The Spanish Princess episode 8 (part 1 finale) review: An imperfect union

The Spanish PrincessFrom the very beginning, we knew where The Spanish Princess would be going with Catherine of Aragon’s story. What we did not expect was all of the politics and the power-plays laid in between.

What we saw throughout episode 8, the final episode on Starz this year, was a great sense of winning … but at what cost? Catherine, from the very onset of this series, was a woman intent on securing what she though to be her destiny in being on her throne. In order to do that, she was willing to do whatever it took, including rallying against those who conspired to keep her apart from it. Within this episode, she had herself a victory — but not without some further twists thrust into the system.

First, we begin with Harry a.k.a. Henry VIII’s own ascension to the throne and the proclamation that he wanted Catherine to be at his side for it. The two were ready to dive into the next phase of their lives together and there may have been a part of them convinced that this was some sort of great love story — but that’s without considering so many of the other variables. That’s without looking at the others who have been in their lives. That’s without considering Arthur, or proclamations that were made against Henry by Catherine’s own family, including her sister.

Even getting the two to a place where they could be married was a chance given Catherine’s past — it required special permission from the Pope, which was granted and which therefore cleared the way. The amount of struggle leading into this union was foreshadowing itself the nature of the marriage down the road, and that’s without even mentioning the premonitions of Catherine’s struggles to produce a viable male heir to the throne down the road. It’s also a hint of some of the struggles coming up between Henry and the Catholic Church, which are well-documented within the birth of the Church of England later.

There are moments within this episode where you’re close to being swept away in romance, but then the trade-winds of reality come and brush you right back. This is a wedding within the armor of politics and power, and of two being doing what they believe is the best option for themselves and their future.

What else were we worried about through this episode?

Mostly, the survival of one Oviedo, who looked as though he was going to be the victim of the ever-mounting trend of people being killed off before Henry or Catherine could do anything about it. With the information that he had that validated their potential marriage, it’s easy to figure out why he would be a target. His near-death experience is a reminder of the series’ high stakes, but then there was also his separate story with Lina de Cardonnes, a reminder that other relationships existed within this world without the same sort of Royal Titles at play.

CarterMatt Verdict

Episode 8 proved itself to be both a stellar conclusion of the first chapter of The Spanish Princess, but then also a wonderful setup-of-sorts to what’s going to be coming in the eight episodes still to come. The first part of this series was all about how Catherine came to be on the throne with Henry and some of what she endured, and some of what she was willing to do, in order to get herself there. As we now approach the second era of the series in 2020 (read more over here), this will be your opportunity to explore further what Catherine’s time is like as a Queen and the way that everything unravels.

One thing we know following the first eight episodes? We’re going to witness some fantastic storytelling with great performances, outstanding costume work, and directing that plunges you right into this complicated era.

What did you think about The Spanish Princess episode 8, and the first half of this season as a whole? Be sure to share right now in the comments, and be sure to come back for more news soon. (Photo: Starz.)

Love TV? Be sure to like Matt & Jess on Facebook for more updates!