In the previous episode of Victoria, the Queen almost got assassinated, and then almost died from exposure or dysentery or something else awful after getting lost in Scotland, while everyone else hooked up. Will Albert's new hobby this episode be inventing an impenetrable Pope Mobile to protect the Queen? Will Victoria publish a coffee table book on her newfound love of sock darning? Will the show writers resist the urge to kill one of the Most Definitely Gays and allow them to have a happy ending? Will the Duchess' niece snitch on them? Only one way to find out! On with the show!
Now that their oldest child has grown out of looking like a frog, Victoria is open to spending some quality time with her, while Albert plays the piano for them. But the cozy family vibe is quickly spoiled by an unexpected visitor. It's Uncle/Daddy Leopold, who hasn't seen Albert since he revealed, Oh, hey, sorry your dad's dead. But no need to be too sad about that 'cause I slept with your mom A TON and have been your real dad this whole time. Surprise!
The meeting is as uncomfortable as you'd expect. Victoria deals with all the awkwardness by standing very still and making this face:
To break the ice, Uncle/Daddy Leopold gives Albert a birthday present. That's a nice gesture, right? Not so much. It turns out to be... a selfie?! What do you get for someone who hates your face? A picture of it, of course!
In Parliament, old rich white dudes are busy debating what they've debated for hundreds of years: whether to give up a few coins to ensure that poor people don't starve to death, or keep said coins and watch them suffer while munching on caviar. All of Prime Minister Peele's friends take Marie Antoinette's words to the next level: Let them eat... nothing! That nice doctor dude from the Irish Potato Famine episode is rolling in his grave, screaming:
Back at the palace, another war is brewing between Albert and Governess Dictator (whom I'm going to start calling by her real name, Lehzen, 'cause she has really chilled out since the first season). Last episode, Albert accused her of making his daughter fat. This episode, he's accusing her of trying to murder his children by opening the windows and letting fresh air in.
Are you #TeamCloseTheWindow?
By a pond, Ernst takes a break from exposing himself to mercury to sneak up on Victoria's Widow Bestie, and uses this pickup line: "You look like Narcissus." Translation: you look like a self-absorbed dude. Widow Bestie finds this charming for some reason and goes in for a kiss... which is promptly disrupted by Leopold. Hope he thought ahead and engraved a selfie locket apology.
Inside, the Duchess' niece runs into Blond Most Definitely Gay in a hallway and, instead of blackmailing him, gabs all about how David and Jonathan were totally gay for each other in the Bible so it must be okay. Way to go! She's basically a Gay Straight Alliance president. Or Honey Boo Boo.
That evening, the Most Definitely Gays meet for dinner and immediately order oysters and champagne. I'm not great at math, but by my calculations: an aphrodisiac appetizer + inhibition-killing juice = third base at least!
The chances of this actually happening rise exponentially when the brunette announces that he's broken his engagement off. Once you go gay in Scotland, you never go back to pretending to like ladies. Here's some found footage of their breakup:
Huzzah! Now nothing is standing in their way (other than homosexuality being illegal, but who's counting?). But wait. Now that the brunette has finally come to terms with his gayness, the blond is randomly calling their cute make-out session an "indiscretion" and advising that the brunette get back with his ex.
The brunette is just as outraged as me and Tyra Banks, and walks out.
Things aren't going so well over at the palace either. When Victoria declares herself #TeamOpenTheWindow, Albert throws a tantrum that even Lil Vicki, who's a toddler, looks at and thinks, Wow, you're doing too much.
He threatens to run to the side of his bromance bestie, Prime Minister Peele, to support him as he advocates for the poor at Parliament. Victoria calmly reminds him of the separation between the monarchy and government. Albert responds by saying, Mooooom! You're ruining my life!, before storming out. Victoria wonders aloud why he's being so "objectionable." That's a good word for him. A few more words that also work: annoying, insufferable know-it-all brat that gives Veruca Salt a run for her money.
