The White Queen Season 1 Episode 3 Review

The White Queen has suddenly become ‘the race to produce an heir’, fought by Isobel and George vs. Elizabeth and Edward. I say that’s what it’s become but, the truth is, this show moves so fast through historical milestones and events in our characters’ lives that our concerns next week will probably have nothing at all with getting pregnant and praying for a boy.

The ladies’ attempts to conceive are conducted very differently, with Warwick’s attempts to pass the crown to George and make his daughter Queen robbing Isobel of any say in the matter, while Elizabeth appears as in control as ever. In her desperation to pip George to the post, and after producing girl after girl, she even recruits her mother and does a little riverside sorcery to ensure the outcome. We can assume she’s right in her assumption of a boy so, given Isobel’s tragedy, the fight may already be over.

But then there’s Margaret, who’s still adamant that her son become king. Margaret’s giving Elizabeth a run for her money when it comes to manipulation and controlled outbursts, and the cold and calculating way in which she plays with her family’s fate contrasts sharply with Elizabeth’s grief over her slain brother and father. If this were a straight battle of wills between the three women, then I’m certain Margaret would win hands down. She’s a soldier, as another character tells her, and would engage in none of the petty squabbling if she were afforded the power of a man.

The trouble with The White Queen, however, is that it’s no history lesson – when it comes down to it, this is about as fictional as Game of Thrones. It’s also painfully earnest, and these two elements don’t really mesh. Taking itself as seriously as a history lesson, but lacking any of the cultural or educational benefits, it’s as hard to enjoy as it is difficult to follow. Personally, I want more of the women’s underhanded tactics and less of the male brutality – it’s a cliché but, if the show insists on dealing with them, then I’d prefer to watch the former.

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