Victoria

‘Victoria’ Season 2: “The King Over the Water” Recap

(Photo: Courtesy of ©ITVStudios2017 for MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Victoria: The queen learns about the devastating potato famine in Ireland, but thanks to the cynical machinations of her own government her ability to help is fairly limited. After meeting an Irish doctor and hearing a personal story from one of her own dressers, Victoria leans on Sir Robert Peel to speak out for the Irish in Parliament. Elsewhere, Alfred successfully has functional toilets installed in the servants’ quarters and Ernest learns his playboy ways have landed him with a case of syphilis. The timing on this diagnosis couldn’t be worse, since Harriet’s husband just died in a freak hunting accident. If you need them, more details can be found in our full recap of “Faith, Hope and Charity.”

Once again, Victoria follows up a heavy emotional episode with a more light-hearted hour, sending our royal couple off on a trip to the painfully beautiful wilderness of Scotland. This episode has the benefit of being fluffy, romantic and fun, as well as serving as a much-needed break from all the death and suffering that comprised the bulk of last week’s episode. There’s little narrative point to this story, other than to remind us all that Victoria rules over a nation that doesn’t always look like London, but it hits some interesting emotional beats about how heavy a toll the crown takes on those who wear it. 

‘Victoria’ Season 2: “Faith, Hope and Charity” Recap

(Photo: Courtesy of ©ITVStudios2017 for MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Victoria: The period drama finally gave us a fun, fluffy episode, as most of the royal court heads off to France as part of Victoria’s plan to talk King Louis Phillippe out of a plan to marry his son off to Spain. This plan ultimately ends up being unsuccessful, but the trip is hilarious fun, full of lavish costumes, ridiculous French costumes, and lots and lots of Albert being a snooty jerk. The prince, it would seem, is having some emotional distress over the idea that he might really be King Leopold’s son, and basically takes it out on everyone else until he gets a talking to from his wife. Victoria, for her part, makes a moving speech about how she loves Albert for who he is, and the two end the episode more united than ever. (And, also, pregnant again!) If you need them, more details can be found in our full recap of "Entente Cordiale." 

Well, in case you thought we had just a little too much fun last week, Victoria goes straight back to serious again with an episode that focuses almost entirely on the 1840s Irish potato famine. “Faith, Hope and Charity” acquits itself admirably well, unflinchingly looking at the reprehensible attitudes among certain government and religious groups towards the Irish and poor people in general. However, the episode does perhaps overly rely on an overly kind characterization of Victoria herself, presenting the monarch as a woman with the best of intentions, who finds herself hamstrung and unable to do as much as she would like thanks to the cynical machinations of her own government. Is that entirely accurate, historically speaking? Maybe, maybe not. 

 

‘Victoria’ Season 2: “Entente Cordiale” Recap

(Photo: Courtesy of ©ITVStudios2017 for MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Victoria: There was sadness all around as Victoria lost her beloved dog Dash, learned Lord Melbourne had a terminal illness and battled a severe case of post-partum depression after the birth of her second child. Elsewhere, Albert faced his own set of problems, thanks to Uncle Leopold’s confession that he might actually be his father. Oh and everyone finally found out about that storyline where Mrs. Skerrett lied about her very identity in order to land her job, but everyone’s surprisingly chill about it in the end. (I don’t even know, y’all.) If you need them, more details can be found in our full recap of "Warp and Weft"/"The Sins of the Father."

After putting us through four hours of intense drama and emotional pain in the opening episodes of Season 2, Victoria finally takes some pity on us viewers. The second season’s third installment is a frothy, light-hearted romp that’s pretty much nothing but glorious costumes, jealousy-inducing hairstyles and good old fashioned period drama fun. That is to say, despite the fact that basically only one thing of any consequence happens during “Entente Cordiale,” it is an immensely entertaining episode. In fact, it feels like a breath of fresh air after everything we’ve been through so far. 

Could Rufus Sewell Return to ‘Victoria’ in Season 3?

(Photo:  Courtesy of ITV Plc for MASTERPIECE)

While it appears as though Rufus Sewell returned to Victoria in Season 2 solely to break all of our hearts at once, it turns out that Lord Melbourne’s exit may not be as final as we all originally assumed.

During the episode “Warp and Weft,” the show revealed that Lord M had an unidentified by definitely terminal illness. After a heartfelt scene with Victoria in which both he and the queen talked around his impending death, but nevertheless managed to convey what their relationship has meant to one another, Melbourne appeared to pass away while staring at the mechanical bird the queen brought him.

But…maybe we were all a little too quick to deem Lord M gone for good. 

'Victoria' Season 2: "Warp and Weft"/"The Sins of the Father" Recap

(Photo: Courtesy of ©ITVStudios2017 for MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Victoria: Victoria struggled to find her equilibrium again after the birth of her daughter, as both her husband and her ministers attempted to keep the news of Britain’s defeat in Afghanistan from her. Albert, who’s enjoying his crack at power more than he probably wants to admit, also seems quite taken with one Miss Ada Lovelace and her amazing Analytical Engine. Victora’s new Mistress of the Robes – the Duchess of Buccleuch – arrives, along with her niece Wilhelmina, who seems quite taken with Prince Ernest. And, as usual in a time of personal crisis, Victoria once again turns to Lord Melbourne for advice and a pep talk, and we all tried to pretend that he wasn’t looking quite as ill and tired as we feared. (More details can be found in our full recap of last week's episode.)

If any of us were under any illusions that this season of Victoria was going to be a frothy, light-hearted affair, this double-episode promptly put that particular fantasy to rest. While this installment does feature some soapy fun – a costume ball, several dramatic family revelations, and the unfortunate return of Miss Skerrett’s identity theft subplot – the bulk of the story revolves around sadness, depression and loss. There are moments where the supersized story handles these issues well (everything involving Dash and Lord Melbourne) and moments where it does not (the quickness with which Victoria bounces back from a fairly dark bout of post partum depression), but on the whole, the episode is pretty compelling. 

Pages