Carlos, Rey Emperador: Episode 8 Review

carlos francisco

What would you do if you were taken prisoner and wanted desperately to get your captor to speak to you? I’ll tell you what I wouldn’t do: I wouldn’t poison myself! Effective as it is, it seems like a risky bet that could get you killed. Isn’t it easier to just ask nicely?


French Court

louise francoise foixNot much could happen here when my pal François is locked up in Madrid. But you know what? Louise knows how to handle a kingdom (even if the nobles didn’t actually want her as regent, because of the Salic Law). Louise starts by sending Carlos a “loving” letter in which she tells him that they are family and she wants her son back, etcetera. But she also sends a copy of the letter to every other country in Europe, which makes Carlos looks like a bully. Which he is not! It wasn’t even his idea to bring François to Spain! But that is a matter for the Spanish section.

What Louise does here is something more subtle, more manipulative. She becomes nice to his son’s mistress, Françoise, so that she can get money from her husband to pay for the king’s ransom. And after she gets it, she leaves her without her court pension and sends her back to her husband! We all know she only did that because the king wasn’t there to stop her, and because she wants to be the only female influence over her son. Sneaky.



Not much happened this week in Mexico, right? Barely two scenes. But as expected, Cortés still has delusions of grandeur, which angers the emperor on the other side of the Atlantic. Does Cortés care? Of course he doesn’t. He even gets all angry and violent after finding out that his second in command has done the right thing. To sum it all up: he decides to go out exploring a bit more (leaving Malinche behind), but not before having Cuauhtémoc hanged. All because he didn’t want to carry him along. So little happened that I don’t see the point in illustrating it with a photo.


Portuguese Court

catalina joaoThat has to be one of the saddest royal weddings in the history of royalty. Joao and Catalina got married in a little room and he didn’t even kiss her! The poor thing has spent her entire life locked in Tordesillas and now this. At least, she gets to share a few moments with her cousin Isabel before she heads to Spain, and displays her optimistic nature: if Joao is sad because of Leonor, that is in the past (a good advice for Isabel later) and it is now her turn to be happy. Before Isabel leaves, Catalina shares the happy news of her likely pregnancy with her –sorry to sadden you, but the baby died two months after the birth.


Spain (there’s a lot of movement)

Where to begin. Where. To. Begin. Let’s start with Isabel! She goes to the Portuguese frontier to meet her soon-to-be husband, and who welcomes her? Germana! She didn’t like this. In fact, she liked it so very little that she sent her with a letter to Carlos basically telling him to keep her away from court forever. Understandable, but ouch, harsh. (Although it was actually Germana’s husband the one who welcomed Isabel).

carlos isabelI must point something out before I go on. Aren’t all the gowns Isabel wears utterly gorgeous? I mean, all the costumes in the show are amazing, but hers stand out by a mile!

Anyway, because Carlos is extremely busy with a thousand things, he is not there himself to welcome Isabel, but this works fine, because it allows us to focus on the birth of one of the closest friendships of this story: that of Isabel and Francisco de Borja. Borja was instantly captivated by her beauty, and after accidentally seeing her crying, he vows to remain her loyal servant forever and ever. I think it is going to be one of the most beautiful relationships we are going to see in the show, also called in Spain “being a pagafantas.”

So after this, Isabel goes all the way to Seville, only to find out that Carlos is late –again. And after a month in the Andalusian city, Isabel says “no one is going to make a fool out of me” and decides to go back to Portugal. On the way there, we witness a lovely scene in a convent, where Isabel is staying. She talks to whom she thinks is Borja about her disappointment, but it is Carlos on the other side! Heartbreak. We’ll get to that later.

françois leonor weddingBecause it is time to see what was Carlos doing so important to keep him away from his betrothed! Things are off to a good start for him: he has the king of France as his prisoner, he is marrying Leonor off to the Duke of Bourbon, Germana’s not-so-nice husband has died… But of course, everyone is trying to make Carlos do things he doesn’t want to. For starters, all his advisers want him to destroy François and take any parts of France that he wants. But he is not like that. He only wants the French monarch to give him back the Burgundy that is his by right (because of his paternal grandfather) and he will let him leave. But François is a stubborn man, as we all know, and refuses to give it back, especially when Carlos is not even asking him in person. What choice does he have? Yes, he poisons himself with some wild berries. Utterly stupid and reckless. But it worked! He must have been watching The Hunger Games. Carlos agreed to talk to him, thus postponing his trip to meet Isabel. After what felt like ages of talking, they come to an agreement, and such deal includes François marrying Leonor (imagine Bourbon’s anger). Don’t fool yourselves, this was purely political, there was no love in there. But do believe that François, being the lothario that he is, did all the smooth moves and sweet talks we saw in the episode. Carlos looks so sober in comparison! Which is probably why he decided the best way to punish François was by not letting him consummate the marriage. Ha! Now the French monarch has to return to his country to talk to all his nobles and officers, while he sends his two sons, François and Henri, to be held captive in his place. Poor things.

