Queen Charlotte Season 1, Episode 6 Recap: A sweet end
OPINION: In the show's final episode of the season, Queen Charlotte — young and old — gets the happily ever after she deserves.
Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.
Dearest readers, we’ve made it to the final episode of “Queen Charlotte,” season one. Episode six, “Crown Jewels,” begins with young King George’s torturer standing before his mother, Princess Augusta, complaining about being fired in the last episode by young Queen Charlotte.
Charlotte’s care seems to have made George better for a moment, but he takes another opportunity to push her away so she won’t have to deal with his mental illness. He says all sorts of awful things about not wanting her there and wishing she had never come. He says she does not deserve a life with a “madman,” but, she notices, he does not say that he does not love her.
She says “I will stand with you between the heavens and the earth,” as long as he loves her. He confesses his love and they finally have the most honest conversation in their marriage yet, declaring their love and devotion to each other for the rest of their lives.
The young Lady Danbury is not faring as well in love. Her hot affair with Violet Bridgerton’s dad, Lord Ledger, seems to be a one and done. She goes to meet him at their spot, but he shows up with his daughter, young Violet. In a ramble about being a good example for Violet and how he hopes Violet’s reputation will be as unimpeachable as Lady Danbury’s, he’s basically breaking up with her in front of his daughter. Lady Danbury is crushed but seems to take it on the chin.
Both in the past and the present, Queen Charlotte is unable to hear people who are expressing their concerns. In the “Bridgerton” timeline, her children come to her like the internet came for Vanessa Lachey after her disastrous “Love Is Blind” reunion hosting: Stop demanding that we have babies for you! One of Charlotte’s daughters confesses that many of them have had multiple miscarriages that the queen never knew about, and she’s being especially insensitive to her son, Prince George, whose wife and unborn daughter’s death served as the series’ opener.
In the past, young Charlotte refuses to listen to the king’s bodyman, Reynolds, who is trying to tell her that, though the king seems better now that he is no longer under the torture of that quack doctor, the king is still unwell. Princess Augusta has told Parliament that the king will address them in their next session, and it’s obviously rattled the king and he refuses to see his mother. Yet Charlotte won’t acknowledge that speaking before Parliament could be too much stress for George. When Augusta threatens to have her charged with treason for not letting her see George, Charlotte holds her own and takes full charge of George. “You chose me well,” she retorts to a fuming Augusta, who storms out. It’s now on Charlotte to make George speak at Parliament.
Augusta is also causing problems with Lady Danbury. Augusta has been clear: Unless Lady Danbury spills the tea on her meetings with Charlotte, Augusta will refuse to acknowledge Lady Danbury’s son as Lord Danbury — or, more importantly, that the new Black members of the Ton will get to keep their titles and pass them on to the next generation. In the last episode, Lady Danbury and Charlotte promised each other genuine friendship, and Lady Danbury will not go back on that promise now. She’ll have to find another way to secure their titles and future.
Even at tea with Charlotte, Lady Danbury won’t even broach the topic, opting instead to continue to treat Charlotte like a friend and not a savior.
In the present-day, grown Queen Charlotte is being read for filth for being a negligent mom and her bodyman Brimsley can only agree that she was always so focused on the king’s well-being that she didn’t have space for anyone else; it’s not a criticism, it’s just what happens in royal life, particularly when the king needs additional care due to his mental health.
Charlotte asks him if Brimsley has ever been married – just to show how clearly uninvolved in the lives of those closest to her who aren’t the king — and Brimsley says no, and who could he have found who had the time to understand that his commitment was to the crown? Obviously, we know that he did find love with the king’s bodyman, Reynolds, in the past storyline, but we have never seen an elder version of Reynolds in the “Bridgerton”-present storyline all season, leaving us to wonder if he’s even still alive.
Meanwhile, Lady Danbury is being accosted by Violet Bridgerton, who rightfully suspects that when she was a child her father and Lady Danbury had an affair. Lady Danbury maintains her discretion and offers a misdirect, that she once had a thing with the queen’s brother, Adolphus. While true, he did propose marriage to her by the end of episode six, the young Lady Danbury rejects his offer and they never have the passionate love story that she once had with Violet’s father, Lord Ledger.
In the past, young Lady Danbury and King George save Charlotte and her unborn baby’s life advocating for her breached baby to be turned, against doctor’s orders to just let them bleed out. Doctors really have sucked for thousands of years! Anyway, it was beautiful to see Charlotte fight for George in the last episode and to see him return the life-saving energy in this one.
With Charlotte having her pregnancy difficulties, Lady Danbury still can’t find a moment to speak to her about their titles. She goes to Augusta again and breaks down crying when Augusta threatens to take away their new estate if she doesn’t give Augusta Charlotte’s tea. In a surprising scene, Augusta gives Lady Danbury pear brandy and basically tells her to stand up. She says that she had to fight to secure her son as King George after her husband died and Lady Danbury better do the same. Plus, she likes having her as an adversary, so she better pull herself together, which Lady Danbury quickly does and their banter continues.
Charlotte gets a reality check when she hears that George never gave his speech to Parliament; he had a breakdown because, as Reynolds warned, it was too much pressure. She finds George hiding from the sky under his bed. She joins him there on the floor. He apologizes for lying to her on their wedding day and she reassures him that he never lied; he told her he was just George and that’s all she needs him to be. It’s such a sweet, endearing moment and is “Queen Charlotte” at its best.
Hopefully, it’s at least four to six weeks after the baby is born, because they proceed to have a lot of sex in preparation for the ball they’re throwing at Buckingham House to celebrate the new baby. If George can’t go to Parliament, they’ll bring Parliament to George.
The ball is a raving success, with Parliament being reassured that all is well with King George and an heir has been secured. Even Augusta must concede that Charlotte was the right choice; she truly loves George, George loves her, and the kingdom is safe in Charlotte’s hands.
As for Lady Danbury, Charlotte accosts her at the ball moments after she’s rejected the queen’s brother Adolphus’ marriage proposal. But, Charlotte assures her, he will be fine. What Charlotte’s really upset about is that Lady Danbury didn’t come to her with her fears about losing her title, since they are friends.
Charlotte reassures Lady Danbury that Charlotte and the king will be good stewards and want to hear the needs of all of their people so that they can help them, the implication being, the Black elites are safe in their titles and estates. The Great Experiment (as Parliament called letting Black people in the front door) is a success and will continue, permanently.
In the “Bridgerton”-present timeline, the grown Queen Charlotte hears wonderful news from her son and his new bride Victoria; they are pregnant! King George’s line will continue, thanks to Charlotte. Bursting with joy, she goes to elder King George’s room to find him once again in a manic episode that we’ve seen in his younger years. In a callback to an earlier scene in this episode with the younger generation, Charlotte asks George to hide from the sky with her under the bed. He eagerly agrees.
As they lay underneath the bed, she grounds him in reality and he is lucid when she tells him that their son Edward and his new wife, Victoria, are pregnant. He is overjoyed. They stay together under the bed, sweetly holding hands, closing another chapter of their beautiful love story, until next season.
Brooke Obie is an award-winning critic, screenwriter and author of the historical novel “Book of Addis: Cradled Embers.”
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