We find Victoria and the Prime Minister with very concerned looks on their faces. Over the widening gulf between the classes and the rising rates of poverty and starvation? Not so much. They're miffed about the king of France wanting to marry his son to the queen of Spain. Because she's underage and the match is being made against her will? Again, not so much. They simply don't want the French creating an empire across Europe using marriage; only Victoria's family should get to do that.
Albert is so upset about Uncle Leopold probably being Daddy Leopold that, for once, he doesn't chime in with his unsolicited opinion. That's never happened before!
He tries to calm down by going into the next room to sketch his own face (naturally), but soon realizes he hates all of his features because they're the same as Leopold's! (Um, my dude, your entire family is related to itself, so this was always true.)
Being the mature adult that he is, Albert proceeds to pour an entire ink bottle onto his sketch and all over the table. Sure, it's weird that your uncle boinked your mom, but don't take it out on the antique desk! Who's going to clean all this up?
(Spoiler: probably one of the impoverished servants.)
That night, Victoria is writing in her journal, which is resting on HER PREGNANT STOMACH?!?!?
Ohhhh, nevermind! She had her knees up. Phew! I really just need a single episode where she's not knocked up, okay? We've been through that storyline enough for now, thank you very much.
The next day, it's decided that Victoria doesn't want to simply butt into France and Spain's matchmaking via letter; she'd rather mind other's people's business up close and in person. With an invite list that includes both the Most Likely Gays (oooooh la la!) and a little purse with Dash embroidered on it (awwww la la!), they make their way to France.
Upon arriving, the French king kisses Victoria on both cheeks (oh mon dieu!). In the coach to the chateau, the Duchess of Buccleuch shares how much she hated that the king put his lips all over the queen as if she were just some washwoman. The topic of making out is enough to get the Most Likely Gays heart-eyeing each other again.
Victoria is very much taken with the weird bright orb in the sky they have here in France. Everyone's seasonal affective disorder clears right up. Let's never go back to that damp sadness we call a country, everyone agrees.
Wait! Hold up! Hit pause on the Let's-Ditch-England-For-France's-Marginally-Better-Weather plan because these people are *French R pronunciation* RRHUDE!
Case in point:
What exactly is your problem, miss? Dash was supremely beautiful and deserves to be commemorated not only via embroidered bags, but also via face tattoos. Comment dit-on "HOW DARE YOU!" en français?
Inside the chateau, Albert realizes he is way too much of a prude for the French aesthetic. "This painting! 'Tis not to my taste!"
Translation: He hates big butts and he cannot lie.
In the Queen's bedroom, Victoria is feeling insecure about being the only woman in the country without three inches of makeup caked on. Babyface Maid gets the lowdown on all the products the women in France use: rouge, eyeliner, boob cream, and a creepy mask that secures hunks of veal to one's face. Maybe she's born with it, maybe it's raw meat.
Victoria makes a grand makeup-to-the-max entrance:
And, because there's a handful of gussied-up women present, Ernst magically appears out of nowhere to say, Woah, Victoria! You look like a whore! I love it!
At dinner, all the rich people eat tiny baby chicks because PETA doesn't exist yet to make them feel bad about it.
Down the table, the Oh C'mon Just Be Gays are inspired by a towering phallic dessert...
...and non-subtly flirt a bit:
Blond Most Likely Gay: "I'm prepared to be led into temptation. What about you?"
Brunette Most Likely Gay: "I think to refuse such a creation might cause a diplomatic incident."
THEY'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT DESSERT! THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT GETTING NAKED TOGETHER! JUST DO IT™!
Later that night, Albert decides to fit in a tantrum before bedtime over how artificial, deceitful, vulgar, and impure the French are. They're all ginormous whores! Why can't they all wear chastity belts?! Why did my mom have to sleep with my uncle?! Waaaaahhhh!
Albert then cries over how sad Victoria's new makeup makes him:
He pleads: "Please never do it again! I do not know if I could bear it!"
Can you imagine being married to a man that has an emotional breakdown every time you put colored lip balm on?
The next day, Albert lectures his slutty brother Ernst on how he should keep it in his pants. Ernst is like, HA! AS IF! You realize I've already contracted syphilis at least nine times, right?
Like Albert, the Duchess of Buccleuch is also being a terrible killjoy. She hates all the rampant seduction going on, and don't get her started on the phallic food!
Speaking of phalluses, while on a walk with Albert, the Most Likely Gays decide to TAKE OFF THEIR CLOTHES AND GO SKINNY DIPPING TOGETHER!
This totally sounds like one of my exaggerated jokes, but it's not!
My feelings on this scene can best be described by the following:
That night, Albert finally tells Victoria about his daddy issues. She's like, You know what'll make you feel better? Meddling in the life of an underage Spanish queen! They go downstairs and tag-team negotiate with the French king. All parties agree that they won't try to make the Spanish queen marry one of their relatives. Cool. Glad they decided that without any consideration for what the queen actually wants.
The following week, Victoria and Albert are back in England, still enjoying the residual vacay vibes and going over their successful Instagram posts from France. Look, Albert! This one of you swimming completely naked with the Most Likely Gays got 100 likes!
All is well until news breaks that the French king totally played them. His son is now engaged to the Spanish queen. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Albert feels duped and betrayed, but Victoria sees a silver lining: at least they worked as a team for once and got schooled together! Isn't that romantic?
Also, with the Uncle/Daddy Leopold drama out of the bag, they have no secrets between them. Well, except for one, she cheekily says, before revealing that she is once again pregnant.
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: Albert. He needs to stop policing other people's sex lives. He also needs to stop having meltdowns over whether Victoria wants to put on lipgloss or not. But most of all, he needs to stop being so damn fertile!!!
ANOTHER PIECE OF COAL: Rude French Rando Who Had the Audacity to Make Fun of the Dash Purse. I never forget a slight against my favorite pooch. Someone dust off and roll out the guillotine!
HONORABLE MENTION: The Duchess of Buccleuch. Sure, she was a wet blanket the entire trip, but I agree with her on one count: French food sucks.
BRONZE: The Queen of Spain. Poor girl can't even have any fun Sex and the City-esque single adventures before people she's never met chain her to some old random foreign dude who will just knock her up and cheat on her behind her back.
SILVER: That Waterfall Lake. Thanks for existing in the right place at the right time.
GOLD: The Most Likely Gays. They didn't make out, but this was maybe better?
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!