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S01.E05: An Ordinary Woman 2016.09.18

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My problem with the downstairs crew is that there aren't enough of them.  That huge place is so sparsely populated -- unless there's an event -- that it doesn't feel realistic. 

I think there is a sufficient amount of extras to fill up the space and suggest a whole palace full of nameless, faceless servants. But you may be referring to the fact that whenever we see them seated in (what I assume to be) the servant's hall, there seems to be less than a dozen of them at any given time. There's the Baroness Lehzen, Mr. Penge, Mrs. Jenkins, Miss Skerritt, the chef, that kid who said he wanted the extra candle and . . . that's about it? So yeah -  it seems like we should see at least three times that many servants either seated or milling about whenever we're shown that particular location.

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Boy, Albert is dull.... Ok so who was that Hilda woman? Did i doze through her in a previous ep?

 

and why did it take me this long to realize Mrs Jenkins is Eve Myles? 

I seriously can't stand him, he's also a whiny, fatuous douche. And while I like L'il Vickie a bit more, she's simply this dimwitted princess who comes across as about 12. And I hate their family in its entirety. And, again, all that making out before the wedding did not happen. EVER.

Meanwhile, the interesting thing about L'il Vickie opting for a white wedding dress and a wedding breakfast----we have here the beginnings of her setting the style tone for the rest of the world for almost the next century (and somewhat beyond):

White gowns for weddings became standard

A morning wedding with breakfast was standard (especially among society families) for at least the next hundred years (evening weddings weren't a thing until like the 1950's or later and even afternoon weddings not until about 1900)

And, of course, soon Xmas trees.....

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1 hour ago, proserpina65 said:

From what I gather up thread, PBS isn't actually making cuts to Victoria, and is airing more than what aired in the UK.  That is, if I'm correctly understanding what Taurusrose and Snarktini said.

You are. 

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I really wish they weren't going so fast and instead slowing down.  Maybe end the season with Victoria and Albert's wedding? It feels like their rushing through. I like hearing details like Victoria making changes to her wedding and comments like the last time a Queen got married was Mary Tudor and it was very unpopular.

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2 hours ago, iMonrey said:

The "downstairs" characters simply aren't compelling enough to merit their own story. I'm fine with seeing them in snippets, so they can gossip about life "upstairs," but beyond that, they just aren't working the way the writers clearly want them to: as counterparts for the Downton Abbey servants. Part of the problem might be casting, but I think the larger part of the problem is that Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Lord M, etc., are so much more important than the fictional Crawleys that there is too much of a disconnect between their own lives and that of humble servants. The fictional life of Lady Mary, for example, sort of pales in comparison to the importance of the Queen of England. So it was easier to find interest in Mary's servants than it is in Victoria's.

The different titles also suggest the shows will have a different focus.  It makes sense that a show titled Downton Abbey would be about all of the different people who work or live at Downton Abbey.  But this show is called Victoria, not Buckingham Palace.

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1 hour ago, AuntiePam said:

My problem with the downstairs crew is that there aren't enough of them.  That huge place is so sparsely populated -- unless there's an event -- that it doesn't feel realistic. 

One of the things I don't understand about the downstairs staff is why they all came over from Kensington Palace.  Presumably Buckingham had a significant staff when His Majesty the King died.  Did they all die with him? Were they just buried with him? I get the lady's maids/dressers would have come along, but I imagine the rest would have stayed at Kensington, since they would still be needed there. And clearly most of these people are not ready to play the palace yet.

Other than the downstairs drama, I am enjoying this series, and this episode was no exception.  I like the relationship between Victoria and Albert, particularly that he is more than willing to challenge her, which is needed.  It will be fun to see that continue.  Hopefully he will lose sometimes too.  I can't help but compare Albert to Phillip in The Crown, and it is interesting that they both face many of the same problems of being a consort to the female sovereign in a male dominated world.  Hopefully Albert handles it differently than, well better, than Phillip did.

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I flipped the channel after this episode and ran into the tail end of "Little Women" just in time to see Rufus Sewell as Mr. Baer. He hasn't aged a day.

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Why did he look poleaxed in the solar plexus when Victoria told him she was getting married?

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What is Lord Alfred's position at court?  His only purpose seems to be to hang around Victoria and her ladies.

