Victorious Blog, Episode 3: “The Clockwork Prince”

January 30, 2017 Jonna Mayberry Leave a Comment

“I have decided to go to Windsor.”
“… Windsor on a WEDNESDAY?”

This is the third post of the Victorious Blog series. Click here to read the series.

If I had to pick favorites,  I would say that “The Clockwork Prince” is my favorite episode of Victoria thus far. Even Daisy Goodwin herself seems to agree with me.

Despite the fact that Victoria’s romantic interests are either obsessed with rooks or the forest, episode three showed us that love can be pretty awesome once you get through the muck.

Here are my favorite things from this week’s episode:

Out with the old.

Now that Victoria and Lord M.’s love has crashed and burned, it seems that Masterpiece is now trying to help *us* break up with Lord M., too.

In truth, we’re in mourning.

My colleague and desk neighbor, Susannah Brooks, is now equally obsessed with Victoria. She perfectly explains why Rufus Sewell’s portrayal of Lord M. was so magnetic:

Susannah: Lord M. (in Sewell’s portrayal, at least) had to be just about everything: your textbook brooding, swoony romantic hero, giving off this somehow-not-creepy vibe that he’s both a father figure yet right on the edge of being in love with her.

Rufus Sewell walked that tightrope so well. With the assistance of some dreamy waving hair, of course. Hair always helps.

Jonna: “The Clockwork Prince” does a pretty good job of helping us let go. Despite Lord M.’s devastating handsomeness, his way with words and gently jovial nature, the episode manages to illustrate why another suitor may be better for Victoria after all.

My favorite example of this illumination was the argument over Charles Dickens. As a huge Dickens fan (yes, I like to keep things cheery), I loved that the episode included a shoutout. Lord M. makes it clear that he will not read Dickens, and Prince Albert immediately pounces. How can someone as high-ranking as Lord M. turn a blind eye to an author who connects so many British citizens to the plights of his country’s poor? Perhaps Lord M. is more self-centered than we thought.

Another example involves the Queen’s pup, Dash. The King Charles spaniel is one of Victoria’s best friends, but Lord M., for all his good points, has never paid any attention to Dash.

In contrast, Albert rushes to Dash’s aid when Dash is injured. Perhaps Lord M. would have done the exact same thing, but this scene offered an easy way to highlight Prince Albert’s strong suits.

Susannah notes: Classic “save the cat” technique (or, you know, the dog). In screenwriting, if a character needs a bit of a boost for the audience to sympathize with him (it’s usually a him…) and smooth the path towards love, they have him save a cat. Or a dog. Sometimes, it’s as simple as bringing lunch to a lady friend.

Basically, it’s a little selfless something that makes you want to root for the character.

Jonna: Hats off, Masterpiece. It worked on me.

P.S. – Did you know that the same dog that plays Dash in Victoria on Masterpiece – Tori – also played Dash in the 2009 film The Young Victoria? Read more about the seasoned pro here.

In with the new.

Post-Victoria office conversation:

I didn’t think I was going to like Albert.

Because of that mustache?

Because of everything that went on with Lord M. But I did. After “The Clockwork Prince,” I thought, “All right. I’ll give it to ya. You’re great.”

Think about the pressure of introducing Albert’s character. It’s almost silly to refer to him as a “character,” because we already know that – SPOILER ALERT! – he’s half of one of history’s great love stories. But they managed to do it quite well. QUITE well. Just one word: “Victoria.” And he said it so deliciously.

Jonna: From the first moment he appeared at the piano, I didn’t want to like Prince Albert. The deck was stacked against him from the moment Victoria started complaining about him. But we knew he was coming to visit eventually …

When he arrives, we see why Victoria found him irritating. He’s sullen, patronizing (especially when it comes to art) and obsessed with the forest. (The forest??)

Victoria spends a lot of time losing her mind over his silent disapproval… and occasional verbal disapproval.

But he’s also quite the catch in many ways, and Victoria can’t help but be interested. Word among the handmaids is that Prince Albert is indeed universally attractive.

You almost feel bad for the guy; he’s forced to walk the halls with a brother whose personality is generally 85 percent more tolerable. But despite his flaws, Prince Albert begins to give us – and Victoria – some things to love about him.

