TV Review: The Royals (1×09) “In My Heart There Was a Kind of Fighting”

TheRoyalsTopPicTHE SITUATION:

Eleanor and Liam are officially declared illegitimate, making Cyrus the Prince Regent-to-be.

Eleanor Won’t Take This Lying Down

Eleanor accuses Queen Helena of scheming with Cyrus to fix the monarchy and killing Robert along the way. All anyone will say is that it was a “military accident,” so something is up. “No one killed Robert because Robert killed himself…now, does it make you feel better, hearing me say that out loud?” Helena says quietly.

When Eleanor is turned away from Simon’s bedside because visitors are “family only,” she confronts Cyrus. She vaguely threatens to damage his calm and screw up his position. Most importantly she says, “You can suck my dramatic dick.” If there’s ever been a better sentence uttered on a TV drama, come at me.

EleanorBestLineThe Ghost of Simon Present

Liam copes with the bad news by getting completely obliterated in a pub, where he gets into a fight with the owner and talks to visions of his father. When the bartender confronts him, I get my answer about whether or not people can see Liam talking to air. A mysterious person (my bet’s on Gemma) rescues Liam from his passing out in the rain. For Eleanor, Ghost Simon reaffirms his faith in who she is and brings hope: “Do you really think Robert would have chosen to leave you?”

Cyrus Just Can’t Wait To Be King

As his first act as a not-quite-monarch, Cyrus has the security detail removed from Eleanor and Liam—after all, they’re not in line for the throne. I’m calling bullshit here, because they’re still the queen’s children and celebrities in their own right. He brushes off Helena’s concerns that they’ve gone too far, showing her humanity and his status as absolute scum. The whole scene calls the paternity test’s validity into question. The gruesome twosome decides to bring Simon back to the palace as soon as he’s well enough to do so. Please don’t kill him!

When Ted questions Cyrus again, Cyrus cites his affair with James Holloway as his reason to lie about his whereabouts the night of the King’s attack.

Ophelia and the Search for Liam

Ophelia is supposed to be on her way to the airport for her audition, but she won’t go anywhere until she finds Liam. When she sees Gemma at the palace, Gemma quietly refuses to pass a message along to Liam. Ophelia angrily says that now that Liam’s out of the running for the throne, maybe Gemma will sleep with Cyrus. Gemma calmly explains: “When [he calls me], I’ll tell him nothing of your concern. Why would I? You had your chance, you took your turn. When you did, how relevant were my feelings to your concern?” Ophelia insists that she’s worried about Liam, not her standing with him.

She finds help elsewhere—Marcus tips her off about using her father’s security access in order to track his phone. When Ted finds her at the computer, he’s more upset that Ophelia is more concerned with Liam than chasing her own dreams.

LiamDrunkQueen Helena’s Trump Card

Showing a grand lack of trust in Ted’s abilities, Helena orders Marcus to conduct his own investigation into the attack on the king. Marcus doesn’t disappoint—he discovers that loner weirdo is actually 24-year-old Brandon Boone from Robert’s unit. Helena tells Ted to earn her trust and track him down.

When Helena asks Rachel to arrange a meeting with anti-Royalist Nigel Moorefield, we know that she has a plan. She introduces Nigel to Cyrus’s daughters, who for some reason are clad in steampunk garb. They make the intended impression on Nigel. If something were to happen to Simon or Cyrus, Helena needs Nigel’s help to gain the support of parliament to make her the reigning monarch. The upside for Nigel is that after she’s gone, the monarchy can go down in flames—she wants to be the last one.

When Cyrus confronts Helena about her clandestine meeting, she’s unshaken. “Full disclosure works both ways…I know where you went that night,” she says, playing a trump card. Cyrus looks shaken.

Weirdo Loner Dude

Brandon Boone pops up several times throughout the episode, including a moment where he is staring at drunk Liam in the bar while wearing quite a noticeable hoodie. His next stop is the elevator from the tunnels in the palace where he tells Eleanor to meet him for more information about her brother’s murder. When she asks how he knows that Robert was murdered, Brandon responds with “Because I killed him.” Dun dun DUUUUUN.

ON THE PLUS SIDE:

  • “That Pillow Was Older Than America!”
    The Queen REALLY didn’t appreciate Eleanor going after the pillows during their confrontation.
  • Prince Liam Drunkenly Performs “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King”
    Get it? The Royals? Hamlet? THE LION KING? Love it.
  • The Ambition of Queen Helena
    It. Girl. Her deal with the Anti-Royalists was totally unexpected. I’m impressed, writers.
  • Helena and Gemma Understand Each Other
    With a deep understanding of one another, Helena and Gemma are probably the perfect team for this show—Helena calls Gemma out on her opportunistic feelings for Liam, while Gemma gives her the perfect advice on how to spin the affair to the public to make Helena seem vulnerable and real.

HOWEVER…

  • King Simon’s Ghost
    Ugh, the random inclusion of two unexplained Simon ghosts reeks of Schwann and echoes One Tree Hill way too closely.
  • Cyrus’s Offsping Blow Up Helena’s Spot
    Ugh, they’re so useless! I wanted Cyrus to be totally blindsided by Helena’s plan, and his daughters ruined everything.

There were a lot of great moments in the penultimate episode of The Royals season one—Eleanor and Helena are really killing it in their respective roles, with Eleanor playing detective and Helena’s grand scheme. Unfortunately, I have to dock some points for the appearance of King Simon’s ghost.

Episode Rating: 8/10

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 bri@theyoungfolks.com. Twitter: @bri_lockhart