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Can we get some love for the costumers and their work in this episode?  Good Lord those were some gorgeous dresses.  Of course the wedding dress was gorg, but I totally fell in love with that purple dress with the white around the edge of the neck.  But so much attention should be paid to that dress and the beautiful hair piece and veil.  I know they had real life to go from, but wow those were pretty

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Alfred is a dude-in waiting, to add balance to the room when Lord M is busy at Parliament.

The Duke of Sussex, who gave Victoria away in the wedding is actor David Bamber who played Mr. Collins, the clergyman that Elizabeth Bennett refused in  the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice mini series.

Enjoyed the brotherly relationship between Ernest and Albert, he could actually get Albert to crack a smile and speak above a breathy whisper.

Fun fashion fact: Inconclusive evidence that Prince Albert did have a Prince Albert.

google it.

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I totally fell in love with that purple dress with the white around the edge of the neck

I did too.  I think that one was one of my favorites so far.

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22 hours ago, attica said:

God, with all the whispering Tom Hughes does here, it'd be a marvel if any of his dialogue made it to the recording without looping later.

He delivers his line as if everything is not just in his second language, but in his third or fourth. It doesn't need to be quite so halting.

I sort of had to laugh because this episode made it very clear that we're watching a woman's version of this world: Albert was a virgin when he got married, he went to a brothel but it was only to get advice, Albert and his brother hang out and feel brokenhearted about missing their mom, Victoria only discovers on the eve of her wedding that some men keep mistresses. OK, then.

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During the wedding I was thinking how in real life, he would have been addressed as "Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel" and she would have used "Alexandrina Victoria," which were their baptismal names. It would have been more regal.

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19 minutes ago, ItCouldBeWorse said:

 

He was Chief Equerry and Clerk Marshal:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_Alfred_Paget?wprov=sfla1

Thanks!

9 minutes ago, ItCouldBeWorse said:

During the wedding I was thinking how in real life, he would have been addressed as "Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel" and she would have used "Alexandrina Victoria," which were their baptismal names. It would have been more regal.

I thought that odd, too, but let it go as soon as Albert said, "With this ring I thee wed..."

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  9 hours ago, Mindthinkr said:
  9 hours ago, ItCouldBeWorse said:

Looking at it I wonder that it inspired Prince Charles to use (have custom made) a similar sapphire and diamond engagement ring when he proposed to Princess Diana. That ring is currently being worn by Prince William's wife Kate Middleton. Thank you for the clickable link. 

It's from a great website.

I'ma total Splendor junky! I'm usually a lurker, but I do participate whenever she has one of her polls, or 'readers favorites' events.

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5 hours ago, Haleth said:

I'm glad Albert didn't pull out his notes on the wedding night. 

I was thinking he might do just that.

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Loved Victoria's beautiful dress and that gorgeous crown of flowers she had on her head and that veil.

She refused her tiara in what struck me as an egalitarian gesture. From Albert's POV, he's going to be the queen's husband, and I'm sure there will be times that she will remind him of that. 

Next time I go to London I want to go to KP so I can see the dress. I've been to London several times but never to KP.

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5 hours ago, IrishPirate said:

I flipped the channel after this episode and ran into the tail end of "Little Women" just in time to see Rufus Sewell as Mr. Baer. He hasn't aged a day.

Which version of "Little Women" , what year?

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1 hour ago, elle said:

Which version of "Little Women" , what year?

From the 90s, with Winona Ryder.

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1 hour ago, IrishPirate said:

From the 90s, with Winona Ryder.

Gabriel Byrne played Mr. Bhaer in Little Women along with Winonna Ryder back in 1994.  I love that version and watch it every Christmas. Rufus Sewell isn't in that particular film.  I would love to see him play that role however.  

Back to Victoria, I keep hoping Tom Hughes will grow on me as Albert, but I still feel the actor playing Ernst would have been better suited to play Albert--he looks more like him too.  Hughes Albert is too emo and his halting whispery line deliverance drives me crazy!

Edited by lark37. Reason: Cause live and love are different words
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8 hours ago, Arwen Evenstar said:

Next time I go to London I want to go to KP so I can see the dress. I've been to London several times but never to KP.

They have a lot of Diana's dresses on display too.  

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Well, I had a slightly different reaction to this episode-I thought it was just really boring with the exception of the wedding and Lord M's goodbye.  One of my issues with the 'downstairs' staff is that they are rarely working.  In Downton Abbey, the staff was very busy most of the time.  This staff just seems like they have nothing to do but wait around the table.  The dresser especially would have been busy with Victoria's dress changes,  mendings, etc.  

