My parents gave me Victoria Season 2 for my 26th birthday! After living on spoilers for so long, it was SO SATISFYING to finally get to see it for myself. And no, the spoilers did not ruin the experience. If anything, they prepared me for certain heartbreaks, objectionable content, and lots of fluff. (Because I need to be emotionally prepared even for the fluff, okay?)
Season 2 picks up right where Season 1 left off. The first episode, “A Soldier’s Daughter,” fell a bit flat for me, which worried me at first. I thought they beat the “Victoria doesn’t want to be a broodmare” point one too many times; the script and characters seemed unusually wooden, and even Victoria and Albert’s fighting felt just a little too melodramatic. But to be fair, I also had a massive three-day sinus headache, so I may have a completely different opinion of that first episode on a second viewing!
Everything improved, however, with “The Green-Eyed Monster.” Victoria and Albert were still squabbling over everything and I was getting very concerned they’d end up like Elizabeth and Philip on The Crown…until Lord Melbourne showed up and made everything better. I’m not even joking. He really did make everything better simply by talking gentle sense into Victoria: he encouraged her, counseled her, reminded her that Albert still loved her, assured that everything was going to be okay–just like old times. Because he’s wonderful like that.
Happy birthday to Lord M, by the way! He was born on this very day 239 years ago.
“The Green-Eyed Monster” filled me with happy feelings, but “Warp and Weft” broke my heart and stomped on it. Victoria, who usually has good instincts about her people, blundered badly when she threw her medieval-inspired extravaganza during a period of economic hardship. But she did help the silk weavers, so it wasn’t all in vain. We simply don’t talk about what happened to Dash. And we don’t talk about “You learned from me?”–“More than you can imagine”–either. Or the fact that Daisy Goodwin said Lord M is actually still alive, but that the next season starts the year he dies. Nope. We don’t talk about any of this.
“The Sins of the Father” was my favorite episode. Victoria’s postpartum depression and Albert’s cataclysmic discovery about his possible illegitimacy left them both vulnerable and clinging to each other for support. It was so beautiful and tender, a wonderful opportunity for character development…and guys, it made me love Albert. FINALLY. After everything that happens in this episode he becomes so much more humble and empathetic, as seen by the way he shows mercy to Skerrett at the end. Also: we got a new puppy!!!!
“Entente Cordiale” was fun, although the somewhat unhappy conclusion felt anticlimactic after all the trouble Victoria and Albert went through trying to get on the French king’s good side. The costumes, though–oh! (*claps hands to heart*) The 1940’s are my favorite decade fashion-wise, but the 1840’s have been my second-favorite ever since I first saw Cranford. The dresses and hairstyles on display in “Entente Cordiale” are drop-dead gorgeous.
“Faith, Hope, and Charity” dealt with the Irish Potato Famine, and it was so sobering. It made you realize the horrific prejudice the Catholics and Protestants still harbored towards each other some 300 years after the Reformation–and the utter apathy and contempt towards the Irish within the British government was infuriating. I did like, though, how writer Daisy Goodwin pulled in the story of her ancestor Dr. Traill, a Protestant rector who showed compassion and offered true assistance to the starving families in his parish.
“The King Over the Water” was PRECIOUS. Victoria and Albert go to Scotland, get lost, and end up staying overnight with a warmhearted, elderly Scottish couple. Their friends and family, meanwhile, have no idea where they are and go into full-blown Panic Mode. Adventures, hilarity, and fluffy cuteness ensue. Except for my one major caveat with the season being on gratuitous display (more on that later), this episode was wonderful and made me laugh the most. Even my dad cracked up laughing several times and said he was looking forward to re-watching this one!
Albert: “I am the owner of a factory.” Victoria: “Actually, it’s my factory. He just does the paperwork.” (*dies*)
“The Luxury of Conscience” was so sad: people got killed, Robert Peel had to resign, Vicky nearly died, and Victoria said goodbye to the last remaining figure of her childhood: Lehzen. And yet, it ended with quiet triumph…because you realized Victoria is no longer an inexperienced girl-queen. She’s a wife, a mother, and a monarch who’s grown confident in her powerful role. The transition hasn’t always been easy, but she’s moving forward and she’s not looking back. Victoria remains a coming-of-age story, and I’m sure that’s part of the reason why this show so inspiring, especially for young women.
Last but not least, “Comfort & Joy,” the Christmas Special, tells the story of little Sarah Forbes, an eight-year-old African princess who was rescued from slavery and “gifted” to Victoria, who immediately and without prejudice takes Sarah under her wing. It’s also the story of Albert’s Christmas Mania, which was all kinds of hilarious and adorable because he has to be so very Extra™ about everything. This episode tied up most of the season’s subplots, too: Mr. Francatelli and Miss Skerrett, for example, are well on their way to a happy ending, as are Lord Alfred and Wilhelmina Coke! Ernest and Harriet, though? (*wince*) I don’t have high hopes for a happy ending there…though I wish I did.
My biggest caveat with Victoria Season 2? The subplot involving two gay characters. Except for one scene in “The King Over the Water” it’s fairly discreet, told mostly through nuanced dialogue and Lord Alfred and Drummond making eyes at each other…but I still skipped all of their scenes together. I still enjoy the rest of the season in good conscience, but not that part. There’s also a scene in “Comfort & Joy” with Prince Ernest and Harriet Sutherland that I had to skip, so be aware of that if you’re watching.
Overall, though, Victoria Season 2 exceeded my expectations. I can’t wait till they start filming Season 3 in May!