The Bourbon Battles?
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
A definite improvement over last week, The Siege still has this fairly unfortunate problem of jumping around everywhere to the point where my notes started resembling a labyrinth more than anything else. Speaking of jumping around, the constant timeline shifts have become so annoying. It’s not that the story doesn’t require some expediency (far from it, in fact), it’s that if you don’t actually allow for important elements to breathe, they simply won’t have the dramatic weight the narrative is pushing for. Case in point – Kenna’s romance with General Richaud. I’m all for Kenna getting some since Bash has been such an unabashed ass lately and frankly Kenna deserves happiness. What I’m less inclined on is the general suddenly (about three episodes in), falling completely head over heels in love with her to the point where he would probably jump off the castle’s walls just to appease her in some fashion. To wrap up the love front, the Mary and Louis thing is still around like the last person at a party that doesn’t seem to understand that everyone has gone home and all the liquor bottles are now empty, but hopefully that last scene is the trick I so desperately want it to be, or I may just find myself sympathizing more with Elizabeth on this show.
The Siege ultimately ends up sounding a lot more impressive than it really is, mostly because when one thinks of the word “siege”, there’s an inherent grandeur that doesn’t manifest itself on screen. Wars are expensive in real life as we all know and they’re fairly pricey to duplicate on screen as well. Think of the first seasons of Rome and Game of Thrones, where the respective battle sequences were truncated severely or in the case of Thrones had to excise them completely. CW’s budgets aren’t nearly that high so as much as I would have loved to see the full might of a French army in the sixteenth century on display, I can’t begrudge the show what are obvious realities of production. So the whole swordplay is fine and as bloodless as network television prefers it, even though director Andy Mikita does manage to add flourishes to the entire affair with some neat camera movements. Whereas Mikita tries to add in some flair with the camera, it’s the logic of the whole thing that simply doesn’t stand up.
For one thing, after making a big hullabaloo as necessary about the tensions between the Catholics and Protestants, the show has seemingly forgotten about what are basic political realities in this world. France is heavily Catholic and its queen at the moment also hails from a fiercely Catholic land. A Bourbon prince who is Protestant would cause more than enough questions to begin with and would almost certainly be quashed immediately by the other Bourbons around him. And even if this prince is somehow in French court after all of this, the other French nobility wouldn’t stand for his existence, simple as that. To the show’s credit, they’ve portrayed that aspect of it rather well, but in this hour that accuracy spirals out of control in what is dramatically expedient but not sensibly so. Even if there was a revolt against the French king at the moment, a Bourbon Protestant leader is something whose feasibility would be out of the question, a feasibility any of the French nobility would simply never allow. The whole “Elizabeth wants you to make a power play” aspect of it is so dramatically ridiculous it doesn’t even matter at this point.
The logistics of the siege are more bemusing and implausible than Louis getting an army to begin with (the whole Renaud blackmail thing was whatever). For one thing, every noblewoman and child would be down in the chambers built in the event for a siege with the queen leading them. So seeing Mary and Kenna gasp at the bloodshed that’s about four feet in distance from where they are was irritating enough and then Francis being out there, in the battle, didn’t make any sense either. I get that he wants to be the sort of king who personally leads his troops into battle, but considering that Louis has openly stated that one of his goals in this battle is to commit regicide against Francis, maybe he should stay inside? You’re the King of France, Francis. You’ll be declaring war on someone soon, no doubt. At the end of it all, Mary rides out to meet Louis, declaring her love and her pregnancy. Oh please, of please let this be an extremely clever ruse on Mary’s part. I can’t handle it otherwise. Just give me Mary handing off Louis to his execution next week, preferably at Catherine’s hands. Pretty please?
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+The scene between Catherine and Narcisse after the latter kissed Lola was amazing. Catherine sweet-talking him before revealing that she had Narcisse’s favorite horse cooked into the meal that he was in the middle of consuming was just… beautiful.
+“I should have poisoned him when I had the chance!”
+“Whose blood concerns you more, your husband or your lover’s?”
+“All that stands between him and the crown is my head.” Francis, understanding gravitas.
-Lola and Narcisse making out is no longer as exceedingly hot as it used to be
-Bash and Delphine
-“You’re speaking Pagan.” Wait, what?
Title: The Siege
Written By: Adele Lim & Lisa Randolph
Directed By: Andy Mikita
Image Courtesy: The CW @ YouTube