A note: The US is calling this episode 2, because the premiere was two hours, but in the UK it aired as episode 3 and that’s how its listed on IMDb and in Wikipedia, so I’m sticking with that numbering.
And so, in our back-and-forth passing of Victoria episodes, I am at the helm of this one — which is basically more of the same posturing and romantic speculation and mooning, before ending with the arrival of the one mustachioed gent that we know did eventually get Victoria hot under her braids. But not before she gazes upon Rufus Sewell’s cheekbones like drumsticks she would like to gnaw.
As these episodes aired last fall in the UK, I can benefit from some of their fact-checking. In this hour, Victoria finally professes lusty feelings — and, essentially, the idea of marriage — to Lord M. The Telegraph claims this was unlikely because Lord M “was overweight and had a habit of falling asleep in public – and snoring heavily when he did,” which makes me laugh. And also doesn’t mean she didn’t have a fire in her loins for him. A person can be hot for a substantial, if sleepy, dude. This part is better, though: After noting Victoria’s frank diaries make no mention of Lord M as anything but a father figure, the Telegraph follows with: “Though, it must be said, after Victoria’s death, these diaries were heavily edited and many destroyed by her daughter Princess Beatrice, who had been asked by her mother to remove any passages that might prove hurtful to others. In the end, she took out two thirds of their content.” That is a great kicker. The Daily Mail, citing a new book, has unkinder things to say, claiming their relationship consisted mainly of Lord M having to convince Victoria to eat less and bathe more.
As with most things, I find the show would have benefited early from a better understanding of Victoria’s childhood. There are ways to do this, flashbacks being the obvious, but it comes to this: Both this and The Crown seemed to think it was more important to get this show on the road, so to speak, so they took a tell-don’t-show approach to the central monarchs’ backstories. And while they admirably avoided clumsy oral exposition, they pushed too far in the opposite direction and I often found myself wondering what I was SUPPOSED to think of each woman’s character and inner self. As such, with both shows it took me a while to settle into the queens and the childhood influences that shaped them. Victoria came across from the start as so immediately suspicious of and rude to her mother that it would’ve helped to have a better grounding in the fact that the Duchess, in V’s eyes, emotionally abandoned her in her youth.
Still, you know I am a sucker for a costume drama. And now that Albert is in town, I expect things to get VERY passionate and jealous.