With the entire power grid collapsed and the entirety of London thrown into chaos, will our favorite royals (and their paramours) make it out of this one unscathed, physically and emotionally? If you’ve been paying attention, you know that the answers to these questions are probably not.
Robert the Hero
Robert very performatively throws a fit about the power outage, railing against Parliament’s decision to shut down the bridges. He’s especially peeved by the Prime Minister’s reminder that his is a merely ceremonial position. When Eleanor realizes that the epicenter of blackout chaos is South London, where Jasper is currently stranded in an ambulance, she demands that they go rescue him. Robert won’t let his sister go (something I actually agree with), but he’s decided it’s high time for him to play hero.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on outlook), Robert is too late and finds Jasper’s ambulance empty. No worries, Robert can find somewhere else to play hero–preferably somewhere with a larger audience! He comes upon the bridge blockade, where the tension between the soldiers and civilians is starting to reach a fever pitch. Is the whole idea that people are worried that this might be a terror attack? I’m not sure why everyone is so concerned instead of drinking wine in their homes, even if London is experiencing a heatwave. Anyway, he demands that the military stand down and that the people unite together to get through this, inspiring the crowd and clearing the bridge. Someone uses some of their precious cell phone battery to capture the whole thing and put it on YouTube, naturally.
Jasper the Unfortunate
When the riots begin, we see just how Jasper’s ambulance comes to be empty. The EMTs manning Jasper’s prone ambulance abandon ship and the single charge they have, so here’s hoping that they were promptly fired. Angry South Londoners begin attacking the ambulance as Jasper lies inside helplessly until gunshots ring out, scaring them away. Jasper is rescued by none other than his con artist father, who quips, “Ah, it’s good for you! Everyone should get shot at least once!” when he realizes the extent of his son’s injuries. Jasper doesn’t want his help getting back to the palace, but is in too much pain to really have a choice.
When Papa Frost gives a speech about the history of London’s tunnels, Jasper is unimpressed–it’s a shame he couldn’t take his very real intelligence and turn it into something honest. They argue over morality and whether people are inherently good. After another attempt from Papa Frost to get an invite to the palace, Jasper leaves, willing to risk the rest of the journey on his own. More on that in a bit.
Liam the Guilty
Liam goes to see Greta, who appears to be both inebriated and upset. Liam, wildly overcompensating for his recent transgressions, makes Greta dinner and rambles about a variety of nonsense. She lets this go on for a surprising amount of time before calling him out on using her to get to her father’s computer. Liam apologizes, explaining that he thought he could make the ends justify the means when it came to his terrible actions towards Greta.
They discuss the possibility of staying together now that they can be 100% honest with one another, which seems like a horrible idea. Greta, you’re not that interesting, but you certainly deserve better than this. Thankfully, she also knows it’s over and kicks him out. Cue Liam’s angst. I truly hope that this is the end of Greta’s storyline and that she gets to move away from the trash men in her life, because this entire thing has been just awful to watch.
Helena the Trapped
Helena has found herself locked in the wine cellar with none other than Cyrus and her banished mother, the Duchess, for company. Apparently they all had the common goal of getting drunk tonight. Cyrus holds up a bottle of mezcal, declaring that he’s going to drink the bottle and get the worm at the bottom. “Go to Helena, do you want some?” he asks. She first declines, but the presence of her mother and brother-in-law very quickly drives her to partake.
This ragtag bunch of royals kicks off a game of truth or dare with the empty bottle of mezcal. The Duchess explains that she didn’t actually mean to kill Dominique, Simon’s original betrothed. This murder talk is handled in a far more casual way than one would expect, even for this show. Cyrus admits that his cancer has gone into remission and he’s going to live. He questions them both about Violet’s disappearance, asking if either of them had her killed. Both deny complicity. Part of him is relieved to have lost her, as it means he doesn’t have to worry about screwing up a life with her or kids. When Helena reminds him that he has children already, he scoffs, reminding her that his children are nothing like hers. “Any greatness [my kids] have is in spite of me, not because of me,” Helena argues, looking somber.
