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TV Review: Victoria (Series 2, Episode 7)


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This week's installment of Daisy Goodwin's depiction of the life of the great Queen Victoria continues to astound and educate audiences, with a deliciously dramatic episode packed with danger and excitement. 

After a melancholy few weeks, detailing the deaths of some much loved friends, this week provides some much needed excitement into the Queen's (and indeed our own) lives, kicking things off with an assassination attempt. They don't do things by halves in this series. 

This attempt was just one of the seven that would be made on Victoria's life throughout her lifetime, but the young Queen remains characteristically resilient and fearless in the face of violence, and remains perhaps the only member of court that does not fear for her life. 

This week, the royal party decide to retire to Scotland - a decision made partly down to the threat upon Victoria's safety, but also for the longing to escape court life and live a simple life in the "wilderness" - to whatever extent that that ideal can be acheived when you are the Queen of England. 

The episode creates an excellent atmosphere of hope and innocence, as the party drink in the clean air and peaceful serenity of the Scottish highlands, and once again we get to view Victoria as simply a young girl in love, rather than a monarch with the responsibility of the world on her shoulders. 

Goodwin provides that comedic relief which she weaves so excellently into the storyline once more, with Albert acquainting himself with yet another culture and a way of life so alien to his own. His hatred of the bagpipes as a "beastly instrument" was a particular highlight. 

The episode was bursting at the seams with a palpable sense of whimsical danger, which seized several characters within its grasp and reeled in astonished audiences. What initially seems to be an exciting excursion for a young woman and her husband in a solitary adventure where they can truly experience rural life and be alone - akin to Cathy and Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights - soon becomes an unsettling ordeal for the couple themselves and their court, as it becomes clear just how precious the monarchs are to their community in these troubling times. 

It was a joy to see the young couple enjoying the freedom that they so innocently believed would accompany royal life, as they experienced an alternate reality in which Victoria picked up some valuable skills to take home to the palace. The star-crossed lovers theme runs true with other members of the court - most notably with the dashing Drummond and Lord Alfred, who I am still predicting to be the next iconic power-couple, akin to Beyonce and Jay-Z - or even Victoria and Albert, if we want to stay on topic. 

We see some developments between Prince Ernest and the Duchess of Sutherland, which I will also be very surprised to see if no development occurs before the series finale. An exciting spark is also kindled in the case of Skerrett, even if she has other things on her mind. 

I particularly enjoyed the melodic accompaniment of this week's episode, with the genre experimentation of the iconic theme tune suiting the landscape and scenes excellently, and providing a remarkable addition to the central performances in creating that whimsical and eloquent atmosphere. 

A running theme throughout the episode seemed to be the idea that "nothing that makes you happy can ever be wrong", and although many obstacles were thrown in the way of this sentiment, I believe that this idea will continue to stay resonant within the various storylines of the series. 

Eloquent, dramatic and whimsically dangerous, this week's was the best episode yet. With only one more episode to go, the series two finale is surely set to be a cracker. 

Victoria airs on Sundays at 9pm on ITV 1. 

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