As for Alfred's "I have to have meaning in my life"  well, that's the choice you made in marrying the QUEEN.  If he wanted more of a role, he could have married someone else.  It all seems to be about greed to me-I need an allowance so I can buy my own snuff...get over yourself.  And, those were quite generous allowances!

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6 hours ago, lark37 said:

Gabriel Byrne played Mr. Bhaer in Little Women along with Winonna Ryder back in 1994.  I love that version and watch it every Christmas.

I watch it every Thanksgiving after dinner.  It begins the Christmas season for me.  It's the most beautiful version and to me the casting is perfect.

 

 

12 hours ago, LaChavalina said:

I sort of had to laugh because this episode made it very clear that we're watching a woman's version of this world: Albert was a virgin when he got married, he went to a brothel but it was only to get advice, Albert and his brother hang out and feel brokenhearted about missing their mom, Victoria only discovers on the eve of her wedding that some men keep mistresses. OK, then.

Oh I missed the "only for advice," part.  Guess I can put all my STD fears to rest then.  I don't find the naivety of Victoria and Albert hard to believe, because I didn't know the facts of life until I was 17, and their world is so much more sheltered. Thomas Hardy, writing during that period,  didn't think it was unusual that Angel would feel enormous guilt over having slept with a woman before marriage.  Without TV, explicit books, or going away to school, I expect lots of young people, men and women, went to their marriage as virgins. Victoria would never have heard about men keeping mistresses while she was isolated from almost everyone but her mother and governess and even later, her ladies in waiting would probably not have spoken freely about such things, it would have been considered vulgar.

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When Victoria was walking down the aisle, there were her bridesmaids behind her, and then someone dressed in a white shawl and crown ??? Who is that??

 

Victoria-and-Albert-s-wedding-655168.jpg

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1 hour ago, seacliffsal said:

Well, I had a slightly different reaction to this episode-I thought it was just really boring with the exception of the wedding and Lord M's goodbye.  One of my issues with the 'downstairs' staff is that they are rarely working.  In Downton Abbey, the staff was very busy most of the time.  This staff just seems like they have nothing to do but wait around the table.  The dresser especially would have been busy with Victoria's dress changes,  mendings, etc.  

As for Alfred's "I have to have meaning in my life"  well, that's the choice you made in marrying the QUEEN.  If he wanted more of a role, he could have married someone else.  It all seems to be about greed to me-I need an allowance so I can buy my own snuff...get over yourself.  And, those were quite generous allowances!

Nancy aka Skerrett is often shown mending something when she's not dressing the queen.  I can't help you with Jennings, though.  She mostly seems to eat and get in Penge's business.  I suppose they all could be busier, but since they serve little to no purpose story-wise, I don't pay them a lot of attention. 

I disagree with your view of Albert.  Not many people want to sit around doing nothing when they feel they have contributions to make.  I think most people want their lives to have some kind of meaning; marrying a queen doesn't take away your identity as a person nor should it.  Not to mention, men (then and now) aren't used to not having any authority over their lives, or earning a living and having their own money among many other things. I didn't see greed as the motivator behind Albert's request, just the desire to be somewhat independent.  If you think Albert is unhappy on this score, you should check out Prince Philip in The Crown.  

Edited by taurusrose.
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46 minutes ago, MV713 said:

When Victoria was walking down the aisle, there were her bridesmaids behind her, and then someone dressed in a white shawl and crown ??? Who is that??

 

Victoria-and-Albert-s-wedding-655168.jpg

Found this online:

" In the procession, Queen Victoria was preceded by the usual display of heralds and trumpeters, by the various officers of the household, by the different members of the royal family, each with an attendant from their households, by the Chamberlains, and Lord Melbourne bearing the sword of state. Her Majesty’s train was borne by her twelve bridesmaids, who were followed by the ladies of the bed chamber, the maids of honor, the women of the bed chamber, the gold stick, and six gentlemen of arms, and as many yeomen of the guard to close the procession."

Looks like the show cut that back a bit.

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2 hours ago, JudyObscure said:

Oh I missed the "only for advice," part.  Guess I can put all my STD fears to rest then. 

Oh, Ernest had more than advice in mind when he took Albert there! But Albert didn't want to sample Gretchen's charms and asked for her to tell him what he needed to know instead. 

Ernest picking out "ein, zwei, drei" ladies for his evening was a wow moment. Dude lives large.

