Recap: 13 Essentials of Episode 2
Track the Cardinal’s heartbreaking downfall and Cromwell’s corresponding rise in these 13 Essential Things to Know about Wolf Hall, Episode 2: Entirely Beloved. Plus, revisit Cromwell’s subtle political maneuvers, find out what Anne Boleyn said in French, and unmask the arrogant noblemen who denigrated the Cardinal in the play.
1. December, 1529: Esher Place
Cardinal Wolsey: The King wants me gone. He wants to humiliate me. Thinks it sends a sharp lesson to the Pope. I feel like Katherine. Cast off. But still I love him. What will we do?
Increasingly demoralized and ill, the Cardinal understands the fact of his downfall, but not the extent.
2. Austin Friars
Rafe: You know Gardiner will have sent him as a spy on us.
Thomas Cromwell: Well, he seems obliging. Perhaps we could send him back to spy on Gardiner.
Cromwell, Rafe, and Richard will admit Thomas “Call me Risley” Wriothesley to their circle with the full knowledge that he’s been planted there by Cromwell’s adversary, Gardiner.
3. Greenwich Palace
Henry: I’ll say this for you. You stick by your man.
Thomas Cromwell: I never had anything but kindness from the Cardinal.
Henry: You have no other master?
Recognizing Cromwell’s loyalty to the Cardinal, Henry tries to get a read on Cromwell, both irritated by and admiring of his persistence.
4. Greenwich Palace
Henry: A thousand pounds? Don’t tell anyone. It’s the best I can do. Take it with my blessing. And ask him to pray for me. Every day I miss the Cardinal of York.
Henry initiates Cromwell into his inner circle with an intimate confession: that he does still care about the Cardinal. It’s a crucial moment in Cromwell’s own rise.
5. Esher Place
Thomas Cromwell: This is a tactical retreat. Not a surrender.
As Cromwell tries to reassure the Cardinal and prepares his mentor to go north in disgrace, the Cardinal urges him to find a way into Anne Boleyn’s confidence, as she is the key to his salvation. But Richard Cromwell’s advice to “let the Cardinal go” resonates on two levels. Cromwell’s loyalty to the exiled Cardinal is becoming a dangerous liability.
6. York Place
Mary Boleyn: You know what she said to me? She said “This isn’t France, and I’m not a fool like you Mary.” Because she knows I was Henry’s mistress and she sees how I am left. And she takes a lesson from it. She’s vowed that she’ll marry him. And what Anne wants she’ll have.
With a touch of reckless desperation, Mary confides in Cromwell.
7. York Place
Anne Boleyn: I have a new motto. Did you know? “Ainsi sera, Groigne qui groigne.” Never mind who grudges it, this will happen. I mean to have him.
Insolent and on edge, Anne restates her goal for Cromwell’s benefit.
8. Austin Friars
Thomas Cromwell: I know. I know what people are saying. That I’m working for myself now, that I’ve been bought out.
George Cavendish: If you came and spoke to him, any doubts that he has…
Thomas Cromwell: I’m needed here. To protect him. To persuade the King. He likes me, George. I feel it. And when I have his ear, the Cardinal will be recalled. I promise you.
In trying to convince Cavendish of his work on the Cardinal’s behalf, it’s as though Cromwell is trying to assuage his own guilt about not visiting his fallen mentor.
9. Greenwich Palace
Thomas Cromwell: If you ask me about the monks, I speak from experience, not prejudice, and my experiences have largely been one of corruption and waste. I’ve seen monks who live like great lords on the offerings of the poor, take children in and rather than educating them as they promise, use them as servants. For hundreds of years, the monks have written what we take to be our history. I think they’ve suppressed our true history, and written one which is favorable to Rome.
Henry: I could make good use of the money that flows from them to Rome each year.
Cromwell appeals to Henry’s need to fill his coffers, even as he strategically notes that the monks have been in control of the writing of history (read: The Bible).
10. Greenwich Palace
Thomas Cromwell: Now is the time for you to become the King you should be, the sole and supreme head of your kingdom. Ask Anne. She’ll say the same.
Henry: She does. She says we should not bow to Rome.
Thomas Cromwell: And if your father should come to you in your dream, you take it the same way as you take this one. They come to strengthen your hand.
Cromwell the Machiavellian begins to emerge when he interprets Henry’s dream as confirmation of the King’s righteousness in breaking with Rome to divorce Katherine. He furthers his position with Anne, confirms what the King wants to hear, and advances the fissure between England and Rome.
11. Hampton Court
Brereton (as the Devil): Come Wolsey, we’re fetching you to Hell, for our master Beelzebub is expecting you to supper!
Watching from the shadows, Cromwell takes careful note of the four arrogant young noblemen denigrating the Cardinal: Francis Weston, Anne’s brother George Boleyn, William Brereton, and Henry Norris. He will not soon forget.
12. Greenwich Palace
Thomas Cromwell: I swear to be a true and faithful councilor to the King’s Majesty as one of his Highness’s Privy Council. I shall not know or understand of any manner thing to be attempted, done, or spoken against his Majesty’s person.
Cromwell has attained a major milestone in his admittance to the King’s inner circle. But even this wasn’t enough to save the Cardinal.
13. Austin Friars
George Cavendish: I knelt by his body and I wept and I prayed to God to send vengeance upon them all!
Thomas Cromwell: You do not need to trouble God, George. I’ll take it in hand.
Foreboding infuses Cromwell’s reassurance to Cavendish, which doubles as a vow to avenge his beloved mentor.