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Last week’s premiere of The Royals started the season off with a bang–literally! As Jasper’s life hangs in the balance, Eleanor stays at his bedside, Robert continues trying to drive the two apart, Helena gives her support while planning Robert’s future, and Liam goes off and does his own thing at the deman of Cyrus.
Helena’s Legacy in Question
At the palace, Helena is pissed that Mr. Hill allowed Robert to give his speech in South London, but what is Hill supposed to do when overruled by the king? Robert arrives to ask how Jasper is (sure) and chastises Mr. Hill for allowing Eleanor to be at the hospital after an assassination attempt. When Helena yells at Robert for nearly getting killed, he argues that she looks good in black. Helena replies, “I look good in everything, DON’T DIE,” giving us the best line of the episode. Robert is more concerned with his upcoming royal wedding than his own mortality, requesting that Helena go over prospective brides with Willow.
Willow is attempting to handle the social media explosion at the Palace, but is too tense to really focus. She can’t believe that Robert is so calm about the shooting, but he refuses to get himself in a tizzy (most likely because he arranged the whole thing). She argues that she can’t be on his bride list–her mother gave up an aristocratic life for love, and the last thing she wants is a marriage that isn’t real when life is so short.
Helena is unimpressed with the bride list; at some point, she describes the lot of them as “a bunch of vacuous social climbing sluts.” Helena is being super critical since this bride will be replacing her. Willow insists that no one can replace her. Instead, they’ll be learning from her. Helena thanks Willow for always having the royal family’s backs, expressing her complete faith in whichever candidate Willow supports. Will this extend to Willow if she changes her mind about being queen? Nobody wants that per se, but inquiring minds want to know. Robert leaves a meaningful gift for Willow, perhaps endearing himself further in her eyes.
Jasper Hangs in the Balance
Helena visits the hospital to convince Eleanor to come back to the palace, but Eleanor refuses to leave Jasper’s side, upset that she ignored his letters all summer. When Robert arrives, Eleanor confronts him for forbidding Jasper to talk to her–after all, what other reason would there be for Liam secretly sending Jasper’s letters? Robert claims that Jasper is a distraction and that without him, Eleanor can be great–just like Simon wanted. Our Eleanor is not as naive as Robert thinks she is and reminds him that Simon valued both greatness and love–she should be able to have both without his interference.
While Jasper sleeps post-surgery, Eleanor apologizes to him for not responding to his letters. Hill arrives to relieve Eleanor in her watch, leaving her free to go visit an upset Sara Alice. After upbraiding Eleanor for not responding to her letters, Sara Alice shares her wisdom and inspires Eleanor.
Robert arrives at Jasper’s hotel room and receives a talking-to from Hill about following security recommendations. Robert agrees and gets Hill to leave him alone with a still-slumbering Jasper, for no reason–we don’t see what happens here, so I can only assume it was to make viewers panic about Jasper’s vulnerable position. Eleanor arrives to tell Robert she’s choosing both love and greatness. While Robert is the worst, the interactions between him and Eleanor are the most interesting part of the episode. Yes, he’s manipulating her, but they’re also having a respectful disagreement as adults–something that doesn’t happen too often in the world of The Royals.
And Then He Wakes Up
“I knew if I got shot I’d get you home,” Jasper groggily (but happily!) tells Eleanor. The two have a lovely little reunion scene while Robert looks through the window in frustration. Helena arrives, ready to support the two of them–on her conditions. They’ve crafted a backstory in which Jasper is an American CIA agent in London to deal with an international incident that he’s supposed to explain to the press in an hour. Then she throws out that they can’t have a princess dating a CIA agent, at least not publicly. Eleanor agrees that this is an improvement on their past situation, declaring she’d rather live a half-life with him than a full life with anyone else. This makes it sound worse than it actually is.
Robert opens the press conference by expressing his gratitude for Jasper. Jasper steps out of his wheelchair to tell the crowd the truth about who he is–the American son of a con artist father who’s working towards being a better person and working for the royal family. Robert swears up and down that the royal family knew about his backstory. Harper, the journalist who blackmailed Jasper with his relationship to Eleanor last season, asks him if there’s a lady in his life because she can’t help being obnoxious. He says yes and assures her that he’s looking forward to a long and happy life with the lady in question, never naming Eleanor. After the speech, Eleanor goes to his hotel room to get his blood pumping in a sexy way, which cannot be advisable for someone with a bad stomach wound recovering from surgery.
Liam’s Completely Separate Storyline
Just after he boards the private jet going to Greta’s parents’ place, Liam receives the notification about the shooting. He walks out of the plane and finds that they’ve been surrounded by MI5 with guns drawn. Liam assumes that he’s the principal suspect, but the head tells him they’re merely there since he was planning to travel without protection. Eleanor tells him she needs him there while Jasper is in the hospital, but Cyrus argues that he can’t leave–this is the most important part of their plan. He sends his apologies to Eleanor and gets back on the plane.
Greta’s father is rather pompous, boasting about how he’s unconcerned about having a royal guest just after an assassination attempt–after all, they weren’t going after Liam. He also throws shade at Liam for inheriting his fortune rather than earning it. Past suitors were with Greta to get access to her father’s money and opportunities, so what is Liam here for? Can’t imagine he’d love hearing that Liam is there to spy on him. Greta’s mother details her daughter’s schoolgirl crush on the prince, driving up Liam’s guilt complex like whoa.
As if Liam’s guilt complex wasn’t active enough, he discovers that Greta lost her sister, the daughter intended to be successor of the family business a few years ago. To illustrate the point, Greta’s father is a right jerk about her photography over dinner, causing Liam to jump to her defense multiple times. Greta is quite appreciative, but Liam insists that they go their separate ways for the night–after all, he doesn’t want to disrespect her parents more than he already has. In the end, Liam and Greta do sleep together and Liam retrieves the information he needed off of her father’s computer.
This week’s episode of The Royals made some interesting interpersonal moves. Tragedy has made Eleanor and Jasper bold–and confident–in their feelings, building an even more mature relationship between them. Eleanor’s new confidence has created an interesting dynamic between her and Robert, who she’s used to following without question. Liam and Cyrus’s storyline is the one that’s lacking; Liam and Greta’s relationship is beige and cringe-worthy, considering we know where this is going to end up–the faster this one is over, the better.
Episode Rating: 8/10