And noooow that the French mess is over, Carlos finally gets to travel as fast as he can to get to Isabel and convince her to stay in Spain and marry him. Sure, like those character traits of him are going to disappear after you are married, Isabel.


English Court

I didn’t see that coming! Haha, just kidding. I have actually been dreading this moment since the series started, and frankly, knowing about it didn’t make it easier. In fact, I was vainly hoping that it might change. How silly of me. Because yes, Henry told Catalina that he wanted an annulment! We all know what’s coming down the line. She doesn’t deserve it. Hell, imagine how different things might have been if Arthur hadn’t died?

catalina henryVIIIAnyway. Henry is so not happy about Carlos’s marriage. Remember, he was supposed to marry Mary Tudor! But Carlos sends the Duke of Alba to let him know that if he didn’t fulfil his part of the deal, it was because Henry didn’t send his troops to fight the French. This starts to make Henry very mad, and he unfairly blames Catalina, since it was her auntie love what made him support Carlos. But to top it all off, he finds out that Carlos and François have signed a deal, which means he now will say goodbye to his hopes of getting parts of France for England. So he drops the bomb about wanting to get rid of Catalina. It makes you suffer for her even more, after having seen her life before the events she is known for. If makes it even more unjust! She kept writing to Carlos to warn him, but he thought his aunt would be untouchable. Well, now she is screwed. And Henry is starting to look quite fearful and crazy. Carlos should have taken his aunt and cousin back to Spain. Let’s all sign a petition to change history!


As always, don’t miss the eight edition of El Mundo de Carlos!


Categories: Spanish Historical Fiction, Television | Tags: , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Carlos, Rey Emperador: Episode 8 Review

  1. Ahh Henry. You always were, you always are, and you always will be a total jerk. 😛

  2. Anna

    Actually I don’t get why Charles insited on Germana’s meeting with Isabel.

    • Virginia Cerezo

      They didn’t, it was actually Germana’s husband. This was a license of the writers to make it more dramatic and have a last scene with Germana 🙂

      • Anna

        Actually it was Francis who met his wife Leonor with mistress standing near him) But it was what it seems – outright insult. But he had reason, marriage was forsed he hated Leonor’s brother and so on. Why Charles acted like that, I don’t understand. May be he was just frightened to go without Germana? She’s kinda mother figure to him)

  3. Heather

    Queen Catalina was luckier than most of Henry’s wives. I think he probably would have had her killed as well, but since Carlos was her nephew, didn’t want to risk the political fallout.

    But he was an a-hole to her and to his own daughter by not letting them see each other. It’s funny but in many ways the King of France and the King of England were quite similar in their narcissistic way.

    Finally we get to see Borja-I’ve loved the actor since he played Lope de Vega in MdT.

    • Heather

      ETA: Looks like Javier Olivadares has a book out about Carlos’ brother Felipe. Should be interesting to read. Interesting to note in RL, Philip had blue eyes and blond hair.

      • Virginia Cerezo

        Carlos’s son, you mean 😛 I’m afraid the actor who will portray him in Carlos is brunette with hazel/green eyes, though

    • L

      Actually, i don’t think she was luckier than most of the other wives. I feel worse for her than all the other wives.
      Yes, she didn’t get beheaded like Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard, but she still suffered more than them. They both died a quick death by beheading, while Catalina suffered for 5 years before dying of cancer. That’s way sadder than being beheaded. But I feel bad for Katherine Howard too, because she was so young and she had been taken advantage of by her music teacher.

      For 5 years, Henry kept Catalina on house arrest in cold castles which were located in unhealthy areas and prevented her from seeing Mary and her other close friends and supporters. She was away from all her loved ones for years.

      Her life was also constantly under threat. Henry kept threatening to execute her and Mary. Even though he was never actually going to execute them, she believed that he was going to do it. She also thought that he’d have her poisoned because there were rumours that Henry or Anne Boleyn would poison her. That’s why she only ate food that was cooked by her most trusted servants. The fact that she also had cancer at this time would have made the whole situation even more difficult.

      Anne of Cleves was the lucky one because she got rich by accepting the divorce. She escaped Henry and got rich. In my opinion. Queen Catalina was the best and most beautiful of Henry’s wives, but she was not the luckiest. I feel the worst for Catalina and Katherine Howard. I don’t feel bad for Anne Boleyn at all.

      • Hall

        I always think people are silly when they talk about how attractive the wives are. How would we know who was the most beautiful? We don’t really have any of their photos, and Catherine was usually called beautiful by her closest friends and supporters. We also don’t have any non-biased accounts of her appearance, other than her being short and having red hair/blue eyes like her mother.

        I feel bad for Howard too, people forget that she was an illiterate teenage girl who was forced to marry an obese, elderly man. She also didn’t have a good parental figure to look up to either.

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