For fans of History, Monarchy History, and period series, Becoming Elizabeth has set a new standard. Of script, of interpretation, of costumes, of photography… of content. And it came to the end of its – first – season with a solid foundation in the case of actually having a sequel. It would be awesome if so.
That said, we end the story with a feeling of incompleteness but in keeping with where we’re at. We start with Elizabeth I (Alicia Von Rittberg) as a girl, dazzled by the attentions of Thomas Seymour (Tom Cullen) and lacking in maternal love, clinging to Katherine Parr (Jessica Raine). Everything changes quickly thanks to the politics and ambitions of the people around the three heirs, Edward IV (Oliver Zetterström), Mary I (Romola Garai), and Elizabeth I. And the writers’ merit: even knowing each fate, we cry and get emotional when it happens. Incredible.
I’ve already talked about Romola Garai and the show that gave the season, the series could be Becoming Mary and we would have enjoyed it. The proposal to humanize relationships in fact contextualizes them in another way, especially among siblings. The existence of each came about through the whim of the father of the three and the sadness of each of their mothers individually. The union and complicity between them are captivating and believable. Mary, the eldest, is – at first – less susceptible to the manipulations that Edward ends up being absorbed in right away and we follow how Elizabeth reached her own apprenticeship.
From the beginning, the bond between Elizabeth and Mary is tenuous and we ended up with the collision course drawn between them.” It always seemed to me that Mary and Elizabeth really tried to love each other, but they couldn’t help but love each other. They’ve had horrible lives and they’ve done horrible things,” explained showrunner Anya Reiss.
Jane Gray’s (Bella Ramsey) satellite relationship also gets another perspective, as the little girl was thrown in the line of succession (she was Henry VIII’s grandniece) and the target of scorn and suspicion from the two princesses from the start. Perhaps its conclusion, looking from afar at a brief moment of peace between Mary I (who later has Jane executed) and Elizabeth, was a bit too loose, given that the 2nd season has yet to be confirmed.
On the other hand, the arcs of the tragic Seymour brothers, especially with the impressive performance of John Heffernan as Sommerset, move us even if at first it seemed to be someone else. And yes, there are plans for a sequel. “We have a plan,” confirms Anya. “Edward isn’t even dead, so we have a lot of history, a lot of space.”