36 thoughts on “The Serpent Queen (2022) – Recap Episodes 6, 7, & 8

  1. So far besides the murdering of the historical facts, I’m going with Diane de Poitiers=the original Goldfinger.
    And I am loathing 90% of the costumes.

    1. I haven’t seen it for years (& I can’t find it on streaming, which is a pity bec. I’d like to do a deep dive), but I generally liked it, other than the romanticize plot. Strong performances & decent costumes for the time.

      1. I remember those strong performances and I seem to remember MoS holding her own against Elizabeth until Darnley entered the Scitish scene. And yes it was highly romanticized. Especially Bothwell, if my memory serves me correctly. I enjoyed the book it was based on. I would love a deep dive. Can you get a library copy?

  2. Also Henry’s lethal accident occured indeed at a tournament, but it was organized for his daughter Elisabeth’s and sister Marguerite’s weddings, not at Francis’s wedding!
    And the whole “stabbing a prisonner in the eye so the surgeon can train” was something that Catherine was said to have done but according to modern historian that’s certainly part of her “black legend” rather than truth

    1. For a show that, in the advance press, said it wanted to tell Catherine’s side of things, they really leaned in on a lot of the myths & fictions that swirled around her!

      1. Totally!
        And they erased all that we knew about her: that she was for religious tolerance and initiated many laws and meetings to end the civil war between Catholics and Protestants, that she was a mama bear ( she had regular portraits of her children sent to her so she could see how they grew and prospered when they were away from her…)

    2. In fact, the royal surgeon, Ambroise Paré, did trained on 4 men sentenced to death, but only after they had been decapitated were they wounded the same way that the king had. He even had their head sawn in half to see the trajectory of the wooden lance.

  3. I love how they reduced HenrI II and Francis II’s reigns to merely a blip. I get that they were racing through history because they weren’t sure they were getting a 2nd season, but they missed a lot of beats. Henri II wasn’t that weak, he spent most of the 12 years of his reign fighting the Holy Roman Emperor, while Catherine was regent in his absence. Catherine and Diane had moments when they worked together to get rid of any other mistress of Henri’s they deemed a possible threat. Towards the end of his life, Henri was sleeping secretly with courtesans. I was waiting for the big scene of Catherine kicking Diane out of Chenonceau and having the monogram changed on the walls, I’m amazed that the writers didn’t see the potential in that scene.

    1. This show chose to portray Henri as such a sad sack. I don’t get the choices in casting or writing the older version the way they did. I don’t want to pick on the actor, because I think the issue was mainly scripting. The behind the scenes photo of him in his bloody makeup is kind of shocking – who knew he could smile? He looks about 15 times more interesting there in that still image than he did in hours of television.
      Are we supposed to think that Catherine was so starved for love that as a teenager she poured all her longing into an empty vessel wet firecracker and never let go of those feelings she had for what was essentially an illusion of her own making? Because that’s a long walk for this show as it’s written to ask its audience to take.

      1. That smile, even w/the bloody prop, was delightful! So yeah, the script really did him in, & mores the pity for the actor & the historical figure. The Catherine / Henri relationship in the show was just poorly written all around, it made no sense.

  4. What I wouldn’t give for a show set in the 16th century that wasn’t an aesthetically ugly, confusing mess…

  5. Love From an English woman living in France. I am in awe of Ms Trystan L. Bass. Respect. Much to my surprise I liked this show when Liv was on. It fell apart when badly cast but wonderful Sam entered. Far from being evil she was on the verge of tears most of the time. As for historical inaccuracy I feel physically sick. I am ashamed for watching but forgive myself because I live 5 mins walk from Chateaux Amboise, Clos Luce and Chenonceau and know Chambord well (Sam actually pronounced the ‘d’). Please buy (Amazon) my self-published non-fiction Out of The Shadows: The Ladies of Chateau Amboise.

    1. If the inaccuracies had at least made for a compelling story, I could have accepted it. But this was just a mishmash all over, from the history to the costumes!

  6. Why can’t Starz get decent costume designers and good fabric? From what I’ve seen of the various “historical” series discussions, the costumes generally suck. Frankly, I’ve seen much better, more historically accurate SCA costumes. Maybe we should chip in and send the Starz costumers a copy of :The Tudor Tailor.”

