THE SITUATION: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TWINS!
Mandy/Samantha throws our favorite royal twins the child’s birthday party of their dreams, only with a ton of booze. Helena skips the affair to hang out with someone we all thought was dead. Happy birthday!
When Mandy/Samantha attempts to convince Eleanor to wear the Koh-I-Noor diamond for her birthday, Eleanor brushes it off. The diamond belongs to the people, and the twins’ birthday has always been for Helena more than them. She wants to cancel when she finds out that Helena isn’t even coming. Mandy/Samantha distracts her and gets her talking about the last birthday party that was truly for her. For her and Liam’s ninth birthday, Simon threw them an actual kids’ party with carnival games and sugar while Helena was away.
When Jasper tries to warn Eleanor about Mandy/Samantha, Eleanor tells Jasper to stop acting like a jealous ex. Jasper’s anxiety is furthered heightened by Mandy/Samantha explaining her plan to Jasper, evil villain-style: after getting the princess trashed, she plans to swap the real diamond with a $3500 replica. She reveals more of Jasper’s backstory for us as well: he wanted to do one great job and quit the con game so he didn’t have to scramble for little jobs like his parents did. He tries to convince her to take something that wouldn’t affect Eleanor directly, but she blows him off.
Helena’s Not Dead Surprise
After telling Rachel to clear her schedule, Helena takes a car to Alistair’s seemingly empty apartment. She’s greeted by Alistair, so hey, I guess he’s not dead! He knew that they’d be coming for him, so he got away somehow. He was planning on never speaking to Helena again, but remembered that the twins might be his. Helena admits that she doesn’t know who their father is, so he tells her to get a paternity test done. Alistair advises her to make things right with the twins, since they’re all she has left–if the kids aren’t his, he’s done with Helena forever. Helena opts to hide Alistair’s blood sample in her fake drawer rather than do the test. More on that later in the season, I’m sure.
Cyrus Goes to the Opera
Instead of going to the twins’ birthday party, Cyrus takes a jaunt to the opera with Violet on his arm. The first person they see is Lady Holloway, who upbraids him for breaking his promise of the prime ministership to her husband and slings some unpleasant speech in Violet’s direction. Violet is uncomfortable with everyone’s opinion and worries that people think she’s bringing down the monarchy. Oh sweetie, that’s not you. Cyrus counters this, helped along by a few straggling supporters outside the opera. Violet suggests that Cyrus use the time he has left to do something meaningful, leading him to declare that he wants to spend the rest of his time with her. He goes to the crown jewel room and plucks a ring out of the case. It looks like a royal engagement is on the horizon.
It’s My Party And I’ll Cry If I Want To
Mandy/Samantha throws a party that echoes the twins’ 9th birthday. Eleanor turns to her and says, “No one has ever done anything like this for me,” ecstatic with the party. Ugh. Eleanor runs into Imogen, the girl she met when she visited the rehab in the first season. Imogen explains that Eleanor inspired her more than rehab ever could, and that after they met she got clean and met a rich dude to take care of her. Unfortunately, her man is a little rough, so Holden steps in and distracts him.
Eleanor takes Mandy/Samantha to her room to explain how grateful she is. Mandy/Samantha chooses now to make the swap, asking to try on the necklace and pulling the bumped heads trick. “It’s on,” Mandy/Samantha says to Jasper. Jasper snaps and grabs Eleanor: “Do you want to know the real reason I’m here? Come with me, this is not a game.” He brings her down to the tunnels to see Mandy/Samantha in mid-escape. He smashes the fake necklace and admits that they both tried to rob her. Eleanor is beyond hurt. “This doesn’t even belong to me, it belongs to the people. If this is about taking things from me, take these,” Eleanor says, handing over the diamond earrings the Duchess gave her. She tells Jasper to release Mandy/Samantha. With a long look at the devastated Eleanor, Jasper follows.
The Impending Hangover
The good news is, Jasper only followed Mandy/Samantha to get Eleanor’s diamonds back. He claims it’s not too late to fix this, but Mandy/Samantha rolls her eyes. It’s obvious that Jasper fell in love with Eleanor and she has some parting words about his situation: “You are so screwed.” Eleanor comes back to the party and torches her banner to get the sprinklers going and everyone out.
Eleanor sits in a bumper car crying to a sad song. Jasper returns, not saying a word. Helena walks in to find both of them on opposite sides of the room. The actors performed this scene impeccably; you can see exactly how much Helena regrets sleeping with Jasper and destroying her daughter’s admittedly messed up relationship with him.
ON THE PLUS SIDE…
The twins’ birthday provided for the best episode of The Royals this season so far. The actors killed it, especially Alexandra Park, Tom Austen, and Elizabeth Hurley. Both Eleanor’s and Jasper’s storylines are devastating right now. On the other hand, Wilhemina is a delight, and her and Liam’s scenes provided some good levity. My only complaint is truly the mystery of the symbol–I’m ready to find out what that is and move on.
Episode Rating: 9/10.