This is part of the Victorious Blog series. Click here to read the series.
I have always recommended Victoria on Masterpiece, but the first part of this episode had me seriously reconsidering if that recommendation would cast a dark cloud over viewers’ Sunday evenings. “Emotionally devastating” is the only way I can describe “Warp and Weft.” Luckily, part 2, “The Sins of the Father,” swooped in to pick us up of the floor.
As always, if you have some catching up to do, you can watch past episodes of Victoria on-demand on our website by clicking here. If you’re caught up and ready to recap episode 2, your weekly dose of Victoria gossip can be found below.
This episode began with some phrenology, as everyone is trying to figure out why that little rascal Boy Jones broke into the palace. The accused cracked some jokes about writing a book, which led the researchers to determine that he had “some development in the lobe of humor.”
Did you know that this story is true? Edward Jones (“Boy Jones”) snuck into Buckingham Palace multiple times. While there, he “pilfered Queen Victoria’s underwear, took food from the kitchen, or sat on the royal throne.”
— Masterpiece PBS (@masterpiecepbs) January 22, 2018
Speaking of development in the humor lobe, be prepared for the opposite. Because things are about the get very serious …
A London doctor visits Lord M. because the local doctor has run out of remedies. But even the city doctor says things are hopeless: There’s no cure, and all Melbourne can do is rest and put his affairs in order.
Meanwhile, Victoria’s letters to Lord M. are going unanswered, so she requests that Emma Portman visits him.
Emma discovers the truth, but Lord M. asks Emma to tell Victoria that there’s nothing wrong with him other than “congenital laziness.”
And, while all of this is happening, people hinting at Dash’s old age. So we’re now bracing ourselves for an onslaught of horrible things.
Meanwhile, in Queen Land
Albert is worried about the cleanliness of the windows, Brodie is using Albert’s old paper scraps to practice his prose while the women resell old tea leaves. And the Spitalfields weaver who wove the silk for Victoria’s wedding dress has requested a visit with the Queen.
At the meeting, the weaver begs Victoria to preserve his trade. There’s a difference between the local Spitalfields silk and the foreign variety, and he says he needs the Queen’s help to rise above the competition. Victoria suggests tariffs for the foreign silk, and there’s a bit of arguing over whether that could work.
Then, Victoria proposes a risky solution: She’ll publicly declare that she exclusively wears Spitafields silk and throw a lavish costume ball.
I’m as tired of everyone talking down to Victoria as the next person, but when the Prime Minister steps in to say that the starving people of England might not enjoy the idea of this lavish, silky ball, he kind of has a point.
Nevertheless, a stubborn Victoria has no time for his sensibility. Defeated, the Prime Minister begs Albert to speak to Victoria about how much of a disaster this ball could become. Albert gives it his best, but Victoria is unshakable. In her mind, the ball should “remind the rich of their duty to the poor.”
Oh, and did I mention 500 bottles of champagne?
Life’s a Ball
Victoria is ready get her dance on, but the Duchess says no way – not in her condition. “I believe you have a cold, Duchess,” she retorts. “You have my permission to withdraw.” Oh, snap.
Party prep is stressing out the downstairs staff. Probably because they will NOT get to dance. The Baroness discovers that Mr. Penge has been drinking wine from the cellar, so she confronts him and says that Albert will find someone to blame. “I wonder who that will be, Baroness: me or you,” threatens Penge.
Miss Skerrett’s visit to the other Miss Skerrett is extremely foreboding, like we weren’t already ready for an angry mob. And Lord M.’s party preparations are equally foreboding : “I thought I might go as Dante, on his way to paradise, or the other place …”
*Insert dramatic montage of speech, fabric and people getting ready for the ball … *
It’s party time! Lord M. arrives. Victoria and Lord M. have a nice little chat in which Lord M. lies a lot about being just fine (his orchids are time consuming, you know). “Perhaps you’re right. We cannot be as we were,” Victoria acquiesces. But nonetheless, they enjoy a nice dance together.
Everything’s opulent inside the palace, but meanwhile, the crowds outside the palace, including Skerrett’s cousin, are slightly irritated. As predicted, the people were not happy about this party.
