Quite a pity, actually, because everything that happened between Isabel’s death in 1504 and Fernando’s in 1516 is an interesting and riveting piece of history: the confrontations of regents Fernando and Cisneros against Felipe, who was now set to be king; his death after only two months of reign; Juana’s insane procession around Spain with Felipe’s corpse, her confinement, the revolts… It is quite a lot, indeed.
But let’s not think about that right now and just hope that the upcoming miniseries about Carlos (son of Juana and Felipe) will show these things in its first episode. Now it is time to talk about that tearjerker of a finale and everything Isabel has taught us all.
As it was expected, the finale dealt mostly with Isabel’s last days and showed a queen so strong that she spent every waking hour putting everything in order -namely, she established that whenever Juana was not present in Castile (or felt incapacitated), Fernando would rule instead. Funnily enough, Fernando was the only one with the power to incapacitate his daughter.
This last episode consisted of a parade of people saying goodbye to the dying queen, including the beloved Hernando de Talavera and Cristobal Colón, who had just returned from his last trip to America and did not have the chance to say goodbye to her in person.
But the most significant goodbyes came from the people who had spent most of their lives next to Isabel. Beatriz, her childhood friend, could barely hold her tears every time she was around her, and Gonzalo Chacón, who had taken care of her ever since she was a little girl seemed profoundly devastated (as was her confessor, Cisneros, who couldn’t be present when she died). All of them, though, are overshadowed by Fernando. His sadness was so heart-breaking that every time he cried, I cried. Although to be fair, I cried the entire episode. No, wait, I have been crying every episode since the one when Prince Juan died!
We have to give credit here to Rodolfo Sancho and Michelle Jenner, because they were superb. And I am not talking only about the splendid finale, but about the entire series. Their talent and their chemistry elevated this Spanish production from brilliant to excellent. And everyone else involved made this show unmissable thanks to their talent.
And it is not only about the acting. It was the accuracy, the attention to detail when it came to the clothes, the historical facts, the food, the vocabulary… This is a TV series that teachers all over Spain (and abroad) can show to their students, because they will learn from the best show what happened during one of the most important eras in Spain’s history: the reign of Isabel and Fernando. They understood and loved each other like no other king and queen ever had or ever will and they made their kingdoms shine: they discovered America, they overpowered dangerous enemies, they reconquered Granada and they made Spain unique.
Thank you for these three years, it has been a fantastic journey and an excellent history lesson told by some of the most talented people in my country. There will never be another show as good as you.
But I do hope the “sequel” about Carlos I arrives soon. I really want to watch that stupid Felipe bite the dust (“¡Maldito Borgoñón!). I am so happy that Juana didn’t fall for his tricks during the finale.
PS. Don’t despair if you are already missing Isabel, because TVE is filming a new series with the same producers, called El Ministerio del Tiempo (The Ministry of Time) and it stars our beloved Rodolfo Sancho as a time traveller who goes back to certain moments in Spain’s history. So it is basically a Doctor Who, just so that we are clear. And in the first episode he will meet Lope de Vega.