Meanwhile, Lady Margaret Beaufort has had it up to HERE with Catherine's scheming. She doesn't believe for one second that Catherine and Arthur never consummated their marriage in the months they were together - she's just not buying it, and she's seeing right through Catherine's ambitions. Unfortunately for Catherine, Margaret gains a little too much power in this episode - thanks to her son's mourning in private - and she appoints herself regent, in order to rule in Henry's place until he's well again. (This isn't exactly historically accurate, as Margaret did not become regent until Henry VIII's ascension, as he was too young to officially rule on his own. She did, however, take on a more prominent role in ruling at this time in history). As such, she now has the power to banish Catherine from court and send her into exile at Durham House on the Strand in London. In reality, Catherine did live at Durham House for a period of time during her marriages, but it's unclear whether she was truly "exiled", or simply housed there in a more humane context. For drama's purposes, this series opted for the "exile" story line, and it works.
In the background of this star-crossed-lovers romance story, we see a number of political topics coming up at court:
1) The introduction of Edmund Dudley at the Privy Council to help come up with ways to pad the royal treasury. This highlights the theme of high taxation during Henry VII's reign, which was one of the reasons he was not a particularly popular king. In this episode, taxes on things such as "bringing your dog to church" or "singing in the streets" were mentioned.
3) Princess Margaret is heading off to marry the king of Scotland. She's become more resigned to this idea, and she's definitely a princess who's used to doing her duty. There's a heartwarming scene with Maggie Pole (before the banishment), where the princess is being fitted for her wedding dress, and she makes the decision to cut fabric from her mother's own wedding dress, as a bit of red trim. This is a clever bit of writing, because we know from history that Princess Margaret DID wear a dress edged in crimson - but was it from Elizabeth of York's dress? We can't know, but I like what the writers did here.
WOW, a lot happened in this episode. I really, really enjoyed this one... and maybe that's because Catherine wasn't in it all that much. Is that rude of me? She's just not my favorite character - nor is this the best depiction I can imagine of her. I liked that this episode was far more focused on the political scene of England at the time, and more of the drama going on behind the scenes of Catherine and Harry's story. So many details were pulled right from the pages of history books, and cleverly woven into the plot in creative ways. Ultimately, I was fully immersed in this episode and enjoyed every second. And while I knew to expect King Henry's decision to marry Catherine himself, I love the drama it created. Very anxious to see where the series continues to go! This episode definitely brought me back on board.