Sunday, September 15, 2013

The White Queen Recap: War at First Hand

* Spoilers ahead if you haven't seen Episode 5, "War at First Hand."

We're at the halfway point of the series, and I have to say that it's been quite underwhelming for me thus far. If I hadn't decided to do the weekly recaps, I'd probably still watch the show until the end but fast forward through all of the slow bits. I'd be a quitter, however, if I only recapped half the episodes, and that would bother me a great deal, so on we go with looking back at Episode 5.

Is This Just Seasickness, or Do I Really Hate Being on a Boat with My Mother-in-Law That Much?

Margaret of Anjou sets sail for England at last, and unlucky Anne has to travel on the same ship with her. Margaret does all she can to rattle Anne, who really finds her backbone in this episode and doesn't let her monster-in-law bully her. Meanwhile, in England, Isabel informs her father that George has defected back to York after Warwick asks where his wayward son-in-law is.

Jasper Only Answers to One Call to Arms (Hint: It's Not Warwick's)

Edward is back on English soil, and Warwick is rallying the troops. Jasper Tudor defiantly tells Warwick that he'll only raise men to fight in response to Margaret of Anjou's call to arms. So there, Warwick!

Camping in the Crypt

Elizabeth and her children are holed up in the depths of Westminster Abbey. Elizabeth hears someone approaching and readies herself to attack, but surprise! It's only Edward, who can't hang around for long because he has to go fight the Lancastrians and all that.

It's Tough Being in the Middle

As Warwick prepares to face Edward in battle, Isabel is understandably frustrated with being the daughter of a Yorkist turned Lancastrian and the wife of a Yorkist turned Lancastrian turned Yorkist again. Her father advises her not to show favor to any side until the winner is determined, and then pledge her undying loyalty to the victor. Parenting 101, right there.

It's Not About You, Margaret!

Truer words were never spoken! Sir Henry Stafford gives Margaret Beaufort a coronary by informing her that he's taking his tenants and going off to fight for York. At least under Edward's reign, Sir Henry says, there was peace, and there won't be any if Lancaster wins. In the funniest Margaret quote of the week, she declares that she will not pray for her husband's return, like she constantly has God on speed dial or something.


Finally—some battle scenes! Thanks to a dense fog, Edward and his army sneak up on Warwick and his men, and several slow-motion shots of swords clashing ensue. The fighting pauses for a moment so that Warwick and his one-time protégé, Edward, can stare meaningfully at each other before a York soldier stabs the Kingmaker.

The Fallout from Barnet

With Warwick dead, Margaret of Anjou has to change tactics. Now her army will march to Wales to join forces with Jasper Tudor. Anne is upset over the news about her father but gets no sympathy from Margaret or Margaret's son. First Anne begs to be taken to her mother, but the Countess of Warwick has fled to sanctuary. And so Anne finds herself riding to Wales.

Show Some Respect, George

At the service for Warwick, George suggests that the once mighty Kingmaker should have been treated as the traitor he was, prompting reminders of George's own treasonous behavior. With Warwick gone, Elizabeth removes his name from her little curse list. Guess whose name remains on there? That's right—George's!

You Want Me to Set Up My Army Now?

Margaret of Anjou orders her troops to camp for the night at Tewkesbury and tells Prince Edward of Lancaster to organize the men into their lines. Edward looks so enthused about the prospect of the whole battle thing; it's only his future crown he's defending. The only person who seems gung-ho about the impending showdown with the Yorkists is his mother.

Apparently Recreating Tewkesbury Was Not in the Production Budget

We don't get to see what happened on the battlefield for this one. It's all over for the Lancastrians, and Margaret prepares to flee with Anne. Before Anne can get away, she's surrounded by a gang of soldiers and about to be assaulted when . . . Richard shows up! Do Not. Mess. With Richard. Margaret of Anjou makes a desperate offer to Richard: she'll name him her heir if he joins up with her. That's a big NO from Richard. Margaret is to be taken to London, and we last see her sobbing over her son, who was killed in battle.

Goodbye Again, Henry

With the Lancastrians' defeat, Jasper Tudor is heading into exile with young Henry. Margaret (Beaufort) bids them a teary goodbye and can't help working her favorite line, "It's God's will," into the proceedings. She arrives back home in time for her husband, Sir Henry, to die from the wounds he received at Barnet. I'll miss Sir Henry; he was a decent guy, and being married to Margaret was certainly a daily trial.

The Cost of a Crown

All is well with the House of York again, as evidenced by the scene of everyone dressed in their royal finery. In the middle of the night, Edward tells Elizabeth that he needs some fresh air, but what he's really off to do is take care of the former King Henry VI, as in making sure the Lancastrians no longer have a figure to rally around. Elizabeth follows Edward, who's being assisted by his brothers in this task, and is horrified by what she witnesses. How else did you think that shiny, golden crown was going to stay on your head, Elizabeth?

The Richard Watch

Huzzah! Richard FINALLY gets some significant screen time! He and Anne are very sweet together, and I liked how he stood up to George when the latter went on his rant about Warwick.


  1. I remember this part in the books! I truly despised the politics and all the back and forth. Pah!

    I'm excited about Reign, Mary Queen of Scots is such an interesting historical character I hope they do her story justice.

    1. I'm looking forward to Reign, too, and same here, I hope they do a good job with it, especially making the history intriguing to watch each week.


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