Tudor Tuesday – Season 1 Finale: The Lion’s Strength


Episode Summary: It’s the season finale!! What better way to open the final episode than watching King Henry VIII satisfy himself? Awkward for us yes, more awkward for the steward who has to assist him. Henry is not thinking of his wife, Queen Catherine of Aragon of course, but his mistress, Lady Anne Boleyn.

Henry then meets with his council to yell about how things haven’t been going his way and to appoint the Duke of Norfolk and Suffolk, Charles Brandon, as new presidents of the council. After, Norfolk talks to Brandon about Cardinal Wolsey. Norfolk believes having Wolsey arrested and banned from court is not enough. Wolsey must be dead before they can relax.

In Yorkshire, poor Wolsey is living with his mistress. He is writing Lady Anne Boleyn to see if he might convince her to help him. (It seems that as Wolsey becomes more desperate, he also becomes less intelligent. He cannot believe Anne would ever assist him.)

Sir Thomas More is getting settled in his new office. He’s discussing the reformers with Thomas Cromwell. He tells Cromwell he will not be as soft on them as Wolsey was. Cromwell wonders if More will burn them.

Speaking of reformers, Henry is reading aloud to Anne the book she gave him. The book states that the king is the representative of God on Earth and his law is God’s law. The book also talks about how the Pope should not be in control of all realms. Henry promises Anne that now that he has taken things into his own hands everything will be different.

In court, Henry greets the new Spanish ambassador Chapuys. Henry tells Chapuys that Luther was correct when he attacked the corruption in the church and if he had not gone on to destroy the sacraments he would have joined him.

Anthony and Brandon have come back from hunting. Anthony wonders how Brandon has time for leisure when he should be busy running England. Brandon says he leaves that to Norfolk. Brandon’s new ward, Catherine Brook, passes them on a walk. Brandon tells Anthony that he plans to marry her. (Marriage already? We just saw Brandon apologize to his dead wife for cheating on her. Why get married again so soon? This Catherine must be special.)

More is meeting with a Mr. Fish. Mr. Fish was in exile for being a reformer but has recently returned to England believing that with Cardinal Wolsey gone, England might be more tolerant. He quickly realizes he has been sadly mistaken. More is disgusted with Mr. Fish’s pamphlet criticizing the Catholic church. He charges him with heresy. (More is really scary in this scene. More is very strong about keeping to his morals, but it seems that compassion and forgiveness is not among them. I have a feeling he is going to make an example of poor Mr. Fish.)

Anne shows up in court wearing purple, which causes a scene as purple is the color of royalty. When Anne sees some of Catherine’s ladies talking about her she comments that she wishes all Spaniards were at the bottom of the sea. Shocked, the lady responds that Anne should not abuse her mistress’ honor. Anne replies she cares nothing for Catherine and would rather she her hanged than call her her mistress. (Cat fight! It seems that Anne has had enough and no longer cares what people think of her. She should be careful. The people love Catherine. Being loved by the king does not ensure you will be loved by his people.)

Cromwell is helping Henry with some paper work. Before he leaves, he recommends that Henry that he approach his “great matter” as a theological one and not a legal one. Henry sends him to visit theologians from universities around Europe for their advice. (Henry seems impressed with young Mr. Cromwell.)

The season couldn’t possibly end without a death. Poor Mr. Fish, tied to a poll over a mountain of wood, More encourages him to recant. He refuses, so they set him on fire. More watches Mr. Fish scream in pain until he can bare it no longer.

At a fine dinner, Henry informs Thomas Boleyn he is ennobling the Boleyn family. Boleyn is extremely pleased. (He should be the slime-ball. This is what he’s been planning for years.)

Chapuys meets with Queen Catherine. She admits that she believed that after Henry had his affair would return to reason and their marriage. She is clearly beginning to doubt this, but states that she will never give up.

Again at dinner, Anne thanks Henry for his gifts. Henry has also redone Wolsey’s old home and given it to Anne. She tells him that she will never be unhappy as long as he loves her. Henry promises that London would have to melt into the Thames first. Watching, Chapuys and More talk about Henry’s affair. More assures Chapuys that Henry will never break with Rome. (Are these people serious? Have they not witnessed Henry casting out his wife and his closest advisor? Why do people continue to trust him?)

