By Summer Williamson and Adaline Bisese
On Sunday, March 3 at 9:00 p.m., the season finale of Masterpiece’s period drama, Victoria, aired in the United States. The British show stars Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria and Tom Hughes as Prince Albert. Created by Daisy Goodwin, the show details the early life of Queen Victoria who inherited the British throne at the age of eighteen after the death of her Uncle. The show is based on detailed diary entries the queen kept throughout her life and letters she exchanged with her husband.
Episode 1: Uneasy Lies the Head that Wears the Crown
Within the end of season 2 and beginning of season 3, Victoria managed to have 2 more children and with one still on the way. Revolutions were threatening Europe and caused the aristocracy of certain countries be displaced. Due to the threat of these revolutions, King Louis Philippe and Tori’s sister, Princess Feodora of Leiningen, requested to stay at Westminster Castle. Victoria acquiesced their request despite the prime minister and swoon-worthy foreign minister, Lord Palmerston’s warnings. The presence of the foreigners in the castle stirred unrest among Victoria’s subjects and caused Albert to demand that the family retreat to their house in Isle of Wight. Upon the news that the royal family would be traveling, Chartists started to protest outside of Westminster castle. The shock and pressure of this display provoked Victoria into labor. The episode ended with an endearing scene of Albert carrying Victoria during her time of need, however, the status of their relationship rapidly declined after this moment.
Episode 2: London Bridge is Falling Down
Once the Chartists’ protest died down, Victoria safely delivered her newborn daughter. Victoria’s previous disapproval and fear of the Chartists was quelled by the words of Abigail, a lowly embroideress of the crown. The Prime Minister and Lord Palmerston requested the Queen to sign an order for the troops to block the Chartists during their delivery march to Westminster. Victoria, now persuaded that they are a movement promoting peace, refused to sign. However, she later learned that a surplus of rifles were found in the Chartists’ base and believed that their intents were to assassinate her. She then signs the order and makes the final decision to flee to the Isle of Wight. On her way, she decided to allow the Chartists finish their march, which signified the main end to that conflict.
Episode 3: Et in Arcadia
This episode got about as heated as any masterpiece historical drama can get. In the Queen’s absence, Palmerston began to act out of hand. Victoria saw his actions in London as a threat to her power, so she did what any other woman of our generation would do, and invited him to tea at the Isle of Wight. Their time together in the Osborne House helped Tori and Palmerston begin to see eye to eye for once during the season.
While her relationship grew with her foreign secretary, the status of her marital bliss plummeted. Victoria and Albert argued over matters such as how to raise their headstrong child, Bertie, and whether or not they should return to London. Albert vehemently argued and disobeyed Tori in a strong manner not previously displayed in the series. In addition to the issues created by her rebellious husband, Victoria lost her beloved handmaid, Nancy Skerrett, to the manipulative chef, Francatelli. Nancy and Francatelli left the Queen’s royal service to get married, which was the greatest and last mistake Skerrett ever made. Upon this news, Victoria demanded that the family returned to London. After their return, Victoria attempted to console Albert, but he locked her out of his study in a brash act of defiance.
Episode 4: Foreign Bodies
The set up of this episode was better than many of the others from this season. Throughout the first and second season, Skerrett dealt with an internal struggle in regards to whether or not she should leave the palace to live with Francatelli. After two and a half seasons of buildup, she chose him over her position as the queen’s dresser.
The unrest in Albert and Victoria’s marriage was another highlight of the episode. Albert won the vote to become Chancellor position at the University of Cambridge. For the majority of the episode, much like the entire season, Victoria and Albert fought. Until the death of Nancy Skerrett brought them together.
Episode 5: A Show of Unity
During a carriage ride, an assassination was attempted on Victoria, Vicky, Bertie, and Sophie. The event frightened the queen. She believed that her citizens disliked her, so she asked the new dresser, Abigail, about the citizen’s opinion towards her. Victoria learned that the people were pushing for representation in parliament after observing the system in the United States. She decided to visit Ireland, but during her carriage ride, the citizens were carrying a charter to parliament. Soldiers were posted to keep them away, but Victoria ordered them to move after seeing a child struggling on the street. Once in Ireland, she received word that no revolution had begun and her people were complacent.
Episode 6: A Coburg Quartet
Once again, King Leopold of Belgium joined the royal family at the palace. This time, it was for the christening of Prince Arthur, the seventh child of Albert and Victoria. Leopold later told Victoria that her uncle’s control over Feodora is the reason she was sent to marry so quickly. Shortly afterwards, Albert hired a phrenologist for Bertie. The professional used measurements of Bertie’s head to determine his intelligence and personality. Him doing this angered Victoria because of her closeness to Bertie, but this anger led Albert to suspect Victoria might have inherited King George’s insanity.
Feodora began plotting her path to power. She started accepting bribes from wealthy families in exchange for invitations to royal parties that would be hosted at the Palace. During the party, Victoria became increasingly cross with Feodora due to her control of Prince Albert. She believed Albert no longer loved her, whish caused another fight by the end of the episode.
Episode 7: A Public Inconvenience
This week’s episode began with the murder of a British citizen in Greece. Lord Palmerston responded in a way that angered the public. At the same time, Albert began to contemplate the idea of a Great International Exhibition. Unfortunately, Albert was faced with the same public backlash as Palmerston. Victoria attempted to distract Albert from his project by offering him the position of Commander-in-Chief after the resignation of the Duke of Wellington. He ignored her, and continued to focus his attention on a structure large enough to house the Great Exhibition. Victoria decided to support Albert’s plan for the Great Exhibition.
The faceff between Victoria and Feodora escalated. Victoria sought the help of Lord Palmerston, who told her to treat Feodora like an ally so she could control her. Moments later, Victoria sends for Feodora’s daughter in Germany, Adelheid.
Episode 8: The White Elephant
Much to the relief of the royal family, the Great Exhibition was a massive success. Albert’s desire to be appreciated by his wife’s subjects was finally satiated. Many revelations were made during the Great Exhibition. The largest was, perhaps, Lord Palmerston’s support of the growing conqueror, Napoleon III, which lead to his demise in the opinion of the Parliament and a forced resignation. However, it is made known that he has plans of becoming Prime Minister.
Feodora’s intentions of marrying Adelheid to Napoleon III were exposed to Prince Albert, which upset him as he intended marrying her to the prince of Germany. This brought the relationship between Feodora, Victoria, and Albert to a timely end. Victoria made a last ditch attempt of reconciliation with her sister, but she stormed away in a fury. The season ended with Victoria and Albert making up, but as soon as they were on the amends, Albert fell unconscious.