On the bright side, Dash is serving A LOT of face in this episode.
For some reason, Victoria doesn't spend the rest of the day worshipping Dash, and instead advocates for British silk weavers with the Prime Minister. This scene was a total snooze... until the Maybe Gays started raising their eyebrows at each other and supporting each other's views!!!
Victoria decides to hold a British silk-only party, but who cares about that when this is happening?!
Because every party has a pooper, the Duchess of Buccleuch tells Victoria that she better not dance or gallivant at this party (she's pregnant, after all, and therefore should ideally be locked into a tower or something).
Victoria takes a moment to calm the Satanic voices in her head urging her to kill this woman right here and now, and instead says, You have a cold. You have my permission to GTFO of my face.
Fun fact: The Duchess in real life was only 29 or 30 at this time, was generally pretty chill, and was a close friend of the Queen's. I hope no one unfairly turns me into an ancient racist killjoy after I die.
It's decided that the ball will have a medieval theme. Victoria and co. randomly take a tour of royal tombs from this era to get in the mood. The guide shares a story about a former king who had an entire town killed, but, at the urging of his wife, spared six old dudes. Victoria's response:"What a charming story!" Ummm, was she even listening??
In a corner, the Duchess' niece is all googly-eyed for Ernst. She suggests he should dress up as Robin Hood for the party. "A lawless archer. Yes, I think that would suit me very well." You see, both of them like putting their -- ahem --arrows into things.
Back at the palace, the Prime Minister shares his concern about the optics of throwing a lavish ball while people are starving in the streets. Victoria runs the risk of her head taking the place of organic hors d'oeuvres on a silver platter. But Victoria insists. It's her party and she'll get her head chopped off by a poor angry mob if she wants to.
Over at Parliament, old white dudes scream at each other about the Queen's wastefulness. For instance, her dress for the party costs £64,000! The poor aren't happy about any of this and gather outside the palace gates for some good old fashioned head-chopping.
Inside, there are ice statues in the shape of swans, fancy taxidermied peacocks, and pies that even the mean judge on Great British Bake Off would approve of.
The Maybe Gays dance with girls, but only have eyes for each other.
Lord M shows up, even though he's dying or whatever. Good on him. I decline most party invites and the only ailment I suffer from is a preference of Netflix over other humans.
Ernst / Robin Hood spots his crush, Victoria's married friend, and engages in a seductive do-si-do with her. They both wish her husband would just die already so they could have sex.
But enough about straight people. Let's check back in with the Maybe Gays. Yep, still heart-eyeing each other. KISS ALREADY!
In a different part of the room, Lord M and Victoria share a dance, and everything is going smoothly... until he loses his ability to speak and almost falls down! Damn it, leeches! Y'all had one job!
In more pleasant news, the Most Likely Gays (they've earned a loftier title) find themselves alone in a hallway. KISS EACH OTHER! DO IT!
But they do wonder aloud why neither of them are in the ballroom "delighting the damsels."
Halfway through the opulent shindig, Victoria catches sight of the protest outside and feels kind of bad about all the fresh oysters and eclair towers her and her rich buddies wasted this evening. She quickly thinks of a solution: Let them eat leftovers!
Needless to say, people are less than charmed. But she somehow gets away with it. Somewhere out there, Marie Antionette's ghost is booing up a storm.
The next day, Albert adopts yet another pet project: overseeing the design of the new Parliament building.
He bumps into Lord M and notices that he's in an "elegiac mood." Lord M is like, Well, yeah, I'm right in the middle of dying. Also, have I ever told you my wife left me for Lord Byron?
Lord M makes Albert promise not to tell Victoria about his condition. So what does Albert do? You guessed it! He immediately runs over to the palace and spills the beans.
Victoria is bummed and does what anyone would do for a dying friend: she buys him a wind-up stuffed bird!
Lord M says that the gift is "most ingenious." That's one way to say, Um, this is a really weird thing to give to a dying man.
Victoria returns to the palace, sad about the possibility that she might never see Lord M again. Could this day get any worse? she wonders.
SHE FINDS DASH DEAD IN FRONT OF THE FIREPLACE!
HE WAS TOO GOOD FOR THIS WORLD AND THIS SHOW.
Victoria cries, "He was always there! I will miss him so much!" Same. Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
They should just end the series here. Wouldn't take more than a post-script like this: Victoria has 9 kids and grows to be really old and remains obsessed with Albert forever and ever. The end.
I'm going to need a moment to go listen to Sarah McLachlan's abused puppy infomercial song.
Okay, I'm back. Because PBS insists on bunching these episodes, I have another hour to get through, so will remain in the denial phase of this grieving process and save the messy stuff for later.
Someone is primal screaming in the palace. Grief over Dash, I presume? Oh, no, just Victoria giving birth to another baby. It's a boy. Yay, or whatever.
After all the goo is cleaned up, Albert waxes poetic about how beautiful the new prince is. (Not as beautiful as Dash was! *stifles sob*) Victoria seems to be on my wavelength because her response is that all babies look like frogs to her.
Over in Germany, Albert's dad, who spent all last episode whining about how lame girl babies are, is so jazzed about his new grandson that he decides to get jiggy with some lady. But the sexy celebration doesn't last long, as he promptly drops dead.
