Starz’s ‘The Serpent Queen’ follows the story of the infamous Catherine de Medici and how she earned the eponymous moniker. In the first three episodes, we get to meet the young Catherine, a teenager who arrives in France with no dowry, no influence, and no backing. But slowly, she learns how the world around her functions. In its fourth episode, the show jumps forward by ten years. Gone is the impressionable and naive girl who was forced to bend to everyone’s will. Now, with the reigns of France almost in her hand, we finally see her turn into the monarch she was always meant to be. The road, however, still offers a lot of challenges to her. Here’s what the ending of this episode means for Catherine’s future. SPOILERS AHEAD
The Serpent Queen Episode 4 Recap
The last we saw of Catherine, she was pregnant with her first child. Now, nine pregnancies later, she has secured her place in the French court by fulfilling her duty. The only thing she longs for now is Henry’s love. He continues to favor Diane, whose hold on him increases with every passing second. Previously, she’d helped Catherine because she knew that without her children, Diane would have to face the possibility of a different wife for Henry. But now that that business is done, Diane is in no mood to share Henry anymore.
As Catherine desperately tries to earn her husband’s favor, she has to entertain the possibility that she might turn out like other ladies in the court, who spend their days doing useless stuff, while their husbands court younger mistresses. She refuses to submit to her fate, and things turn in her favor when Henry’s father, King Francis meets his end. Before dying, he makes sure that Catherine has a seat on Henry’s privy council, making it impossible for anyone to dispose of her or not take her seriously. But it will take much more than her newfound political standing for Catherine to do away with Diane for good.
The Serpent Queen Episode 4 Ending: What Does King Francis’ Death Mean for Catherine?
One would think that becoming a queen gives more weight to Catherine’s thoughts and actions, but it soon turns out that she has an uphill task in front of her. Even though King Francis thought highly of her, going so far as to call her his family’s redemption, she is not well thought of by others. In their first council meeting, Henry makes it clear that he values Catherine’s opinion, but he is still reluctant to take her as seriously as he should. She warns him that his reign will be challenged by the Roman Church. The Bourbons and the Guises undermine her and even try to belittle her by suggesting that it is she who might start the war with her rash decisions. Henry pays heed to her, but he doesn’t take as strict measures as she had advised. Soon enough, the Holy Roman Emperor sends his message to the new king in the form of a severed head. But that’s not what bothers the queen.
Catherine is not surprised by the attack of the Church. She had anticipated it as soon as Francis died and Henry became the king of France. What she didn’t foresee was Diane’s shrewdness, underestimating her influence on Henry. Catherine believed that the responsibility of being a king might knock some sense into her husband and he might finally consider the possibility of keeping Diane at a distance. It is not a good look for him, but Catherine doesn’t understand that he will not favor his wife, whom he’s only known for a decade or so, over the woman that he has loved all his life. When Catherine tries to send Diane away, the mistress makes her own power move. She manipulates Henry, who refuses to let her go.
To show Catherine just how much of a hold she has over her husband, Diane makes Henry wear black and white, her own colors, while Catherine is dressed in blue on the coronation day. Their attire itself shows everyone how disconnected the new king and queen are and lets everyone know that if they want the king’s ear, they have to get close to Diane, not Catherine. Living under Diane’s shadow for all these years, Catherine still makes the mistake of underestimating her. But it looks like she has learned her lesson.
In the future, with the day of Charles’ coronation inching closer, Catherine doesn’t make the mistake of underestimating Mary, who believes that the throne belongs to her, now that her husband is dead. Catherine knows just how much Mary resents her, and whatever she found out through the letter that she received in the end, it is clear that Mary might have made her move. But the Catheirne that the young Scottish queen is dealing with is not the same ignorant Catherine who didn’t know how to get rid of a woman challenging her authority. It looks like Mary’s days in the French court are going to come to an end soon.