SOME SPOILERS AHEAD.
Will is basking in the success of his latest stage hit Two Gentleman of Verona, which did even better than his last. He’s starting to make a name for himself; people recognise and call him by name as he walks down the street. Will is also seeing success in his love life, since Alice no longer seems to be concerned with the fact that Will has a wife. Remember when that bothered her? Like two episodes ago? I do.
Things are going so well with them, in fact, that right after they end a performance, they sneak under the stage to have sex…right as Alice’s mother brings her fiance to the theatre to meet her. They just so happen to be standing right above Will and Alice, who’s moaning loud enough for the two to hear her. That Alice’s mother quickly silenced Alice’s fiance’s questions about the noise and shooed him off stage, made me wonder if she knows about Alice and Will. It felt like she was covering for her.
There was soon trouble in paradise, however, because Southwell came to visit Will at around that same time. Venturing outside, he found his rebel cousin speaking to Alice, who got very upset when Will did not credit her with the creative work she did in his last play and told him she was only a copyist.
I was on Southwell’s side in this scene. Not just in chiding Will for his growing pride, but for chastising him for his relationship with Alice. I didn’t much appreciate him calling her a whore later in the episode, however. Will seems to have forgotten that he has a wife. Maybe I could get behind this ship if I’d felt any real chemistry between the actors or between the characters. I just don’t, nor do I care about either of them much. I just don’t root for them as a couple.
This brief moment of agreeing with Southwell didn’t make me dislike him any less, though. I still don’t like how hard he is trying to push Will into figuratively taking up arms for his cause. Especially when Will so clearly wants nothing to do with it. Southwell isn’t a bloodthirsty extremist like Topcliffe who uses religion to justify his vile actions. He’s decidedly non-violent and his means by which to fight against the Protestant oppression of Catholics is simply by writing down and disseminating his ideas.
He’s far better than Topcliffe and I admit that my dislike of him is somewhat unreasonable in light of that. I don’t dislike him because I like Will, as I said earlier, I still don’t care about Will as a character (I don’t care about any of the characters actually and four episodes in, I think that I should). I just don’t like pushy people and Southwell is as pushy as they come.
Marlowe, I know I keep saying this but…I really don’t know what he wants. Just in general. But especially with Will. He takes Will (and Alice, Richard and one of the other members of the theatre troupe) to a debaucherous party. Alice immediately gets jealous when another woman gives Will attention and Marlowe takes will upstairs to the “real” party.
When Marlowe introduced Francis Bacon as a sodomite, I honestly thought he had taken Will up there as “fresh meat” for him. As a prospective person with whom Bacon could enter a sexual relationship from which Will would reap the benefits. Instead, he took him there to get high and have a bad trip so that he could ask a Catholic if God is real? It was a really weird sequence. Made weirder still by the fact that, while tripping, Will saw Topcliffe, Baxter, Southwell and his father.
Will runs out of the party high as a kite and somehow makes it back to his apartment, setting fire to Southwell’s manuscript when he gets there. Alice had followed him there and finds him with it. Putting it out, she takes it up and reads it. Upon realising what it is and that Will lied to her about Southwell’s identity, she once again gets upset with Will. This time for putting herself, her family and the theatre in danger. She breaks things off with him and tells hims to leave the theatre or she will tell her father or Topcliffe.
Speaking of Topcliffe, he still has Matthew in custody and is still torturing him for information on how to find Southwell. Information which the man refuses to give. At this point, it’s kind of a moot point since he’d already given him so much and proceeds to give him even more by telling Topcliffe about Southwell’s manuscript. Topcliffe kills him in a rage and blames Southwell for Matthew’s death, concluding that writers are a corrupting force.
Will takes the manuscript back to Southwell, tells him he never read it and that he wants nothing to do with his crusade. I was very proud of Will in this moment for finally telling Southwell to shove off. He pretty much only did it because he lost Alice because of it, but the point is that he did it. Will then goes to Richard to apologise for abandoning them at the party (and for punching Richard in the nose when he was high) and Richard inspires him to write Henry VI and tells him that Alice is with their parents meeting with her fiance to finalise their engagement.
So of course, the first thing Will does is run all the way there to stop it from happening. He succeeds in this too, despite being right outside the window of the room in which Alice and her fiance’s family are gathered in conversation and not exactly inconspicuously having a brief conversation with her.
Alice returns to the theatre just as Will begins to workshop some of Henry VI with Richard and Moll. They make up – obviously – but shortly thereafter Topcliffe’s men show up for Will. He willingly (no pun intended) goes along with them, only for Topcliffe to tell him that he wants him to write him a play. He just escaped Southwell trying to drag him into the conflict, only to be pulled in by Topcliffe.
- That zoom was really jarring and disorienting.
- Topcliffe: “Your God’s magic is fiction.” You literally serve the same god…
- Richard’s vanity is adorably hilarious.
- I wonder if these “ghosts” will inspire Hamlet.
Will airs Mondays at 9 PM on TNT.