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Thanks AZChristian... I still want to know who the last woman was supposed to be!

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I seriously can't stand him, he's also a whiny, fatuous douche. 

I find it fascinating how perceptions differ. Personally I think he's kind of adorable - especially in the scene where he's so aghast that Ernest has brought him to a "house of ill-repute" and how awkward he is - yet how polite - with Gretchen.

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As for Alfred's "I have to have meaning in my life"  well, that's the choice you made in marrying the QUEEN.  If he wanted more of a role, he could have married someone else.  It all seems to be about greed to me-I need an allowance so I can buy my own snuff...get over yourself.  And, those were quite generous allowances!

This is where the show really suffers in rushing through the entire courtship in just two episodes. They could have spent a whole season on it and given us more insight into where Albert was coming from.

Look - the guy has been pushed into this whole marriage thing by his family, especially his uncle, Leopold. God knows what he's been told - maybe that he'd be crowned King Consort. He's probably convinced himself he can do some good in the world with his new position and wants assurances he'll have that power. I can understand his insistence on being more than arm candy for the Queen.

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I still feel the actor playing Ernst would have been better suited to play Albert--he looks more like him too. 

I don't think I could ever have gotten past all the horrendous characters David Oakes has played, from Pillars of the Earth to The Borgias to The White Queen. Earnest is the nicest character I have ever seen him play, and even this character is something of a "player." Granted, that's a step up from the murderers, psychos and rapists the guy usually plays.

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One of the things I don't understand about the downstairs staff is why they all came over from Kensington Palace.  Presumably Buckingham had a significant staff when His Majesty the King died. 

Queen Victoria was the first monarch to reside in Buckingham Palace. I'm sure servants were hired specifically for Buckingham Palace, but the ones she brought with her were part of her own personal "household." Likewise, anyone moving in or out of Kensington Palace would have their own retinue of servants. (From what I can gather, Kensington Palace serves more or less as a flop house for various royals. Victoria and her mother were given rooms there after the death of Victoria's father.)

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Although I would gladly watch a show about Prince Ernst's merry adventures in Coburg.

Totally. Oakes is about the only one with any sparkle (although others have their occasional moments). And there's a great series to be made about the below-stairs palace staff at any era, but shoehorning them into "Victoria" is not the way to do it.
 

Are there going to be further seasons/series of this? Except for the costumes and some of the interiors I'm not sure I care enough to carry on.

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2 hours ago, MV713 said:

Thanks AZChristian... I still want to know who the last woman was supposed to be!

Best guess: they probably used the role of Mistress of the Robes as shorthand for "all the various ladies in waiting"  

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22 hours ago, Haleth said:

I'm glad Albert didn't pull out his notes on the wedding night. 

Naw, he studied for the test, I'm sure. ANd on a shallow note, I was hoping we would see more of the wedding night festivities. They are smoking hot together!

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1 hour ago, AllAboutMBTV said:

Are there going to be further seasons/series of this? Except for the costumes and some of the interiors I'm not sure I care enough to carry on.

Yes, there will be a second season and I believe they're already filming it.

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This series is so dull.  The rushed through her first 2 years, they've rushed through the courtship.  What's left?  A season 2 where she gives birth 8 or 9 times?  I still don't see the chemistry between Victoria and Albert, but it's hard to feel attached when they've only been on screen together for 2 hours.  I can buy Victoria falling madly in love at 20, but she was also madly in love with Lord M two episodes before this, so...  History tells me that V&A loved each other, so far this show has fallen short.

Ernst seemed to have a lot more personality than Albert.  I get that men of that time (and probably even today) would have a hard time adjust to life as someone's consort vs having a title and income.  But Albert's still the moody art student.  He didn't seem to care about money until his uncle repeatedly pushed him.

And who cares what's happening downstairs.  There's so much material upstairs that's just being ignored or glossed over.

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1 hour ago, scenicbyway said:

Ernst seemed to have a lot more personality than Albert.

Ernst is a slut whose idea of a wedding gift is to "enroll" his brother at a "university of love".

Edited by Constantinople.
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Ernst may be more entertaining as a television character, but the reality is that he is very poor husband material. Much more likely to have a mistress than Albert will be, I think, which seems to be a chief concern of Victoria's.

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7 hours ago, taurusrose said:

If you think Albert is unhappy on this score, you should check out Prince Philip in The Crown.  

