The Act of Treason was a perfect and very entertaining episode of The Tudors as Queen Anne discovers the truth between King Henry and Lady Jane Seymour, The King is led to believe the Queen was guilty of adultry with her brother and others, and a few executions take place. I can only imagine what life was like in these times. The actors really bring the characters to life and make them relatable. This episode has a lot of intrigue as innocent men are found quilty of adultry with the Queen. The Boleyn's have fallen and the ground work is slowly being laid for the next season. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!
After King Henry gets word from Charles Brandon that there have been several reports of misconduct on the part of the Queen, he has Cromwell and his chief legal counsel, Sir Richard Rich, launch in investigation into the allegations. They question several of Anne's ladies-in-waiting, who reluctantly confess that they have seen Anne with several men in compromising situations late at night in her quarters.
The musician Mark Smeaton is arrested and accused of having carnal knowledge of the Queen. He denies the rumors quite truthfully but cannot use the only defense that might save him, since confessing to homosexuality and his relationship with George Boleyn would also lead to his death. After hours of brutal torture, he eventually confesses to having slept with the Queen. He, Thomas Wyatt, Sir Henry Norris, William Brereton (the assassin who had been trying to kill her and confessed to the accusations as a way of completing his mission), and George Boleyn are all arrested. After a brief farce of a trial, all but Wyatt are convicted and beheaded on the same day. Wyatt remains in custody in the Tower, despite being the only one of the group who had actually slept with the Queen (prior to her marriage to the King).
This is without a doubt the most violent of the episodes so far. There are graphic scenes of torture and for the first time, the camera doesn't cut away completely during a beheading (it falls back to Anne's view of George's beheading from the Tower). All of the beheadings are brutal and should not be watched by the faint of heart - the producers really went all out as far as pushing the show's content rating and the effects budget to set up the season finale in episode 10.
I enjoyed the episode quite a bit and while I was sad to see most of the characters go (and those who will be going soon), none of the deaths felt false or beyond the brutality of the methods used in those days. Also, while the show is "historically loose," many of the details were accurate (i.e. George being executed for incest with the Queen).
All in all, great episode - just be prepared for its brutality.
Sure, The Tudors may deviate from history from time to time but known other historical television program has been as powerful as this in quite some time. Despite knowing what grim end the men were set to face I was still on the edge of my seat as if the plot was unpredictable.
The Tudors also has an absolutely incredible cast with a plethora of well-skilled actors and actresses who allow the viewer to briefly forget what year it is and feel like they are watching these infamous events transpire before them.
Jonathan Rys Meyers and Natalie Dormer give absolutely phenomenal performances that are as good as they are real. When I think of King Henry I think of Meyers, so that is a big testament to his ability.
This has been one of the best episodes of this short season.
How unfair it was, for many people back in that time, to be judged without having any chance to defend themselves. And even when you dare tell the truth, they wouldn't believe you, because whatever the King said was law. I disliked Anne Boleyn when she first appeared. All ambicious, trying to destroy a family for her own reasons (and her father's) but in this episode I felt sorry for her. She was a mother, a daughter and a wife, and she loved the King, but unfortunately
she made so many mistakes that lead her to the end we all know. She was smart and well-educated, but at the same time arrogant and that didn't help her at all.
I have to mention the incredible performance by Natalie Dormer. The scene in the tower when her brother is being decapitated is truly award-winning. She made me want to cry. I kept saying it was unfair that she didn't get a last word to defend herself, a last word to the King.
I'm really going to miss Ms. Dormer. She was the one I was looking forward to see, because she was able to bring the right intensity to a scene and was never exaggerated.
Whoever comes next to play Henry's wife, will have a very hard job, because it's going to be extremely difficult to fill Ms. Dormer's shoes.
Anne manages to mess everything up for herself, thanks to her esteemed father, and then everyone who hates the Boleyns gangs up on them to get Anne killed. And Henry acts very hypocritical.
So first of all by acting like herself, Anne manages to make it look like she is flirting with everyone, including her brother, and it doesn't help that she keeps getting drunk and saying things she might not have said had she been sober. Add to that, her family is pushing her to be even more manipulative, which isn't going down so well seeing as the king already thinks she is a witch.
Then her assassin manages to complete his quest by becoming a martyr, and George's wife, still completely disgusted by his affair with Smeaton, tells Cromwell that he was having an incestuous affair with his sister. And they torture and kill Mark, arguably one of the most amazing characters this season. I'm not sure I can forgive them for that.
And Henry get royally furious at Anne for supposedly sleeping with "hundreds of men". I know it's the times and all, but look who's talking Henry.
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