The episode's opening shot looks like something straight out of Poldark, which is enough of an excuse for me to say I MISS HORACE THE PUG SO MUCH and to place his beautiful mug here:
But I digress.
Any of us who played soccer growing up remember saying "Good game, good game, good game..." while slapping the other team's hands. Because the life of a future king is quite sheltered and lonely, Bertie has to recreate that experience with dead fish.
What's another way one can turn a dead fish into a playmate? Run around with it!
Look, mom! I found Nemo!
Victoria is going to order one of her servants to spank Bertie, isn't she?
Back in London, Lord Pam is making fun of Victoria for running away. He's also cozying up to yet another anti-royalist revolutionary because he's messy and lives for drama.
French revolutionaries are so two episodes ago. It's all about Hungarians now, specifically a dude named Lajos Kossuth, who got himself exiled for being a thorn in the side of royals. Sound like anyone we know? Birds of a feather flock together.
(Yes, I used Lajos' actual photo because what a flex to shave your entire chin and nothing else.)
Back on the Isle of Wight, Mean Butler earns the right to be called by his actual name for once (Mr. Penge!) by gifting us this glorious eye roll moment.
And he's not the only character making me question why I dislike them. Last episode, Albert received a gold medal for uttering my new favorite succession of words: "YOUR PRESENCE IS A PROVOCATION!" Now, while sharing his opinion of Lord Pam buddying up with the Hungarian, he has introduced me to another wonderful new insult: "He is a blaggard and he must be disciplined!" (For those who don't know, a "blaggard" is "a scoundrel; an unprincipled contemptible person; an untrustworthy person.") Is it possible that, after two and a half seasons, I'm finally starting to... like Albert?!?
In other news, Disney Princess gets word that Disney Villain has sent their six-year-old off to boarding school. New Footman is eavesdropping nearby. Slow and steady wins the race, but can we fast-forward this secret crush to the part when he does this?
Upstairs, Victoria is fuming because Hot Italian Chef has offered a letter of resignation. Albert doesn't understand what the big deal is: "Victoria, really this is such a trivial domestic matter!" Tread carefully, Al. I just started liking you.
Victoria asks Babyface Maid if she knew anything about this. Her response:
Babyface Maid retreats to the kitchen and tells Hot Italian Chef she can't believe he actually followed through on their plan. Um, yeah, girl. He didn't buy an inn for shits and giggles.
Hot Italian Chef encourages her to resign too, just like they planned. Again, Babyface Maid is all:
Back upstairs, Albert is now the one fuming. Not over resignations, but about how dumb Bertie is. "HE DOESN'T READ!" Yeah, we know. We've seen him with an abacus.
Apparently, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree because, the next day, Victoria is about to swim for the first time and asks, "Do you suppose it's possible actually to breathe under the water?"
I should mention that she's wearing this number as a bathing suit.
You can't tell, but I'm fully pointing and laughing.
Mere seconds into her swim, Victoria learns the hard way that, no, you can't breathe underwater and, yes, you can drown in knee-deep water if you put your mind to it.
To make matters worse, Lord Pam and Prime Minister Pushover arrive at that exact moment. But she quickly takes back the upper hand with this exchange:
Victoria: "Kossuth's reception into Britain makes my country look duplicitous and weak."
Lord Pam: "With respect, ma'am..."
Victoria: "There is no respect in what you have to say, Lord Pam. Saying 'with respect' does not put it there."
In a garden, Disney Princess and New Footman finally have a conversation! Progress! Alas, their chat is mostly about her other crush, Lord Pam. This Felicity love triangle is heating up!
Elsewhere, Albert is trying to teach Bertie how to not be so stupid. He asks him to multiply two by zero. Bertie guesses two, then twenty, which inspires yet another hilarious line from Albert: "This boy's refusal to learn is... PREPOSTEROUS!"
That night, everyone gathers for a party. New Footman and Lord Pam both make eyes at Disney Princess, but New Footman is the first to make a move. "Forgive me, your grace, there's something come adrift."
Oooo, his heart? Or maybe something more scandalous below the waist??"
Womp, womp! He just meant that her shoulder strap fell and her shoulder is hanging out totally naked (shield the children's eyes!). As far as pick-up lines go, I give this one an A+ for helpfulness and an F in every other category.
Let's see how Lord Pam does.
Lord Pam: "Where's your husband, Duchess? The man to whom you are married."
Disney Princess: "He's in London."
Lord Pam: "Excellent."
Disney Princess: "It is shocking that you find it excellent that my husband isn't here."
Lord Pam: "Excessively shocking, but also excellent."
Nice work! And Disney Princess agrees because the two of them immediately sneak down a dark hallway to hook up!
Not so fast! One of Victoria's other ladies interrupts by pointedly asking about Lord Pam's wife. The feeling when you're trying to convince your friend not to be a ho:
Later, news arrives that the German mobs no longer want to kill Xenadora and she can finally return home. Instead of smiling, her face muscles start doing weird things again.