I was thinking the same thing the whole episode! Complain about having nothing to do but be married to a queen is basically 80% of Prince Philips dialogue.  I like Albert, and I think he and Victoria have a nice kind of chemistry. They both come of as REALLY young though, which does make sense, given her age and lack of experience. It just weirds me out how little anyone prepared her to be the queen. I guess it was on purpose, with her moms asshole boyfriend wanting to control her, it just seems sad.

If this is the end of Lord Melbourne, I will miss him a lot. RS is still all kinds of foxy, and he looks great in period clothes. That's clearly what his calling is.

The costumes on this show are just amazing, and the jewelry! I would watch this show for the clothing porn alone.

How the hell does a person walk like a Catholic? What an asshole.

Edited by tennisgurl.
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17 hours ago, lark37 said:

Gabriel Byrne played Mr. Bhaer in Little Women along with Winonna Ryder back in 1994.  I love that version and watch it every Christmas. Rufus Sewell isn't in that particular film.  I would love to see him play that role however.  

Back to Victoria, I keep hoping Tom Hughes will grow on me as Albert, but I still feel the actor playing Ernst would have been better suited to play Albert--he looks more like him too.  Hughes Albert is too emo and his halting whispery line deliverance drives me crazy!

Thanks for the correction.

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How the hell does a person walk like a Catholic?

That walk was majestic with all the resplendent tassels and chains and epaulettes. He should bite his tongue.

Edited by skyways.
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I believe that Victoria's mom slept in Victoria's bed (or vice versa) until she was 17 or 18.  She never let her out of her sight.

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11 hours ago, JudyObscure said:

Victoria would never have heard about men keeping mistresses while she was isolated from almost everyone but her mother and governess and even later, her ladies in waiting would probably not have spoken freely about such things, it would have been considered vulgar.

Excuse me, but a couple episodes ago she knew all about Melbourne's wife running off with another man. She also knew Albert's mother was run off for having an affair. She's quite aware of infidelity and unhappy marriages. The fact that in this episodes she's suddenly scandalized to find out that men also cheat! is ridiculous.

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2 hours ago, Constantinople said:

Ernst is a slut whose idea of a wedding gift is to "enroll" his brother at a "university of love".

LOL Yes.  Ernest is the guy you party with, but when you want someone who will "love, honor and cherish" you, he's not even a consideration. 

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I guess I'm missing the "swooning" gene that many here have.  I found this episode to be incredibly slow, tedious, boring and dull.  Albert is whiny and brooding and resentful.  I get it.  Victoria is naive and innocent and shocked that men have mistresses.  I get it.  Yet these two concepts were repeated over and over.   

I thought the lady in the robe and high crown was Lord Melbourne's partner at court, the one that said their roles were over.  

Agree with comment up thread regarding David Oakes.  The guy always plays despicable people, and I have a hard time seeing him here and not thinking he has some ulterior wicked motive.   Anyone here read "Belgravia" by Julian Fellowes?  If there is ever a TV adaptation, I see Oakes as a perfectly cast Oliver Trenchard.  Insecure, whiny, jealous, oily.

And one of the final scenes of this episode... Melbourne says goodbye and watches her depart.  She slowly walks away and then she actually runs down the hall.  Because there's no lack of subtlety.  She is running because she is eager to start her new life.  I get it.

I think Daisy Goodwin is simply a terrible writer.  With Melbourne apparently gone, I think I'm done.  I have zero desire to see Albert whine about how unfair life is and how it's not his fault he is German.

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13 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

I was thinking the same thing the whole episode! Complain about having nothing to do but be married to a queen is basically 80% of Prince Philips dialogue.  I like Albert, and I think he and Victoria have a nice kind of chemistry. They both come of as REALLY young though, which does make sense, given her age and lack of experience. It just weirds me out how little anyone prepared her to be the queen. I guess it was on purpose, with her moms asshole boyfriend wanting to control her, it just seems sad.

Victoria's mother and Sir John Conroy were hoping William IV died before Victoria turned 18, so Victoria's mother could be queen regent. They were very overbearing and kept her isolated from other people to keep her dependent on them, which backfired spectacularly since she couldn't stand either one.

I'll probably stick with the show at least until the end of the first series, because I need something to watch on Sunday nights, but my attention really wains throughout. I also really like David Oakes who plays Ernst, but I've only seen him in an episode of Endeavour, and he wasn't a horrible character.

Endeavour spoilers:

Spoiler

Well, he played a duel role and one of them was the murderer, but you feel bad for him.

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