TV Review: The Royals (1×04) “Sweet, Not Lasting” Situation: Charity Week

The Royals separate this week to put in a little facetime with their (sort of) loyal subjects. With the exception of King Simon, that is. I don’t know where he went.

Eleanor’s Week of Charitable Visits

Rachel (Eleanor’s Queen-inflicted social media advisor) has a laundry list of charity work for Eleanor this week, aiming to capitalize on the princess’s great fashion week publicity. Eleanor wants to check on Robert’s charities, but Rachel has other plans. “Jasper, have you ever hung out with old people on ecstasy?” Eleanor asks, letting us all know where this episode is heading.

OldPeopleEcstasyEleanor, high as the proverbial kite, racks up great publicity at the nursing home. The comedown reveals a low depression where she sadly asks Jasper if he plans on taking advantage of her tonight, turning him down when he asks if that’s what she wants. Jasper is no longer the conniving, blackmailing security guard that he was in the first episode; he seems to be taking Eleanor’s moods and feelings rather seriously.

Eleanor’s last stop is NOT ALONE, a drug rehab center and one of Robert’s charities. While she’s visiting, she doles out some advice that applies to her situation as well: “How your mother treated you is not your fault—maybe once you make the choice to let that go it’ll get easier.” She proceeds to go home, do some coke, and presumably has blackmail sex with Jasper.

I Didn’t Know Queens Brought Ladies-In-Waiting On Planes

The Queen doesn’t trust her son to address the public, so she gives him a list of topics to stay away from (money, race, sexual identity, and religion). The only approved topic on the list is cheese. When Liam commits a faux-pas by asking a non-pregnant woman if she’s chosen a name for her baby, Helena feels justified in her actions.

An embarrassed Liam asks Gemma how she always knows the proper way to act. Gemma commands him not to discount his own attributes. “People like you for you, that’s not nothing,” she explains, telling him not to try so hard to be someone else.

tumblr_nmk823ojEZ1qenkz9o6_250Instead of acting like Robert at the next stop, he is himself, taking the majority of the town down to a pub for a beer. The bartender isn’t impressed; she wants a king who will make the world a better place with his power. Liam goes to see a saddlemaker whose passion is shoes, but is stuck in the family business. Liam models the shoes for the press, helping the saddlemaker in his dreams.

Ophelia and Her Joseph Gordon-Levitt-lookalike Beau

Nick asks Ophelia out again, requesting that she tell him if she’s not interested instead of giving him ridiculous, outdated excuses. She invites him to the palace where he proceeds to get lost. I’m willing to suspend disbelief for a lot, but asking me to believe that security allowed him to wander the palace alone is too much.

While Ophelia is giving Nick a tour of the tunnels, she sees a tabloid article about Gemma and Liam. She Instagrams a picture of herself kissing Nick on the cheek, launching her own subtle social media volley. Nick understands what she’s doing and requests a fair shot at winning the fair lady’s heart.

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Ophelia and Nick attend a rooftop party followed by Nerve, a pop-up silent dance party. Nerve looks like a rave, only everyone is wearing headphones. If this isn’t a hipster concept, I don’t know what is. Though it would help avoid noise complaints. Anyway, Nick sees Ophelia looking at a picture of Liam and Gemma and throws in the towel. “Clearly you’re still into him…a deal’s a deal, this is where I back off until you’re ready.”

Helena’s Dose of Reality
Helena discovers that the local cows keep getting sick from the new labeling process at the distillery. She jaunts over, to request that the owner return to the old labeling practice in exchange for being declared the Official Royal Whiskey. He gifts her a bottle and declines her offer—the taxes are too high to go back to the old labeling process as a result of spoiled royal brats like her.

Later, a newscaster announces that a distillery burned to the ground. Helena and Cyrus meet to discuss their predicament—according to the secret poll Cyrus held, 45% of the British people would abolish the monarchy, a number that would increase if they knew Simon was the one to propose the abolition. Helena doesn’t think they can rely on Liam because he’s too much of a wild card. Cyrus agrees, then goes through the secret passage to do something dastardly.

The Good Ship Liam/Ophelia Certainly Isn’t Dead

Liam and Ophelia are busy mooning over each other’s photos. Ophelia very pointedly approves the video of the almost kiss between her and Nick at Nerve. Gemma is unfazed by said mooning: “You’re go off, you’ll do what you need to, and you’ll come back to me. It’s what we do. And it’s always going to be you and me, Liam. We’re bigger than break ups, bigger than flings, bigger than love. So you go ahead, sort out whatever’s in that mind of yours, get your head on straight—before too long, it’ll have a crown on it. And I’ll be right beside you.” However, it’s Ophelia’s apartment we find Liam visiting in the morning; he comes bearing two tickets to the Royal Masquerade Ball for Ophelia and Nick.


  • Gemma’s Psychiatric Help, 5 Cents
    Gemma is a smart, savvy ally for Liam—after seeing this episode, I don’t think I’d like them as a couple (too depressing), but Liam could use her advice and care as a friend. Now I’m picturing Liam, Gemma, and Asher as a wily trio of besties and I can’t turn my back on that.
  • Speaking of Friends For Liam: Marcus
    Seeing regularly taciturn Marcus call Gemma out for her previous abandonment and subsequent gold digging (crown jewel digging?) was definitely a highlight for me.


  • Ophelia’s Treatment of Nick
    Yikes, girl. I’m totally for you figuring out what you want, but not at the expense of Nick’s feelings. He’s good people, and I unfortunately don’t see him on the winning side of this love triangle.
  • Eleanor/Jasper
    Eleanor’s and Jasper’s scenes weren’t very clear in intent or outcome, and this show isn’t usually known for its subtlety.

The episode was probably the weakest so far for me—the Liam and Helena storylines were well developed, but the Eleanor storyline seemed stilted and unfinished. However, I have to give props to Gemma for her tenacity, Marcus for his loyalty, and Nick for his self respect. Good character development on those fronts.

Episode Rating: 6/10

Bri is a 25-year-old born and raised in the swamps of Jersey. Just kidding, she lives at least twenty minutes from those swamps. She’s a publishing professional that moonlights as a writer. She enjoys going to concerts (anything from Rooney to Springsteen to NKOTBSB), roadtripping, and complaining that she truly belongs in the 1950’s, the 1920′s, or the 1980′s depending on her mood. She definitely owns more books than she should and reads every chance she gets. If you stop hearing from her, it’s because the book piles have fallen over and smothered her to death in the night. You can contact her at Twitter: @bri_lockhart