The Tudors

Season 2 Episode 9

The Act of Treason

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM May 25, 2008 on Showtime

Episode Fan Reviews (5)

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out of 10
122 votes
  • Heads roll as the show builds to its season finale.

    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.