Back in England, Victoria is still depressed about Dash, but also probably suffering from postpartum depression. Albert grows concerned, after finding Victoria sadly plinking the same key on the piano over and over again. And she has abandoned hobbies she once adored, mainly throwing elaborate parties that make the poor hate her guts.
In a sketchy part of town, Babyface Maid visits her Ungrateful Single Mom friend. BREAKING: She's still ungrateful. Still single. Still a mom.
On a balcony back at the palace, the Most Likely Gays continue to make heart eyes at each other.
The blond one says, "I guess we'll never understand the fairer sex, will we?" and then winks.
Thank you for this, Victoria writers; it's the least y'all could do after killing my second favorite animal on television (#1 pup goes to Horace the Pug from Poldark, in case you're wondering).
But enough about animals (for now). Albert finds out about his dad and hurries off to Germany, but not before giving Governess Dictator an ultimatum: find whichever servant sold the story of the boy breaking into the palace to the papers or every servant will be fired and replaced.
Downstairs, Babyface Maid runs into Hot Italian Chef and notices that he all of a sudden has a new gold chain. His raise was either really generous or he's getting back at the monarchy for getting him fired from his other job by turning into a TMZ informer. Whichever it is, I support him!
Upstairs, Victoria yells at her toddler daughter: STOP MOVING SO MUCH, FROG-FACE! Baby Vicky keeps moving because she's like 11 months old.
Over in Germany, Ernst assures a grieving Albert that their father died doing what he loved: boning girls named Leisl.
Back at the palace, the Prime Minister tries to get Victoria excited about attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony for some tunnel. She responds, Nope, gonna stay home, be sad, and eat a bunch of chips instead! But the brunette Most Likely Gay attempts to change her mind by explaining what the purpose of a tunnel is: "They're walking beneath the water, ma'am." Victoria's mind is blown to bits.
But she sticks to her agoraphobic plan:
Oh, and in case you're playing the Drink Every Time The Most Likely Gays Make Heart Eyes At Each Other drinking game, take another sip.
Over in the bad part of town, Babyface Maid finds out Ungrateful Single Mom is the one who spilled the beans to the press! And she is not even sorry about it. Maybe I missed this along the way, but why does Babyface Maid have to keep paying this jerk's bills and putting up with her stank attitude? Block her on all social media and move on!
In Germany, Albert's no good very bad day gets even worse when his uncle Leopold randomly makes a confession: Hey, there's never a good time to bring this up, so what the hell? I used to have sex with your mom behind your dad's back. Sorry not sorry.
Albert must pull double duty: holding back tears and puke at the same time.
Back in England, Victoria is also holding back a sob, while looking sadly out of a window. The Prime Minister interrupts to pressure her into leaving the house to visit some injured men in the hospital. Victoria is like, Didn't I make myself clear? I want to stay home and eat chips!!!
Eventually, she relents and discovers what she already knew: leaving the house is highly overrated, especially when the reason is to look at bloody, mutilated people.
In the servants' quarters, Governess Dictator grills Hot Italian Chef about where he got all his fancy new clothes. His answer is brief and to-the-point:
Drink up! The Most Likely Gays are at it again! But this time, on a solo date!
... until the Duchess of Buccleuch's niece shows up to you-know-what block. UGHHHHH.
In a German bar, Albert decides that the best way to forget that your uncle might actually be your dad is to chug all the beer. This leads to a wild discovery about inebriation: "It's the most peculiar sensation! It feel as if I have elves around my person!"
Back at the palace, Victoria is a little less sad than usual, as she stares at a diorama of a tunnel (now that she knows what a tunnel is). The Duchess comes in with a gift from some sultan. It was supposed to be a tiger cub, but she talked him into giving a beautiful puppy instead! The pup immediately pees on the royal bed. This show just got exponentially better.
In town, the Most Likely Gays run into each other, but don't take a sip just yet. There are no heart eyes because the brunette reluctantly shares the news that he's engaged to be married to a human woman.
We can't enjoy one nice thing, can we?
Back at the palace, Babyface Maid finds out Hot Italian Chef is about to be fired for allegedly selling the story to the papers, so she comes clean about everything. Turns out Ungrateful Single Mom was about to start working at the Palace, until her unexpected pregnancy ruined any hope of that happening. Ungrateful Single Mom still wanted that fat paycheck so she forced her cousin, Babyface Maid, to impersonate her. That's it?
Upon Albert's return from Germany, Victoria is excited to share a few breaking news items with him: I love tunnels! Bloody soldiers cured me of my agoraphobia! I don't totally hate our new frog baby anymore! Albert is unmoved: That's nice. My uncle is probably my dad. Pass the chips. I'm staying home.
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: The Grim Reaper. SCREW YOU!
HONORABLE MENTION: Drinking So Much You Hallucinate Elves Around Your Person. We've all been there, right?
BRONZE: All the Starving Poor People. All they got for not chopping off the Queen's head was a tray of leftovers, so the least I could do is grant them a meaningless award and the promise that #ItGetsBetter (*whispers* #ItActuallyDoesn't).
SILVER: The Most Likely Gays. They deserve more than this, and so do we.
GOLD: Dash. I Will Always Love You.mp3
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 / Poldark / Downton Abbey recaps!
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