Wolf Hall Episode 2: “Entirely Beloved”

Entirely Beloved… Cromwell! He has been Cardinal Wolsey’s “Entirely Beloved” for a long time and now our Thomas is gradually becoming the King’s “Entirely Beloved.”

And, Wolf Hall is surely becoming my “Entirely Beloved.” This is drama at its BEST with superb writing, directing, and acting. Damian Lewis and Mark Rylance absolutely STORM it together, and it’s just pure pleasure to watch, think, and write about Wolf Hall!

source: BBC
source: BBC

When we see Cromwell and the King in the last scene of Episode 1, the King eventually smiles at Cromwell… it is probably the exact moment that the King clearly sees that this man is smart and he, Henry, could actually make good use of him… and so the meteoric rise of Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII gets a good start there and then.

In Episode 2, we closely witness — it’s an INTENSE and wonderfully scripted episode — how the relationship between Cromwell and Henry evolves, and we get to see the HUMAN side of the King quite a few times and in quite different ways. Henry could be tender. He could be caring. He could be depressed. He could be insecure. He could be needy. And, he could go from insecure to overconfident in the blink of an eye. I now understand why Damian Lewis has said “it’s been quite fun having that range” in playing Henry.

Cromwell is trying his best to get on with Henry to persuade him about the reinstatement of the cardinal, and also with Anne, because the cardinal believes “Anne is the key to winning back Henry.” And, probably rightly so.

Anne and Norfolk desperately want the cardinal to go north and keep him away from the King. And, Henry knows Cromwell needs money to move the cardinal north.

Henry: “A thousand pounds… That’s the best I could do. Don’t tell anyone. Take it with my blessing. Ask him to pray for me.”

The King’s face says it all now.

source: BBC
source: BBC

LESS is always MORE with Damian Lewis, and his face tells it all first without saying a word. Then: “Everyday, I miss the Cardinal of York.”

As the Cardinal still loves Henry, Henry still cares about him, too. He notes Cromwell’s loyalty to the cardinal, and maybe even suffers from the fact that he cannot be as loyal to the man that has always been there for him… But he loves Anne, too; he wants to have her, and Anne pushes and pushes him to make the Cardinal disappear from the scene.

source: farfarawaysite.com
source: farfarawaysite.com

We see the tender Henry once again when he has Cromwell shooting arrows. He offers to come to Cromwell’s house in disguise for shooting arrows on a Sunday afternoon. Henry suggests “The King should show himself sometimes, don’t you think? I can shoot for you.” This is a Henry that craves normality and he probably cannot imagine a better person than Thomas Cromwell to experience this normality with — Cromwell, coming from a humble background, and being a blacksmith’s son, is a much more worldly man than any other in Henry’s close circle.

It’s not that Henry is not happy being the King… but being King is obviously not stress-free 🙂 Yes, it comes with all that opulence and wealth, and most importantly the POWER over anyone and anything. But it should also feel so overwhelming at times that the King wants to get away from it all…

The King is pretty stressed out, Anne is obviously threatening to leave him if he cannot have his marriage to Catherine annulled soon, and Henry is almost depressed when he tells Cromwell afterwards:

source: BBC
source: BBC

“Anne says she’ll leave me Says there are other men. Says she is wasting her youth for me.”

Then comes my favorite scene from the episode: This is actually one of the scenes that I kept my fingers crossed to see in the series… and I got it!

Cromwell is called to Greenwich by Henry in the middle of the night. The household is worried… Cromwell knows that the King would not invite him to Greenwich if he intended to arrest him… Cromwell arrives at Greenwich to find Henry sitting on his bed… looking desperate, insecure and needy.It turns out that the King saw his dead brother Arthur in his dream.

It’s Cromwell’s time to SHINE now.

The BEST line of the evening, for me, was when Cromwell asks the King: “How did he look like?” Hats off to Peter Straughan for making use of Hilary Mantel’s sense of humor incredibly well!

source: BBC
source: BBC

Henry: “Why does he come back now? I have been king for twenty years.”

Cromwell: “Because now is the vital time, now is the time to become the king you should be, and to be the sole and supreme head of the kingdom. Ask Lady Anne. She will say the same.”

Henry: “She does. She says we shouldn’t bow to Rome.”

Henry slowly smiles.

“I see. I understand it all now.”

source: BBC
source: BBC

“I knew who to send for. I always do.”

Happy Henry is BACK! He has a mischievous look on his face praising himself for “always knowing it.” 🙂 From insecure to overconfident in a second. And, it’s all Cromwell’s doing!

Haha no wonder Mark Rylance said the following about Henry in a recent Telegraph article: “He has very complicated patterns in his mind, which Cromwell tries to guide and deal with.’ Rylance laughs. ‘Sometimes you felt a bit like a psychiatrist, playing Cromwell.’

And, a good psychiatrist at that!!! Cromwell now has Henry’s complete trust. The following day he is again called by the court… and this time not to nanny the King after a bad dream, but to officially become “Entirely Beloved” Cromwell. Thomas More gives him his oath so that he could join the King’s council.

source: farfarawaysite.com

The episode ends with bad news. The cardinal is dead… and a new chapter is starting for Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII.

What to expect from Episode 3? Here is the trailer… In the next episode, we would expect Anne to try her best to get what she wants… Remember she tells Cromwell: “I mean to have him.” She means it! 🙂







Author: Damianista

Academic, Traveler, Blogger, Runner, Theatre Lover, Wine Snob, Part-time New Yorker, and Walking Damian Lewis Encyclopedia :D Procrastinated about a fan's diary on Damian Lewis for a while and the rest is history!

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