Xenadora cries long enough for Albert to say she can stay. A noted scammer himself, Lord Pam recognizes how full of it she is and tells her so in a vaguely threatening tone later on. Just based on how Xenadora always looks as if she's stifling a primal scream, I wouldn't want to be on her bad side. This battle oughtta be good!
In the royal bedroom, Victoria complains about how thirsty Lord Pam is for the public's love. Albert tells her she's just as bad (and he's right; remember last episode when she cried by a fountain for not getting 100 likes on her Instagram post?).
However valid, Victoria is not here for personal criticism and promptly shuts it down: "It is your prerogative to favor me with analysis, mine to disregard it. Now I wish to sleep. Goodnight!"
In the dead of night, Lord Pam sneaks into Disney Princess' room and smells her shoulder. Except it's not her shoulder! She and Xenadora switched rooms!
Xenadora smiles to herself. Blackmail is on the menu! He thought he could outmaneuver her? Ha!
Remember earlier in this recap when I prayed to a higher power for this vacation to feature something resembling the gay skinny dipping waterfall scene? Well, guess what...
New Footman randomly wakes up in the morning and gets completely butt naked for a swim!
I guess Victoria's full body swimsuit wasn't really his style?
I love how unnecessary and shameless this scene is. It's as if the Victoria writers are taunting the Poldark writers: Oh, you always have your male characters swim without their shirts on? Hold my beer.
By all means, keep one-upping each other.
Back at the palace, Xenadora is in full blackmail mode with Lord Pam.
Xenadora: "The Queen and her husband detest you. How that antipathy would...
*SHE THEN LOOKS DOWN AT HIS CROTCH!!!*
...swell, if they learned about last night. Don't sulk. It doesn't suit you."
Victoria might be the Queen of Britain, but Xenadora is the Queen of Petty, and I live for it!
In the newlyweds' nest, the Victoria writers find another way to stick it to Poldark by prominently featuring a naked Hot Italian Chef partly covered by a bed sheet. It's hard to hear over the sound of his chest hair, but the lovebirds are still disagreeing over whether Babyface Maid should resign or not.
Hot Italian Chef: "In any one day, you are allowed precisely 20 minutes of liberty."
Babyface Maid: "I think we just made pretty good use of it."
She makes a good point!
In another part of the palace, Lord Pam is looking at some creepy baby limbs.
Why are these a thing, other than to give us all nightmares?
Anyway, the lady who cockblocked Lord Pam and Disney Princess appears and tells him the following:
"Disney Princess is out of bounds, not to be used for the amorous complications you have in mind. I ask this in remembrance of our own complications."
Everyone is messy this season. I love it!
Later that day, Disney Princess finds Lord Pam in the garden and is all over him. Lord Pam is not receptive.
Lord Pam admits that yes, he could totally rock her world cause he's really great at sex, but he doesn't feel like it. This is the face you make when you don't get to cheat on your evil husband:
May I suggest a cold bath? Not in Albert's bathroom though. That kinky Hercules painting will just get you all riled up again.
On her way to maybe take my advice, Disney Princess runs into New Footman and yells, "GET OUT OF THE WAY!" in his face. This is no way to treat the guy you're most likely going to hook up with two or three episodes from now!
New Footman isn't fazed by her rudeness though and offers her a handkerchief and a brief TEDTalk about the wonders of skinny dipping in the sea. Oh, just make out already!
Inside, Babyface Maid finally works up the nerve to quit. Huzzah! Now she gets to enjoy Hot Italian Chef's chest hair for more than 20 minutes a day!
This doesn't put the Queen in a celebratory mood though. Victoria, I know it's not fair that Albert doesn't have any chest hair, but you can draw some on if it really bothers you that much!
At dinner that night, Albert grades Bertie's homework...
...and continues to quiz him because surely this kid isn't that dumb, right? Bertie screams, "I DON'T BLOODY KNOW!" Before Albert can discipline him, Victoria says, "Please don't bully my child!" Then she throws a drink in his face because why not:
Masterpiece Theater presents The Real Housewives of Buckingham Palace!
This is the most entertaining thing to happen at a ritzy dinner table since Lord Grantham puked blood all over the place.
Later that night, Xenadora makes Victoria feel better about disrespecting her husband in front of everyone: "One quite understands. The wine was not good."
A stand-up comedy star is born! And a two-timing one at that. Moments after ingratiating herself with Victoria, Xenadora runs to Albert's side to tell him, "Repeated childbirths make women stupid."
Speaking of rudeness, after Babyface Maid is finished brushing Victoria's hair before bed, she asks, "Will that be all, your majesty?" to which Victoria pointedly says, "Apparently so!" That's a weird way of saying "Thanks for everything! Congrats on marrying a furry man! Let's definitely keep in touch!" Victoria didn't throw wine in her face though, so I guess that's something.