Some good did come from the costume ball, however. Afterwards, Victoria dons her undercover veil once again as she heads into the streets to see the silk weaver at his factory. Business is booming since the ball, and Nathaniel will become a master weaver! So, despite the chaos, Victoria takes comfort in knowing that she made a difference.
NOPE, Part 2
While out and about, Albert stumbles upon Lord M., who seems not well at all. Melbourne is reflecting on his life, saying he wishes he had built something. “Any damn fool could be the Prime Minister … but to leave behind a thing of beauty … that’s worth living for.”
When Albert asks him if he’s “quite well,” the ailing Melbourne is honest: “No, I can’t say that I am, sir.” His only request is that Albert doesn’t tell Victoria.
Flash forward to Albert being a terrible liar. He reveals the secret as soon as he gets home, but tells Victoria that she shouldn’t say anything to Melbourne because it would upset him.
Victoria rushes off to visit Lord M. She puts on a brave, cheerful face as she gifts him a wind-up bird in a cage so that he can have music whenever he wants. Victoria keeps up the facade by saying that she won’t be able to travel soon because of her pregnancy, but that they are going to do so many fun things when he returns from Brocket Hall. “Goodbye Lord M,” Victoria says, as she rushes out …
And then, GET THIS: She comes home and DASH IS DEAD.
Victoria collapses into a puddle of tears as she starts mourning Dash and Lord M. simultaneously.
And the wind-up bird stops singing at the same time Lord M. takes his last breath.
PART 2: The Sins of the Father
Is everyone OK? I just want to do a little check in. That was intense. But it gets better. A little better, at least.
A new baby is born, a Prince of Wales! But Victoria is still struggling.
“All babies look like frogs to me,” she admits. And now she has even more emotional quicksand to wade through than before. She’s really not herself.
But we’re going to take a break from that, because Albert’s no-good dad has a heart attack while with a prostitute. So, that’s … awkward.
Albert heads back to Coburg for the funeral. He’s forlorn because his dad wanted him to name the new prince after him, which he didn’t, and he wasn’t very nice to his father the last time they talked.
But then we get a bombshell from “uncle” Leopold: Could he be Albert’s biological father?
This revelation sends an already emotionally vulnerable Albert off the deep end. He gets super drunk and starts rambling about balance and stacking glasses, while Ernest, who’s just trying to escape his nightmarish blind date, keeps an eye on him.
“IT FEELS AS THOUGH I HAVE ELVES AROUND MY PERSON,” Albert slurs.
The fun continues when Albert stumbles around and starts putting on armor. Uncle Leopold walks in on this spectacle and asks what he’s doing. Albert rants about how he’s protecting himself and that his whole life is a sham and he’s a bastard … and his kids and his marriage are illegitimate. Just a few little things.
Of course, Albert’s absence is terribly difficult for Victoria. She spends her time sketching portraits of him. But also, she spends her time being Queen.
In a huge turnaround, the Duchess gives homebody Victoria a great pep talk, admitting that she suffered from postpartum depression, too. The talk seems to give Victoria some hope and make her feel less alone.
So she deals with some Queen stuff. She visits the wounded workers after the explosion in the armory. She uses a firm hand with Miss Skerrett, who admits that it’s her fault that the news about Boy Jones got leaked to the press. And she accepts a new gift, Isla the puppy!
At the end of the episode, Albert returns from Coburg for a touching reunion with his Queen. He’s greeted by a sign of good things to come: Victoria’s new puppy! But while Victoria’s excited about the opening of the Thames Tunnel, Albert’s not ready for people to look at him.
“I feel as though I have skin missing.”
The softened Albert, still reeling from his uncle’s revelation, sees fit to give Miss Skerret a free pass. “Everyone deserves a second chance,” he says.
And Victoria and Albert share a touching moment. “Sometimes I feel as though I’m pretending to be a mother and be a queen,” admits Victoria, “But really I’m an imposter. I’m just a little girl wearing a crown.”
#VictoriaPBS “I’m just a little girl wearing a crown.”
No, Vicki, you are so much more.
— Christie Rader (@christiernlr) January 22, 2018