    1. They do have a problem over there! Becoming Elizabeth had some decent costumes, but also some real clunkers & lots of hair problems. I thought it might have been a tiny step in the right direction after all the Phillipa Fucking Gregory dreck. But nope! This one went banana pants too.

    2. Starz isn’t interested in history, either in storytelling or costuming. They have a weird idea that modern audiences won’t accept the real thing, so things have to be made “relatable.”

  7. It doesn’t seem to have been translated into English that I can find, but there’s a book by Benedetta Craveri that has a chapter about the most important queens and mistresses of France from Diane de Poitiers to Marie Antoinette. Its original Italian title is “Amanti e regine.” I read it in French under the title “Reines et favorites.”
    The portion on Diane de Poitiers ends saying that it’s a myth that she became a pariah after the death of Henri II. She was a wealthy woman, who had been a fixture at court for decades, had two well-married daughters, and remained popular at least with the Catholic nobility.

    1. But Diane wasn’t welcomed by Catherine at court – there’s many accounts of her being kicked out by the queen & physical evidence of how Catherine tried to erase evidence of her existence. Diane certainly had a comfortable life outside of court until her death.

  8. Hot Take: I loved this series. If nothing else just to see men in tights instead of boots. Literally couldn’t care about any of the issues you raised.

  9. God this is awful! What is the point of Rehima? If they wanted representation it could have been done so much better than a jumped up Kitchen Maid!
    Catherine was shattered by Henry’s death. Not too shattered to throw Diane out and protect her son from full Guise control but everybody remarked on her extreme grief and even Mary Stuart felt sorry for her and tried to be supportive.
    Catherine doesn’t seem to have been as affected by Francis’s death, probably because she’d seen in coming for so long and done most of her grieving before hand.
    Catherine did offer Antoine de Bourbon his brother Conde’s life in exchange for not contesting her claim to the regency, as the senior surviving male of the Royal line he had a good claim of his own and might have made trouble.
    Catherine was as pious as anybody else in the 16th century but she wasn’t at all dogmatic and couldn’t understand why Catholics and Protestants couldn’t just live and let live and all be good subjects to her sons. Elizabeth I agreed, she had firm opinions on doctrine but didn’t see why people couldn’t keep their dissenting opinions to themselves.
    Speaking of Elizabeth she did deny Mary safe conduct through England because Mary wouldn’t ratify the treaty of Edinburgh.

  10. “Why is this maid wearing a fontange? That’s a century fashion-forward.”
    I’m taking a wild guess here based on the rest of the costume– black with white collar and cuffs and white apron– that this was a lame-ass attempt to do a “16th century version” of a cliche French maid uniform.
    There’s a lot of imagery (illustrations, cartoons) starting in the mid-20th century that shows maids with a small white upstanding ruffle on their heads.
    I got excited at first when I saw them pull in chopines and a vizard, but the costumes in this have been overall disappointing.
    Your recaps have been great, however! Thanks so much for doing them!

  11. I appreciate you all saving me from watching so many shows that end up being meh. It’s a pity because this seemed to have some interesting ideas, but it sounds like it got confused.

    I find the bit about white/black mourning being inaccurate very interesting, because I too heard that Catherine is the source of mourning black, specifically to contrast with the widowed and consequently white-dressed Diane — but I learned it from a guide at Chenonceau! I do wonder on some of these things if we can know for sure, and maybe in some cases the local rumor is as reliable as anything.* I admit it’s probably wishful thinking on my part; I’ll try to repeat it as “purportedly” in the future or something.

    *My example for this is the location of the gallows in 1692 Salem. The local response to the “big announcement” of “identifying” the location (which was mostly just agreeing with an early 20th century hypothesis) was “Yeah, we know; it’s behind the Walgreens.” The site is also at the base of a place identified on maps as Gallows Hill for at least 2 centuries.

    1. White was the colour for mourning in the Valois Court until Anne of Brittany wore black mourning her beloved Charles VIII. She was also the first French Queen to wear a white wedding dress when she married Louis XII her second husband.

  12. I haven’t watched any of the series but it should be noted that Catherine de Medici is the person who brought ballet to the courts of France. Most people think ballet grew exclusively out of the French courts but it was really an Italian source. It was created as a court festival in Italy and brought to France by Queen Catherine when she married Henry II.

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