Henry never says good-bye…
Once he sees Wolsey is not able to fix a new wife for him… Henry never sees him again.
Once he realizes Katherine will not let him go, Henry leaves one morning without a good-bye, and never sees her again.
Once he takes back the chain of office from Thomas More as he resigns from his post as the Lord Chancellor in a protest against “new bills”… Henry never sees him again.
Finally… Once he leaves Anne at the jousting tournament at Greenwich, and rides back to Whitehall… Henry never sees her again.
Henry never says good-bye. When he’s done, he’s done. He just delegates the the “execution” of his decisions to others, and moves on with his life… this time, on to Mistress Jane who has the “tiniest hands” 🙂
Remember how we leave Henry at the end of Episode 5: Crows almost begging Cromwell to free him from Anne: “I cannot live as I have lived,” he says.
Today, we find him in a room with Anne, baby Elizabeth and Cromwell.
Henry looks old. Henry looks tired. Henry looks almost disgusted. Henry looks SO OUT OF IT when in the same room with Anne. He does not even say a single word. He just stands up and leaves.
As Anne accuses Cromwell of betraying her at first opportunity, Cromwell may still have Wolsey’s voice in his ears: “The trouble is… Thomas, the King wants a new wife… Fix him one. I didn’t. And, now, I am dead.”
Getting rid of Anne is Cromwell’s only way out at the moment, and as he tells Anne, “nothing here is personal.”
So, Cromwell is ON it. It’s been years since Wolsey died, but Cromwell has never forgotten those men, who, staged an entertainment” at court, in which they wore masks, then tossed and kicked a scarlet figure passing as Wolsey and carried him to hell: Harry Norris. George Boleyn. Francis Weston. William Brereton. Cromwell is now ready to SMASH them all — he tells Norris: “I need guilty men, Harry. So, I found men, who are guilty though not necessarily as charged.”
One mind-blowing scene is with Cranmer, Cromwell and Henry talking about Anne. They are having this seemingly adult conversation about how Anne deceived them all while they all know that what they are talking about is not necessarily the truth. But they are talking about it as if it is the absolute truth. It is as if Henry has written a script for the three of them to play out in his private chamber… But, hey, Henry is a HUGE believer in the story NOW that he, in fact, writes a play: “I’ve written a play. A tragedy… My own story,” he says. “I want you to see her true nature. I believe she has committed adultery with 100 men.” Henry is writing a best-seller here – watch out, Fifty Shades 🙂
And, when Cranmer asks if it could really be likely that she has sexual relations with her own brother, Henry delivers the BEST line of the episode:
“I doubt she resisted. Why spare? Why not drink the cup to its filthy dregs?”
It has not been very easy figuring out Anne in this episode. My take is that she is disappointed with herself. In particular, when she reportedly says “It’s too good for me” for her room at the Tower — the same room she stayed before her coronation — she refers to being guilty, but she refers to being a failure. The woman that stayed in that room before her coronation is a TRIUMPH. The woman that stays in the same room NOW is a FAILURE. That’s why she does not deserve the room.
Claire Foy is fantastic in the execution scene — Anne saying her last words calmly — it turns out these are Anne Boleyn’s last words as recorded — and trying her best to keep her composure until the last second is beyond impressive.
And… It’s OVER.
Henry gives Cromwell the biggest hug ever. He’s ecstatic. He’s happy as a clam and ready to be a bridegroom again soon — which takes him one more step closer to the son he has been obsessed with for so many years.
Oh, I will never ever forget this smile — Henry, you are ONE BIG BAD WOLF!
Wolf Hall ends with a zoom into Cromwell’s eyes through which we lived the entire series. What is Thomas thinking? He probably goes: “What if… what if… I am not able to fix what Henry wants me to do… one day?” Cromwell may be discovering who he has been dancing with now. Henry is a man, whose — in Damian Lewis’ words — “ability to love and then to simply discard is sociopathic.”
Now… As much as Henry is one big bad wolf, I plan to take after him, and never say good-bye to… Wolf Hall 🙂
For one, Wolf Hall is arriving on PBS Masterpiece Theater on April 5 and I plan to enjoy the ride all over again! I also know I will binge-watch it again and again in the years to come and figure out something new every time in this rich, dark, intense, political drama — one of the best things, if not the BEST thing, that ever happened to TV.