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TV Review: Victoria (Series 2, Episode 4)


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After last week's heart-wrenching episode, we had hoped that this week's instalment of Victoria would be a little lighter. However, staying true to the perfect combination of accuracy and drama, Daisy Goodwin and co. have produced another episode that showcases an eventful time in the young Queen's life.

Already struggling with the sorrow from last week's episode, whilst also raising a newborn and conducting an investigation into the civilian intrusion to the palace, this week throws some more heartache into the mix, as if it couldn't get any worse. 

This week it was Albert's turn to struggle, as the Prince - who is ofted relied upon to remain strong at the best of times - receives news of his father's death. Whilst in Coburg paying respects to his father, he learns of an earth-shattering family scandal concerning his Uncle Leopald and his brother, Prince Ernest, which puts his entire childhood into question. 

His drunken escape provides quite the comedic relief however, as the Prince drinks the night away, feeling "as if I have elves around my person". We've all been there Albert. #relatable.

Indeed, Tom Hughes' difficult storylines were stunningly composed, as his performance of the troubled prince was both incredibly moving and remarkably human. Meanwhile, the young Queen removes herself from court and public life, as she adorns her mourning attire and continues to mourn two of her most beloved friends. She also continues to suffer with post-natal depression following the birth of her second child (of nine!), after a "distressing" birth, conducted through the aid of forceps. Yikes. 

Goodwin stays true to form this week and continues the story of a young girl, struggling with the weight of the world on her shoulders and a constant battle to meet the expectations of those around her. It was comforting to see sympathy in the form of the Duchess of Buccleuch (Dame Diana Rigg), confessing her own struggles after childbirth. 

The obstinate and headstrong Queen begins to take down her own walls and confesses to Albert that "I am just a little girl, wearing a crown." It seems that the struggles that the past months have thrown into the path of the young couple has only brought them closer together and created a mutual understanding - a stark contrast to the earlier spirited fight scenes that we saw with the newlyweds. 

The theme of adversity bringing people together is a strong one this week, with the palace intrusion scandal seizing Skerrett and Francetelli in its grasps. It comes at a time when the Queen was in considerable danger as two assassinations attempts were made against her in one year alone, with other attempts made no less that five more times throughout her life. The danger is a dynamic addition to the themes of romance and heartbreak, and is conveyed exceptionally well through Goodwin's writing and the cast's performances. 

Heartbreak claims another victim as Drummond announces his engagement; however I predict (and pray) that the journey is not yet over for him and Lord Alfred. As always Victoria showcases the current affairs of Victoria's queendom and the technological advancements of the British Empire, and this week really impresses with the instalment of Brunel's Thames Tunnel - an innovative feat of engineering that excited even young Victoria during some of her darkest days. The visit to the opening of the tunnel that connects Rotherhithe and Wapping is something which intrigues Victoria, and provides a much needed spark of positivity and pride to the episode. 

No strangers to tragedies in this day and age, the audience are greeted with one from 1843, where an explosion in the tower claimed five lives and many injuries, reducing Victoria to fits of emotion on her state visit. This occasion comes at a sensitive time for today's audiences, but remained poignant and respectable, as always. 

And of course we cannot fail to mention the arrival of Isla, who brings light and joy to the court once more. It seems we have not seen the last of Prince Ernest, with his Uncle's search for a suitable bride promising to provide much drama and humour in the weeks to come. Princess Alda also brings some comedic relief to the episode, with Ernest declaring her "not a woman, but a thistle". 

Despite a testing few months, tough enough to unbalance the strongest of leaders, Victoria and Albert continue to reign triumphantly, while Goodwin, Coleman and Hughes continue to parallel this triumph. 

Victoria airs on Sundays at 9pm on ITV 1.

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