Cut to the Duchess writing an erotic love letter to her new lover, an Italian count she’s invited to stay at the palace. Helena finally realizes what her mother is doing–she’s broke and wanted to show off a better residence to her new lover. After a well-placed comment about the adaptability of the Duchess’s new hips, Helena renews her resolve to escape the wine cellar with her last shreds of sanity intact.
Eleanor the Host
Eleanor and Willow keep Sara Alice company while she shares her concerns about zombie takeovers during a blackout. When they spy people approaching their gates because they see a generator, Eleanor makes an executive decision to help them. I’m still wondering why all of these people are out during the blackout. You either stay in your own house or go visit a friend and wait for the power to come back on, not wander the streets calmly until you hit a government building and hope they let you in. Anyway, given Robert’s order not to let anyone in or out of the palace, Willow is vexed by Eleanor’s decision.
As they walk through the tunnels (now lit with glowsticks) to greet the public, Rosie and Willow try again to talk Eleanor out of her plan. She won’t be swayed, citing Helena’s advice that the purpose of the monarchy is to lead in times of trouble. She argues that she’s the current ruling monarch at the palace and she’s going to follow Simon’s example.
“You’re running low on fuzzy water,” Sara Alice tells Eleanor, sending her into her room to get more for their unexpected guests. She encounters Hill, who is extremely pissed that no one in the royal family seems at all concerned or respectful of their own safety. He chastises her and goes off to have a drink, because he simply CAN’T anymore, which, same–this is bad, even for the normally not-so-careful royal family.
A Royal End to the Blackout
Robert leads his bridge people to the palace. Eleanor is thrilled to see him, until he tells her Jasper is still missing. Eleanor puts a smile on her face and welcomes their new guests. Willow greets him with a hug and tells him that she’s happy to see that he’s okay. There’s literally no way the guests in question wouldn’t be taking a million pictures, but sure.
Jasper walks into the room and is greeted with wild applause. He only has eyes for Eleanor and strolls right up to her. Eleanor kisses him, not giving a damn about who around them can see. When a newly freed Helena sees them canoodling in full view of the people, she merely gives her approval, telling Eleanor that she’s proud of her for making the right decision about her love life.
When Liam returns to the palace, he apologizes to Robert for the Kathryn situation. When asked why now is the time for the apology, Liam explains, “I’ve always known who I am and what I stand for…hopefully this helps me find my way back.” Thank you, Liam. Please let this mean that Liam’s storyline won’t be as cringe-worthy. They close their conversation with Liam admitting that he still has feelings for Kathryn, which makes me deflate all over again. What will it take for Ophelia to come back?!
Later, Willow asks Robert to put her back on the list of his possible brides. Her concern for him made her realize that she does have real feelings for him and doesn’t want to waste the opportunity. Just as they’re about to kiss, Rachel interrupts to let him know the Prime Minister is on the phone. Willow takes her leave, and Robert takes the phone call while opening this window. “Does this sound ceremonial to you?” he asks, leaving the phone on the desk so that the prime minister can hear the crowds cheering for Robert. I have to appreciate the clapback, but this whole situation is starting to feel too much like the acceleration of a dictatorship, am I right?
Helena, Cyrus, Eleanor, and Jasper are all relaxing when the Duchess’ lover is announced. Papa Frost walks in wearing a new suit and giving every Italian greeting one could think of in the same sentence. He does not do “believable Italian nobility” well at all. “F…M…L…” Jasper says, picking up Helena’s famed line for the episode.
There was a lot jammed into this episode of The Royals. It’s always good to see growth in relationships, so Jasper/Eleanor’s relationship going public and Willow/Robert making moves made this one feel especially full. Thankfully, Liam is putting himself back on track, because I’m not sure how much more of the Greta plot I could have taken–here’s to hoping that any returning Kathryn plots don’t feel the same! While this was a good episode overall, the blackout itself wasn’t the best plot device; the plot holes and credibility stretching were quite distracting to the actual story. One thing that was noticeably missing was the explanation of Robert’s involvement in the blackout–his countdown to it last episode means he knew about it ahead of time, presumably so he could pull his publicity stunt, but it wasn’t explored at all in this one.