The White Queen Season 1 Episode 2 Review

The line “we’ve no need for scheming women” was uttered within the first five minutes of The White Queen, but the speaker obviously hadn’t gotten the memo about this show. It’s all about the scheming women and, after being introduced to Elizabeth last week, we now get to know Warwick’s daughters and the Red Queen, Margaret Beaufort.

It’s clear from the episode that The White Queen doesn’t plan on dawdling, as this episode alone covers around three years of time. There’s a coronation, a number of births and a revolt all in the space of an hour, and the pace of the thing is something the series has over others. It’s too bad that this quick movement makes the already hard to follow plot even more complicated. It’s a good job we’re conditioned to expect period dramas to remind us of everyone’s social standing, family name and rank every five minutes, or I’d be lost half the time.

So Elizabeth is now the rightful Queen in all of the ways it counts, and the public have been granted a coronation to replace the royal wedding they missed. But Warwick, our villain, isn’t happy about Henry’s choice of bride at all, and sets things in motion for a tragic ending. The episode is about Elizabeth playing by their rules and adhering to their demands but, by the end of the hour, she’s out for revenge and willing to use magic to exact it. Yes, in case you’d forgotten, this version of the war of the roses has real magic in it, and its use will surely have some unexpected results.

We also spend time with Margaret, who spends her time manoeuvring things so that her estranged son can claim his rightful place on the throne. He has no idea who she is, but she is consumed by this purpose and will do absolutely anything to set right the wrongs she feels have been done to her and her family. Amanda Hale does a beautiful job, as always, of portraying both the tragedy and the ruthlessness of Margaret, and she definitely brings something different to the table than Rebecca Ferguson’s Elizabeth. And, if this second episode is anything to go by, we’ll be seeing a lot more of her in future weeks.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.