Carlos, Rey Emperador: Episode 7 Review

leonor birth

Being a nice, modest person doesn’t pay off. One minute you are suggesting changes to save money and spend it on better things, like helping the poor and such, and the next one you are lying on the floor dead because a Medici has poisoned your wine. Nice Popes didn’t last long in the 16th century: Francis I would have been killed within the first week.



Portuguese court

joao isabelCan I just say that I kneeew that Leonor’s baby was Joao’s and not Manuel’s? The story of Joao and Leonor’s relationship, by the way, was somewhat true, with a twist that hasn’t been explained in the show: they were engaged before she married Manuel, so when Carlos decided to avoid marriage and marry Leonor off to Manuel, Joao got quite mad. But as you can see, they got it on despite her marriage to the king, so it’s not a surprise that the baby, María, is Joao’s daughter. But poor Leonor is nothing but a pawn in the great scheme of things, so Carlos decides to bring her back to Spain. Nevertheless, don’t be too mad at the emperor, because the decision to keep María in Portugal away from her mother was Joao’s, and it will put a strain in this mother-daughter relationship forever.

But not all is bad news! Isabel can be happy, because at last her cousin has agreed to marry her –even though he is only doing it for the dowry. And Joao will marry Carlos’s younger sister Catalina, the one locked in Tordesillas with Juana. Cousins marrying cousins. I’m surprised it took as long as two hundred years for a king with mental disabilities to appear.

Oh, and María Pacheco has fled to Portugal to escape the death sentence awaiting her in Spain. Can’t really blame her.


French court

françois apresadoIs there an episode of this series that doesn’t feature my pal François in bed? I guess it’s only fair, seeing that the cause of his death was syphilis… But anyway, while he is at it with his mistress, his mother arrives (she doesn’t understand boundaries) to inform him that his wife Claude is very sick. After telling him a couple of truths, the queen does die. But François has other problems, because he has heard that Carlos has offered the Duke of Bourbon Leonor’s hand in marriage. Needless to say, Carlos is doing this because Bourbon brings the biggest number of soldiers to François’s army, so having him on his side would mean he has the upper hand in the war (a stupid war motivated by egos, let’s not forget). Eventually, Bourbon does leave the French court, seeing that François was never going to be a true friend to him. But there’s more! François’s recklessness proves to be too much, and he gets injured in battle and is captured by the Spaniards. Well, that’s what you get.

But you know what he did then? He sent Montmorency to seek help from the Turks! That’s what I call being desperate.


Spanish court

raul merida isabel

Like father…

Adriano didn’t get to do much during his short papacy, but he did have a small quarrel with Carlos. For starters, Adriano leaves for Rome before Carlos can have the chance to arrive to Castile, which angers the emperor. But then there’s more. All the leaders of the revolts are being sentenced to death, and among them there’s Antonio de Acuña, a bishop who had been excommunicated. Nevertheless, the pressure upon Adriano is too much, so he writes to Carlos saying that he will be excommunicated if he kills Acuña. But thankfully, Carlos is now a grown man and does what he thinks he must, so he does kill the bishop, with the awful death method that is the ‘garrote vil’. We know that Adriano is a sensible man, so he decides that he is not going to take measures against Carlos –problem here is that if you decide that in front of a Medici with ambition you end up dead on the floor within days.

But let’s go back to the Carlos plot! He had so much to fix this week! For instance, he needs to pay a visit to his mother and his sister again, especially after their guard tells him that he only bullied Catalina because she was siding with the rebels. When Carlos visits Tordesillas, he is forced to understand that they had no other choice, and after seeing again how unhappy his sister is spending a life locked up, he marries her off to the new king of Portugal.

catalina de austria

… like daughter

By the way, Catalina was Juana’s favourite child because she was the one who looked the most like her late husband Felipe –and she was born after his death. The casting department made another excellent choice here, because the actress bears a remarkable resemblance to the actor who portrayed Felipe, especially the mouth and the chin.

And on a sadder note, Carlos wanted to see how Germana was doing and found out that her husband abused her and spent all her money. Just imagine how mad Carlos got when he heard about this –the scene between him and Germana was heart-breaking. Then he made her viceroy of Valencia and threatened her husband in the best way possible: whispering and hissing while keeping a straight face. The boy is a man.



There is no other way of saying this: Hernán Cortés has got all high and mighty. He even called himself a god at one point! I guess it is what happens when you conquer an entire civilisation and everyone worships you.

hernan cortes catalina juarezCortés is enjoying life to the max: he has had a child with Malinche, and he is certainly enjoying the company of many other women as well. In the meantime, his poor wife, Catalina, is in Cuba waiting for him to return when she hears about the life he is leading in Mexico. Not wanting to believe this, she travels all the way there, only to find her husband in bed with Malinche. The native woman is clearly as unhappy as the Castilian, but decides to resort to manipulation: she tells Catalina that Cortés is bewitched and some other crap. I honestly don’t think Catalina bought it, but what she did was give Cortés an ultimatum: either he stops all this madness or she will write to the king informing him about Cortés’s lifestyle. This would mean all the benefits coming his way would never happen, so he momentarily agrees.

But these things never end well! When a man is like that, he cannot change, and Catalina should have realised this and run as fast as she could to forget him. During a party to celebrate his appointment as governor of New Spain, Catalina sees Cortés kissing Malinche, so she goes to her bedroom and there he confronts her. He grabs her neck. Next scene, we hear him asking for help and there he is, caressing the lifeless face of her now dead wife. Catalina’s death is a mystery, and the show has kept it that way. There were enquiries when she died, and Cortés underwent trial for it. Apparently, she had marks that suggested she had been strangled, with popeyed eyes and bruises. Let’s not fool ourselves: he probably killed her.


Next week, Isabel finally sees her dream of being the empress come true! And don’t forget to watch this episode’s special-slash-documentary.


If you are a fan of El Ministerio del Tiempo (of course you are), next week you will see the first appearance of Victor Clavijo, who played Lope de Vega in the time-travel show, as Francisco de Borja.

Categories: Spanish Historical Fiction, Television | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Carlos, Rey Emperador: Episode 7 Review

  1. Anna

    Excellent review as always

  2. Pingback: Carlos, Rey Emperador: Episode 16 Review | Corleones & Lannisters

  3. Jeffrey Williams

    Carlos diidint treat is Brother right ,he was loyal to him ,But Ferdinand gets the last laugh because all the reigning monarchs today and the none reigning royal families are Ferdinand’s decendants.

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