her relationship status. Which, as we remember, can be considered complicated.
Kathryn finally spills her royal secret(s) to her sister, explaining her conflicting feelings for the boys. “Well, don’t throw the prick out with the bathwater,” her charming sister says. She advises her to choose the one who’s going to be king, then changes her answer to both. What we’ve learned here is that Kathryn’s sister isn’t very helpful, but may be more interesting than Kathryn.
We Now Interrupt for a Nice Moment
When originally discussing their debut as a full family again, Helena presents Eleanor with a frock that she wants her to wear. Apparently, it’s what she wore to present Eleanor to the English people after she was born. “You’ve got to stop dropping acid, Mother. It’s becoming a problem,” Eleanor says, eyeing the dress. She agrees to try it on. Eleanor ends up altering the dress so that it’s more her style and Helena loves it. This has little to do with the plot, but this lovely development in their relationship felt like it was worth noting.
As they’re waiting to be presented to Cyrus and a bunch of important people, Beck gets grouchy when he sees Eleanor and Jasper making eyes at one another. “Know your place,” he bites out. Liam, who’s been drinking in preparation for this big family moment, tackles him into the throne room. It’s amazing.
The fight is broken up. “Okay, we’re going to be very British right now and pretend none of that ever happened,” Robert insists. They enter the throne room again calmly and bow to Cyrus. He leads them out on the balcony–but Robert takes the first wave. Kathryn watches the presentation on the tv at the bar and tears up.
Ah, that’s what I like to see: the return of good, old fashioned Royals drama. The issues between Jasper, Eleanor, and Beck make sense without being complete rehashes of problems we’ve been seeing for two and a half seasons, while Robert’s courtly scheming is nearly on par with Helena’s in the early days of the show. The only part I found lacking in this episode is the dragging of the love triangle between Kathryn, Robert, and Liam; I still think throwing Kathryn in feels forced, and therefore the triangle just seems a little tiresome to me. I’m hoping that they put everything out in the open next week so we can start moving on from the whole thing.
Episode Rating: 9/10