New Show Recap: Wolf Hall 1×02, “Entirely Beloved”

It is December 1529. Wolsey has lost power and has taken refuge at Esher. Cromwell is still in London, seeking to have Wolsey reinstated. He pays a visit to Henry, who refuses to talk about the cardinal. It looks like Henry is doing all he can to avoid making a final decision about Wolsey.

Cromwell goes to visit Wolsey, and the cardinal is a sad sight. He is sick and bedridden. Wolsey knows that the king wants to humiliate him to send a message of defiance to the pope. Cromwell reminds Wolsey that he still has church lands to use as a bargaining chip.

Cromwell joins his family for Christmas, and his son Gregory has returned from abroad. They reminisce about past Christmases when the family was still alive. Cromwell later speaks with his sister-in-law about his son, and she confides to him that she and her husband have not had children because her husband won’t do his duty by her. It looks like her husband is sleeping with someone else.

Cromwell tries to do what he can to secure a spy in the king’s household. He later discovers that Wolsey has been whipping himself to deal with what is happening. Cromwell wants to move Wolsey to Yorkshire, but money is tight, and since the king won’t see him, there’s nothing he can do. Cromwell goes to the king once more on Wolsey’s behalf. Henry has need of Wolsey to settle a case with a merchant whose ship sank. Cromwell offers to look into it, as he remembers the case. Henry remarks that Cromwell is exceedingly loyal to Wolsey. Henry quietly tells Cromwell he will front a thousand pounds for Wolsey. Henry misses the cardinal very much, but his love for Anne Boleyn is forcing him to take a side.

Cromwell and his friend discuss Henry’s gift to the cardinal. There is talk of Thomas Wyatt and his association with Anne Boleyn. His friend suggests that Cromwell could ingratiate himself to Anne Boleyn to try and get Henry to relent when it comes to Wolsey. Wolsey suggests the same thing and gives Cromwell a pouch before leaving. Cromwell knows that Anne won’t stop until she is crowned queen of England. Cromwell sends his sons to see to Cromwell’s needs. His sons tell him that it’s time to leave the cardinal. Cromwell opens the pouch from the cardinal and finds that it contains a casket engraved with his initials, which Wolsey has had made for him.

Cromwell goes to Thomas More for assistance, but More seems reluctant to help. Gardiner knows that Cromwell is starting to get involved in the intrigues with Anne Boleyn. More goes on about the Protestant movement. Gardiner and Cromwell go to see Anne Boleyn at Westminster. Like Cromwell, Gardiner keeps spies in More’s household. Cromwell comes upon Mary Boleyn crying, and she is relieved to see him. She warns Cromwell that Anne is in a terrible mood and that Anne would be happy with how things are going. Mary reveals to Cromwell that Anne had refused Henry’s offer to be Henry’s maitresse-en-titre, since Anne knows what happened with Mary, who had been Henry’s mistress. Mary tells Cromwell that she should marry again to get away from her horrible family. It seems like she’s trying to drop a hint. but Cromwell tells her that a marriage would not be a good idea. Mary tells Cromwell to leave before Anne can get her claws in him. Holy sexual tension, Batman!

Cromwell enters Anne’s chamber and tells her that he has been to Thomas More’s home. Anne introduces her chaplain, Thomas Cranmer, and asks Cromwell about the rumors that Wolsey has letters from Catherine and about Rome issuing a decree for Henry to leave Anne. Anne tells Cromwell that a sketch had been placed in her bed of her without a head. She charges Cromwell with finding out who was responsible. She is determined to have Henry as her husband.

Cromwell meets young Jane Seymour, from Wolf Hall, and she has been placed in Anne’s house as a spy. Cranmer tells Cromwell that Norfolk is angry about Wolsey’s popularity with the people and warns Cromwell that Wolsey ought to be more cautious and not try to court the favor of the people. Wolsey has called a convocation of the northern Catholic church without the king’s knowledge, perhaps as a last resort to keep his power. People are saying that Cromwell is only out for himself, but he insists that he has taken the position with Anne Boleyn and the king so that he might persuade the king to recall Wolsey to London.

Cromwell’s sister-in-law asks about Anne Boleyn, since everyone wants to know about this woman. Cromwell doesn’t have a very good opinion of Anne, though he will continue to work with her.

Cromwell hears the Boleyns and Norfolk grumbling about how Henry needs an heir and that little Princess Mary would not do as a queen of England, since women could not rule a kingdom or lead an army. Cromwell reminds them of how Catherine of Aragon’s mother, Isabella of Spain, led an army. Henry and Cromwell practice archery together. They actually seem to be getting along, and Cromwell finally has Henry’s ear. Cromwell is honest about his opinions about corruption in the Catholic church, and that a lot of money goes to Rome. Henry knows he could use the riches. He instructs Cromwell to sit down with his lawyers to see what he can do about taking the riches from the monasteries.

Henry confides in Cromwell that he is frustrated with not being able to marry Anne Boleyn. Anne has threatened to leave him. Henry calls for Cromwell late at night, and Cromwell goes to Greenwich to see Henry. Henry is beside himself, and he tells Cromwell and Cranmer that he saw the ghost of his older brother Arthur. Henry sees this as a bad sign that his brother is haunting him to make him feel ashamed for taking his kingdom and his wife. Cranmer comforts him with the thought that the marriage was sanctified by Rome. Henry thinks that he has still sinned, no matter what the church said about the marriage. Cromwell tells Henry that his brother may have come to him to force him to become to king that he should be and the soul and supreme head of the kingdom, as Anne has urged Henry to do. Arthur only came to Henry to strengthen him. Henry takes comfort in what Cromwell has told him, and it seems that he knows what he must do. Cromwell was able to comfort Henry in the face of his nightmare, and he tells Cranmer to let Lady Anne know they had helped push her agenda that evening.

When Cromwell arrives home, his sister-in-law, Jane, is relieved to see him. She thought Henry was angry with Cromwell. The attraction between the two is palpable, and Cromwell kisses her. They sleep together that night. Since Cromwell has gotten some, he seems to be in a good mood.

Wolsey’s secretary tells Cromwell that Harry Percy had been sent to arrest Cromwell for high treason and to send him to the Tower of London. It was Anne’s way of getting revenge against the cardinal for his refusal to allow her to marry Harry Percy. When Wolsey was taken, he was not afraid of his fate. Wolsey became ill during the journey and died at Leicester. On his deathbed, Wolsey asked for Cromwell. Wolsey was given a pauper’s burial, and the men who took the coffin away laughed about his low birth. Later, Cromwell is appalled to see the masque celebrating Wolsey’s death at the palace.

More later swears Cromwell in as a member of the king’s privy council. As the episode ends, Cromwell opens his chest of the things Wolsey gave him. In the casket, he finds that the cardinal gave Wolsey one of his rings. Cromwell is saddened by what has occurred, but he must move forward from here and assist the king in his endeavor.

So now Wolsey is dead, and Cromwell is on the king’s privy council. What will happen next? And aren’t the Boleyns just horrible? Poor Mary Boleyn indeed!

One thought on “New Show Recap: Wolf Hall 1×02, “Entirely Beloved””

  1. 1. When Mary made the comment about marrying a man her family would hate, I absolutely thought she was suggesting to Cromwell that they get married. I was a bit creeped out, too.

    2. The moment when Cromwell says that vengeance for Wolsey is in his hands? Chilling. All the more so because his voice was so matter-of-fact.

    I really love this adaptation. Really. Really.

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