The White Queen Episode 4 Recap: Why is She Sitting on My Throne?

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the white queenElizabeth can’t help but feel guilty about causing the storm that made Isabel miscarry George’s child. However, Jacquetta reminds her that they didn’t know that she would be on the ship that day and that it’s on Warwick for forcing her on board rather than them. She goes on to say that they can’t afford to look back now, not when Warwick’s out there desperate and destitute, willing to do anything he can to return to power.

By 1470, Warwick had moved to France to raise an army that would bring down Edward and remove him from the throne. However, Isabel is still dealing with grief from her ordeal on the ship and has seemingly lost all hope in ever going back to England or feeling happy, while Anne isn’t pleased at the thought of being married off to Prince Edward of Lancaster, Margaret of Anjou’s son. Due to George losing his son and not having an heir, he wouldn’t have the support to be named king, seeing as how those in power would look at the misfortune as God ruling against a potential Plantagenet reign. Warwick argues that the only way they can get Edward off the throne is to align themselves with the Lancasters, which King Louis will support them in. Margaret has already pledged her allegiance to the cause under one caveat – should she help displace Edward, Warwick has to use his powers to make Henry the king once more. Of course, George doesn’t want to have to align himself with the woman who killed his father, but as he’s out of options after turning his back on his house, country, and brother, he has to play along. For now.

Over at Pembrooke, Henry is still acting cold toward his mother, longing for the days when he was with Jasper. Coincidentally, Margaret has been longing for Jasper, herself, and chides her husband for nicking her son in the face during a sword fight, but she has bigger problems to deal with once Sir William Herbert and his men arrive at the castle, which is now theirs following her treasonous acts against King Edward. Margaret attacks her husband once again for not standing up for himself/them, reminding him that Jasper would have done something, before being forced to prepare the guest rooms for the three of them.

Anne and her family await the arrival of Margaret of Anjou at her request, as she wants to get a look at the girl who would become her daughter-in-law. The former queen arrives and begins spitting venom at a groveling Warwick, desperate to sure up his new alliance and gain not only her support, but the arms she has at her disposal. After telling him that his sudden epiphany is convenient and admonishing him for imprisoning her husband, she brings out what she says is a fragment of the True Cross and makes him swear that he will be a faithful servant to her while his hand is on the historical relic. Once he does, Margaret summons Anne and examines her, deeming her plain but acceptable due to her willingness to abide; Warwick then asks her to summon her armies quickly in order to squash Edward and get her husband back on the throne. Not willing to be ordered around by anyone, Margaret says that she won’t be doing anything until Warwick goes back to England and raises an army on his own, thus securing London. As she’s leaving, she tells him to scorch the nest, meaning that when he takes out Edward and the so-called witch he married, he should kill any sons she may have.

Jacquetta and Elizabeth visit Edward, where he’s already been informed of the new alliance between Warwick and Margaret; they bring the additional dagger that Anne has been promised to Prince Edward. While Edward is at his wit’s end with trying to figure out his brother’s position in this and whether any of what Warwick got him to do mattered, Jacquetta and Elizabeth pledge to weaken this new alliance, which they begin to do by approaching Duchess Cecily. However, Cecily doesn’t fully believe what they say about her son betraying his house and his brother, not until Elizabeth mentions that George has absolutely nothing to gain from his ties to Warwick – he will either lose in battle and be executed by Edward or he will win and not gain the title of King like he wanted, due to Margaret of Anjou’s son being next in line to the throne. As they seek to prevent further suffering, Elizabeth mentions that Edward would welcome George back into the family with no questions asked, causing Cecily to become tearful and seemingly ready to align with her daughter-in-law.

Warwick catches George having a party and in bed with another woman. He tells his son-in-law that he’s only ever wanted a York king but that he ran out of options for now. George says that as a Son of York, he will be vital to Warwick’s future plans, while Warwick simply tells him to produce an heir to the throne. Meanwhile, Margaret is still clinging to the idea that Henry will be restored to the throne, allowing her son to regain the title he lost and them to return to Pembrooke. However, Henry is now under Sir William’s guardianship as a result of her traitorous activities and words, which she takes as God teaching her a lesson. Before she is parted from Henry, she reminds him to always remember who he is, but he’s decidedly unemotional about the separation, not even hugging her back when she embraces him before departing.

Anne and Isabel are paid a visit by Lady Sutcliffe, Cecily’s number one lady-in-waiting, who has a message to deliver to George. She says that the family would welcome him back should he decide to return and expresses her condolences for the loss of her grandson, telling Isabel that she should be around her friends and loved ones at a time like this. When Sutcliffe leaves, Isabel becomes emotional at the idea of coming home and at the possibility of being on opposing sides with her sister, should the marriage to Edward of Lancaster go through. However, the plan that Warwick made goes through the motions and he and George travel back to England in order to raise the army that could overthrow King Edward.

