Museum displays for the dead, knighting ceremonies, and public engagement announcements, oh my! Sounds like our friendly neighborhood Royals have their hands full at the opening ceremony of King Simon’s legacy exhibit–let’s dive in.
Tradition Versus Authenticity
Robert and Willow are cozy in bed together (ew), lamenting the fact that both of them had been considering other brides for Robert once upon a time. Please, don’t make me watch these two being “cute,” it’s not. They discuss Helena’s plan to introduce their engagement to the world at the opening ceremony of Simon’s legacy exhibit. They agree that this might be the perfect opportunity to introduce their new legacy, and I’m rolling my eyes. I’m still convinced that this pairing might lead to Willow’s untimely demise, so maybe they shouldn’t count their chickens before they hatch.
Helena has very specific ideas about how to handle Willow’s debut as queen-to-be, most of which Willow disagrees with, insisting that people value authenticity over tradition. When she tries to turn down Helena’s outfit, Helena drops some Miranda Priestley-level knowledge on her: “The outfit you’re wearing IS accessible. Do you know why it’s accessible? Because it’s cheap.” When Willow asks about what happened to her desk, Helena explains that she’s no longer social media manager of the palace–her only job now is to be Robert’s queen. Willow has never been dumb, but she’s sure doing a great job of pretending that she is–the palace’s social media manager would certainly know that anyone who married Robert would have to give up their day job.
Willow wears Helena’s requested dress, but ignores her advice to give the press a fairy tale version of her life story, instead insisting that she’s a normal girl who worked at the palace. Helena chastises her choice, but Willow insists authenticity is best now. “You’ll find that respect and loyalty are very much alive here–at least, for now they are,” Helena shades. Point number two for Helena.
Kathryn is worried that the press will judge her for her game of musical Henstridge brothers. Liam is unconcerned; they can simply feed the press the story that she only went on one date with Robert for that contest and realized that she didn’t have feelings for him. She reminds him that she did have feelings for Robert and doesn’t feel comfortable lying to the press. Helena rolls up to the cafe in a limo to chastise them for kissing in a public place. She demands that the announcement of Robert and Willow’s engagement not be overshadowed by this new romance. Personally, I think both of these things should wait their turn in favor of honoring Simon’s legacy, but WHO AM I? A commoner, I guess.
Jasper’s Watch Versus Robert’s Rolex
Robert comes to see Jasper while he’s getting his tux fitted for the knighting ceremony, which is also taking place at the opening of Simon’s legacy exhibit. Can we please focus on honoring Simon? I know royalty’s game, all of these things could easily be separate events. Robert is there to gift Jasper with a new watch and some insults about his upbringing.
While Jasper helps patch up Eleanor after a Robin Hood-related accident, he tells her that the missions are a bad idea. Nothing good can come from her going into bad neighborhoods and leaving things for people who are probably scamming her in the first place. Their huge fight ends in the two of them in bed… only to find out that their hookup didn’t actually solve the problem.
Eleanor finds Helena freaking out and bitching out their maids over Simon’s missing gold pen. Helena explains that the pen in question was the pen she and Simon used to sign their marriage certificate, Eleanor’s birth certificate, treaties, and various charity charters. Eleanor realizes her mistake and begs Jasper to help her get the pen back, which he reluctantly obliges. They break in. The strain causes Jasper to pop his stitches and he begins to bleed through his shirt. Eleanor grabs ice from the freezer and finds the gold pen in the process.
Unfortunately, their good luck ends there.
The couple comes home, leaving Eleanor and Jasper stranded in a closet. Jasper isn’t sad about missing his knighting ceremony; the whole thing feels like another con to him, since he isn’t actually a national hero. “You may not have saved Robert’s life, but you have saved mine,” Eleanor insists, explaining that she was a complete mess before she met him. Emboldened by their conversation, Eleanor bursts out of the closet and explains what happened to the shocked couple. Jasper gives them his Rolex for the trouble.
Before the Ceremony
Willow regrets her choice to be “authentic” when she sees the deluge of people trolling her online for being ordinary. Helena is smug, and I kinda feel her on this one. Robert offers to take care of the press that evening, but Willow insists that she’s going to need to learn to handle the press on her own at some point. Still, she gets overwhelmed by their questions and even Robert can’t stave off the reporters. Liam decides to take matters into his own hands, distracting the press by going against Helena’s orders and introducing them to Kathryn as his date. He reminds the reporters that the night is actually about Simon and Jasper, but feeds their hunger by explaining what a wonderful person Willow is. “My brother is a lucky man–in fact, the second luckiest man tonight!” he says with a great deal of charm, reminding us of the Liam that almost became king. Better times, am I right?