Another day, another skinny dip. (Take that, Ross Poldark!) Mean Butler (the eye roll drumming moment was awesome, but he loses rights to his proper name cause I still hate him) fires New Footman for missing church and being a part-time nudist. Where's the ACLU when you need 'em?
In the driveway, now that they both realize they're cut from the same fame-whore cloth, Victoria and Lord Pam decide to be friends, paving the way for Xenadora to take over as our Season 3 villain. Pass me the popcorn.
Upstairs, Disney Princess happens to ask about the whereabouts of "that large fellow" and finds out he's been canned. That large fellow? His name is Your Future Baby Daddy, so have some respect!
The next day, Albert is still waiting for Victoria to say, "Hey, my dude, sorry for throwing a drink in your face in front of everyone for no reason." Instead, she says she's returning to London and he can stay behind if he wants.
Downstairs, Disney Princess makes up a story that New Footman was running an errand for her during church and must be rehired. We are one step closer to New Footman writing a declaration of love on a big piece of poster board! Skinny dippers of the world, rejoice!
After a long travel day, the gang is back in London and pulling up to Buckingham Palace. Things are very tense in Victoria and Albert's carriage. He breaks the tension by adding even more: "The people await their Queen. And she waits to be adored."
Meanwhile, Xenadora is leaning into her new role as Season 3 Villain by looking out of her carriage like an absolute weirdo.
That night, Hot Italian Chef and Babyface Maid chat about their next chapter and embrace in the kitchen. Sensing joy, Mean Butler shows up to extinguish it: "What the hell do you think you're doing?!"
Hot Italian Chef responds, "I'm comforting my wife. What are you doing?"
Mean Butler thinks, Oh, nothing much, just living a miserable, empty and lonely existence, and then promptly has an existential crisis.
Upstairs, Victoria tries to barge into Albert's room. Only trouble is he already thought to lock her out. Outraged, she kicks the door and storms off. Xenadora's evil plan is working!
After every episode, it’s only right to reward characters who’ve impressed and diss the ones that haven’t, so here goes:
PIECE OF COAL: Victoria's Childhood Tutor. They really should have gotten around to teaching her that humans can't breathe underwater.
HONORABLE MENTION: The Isle of Wight Tourism Bureau. Congrats on convincing all of us to visit. See y'all (and your naked butts) at the beach!
BRONZE: Hot Italian Chef's chest hair and New Footman's butt. I'm usually annoyed when this show inundates us with new characters, but these newbies can stay.
SILVER: Xenadora. Validating drink-throwing by saying the wine sucks? Comedy gold. Looking at Lord Pam's crotch, while saying the word 'swell'? A boss move. How can you not appreciate this face-twitching weirdo?
GOLD: Albert. I know. I'm just as surprised as you are that he's getting this prize two weeks in a row. But he keeps offering up great lines:
- "YOUR PRESENCE IS A PROVOCATION!"
- "He is a blaggard and he must be disciplined!"
- "HE DOESN'T READ!"
- "This boy's refusal to learn is... PREPOSTEROUS!"
Plus, he was pretty cool about having that drink thrown in his face. Cheers to him for deciding not to be insufferable this season!
Until next week! If you miss my thoughts on Victoria or pop culture in general, follow me on Twitter @xcusemybeauty, listen to my podcast The Cooler, or read all my other Victoria recaps below!
'Victoria' Season 3 Finale Recap: Matchmaker, Matchmaker
'Victoria' Season 3 Episode 7 Recap: California Love
'Victoria' Season 3 Episode 6 Recap: Love on the Brain
'Victoria' Season 3 Episode 5 Recap: On The Road Again
'Victoria' Season 3 Episode 4 Recap: I'll Be Missing You
'Victoria' Season 3 Episode 3 Recap: La Isla Bonita
'Victoria' Season 3 Episode 2 Recap: The Guns of Brixton
'Victoria' Season 3 Premiere Recap: God Save The Queen
'Victoria' Season 2 Finale Recap: It's a Hard-Knock Life
'Victoria' Season 2 Episode 6 Recap: Somewhere Over The Rainbow
'Victoria' Season 2 Episode 5 Recap: Lost and Found
'Victoria' Season 2 Episode 4 Recap: People Are People
'Victoria' Season 2 Episode 3 Recap: Daddy Issues
'Victoria' Season 2 Episode 2 Recap: Puppy Love
'Victoria' Season 2 Premiere Recap: Baby It's Cold Outside
'Victoria' Season 1 Finale Recap: Bye Bye Baby Blues
'Victoria' Season 1, Episode 6 Recap: C'mon Ride the Train
‘Victoria’ Season 1, Episode 5 Recap: I’ll Make Love to You
‘Victoria’ Season 1, Episode 4 Recap: Wedding Bell Blues
‘Victoria’ Season 1, Episode 3 Recap: You’re So Vain
‘Victoria’ Season 1, Episode 2 Recap: All The Single Ladies