Surprising no one, his presence at Parliament is not received well and is used by Peele's opponents to discredit the appeal to care about poor people. Albert takes responsibility for his actions and vows to be less impulsive in the future.
LOL, just kidding, he punches a wall because, like I said, he's a brat!
He storms home and proceeds to yell in Victoria's face about all of the following things:
- his conspiracy theory that Lehzen -- or as he likes to call her "that woman" -- has bewitched Victoria.
- his conspiracy theory that "that woman" poisoned Victoria against her mother.
- his conspiracy theory that "that woman" is trying to poison Victoria against him.
- his belief that Victoria is too willful and stubborn, and exaggerates all the time.
- his ultimatum that either Lehzen goes or he goes.
As RuPaul's Drag Race winner and great philosopher Bianca del Rio once said: "Need help packing? Beat it, queen!"
Elsewhere, Blond Most Definitely Gay is crafting a letter:
Dear Brunette Most Definitely Gay,
Sorry about all that internalized homophobia I threw around at our dinner date. Join me for oysters and third base, but for real this time? XOXO
Speaking of romance, Ernst and Widow Bestie finally get to play a quick round of tonsil hockey... until Uncle/Daddy Leopold does what he does best:
The next day, Victoria and Albert agree to forget all about the legitimate issues that exist between them 'cause Lil Vicki catches a fever and almost dies. Good for them, I guess, but they should probably go to couples' therapy at some point?
In Parliament, Peele successfully passes his Hey Guys Let's Stop Being Pricks and Let Poor People Have Food bill. He asks Brunette Most Definitely Gay if he wants a ride home, and BMDG responds: "Thank you, sir, but I have an engagement." You see what he did there? Unlike his sham marital engagement, his love for Blonde Most Definitely Gay is the real deal! Let's get this oyster party started!
A moment later, an assassin who doesn't want to stop being a prick and let poor people have food tries to shoot Peele! Because the show writers insist on perpetuating the bury your gays trope, Brunette Most Definitely Gay takes the bullet and dies in the street.
I told y'all they would do this. I understand that a happy ending for the Most Definitely Gays is not exactly realistic in the 1840s, but the show has taken creative license with so many other things. Why not this? Killing off a gay character just feels so lazy.
Blond Most Definitely Gay waits at the oyster restaurant for his date, but he doesn't show BECAUSE HE'S DEAD. The next day, the Duchess takes him aside, gives him her flask, breaks the news to him, and reminds him to a.) breathe and b.) stay in the closet.
Cut to Hot Italian Chef and Babyface Maid flirting in a rowboat, eating strawberry tarts, and making out. This immediate juxtaposition of gay tragedy and straight harmony is just rubbing salt in the wound. Do better, Victoria writers.
Back at the palace, Victoria fires Lehzen so Albert will stop throwing jealous tantrums. Yeah... good luck with that. When Lehzen leaves after 20 years of service, the only person who sees her off is the mean butler.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Peele fires himself because, like me, he's just over all of this.
Later, Ernst almost proposes to Widow Bestie, but finds another rash and decides to spare her a case of syphilis. Which would be sad if the next scene wasn't Brunette Most Definitely Gay's funeral. His fiancé tells Blond Most Definitely Gay that Brunette always talked about him. All Blond can manage to say through his tears is that they "shared some bad habits." Ughhhhh. I'm going to need more of the Duchess' flask pronto.
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. Grow up.
ANOTHER PIECE OF COAL: The Show Writers. Killing off a gay character. How groundbreaking.
HONORABLE MENTION: Prime Minister Peele. Shout out to him for realizing that people should be able to afford food. I will always remember him as he was when we first met him in Season 1: his face smack dab in the middle of a train's exhaust.
BRONZE: The Duchess. That flask assist was expertly timed, but more than that, it was kind.
SILVER: Lehzen. Unceremoniously kicked to the curb because of a man baby. Please tell me Lehzen gets her Kill Bill revenge next season.
GOLD: Brunette Most Definitely Gay. He deserved better than this. We'll always have the waterfall scene. 😭
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!