We now join Thomas Tallis and Thomas Wyatt. Wyatt has just accepted the patronage of Thomas Cromwell, whom he believes is an “up and coming man”. They watch as Anne laughs loudly at a joke of Henry’s. Annoyed, Wyatt tells Tallis, “For what it’s worth, I did f*** her.” (I love this line! Thomas Wyatt is one of my favorite characters.)

Wolsey tells his mistress that Anne has refused to help him. He decides to write to a far kinder, more powerful woman for help. (Hmm, I wonder who he could mean?)

Henry visits Catherine because he has heard she was ill. They talk briefly before Catherine informs Henry she knows of his plan to involve university scholars. Henry is obviously not pleased with Catherine’s knowledge. Catherine tells Henry that for every scholar that sides with him, she could find a thousand that would side with her. (Get it Catherine! It’s good to see that she is fighting back.)

Henry meets with his council. He screams at them for not doing their job of running the country. (That’s their job, or his job?) He tells them that Wolsey was much better than they are. (Looks like Norfolk may have been correct in thinking Wolsey was still a threat.)

Catherine gets a letter from Wolsey. Wolsey proposes that he will work with the Pope and the Emperor of Spain to reinstate Catherine as active queen.

Henry is on a walk with More. They talk about the reformation. Henry asks how many More has burned. More tells him he has had six burnings that were all lawful, justified, and well done. (Well done! Get it?)

There is an official meeting of the slime-balls. Norfolk, the Boleyns, and Brandon talk about Wolsey returning to court. Anne is furious that Norfolk could not prevent it.

Cromwell tells Henry that there are many scholars who are in favor of Henry’s divorce. Thomas Boleyn gives him an edict from the Pope ordering Henry to ban Anne from court.

Wolsey’s physician tells Cromwell that Wolsey has been in contact with the Emperor, the Pope, and Catherine. Cromwell tells Henry immediately. (Oh snap. There’s no going back now.)

Wolsey is roughly awakened from bed by the king’s guards. He is arrested for high treason and is taken to the tower. His mistress is very upset by this.

Chapuys informs Catherine that he can no longer serve the Emperor at the English court. He has been driven away by the hate of the court. Catherine does not blame him. She asks Chapuys to tell the Emperor of her misery but also that he must not use force against England. (I’ve said it before. All hail Catherine, Queen of England.)

The court watches a play, openly mocking Wolsey. Wolsey is busy praying in the tower. He tells God that there can be no forgiveness for what he’s done. He says he is not an evil man but he will not reach heaven. At the end of his prayer, he cuts his throat with a knife given to him to eat with.

Henry is enjoying an afternoon of archery when Cromwell approaches with the news of Wolsey’s death. He is shocked to hear that Wolsey took his own life, and makes Cromwell promise to never tell anyone. Henry is devastated by the news.

Cardinal Fisher meets More in secret to discuss the news of Henry gaining more control of the church. More tells Fisher that they are standing on the edge of the abyss. If the lion realizes his own strength, no man can oppose him.

That lion is out on a ride with Anne. The Tudors couldn’t possibly end without a steamy love scene! Henry and Anne finally do what they (and we) have been waiting for all season.  But before Henry has a chance to, well, finish, Anne pulls away. Until they are married, she will not carry his child. Henry is frustrated. Anne thinks of her father’s advice to keep the king’s interest. (Nothing kills a moment like thinking of your slime-ball dad!)

Jen Says: Writers had to find a way to keep their audience around for a second season, and I think they nailed it with the famous forest scene. It’s obvious that Henry and Anne can wait no longer and must let the passion they feel for one another be expressed. I really love the choice of music they added to this scene. It really intensifies the excitement. The entire season has been building up to this moment and it doesn’t disappoint. Henry, I’m sure, would disagree. He will simply have to wait until season two.

And speaking of season two, we would love to hear your thoughts on Tudor Tuesdays! Do you love the weekly dose of royal drama? Would you love to hear more about the history or making of the show? Let us know in the comments!

Can’t wait for the next episode? Check out the trailer for season two below.


  • Valcollins10

    How…how is this only Season 1? This show started in, like, 2007….

    • http://www.youtube.com/missxrojas Rosianna

      Jennifer has been revisiting the series and writing recaps for all of the episodes, as a retrospective!