Helena sounds like she’s about to chastise Liam (she’s been in a chastising mood), but instead tells him it was a great idea to give the press something else to concentrate on while Robert and Willow were floundering. Willow genuinely thanks Liam (remember when these two were friends?) and Liam promises that she’ll get the hang of it eventually. Robert is grouchy.
The Simon Legacy Exhibit
Helena is about to introduce another item of Simon’s with basically no sentimental value, but Eleanor cuts her off to show that she has the pen back. Eleanor also takes over this introduction, explaining the sentimental value of the pen to Simon, but exploring the pen’s role in Helena’s legacy as well. “Long live the king, and long live my mum–the queen,” she says, packing an emotional punch.
Robert meets Kathryn at the bar to tell her that he’s proud of how she handled the press. Robert proceeds to explore what it’d be like if they had run away together, proposing that she meet him in his room later that night. She rebuffs him and ends up running into Willow, who is unexpectedly snide with her for her past with Robert. Kathryn finally shows some backbone and reminds Willow that desire is a two-way street. It’s one of the only moments I’ve respected her, but I also have to point out that desire isn’t necessarily a two-way street. Poor dialogue choice there. Kathryn marches back to Robert and basically delivers Kat Stratford’s sonnet from 10 Things I Hate About You, ending with, “I hate that at 9:30 tonight I’ll be standing outside your door.” Sigh. She’s the wooooorst.
Robert’s Win Versus Robert’s Loss
As promised, she’s outside of Robert’s door that evening, looking upset. What is wrong with this girl? If you don’t want to do this, then don’t do it! No one is forcing you to! I rescind my earlier moment of respect. She tells Robert she’s a bad person, which, yes. Robert tells her that he wants her and misses her, causing her to respond in kind–just in time for Liam to arrive at the doorway and overhear it all. Robert apologizes to Liam for having to hear that, but Liam merely tells Kathryn to get out. Thank God. She’s a bad plot device and an even worse character. Someone, anyone, please find Merritt Patterson and ask her to return as Ophelia. Liam wants to know why Robert has to take everything from him, but Robert claims he did it to help Liam in the long run.
Listen, I’m not a Robert fan, but I can’t argue with that–Kathryn is bad news, and I’m hoping that he’s just gotten rid of her for good.
Eleanor returns Jasper’s original watch to him, explaining that she knows what kinds of sacrifices he has to make to be with a princess and that she appreciates it. They’ve done a great job of exploring run-of-the-mill relationship issues for Eleanor and Jasper in a royal context. For two people who had three tumultuous seasons worth of build up, it’s nice to see them catch a break and work through less dramatic issues like a normal couple, regardless of their royal circumstances.
Y’all, our spoiled, drug-riddled princess and con artist bodyguard have come so far in this journey. When Robert calls him out on the watch switch, Jasper explains the origin of his watch: when he was sixteen years old, he got a job at a gas station so he could actually pay for something rather than steal it. The watch reminds him about the value of hard work and integrity–something he’s sure Robert wouldn’t know about. Checkmate, Jasper. Robert then has to knight Jasper, describing him to the public as a friend and a brother. Yikes. This win is so good to see, though I can’t help but think Eleanor and Jasper are eventually going to pay the price for it.
Willow apologizes to Helena, explaining that she should have listened to her. “Yes, you should have–good night,” Helena responds, without a drop of sympathy. With the way Willow has been acting, I can’t say I have much sympathy for her. For someone who insists that she’s just a regular girl, she clearly thinks she knows better than any of our resident royals.
Cyrus’s Afterthought of a Plotline
Cyrus attempts to get on co-political asylum seeker Aston Lang’s good side with gifts, including a prostitute he ends up knowing already. When they’re done, Aston Lang reminds Cyrus why he hates him so much. Besides Cyrus’s reign forcing him into exile, it made him miss his brother’s death and funeral. This causes Cyrus to open up about his own brother’s death. Everyone just assumed that he hated his brother so much he was glad to see him die (a view I have to point out that he encouraged), but he loved him and thought he was a good man. The two men bond slightly over their mutual grief.
Another action-packed social gathering for our favorite royals this week! While Helena might be scoring major sass points, it certainly seems like they’re struggling to figure out what to do with her–her storyline for the past several episodes has been this ennui over becoming obsolete. Hopefully the resurgence to her bite means that we’re well on the way to a reckoning in Helena’s plotline, as this is getting a little stale. You know whose storyline doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere? Cyrus, that’s who.
Once again, Cyrus’ story is tacked on as an afterthought; it might just be me, but his grief over Simon’s death feels like too little and too late. As for the kids, Eleanor and Jasper continue to be the bright spot of the show; their consistent character growth and emotional arcs show longevity. Here’s to hoping that Kathryn is gone for good, leaving Liam to focus on becoming the great man he was before–and that Robert doesn’t completely ruin Willow’s character, since she’s not making a great showing right now.