Back in England, a very pregnant Elizabeth hears from Edward that Warwick is expected from the north and Margaret the south, meaning that he has to act quickly before they close in on him. He needs to crush them quickly and he might have a chance, as he heard from George, who promises to switch sides once the battle gets underway. Does he trust his brother? He wants to, though he orders Elizabeth and his daughters to the royal rooms in the tower as a safety measure. Meanwhile, Margaret Beaufort hasn’t heard anything from her son since he was taken by William, causing her to despair over the punishment that God continues to enforce against her. Though she aspired to sainthood as a girl, she feels as if she’s been held accountable for the actions of her father, who hanged himself and, in her words, tried to play God. Hearing this and feeling sympathy for his wife, Lord Stafford offers to take her to see Henry in person; unfortunately, when they arrive, Henry is getting ready to go into battle with William and against the Lancasters, which Margaret feels will make God angry. He still goes, though.

Anne is distraught over Isabel being summoned back to England to be with George, as her father wants her to continue spying on him since he doubts the boy’s intentions. Countess Warwick reminds her daughter that marriage is not meant for love – it’s a contract, a way to fulfill your duty to your family and positively impact the lives of others. She goes on to say that one day, Anne will grow to like Edward, possibly the day that he gets named King of England and she Queen. While Elizabeth is hunkering down in the tower with her daughters, she receives a visit from Richard and Thomas, where they inform her that Warwick didn’t land north as expected – he was already well into London by the time Edward’s men set off, meaning that George didn’t have the opportunity to switch sides before the battle began. Edward ended up fleeing to Flanders, having been removed from the throne; Elizabeth must now find a new way to protect herself and her family, as she is no longer queen and is vulnerable to attack from Warwick.

That attack comes sooner than expected, as Warwick is already within shouting distance of the tower. Elizabeth gathers her things and gets her children out of the room just in time, as Warwick and George led the charge to go into the building and retrieve them. The former queen and her brood slipped out the back and used the kindness of a guard to avoid being detected by Warwick, who deems Westminster Abbey as the only logical place she could end up, since she has no allies now that Jacquetta has been arrested on suspicion of witchcraft. While Elizabeth takes cover in her newest sanctuary, Warwick puts Jacquetta on trial, claiming that her sorcery was the impetus behind the marriage of Edward and Elizabeth and using false witnesses to solidify his claims. However, she calls a witness of her own: Margaret of Anjou, who she has a long personal history with. Jacquetta says that if she is found guilty of the alleged crimes and loses her life, it will be Warwick’s head on the spike this time due to Margaret’s anger over the injustice and she ends up being free to go.

Margaret Beaufort, meanwhile, has been paid a visit by her son, who describes to her the scene that followed their capture by Warwick. Sir William was held down and beheaded, a fate he would have shared had he noted mentioned his Tudor heritage; Warwick ended up letting him go with only a bruise to the side of his face. As a result of his name saving him, Henry pledges full loyalty to his mother and takes back his earlier reticence at becoming the King of England, a role he now pledges to fill one day. Having married Edward with only her mother and Margaret acting as witnesses, it’s time for Anne’s wedding night and consummation of the marriage, only she’s scared because no one ever told her how to have sex. Her mother-in-law places a towel underneath her as evidence of the consummation and watches from a nearby doorway as Edward strips down and tells Anne to lie there silently, since being reminded of who she is disgusts him. When she resists, he holds her down and has his way with her.

Warwick officially restores King Henry to the throne of England, with Margaret Beaufort taking her son to see the man who inspired his naming, while Elizabeth goes into labor; Jacquetta quickly comes into the building and acts as the midwife. After several attempts, Elizabeth has finally produced a son.

Additional thoughts and observations:
-The appearance of Margaret of Anjou definitely didn’t disappoint and proved how strong the series is at writing adult women. I could definitely see how she would become this almost mythically feared creature within her kingdom, especially when she recoiled once Warwick urged her to send armies to England.
-Margaret Beaufort’s delusion gets validated once she gets her son back into her life. Although it was touching to have the two reunite, will this make her even more of a crazy person? I kind of hope so, due to how Amanda Hale is killing each second of her time on screen.
-Due to the cutting comments George made to Warwick in the tower, it seems as if he’s not fully on board with the plan to restore Henry to power. But he’s going to have to make a move, lest he get too entrenched in the Warwick camp to burst out.
-Good for Duchess Cecily for putting aside her hatred of Elizabeth and Jacquetta in order to help bring George home. How long will it be before she calls him to her quarters for a meeting about where his head is at and where his loyalties lie?
-I must admit, I got chills when Richard and Thomas told Elizabeth about Jacquetta’s arrest – the entire scene where Elizabeth escapes was the most enthralling part of the episode, in fact. I did love how she maneuvered herself out of that predicament, though, by namedropping Margaret of Anjou without her consent. Does Margaret know that Elizabeth is her former friend’s daughter?
-That birth scene. Look, I’m all for realism when it comes to shows, but the shot of the head coming out was traumatic.
-Also traumatic: poor, sweet Anne having to be married to that troll and getting raped on her wedding night. Crossing my fingers that she ultimately emerges on top, either by killing Edward or getting someone else to do so.
-Next week on The White Queen: Anne and Margaret see their relationships turn even more bitter.

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