Albert opens Victoria’s eyes to things she’s never seen: the beauty of art; the importance of offering assistance to the country’s poor; the comfort of companionship. Yes, Prince Albert is her first cousin. But for the first time in Victoria’s life, she might be able to stop being so lonely. She can fall in love, she can BE loved, and she can rest assured that her family will not interfere. In fact, her family will push the two together in every forest and at every piano they can find.

Yes, Prince Albert is far from perfect. Still, those around him seem to know that he’s a superior choice in many ways. When Victoria quips about Prince Albert’s demeanor, his brother replies without hesitation: “Albert is worth 10,000 of me.” MIC DROP.

Susannah: Well played, Prince Ernst. I knew your dreamy hero-hair wasn’t all for naught.

Jonna: In the end, the secret moments between Victoria and Prince Albert – from their happy romp through the forest to the post-proposal embraces in candlelight – leave us wiping away happy tears like clockwork. And the public moments – that Schubert duet! – solidify that they’re a perfect match.

The costumes.

There’s something about that Windsor uniform that’s just perfect.

Susannah: Clearly, at least 82 percent of the costume budget went to gold braid.

Last but not least: King Leopold. 

Susannah: If – like me – you are a sucker for tiaras and top hats, Alex Jennings’ arrival as a scheming King Leopold could hardly have been a surprise. Dude must be on speed dial for anything involving the British monarchy. In The Queen (with Helen Mirren), he was Prince Charles; in The Crown, he’s Edward VIII (a.k.a the Duke of Windsor).

I was about to say that he should gear up for playing Mad King George III at some point, but IMDB informs me that he already did that in a miniseries called Liberty! The American Revolution.

Touché, Alex. Touché.

Jonna: At the end of the day, I might be feeling a little

about the loss of a romantic future with Lord M. , but things are looking up.

I’ll be back next week to talk about Episode 4, “An Ordinary Woman,” which will explore how the most powerful – not-so-ordinary – woman in the world will navigate romantic relationships. 

Until then, what was your favorite part of this week’s episode? Was it your favorite, too? Comment below!

13 thoughts on “Victorious Blog, Episode 3: “The Clockwork Prince””

  • Jonna Mayberry says:

    Hi, Thomas! While Victoria did indeed love playing the piano, I think that particular scene is just for fun. There are many aspects of the show that are historically accurate; there are also parts that were written based on best guesses (Victoria’s diary entries, etc.). You might have already seen them, but Masterpiece started doing great “Fact or Fiction” articles that address some of these scenes: Although I’m having trouble finding one about the Schubert scene.

    I love talking about this show with people and appreciate your taking the time to drop us a note!

  • Would like to know whether the Schubert piano duet scene is historically true as presented. The more I learn of how much of the series is fiction, the less desire I have to continue watching. I certainly appreciate the marvelous writing and acting–in fact, everything about the production is superb. But I would prefer a true representation of, for example, the Victoria/Lord Melbourne relationship. Any story dealing with history this far back necessarily has to invent virtually all of the dialogue. But the overuse of literary license to do a lot of inventing beyond that is not to my taste. And of course I realize that anyone reading this couldn’t care less about my opinion.

  • Patti Billerbeck says:

    My favorite moment was when Albert confessed to Victoria that her flower reminded him of his lost mother (and him innocently wondering why she wouldn’t love her mother when she was lucky enough to have one). Just a sweet moment in the life of an educated and serious man who was still a boy in some ways, especially amongst all the uncertainty and awkwardness of that whole time that they were being forced on each other.

  • Susannah Brooks says:

    Some of my favorite moments from this episode (so many!):

    ––“I seem to remember you telling me that Prince Albert does not care for dancing.”
    “I wouldn’t want to dance with him anyway.”
    PLEASE. That’s the costume drama equivalent of a reality show contestant announcing that they’re “not there to make friends.”

    ––“So everyone who wants to send a letter… will have to lick my face.”

    ––Feeding Dash scraps from the table using a seashell as a dish – I love those tiny details.

    ––I had no idea about the “Windsor uniform” until I watched this episode. Did they have those jackets just lying around like bathrobes at a day spa?

    ––Speaking of outfits, I think everyone should try running through the woods in a corset and multi-layer wool riding habit at least once, because my GOODNESS, it can’t be as easy as they made it look.

    ––Lord M.: “Only a fool would turn you away, ma’am.” Sigh.

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