Review : Will #10 (Series Finale)

I have to admit, now that we know it’s cancelled, I’m disappointed.  I thought there was a lot wrong with it, but seeing Shakespeare and his fellows on tv every week was kind of exciting.  I know more people are sitting down to watch Game of Thrones every week but I enjoyed having a show of my own to anticipate.

This will be something of a live blog as I watch.  I DVR’d it last night but it’s live to me 🙂  Total spoilers will abound, so beware.

Weird that last week’s episode ends with Will running through town, but now he’s walking. Step it up, man! You’re girlfriend’s getting choked out.

I don’t love how Walsingham became an important character with just two episodes left. You can’t just drop a name like that and expect it to mean anything without a chance to learn about the character.

Suddenly Topcliffe’s enforcer (Justice Young?) is a real human, with a conscience? Again, would have been nice to learn more about this character. Holy…?! Just as I write that he kills the jailer as a cover story for letting Will escape with Alice.  Yikes.

It’s weird to watch this and have context for the real story.  The real Topcliffe did eventually get Southwell, and does live until old age.  So I am not expecting him to get any sort of comeuppance in this episode.  But I still want to see how it plays out.

Bizarre that Will can carry a nearly dead Alice around the streets and literally nobody turns their head to look at him.

Will ends up at Amelia Bassano’s house (makes sense) so her personal physician can take care of Alice (with leeches, of course).  This makes everything all better, and soon Will takes her home.

So, to be clear — in the time Topcliffe had her, he never bothered to get her name? He doesn’t immediately head to her house?  Not a great interrogator, it seems.

Now the whole Burbage family knows about Alice and Will, and worse, that he’s a Catholic. So this is what the whole series has been about, even calling back the “Topcliffe was looking for a man with a cut on his hand” from the first episode.  I just don’t feel like it’s built properly to these kinds of reveals. Nobody’s really explained how Richard III is going to be so screamingly obvious to everyone in the theatre (the groundlings are not known for their post graduate degrees, you know) that it’s a scathing satire of Topcliffe.

Watching Will explain to Richard that he’s in love with Alice is oddly reminiscent of Chandler trying to explain to Ross that he loves Monica.  They go from best friends to “that’s my sister!” *punch* But then five minutes later they’re besties again.

Wait, Marlowe’s still in this?  We don’t have time for Marlowe.  Now there’s going to be no resolution to his story at all, I’m afraid.

Hunsdon? They have to convince Hunsdon? Who is Hunsdon?  Is he the one that they did Midsummer for?  I feel like I’ve lost a lot of these characters’ significance.  (Yes, Lord Hunsdon is Henry Carey, who was with Amelia Bassano, and a real character from history.)

I also just realized that the “Tommy” that Marlowe keeps hanging around with is Thomas Walsingham, son of Sir Francis.  The real Marlowe definitely did have a relationship with the real Thomas Walsingham. Now that makes sense, how Marlowe was able to call upon him so quickly last week.

Marlowe finally tells the story of who the old guy was in the bed a few weeks ago – Barrett Emerson.  Unfortunately this appears to be a fictional character.  There’s some theory that perhaps he’s modeled on Lord Strange, but that’s all I can find.

Marlowe gets lots of screen time in this episode but now it just feels wasted, knowing that we’ll never get to really explore anything with it.

…ok, wait, are you kidding?  Next up is a scene of Southwell and his followers self-flagellating (i.e. whipping themselves) while chanting in Latin.  That looks like something straight out of a Dan Brown DaVinci Code novel, and is a ridiculous plot twist.  Was their intent to make Southwell look like a nut? He’s been turned into the villain the last few episodes, but now he looks crazy.

Here we go, time for the play. I’m actually surprised that it took me this long to see this whole plot device as a Hamlet thing, the whole “catch the conscience of the king” and what not.  I’ve been looking too closely at the source material and not the bigger picture.  Shame on me.

The play is good. I like how Richard steps up to play the lead, I wish we could have seen him in some more of the good stuff.  The ending, I won’t spoil. I’ll just say that I approve of how it all goes down. A bit anti-climactic, just kind of “Will the plan work?  Ok, yup it worked with no complications at all.”


Well I guess that’s it.  Alice and Will get something of a Shakespeare in Love ending, which is really kind of a cop-out.  Maybe if there’d been a season 2 they would have done something with it, but now we’ll never know.  Marlowe never comes of anything, other than to offer an Elizabethan “Swive you, Shakespeare”.  Nothing ever comes of Moll and Richard.  Topcliffe is last seen playing with his torture instruments as if he’s going to do something to himself, with no payoff.  Marlow asks Shakespeare what he’s going to do next, and I’m dying for him to drop a hint about a big play – remember earlier in the season when he mentioned Falstaff? And how he was going to write the greatest plays man has ever known?  Instead he just shakes his head and says nothing.  That might be the most painful part of the whole thing. If he’d described his idea for Hamlet or something it would have been perfect.

I hope it’s generally looked upon as “Shakespeare on prime time can work.”  Probably not, but we can always hope.


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