‘Becoming Elizabeth’ digs into the young years of Elizabeth I, exploring the scandals that almost ruined her to the fateful incidents that saved her. There is danger at every turn, and by the fourth episode, Elizabeth learns how to wade through them without getting herself killed. At the beginning of the show, she’d been a bright-eyed teenager who thought she knew better. But now, she has understood that there is a different kind of flair one needs to keep up with the power games and the politics in the English court. By the end of this episode, it looks like she has learned a lesson or two. Here’s what the events of this episode mean for her. SPOILERS AHEAD
Becoming Elizabeth Episode 4 Recap
Elizabeth is sent to Cheshunt while Catherine tries to come to terms with Thomas’s betrayal. Elizabeth keeps writing to her stepmother, apologizing for all that happened with her and Thomas, but she never receives a reply. As if this wasn’t concerning enough, she also starts to suspect that she might be pregnant.
As hatred rises against the Catholics in the country, Mary tries to make sense of the situation at home. She visits Elizabeth to gauge her condition and concludes that Thomas Seymour is responsible for her sister’s forced isolation. She also meets with Edward and tries to rebuild their relationship. Unbeknownst to her, the Lord Protector has his own plans in motion.
As rumors spread about Elizabeth’s character, Robert Dudley comes close to hitting a duke while protecting her honor. He realizes that he has fallen in love with her. Well aware of the consequences it might have for him, he braces for the future. Things take a sharp turn for everyone when Catherine dies after giving birth to her child. Thomas is wrecked by her death, but that is not where bad things stop happening to him.
Becoming Elizabeth Episode 4 Ending
The dynamics start to shift between the characters in this episode, the repercussions of which will become the major plot point for the next half of the season. The biggest conflict brewing right now is between the Protestants and the Catholics. Egged on by Catherine and Thomas, Edward practically declares war against the Catholics. His public hate of the other faith leads the Protestants to become violent, which doesn’t bode well for the state.
While Mary tries to bring the situation under control on her end, she discovers that all of her efforts are in vain. Pedro tells her that he had been sent by the Lord Protector to spy on her and to keep her from raising a rebellion against the Crown. She’d been prudent enough to not take any drastic steps. But seeing that the Lord Protector is treating them like puppets in his own political games, Pedro advises Mary to become a more active player herself. He says that she is the only one who is still following the rules of the game.
Whatever efforts Mary and the Lord Protector might be making to keep the peace in the country might face a setback after Catherine’s death. She was the only mother Edward ever knew and her death will not leave him in a good place. He might spiral and do something drastic, and no one will be able to stop him because he’s the king.
Another person who stands to lose their sanity, and everything else, in the aftermath of Catherine’s death is Thomas Seymour. As if the grief of losing his wife was not enough, he is also stripped of Chelsea Manor, which now falls in the possession of Elizabeth. Catherine’s death also means that Thomas can no more serve as Jane’s guardian. Her father immediately takes her back home because he knows that Thomas, all alone, will not be able to sway Edward to marry Jane. On top of that, he is also aware of Thomas’s reputation with young girls, and leaving his daughter in Thomas’ care would only be foolish on his part.
Whatever cards Thomas had held are gone. There is one thing left for him to do, and he jumps at it as soon as the opportunity presents itself. After her return to Chelsea, Elizabeth comes back to court to quell any rumors about herself, as well as to rebuild her relationship with Edward. Thomas fears that she might tell the truth about what happened between them. But when she doesn’t, he becomes certain that he still has some hold over her. He asks her to marry him then and there.
Despite what Thomas might think, Elizabeth is a changed person now. In the past few months or so, she experienced the danger of having a ruined reputation. She came very close to losing everything, and now that she has the chance to get back in court, as well as the game that her siblings have been playing already, even if by proxy, she will not make the same mistake again.
Previously, Elizabeth’s passion for Thomas was fuelled by the belief that he loved her. But when Catherine discovered the truth, Elizabeth had her confrontation with reality. She knows that Thomas had simply been using her for his own gain, and his marriage proposal also comes out of his need for power, not from his love for her. As places have been swapped between them, it will be interesting to see how this shift in power plays out.