This week on The Royals, it’s finally time for Prince Robert’s coronation. Spoiler alert: this isn’t really good for anyone, least of all our friendly neighborhood Royal family.
Helena’s Brush with Death
Spencer runs in to tell Helena that Parker’s plane has crashed. It doesn’t go unnoticed that Robert chastises Spencer for using Helena’s first name in the middle of this devastating news, but it might just be that I can’t stand him. When Eleanor finds out, she asks if they should cancel the coronation. Helena finds this to be a ridiculous suggestion, especially since she barely knew the man. Her daughter calmly reminds her that she could have been on the plane with him when it crashed. Inspired by the brevity of life, Helena advises her daughter to pursue whatever makes her heart race and make a mark on the world.
Spencer asks Helena if she wants to talk about Parker’s tragedy. She balks, playing strong. “Shut up,” Spencer says, gathering her in a hug. The relationship between these two is interesting, but I’d like to see the writers expand on it; we barely know anything about Spencer. His character is only made up of his reactions to Helena. Robert sees the two of them hugging, which can’t be good news.
Helena asks Cyrus if he was the one to kill Parker. He scoffs–he wasn’t responsible for Parker’s death, but he promises to ruin the coronation by shooting himself in the head. Well then.
Eleanor Gets a Princess Moment
While Eleanor packs to go away with Sebastian, he excitedly rambles about how Robert had told him before they even met how well they’d get along. This sets off alarm bells in Eleanor’s head, so she confronts Robert, both about the Sebastian thing and removing Simon’s portrait from its place. Robert explains that he only manipulated her because otherwise she wouldn’t have given Sebastian a chance. Um, that’s not better? He follows up by asking about the status of her relationship with Jasper. Eleanor explains that on Christmas, she poured her heart out in a letter that Jasper has completely ignored. Robert asks her if she thinks there’s a chance he didn’t get it, but she says no.
Sarah Alice lays on Jasper’s desk and the two bond over their sadness for losing Eleanor. Despite her disappointment, Jasper wants Sarah Alice to continue believing in happy endings. Outside the door, Rosie overhears Jasper confirm to Sarah Alice that he loves Eleanor.
Sarah Alice brings Jasper’s picture book and necklace gift to Eleanor. Awestruck by Eleanor’s coronation gown and tiara, Sarah Alice sits down and goes through the book with her. Eleanor tearfully tells her that she likes it and takes a walk down Jaspenor memory lane as she goes through it.
Rosie tricks Jasper into going to see Eleanor, who calls him out on the Christmas present. Jasper calmly tells her that Sebastian seems nice and that she deserves the chance to do something great with her life. He tells her that he loves her and never got her letter. Unfortunately, his words don’t change Eleanor’s mind; she says she can’t do it again and needs an easier relationship. Jasper asks her not to give up. “You’re my girl, Princess–and I’m going to love you no matter what,” he declares.
The Once and Future #KingLiam
Liam, fresh from his investigative journey on Robert’s island, confronts Robert about the fact that he was hiding out when Simon was murdered. Robert accuses Liam of letting Simon die and wishing that Robert were dead. Liam tackles Robert and gets held back by Jasper, newly minted Crown Prince bodyguard. “I’m the King of England–the next time you see me you bow,” Robert spits at him. “Fuck you,” Liam responds. This episode is not pulling any punches, and I am here for it.
Liam appeals to Eleanor about his findings, but unfortunately, it’s like talking to a brick wall. She argues that this has always been Robert’s destiny–they’ve always been the spares. The worst part is when she tells Liam to stop acting like Cyrus. When Liam informs Helena that he’s not attending the coronation, she chastises him, pointing out that he’s always been the spare. Liam states that she’s either too vain or stupid to admit that Robert is manipulating her. Helena levels a low blow, telling Liam that his father would have been very disappointed in him and slaps Liam when he says that Simon never would have been out the night he was killed if not for Helena’s cheating. “I hope you’re right about Robert, because he’s the only son you’ll have left when this is over,” Liam states.
I Feel So Vindicated in My Robert Hatred
The episode is interspersed with a younger Simon teaching young Robert the theory and skill behind chess. You can tell that it’s Robert because he’s shitty about the role of pawn pieces in the game. This will become important in a bit.
Apparently Kathryn hasn’t heard from Robert since the night they celebrated the privy council’s decision, which is kind of shitty considering the fact that she’s being stalked by reporters trying to figure out what’s going on with them. Angie texts Liam from Kathryn’s phone to get him over there. When he finds out what happened, he still offers to talk to Robert for her, because he’s a good dude. Liam is true to his word and implores Robert not to treat Kathryn that way.
Robert heads over to Kathryn’s and the two have sex. Afterwards he gets dressed, explaining to Kathryn that he used to see her on the island with him. “It’s going to be tough never seeing you again,” he says, throwing Kathryn for a loop. Cut to another flashback, this time of an older Simon and grown Robert playing another game of chess. Robert is being casually shitty about Liam, as per usual, but Simon isn’t having it. Simon agrees that Liam is all heart, will, and determination, but he doesn’t view that as a bad thing. He points out that Robert’s hubris will be his downfall and attributes his decision to disband the monarchy to who Robert is. “You have all the gifts that can be taught–and none that can’t,” he says, explaining to Robert that he can’t be a good king without compassion for others. As far as twists go, that’s a stellar one–and one more subtle than I would have expected Schwahn to make in a season finale.
Another flashback reveals that Robert spotted Liam and Kathryn kissing outside of her building on his way back to the palace, so he’s known about them the entire time that he’s been back. When she asks him why he would carry on with her despite knowing, he’s pretty much the worst. “You’re quite the whore in bed. It’s probably that common blood in you–but you’ll have to ask Liam,” he says.
Earlier, Robert had returned the list of potential brides to Willow, explaining that he made some adjustments and ranked them in order of preference. When Willow opens the list, she finds that he crossed off Kathryn and has written Willow’s name in that first spot. NO! I refuse. Oh, also he had Spencer fired from his post as Lord Chamberlain, which is the first thing to give Helena pause about this entire situation. He also stole Eleanor’s love letter to Jasper and put his father up to the whole Christmas Day scheme, so he’s really campaigning for villain of the year! While I’m glad that we’re finding out exactly how awful Robert is, I feel like maybe his terribleness could have been slightly less of a moustache-twirling villain.
Anyway, the coronation occurs, so we’re all screwed for next season. As it happens, Cyrus gets ready to shoot himself. Liam interrupts, asking for his uncle’s help. The episode ends on Liam closing Cyrus’s door, Cyrus pointing the gun at his back.
Thank the TV gods that The Royals has already been renewed for season four! The third season showed how to build to a surprising finale (despite dragging out its boring Liam/Kathryn/Robert storyline) with some killer cliffhangers. The writers have managed to create good relationship drama for Jasper and Eleanor without it seeming too repetitive, as well as handing Eleanor storylines that are all her own. Liam has developed into a further complex character, one that I’m excited to see carry out a vendetta against his brother in the next season. The writers even managed to give Cyrus something real to do beyond shock value! I’m very impressed with this finale, truly. Here’s to hoping we don’t have to wait too long for season four!
Episode Rating: 10/10
Season Rating: 8/10