Wolf Hall – Episode 6 Review

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (book cover)

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (book cover)

The episode starts with Cromwell imagining/hallucinating Anne being dragged across the table and looking at him. It is a strange scene and I know he is thinking about how to get rid of her, but seems odd anyway. Afterwards, Cromwell talks to Anne. She complains about him sending for Lady Mary when he found out the King was dead. She asks about her and her daughter and tells him that whoever has been made can be unmade. She is referring to getting rid of Cromwell, yet we know Henry has charged him to get rid of her. Ironic.

Anne Boleyn warning Cromwell

Anne Boleyn warning Cromwell

We later see a scene that isn’t mentioned much yet has been recorded. Apparently Anne had noticed that Mark Smeaton was sad and asked him why, but he wouldn’t tell her. She said he was lucky for her to speak to him at all as he was an inferior person. This soon escalates into her talking about him to Henry Norris and saying that he looks for dead men’s shoes and if anything happened to the King he would look to have her. Another recorded incident. However, it does not seem as playful as its been portrayed in other shows and movies. She just seems spiteful and hate-filled.

The worst part is when Jane Boleyn goes to Cromwell and confesses all of this, as well as talking about George and Anne being together. Recent historians have proved this old stereotype of Jane the hated wife wrong and so it seems out dated for them to be using it still and to such an extent. They even made Anne slap Jane, hardly something that Anne would do. She was better than that and, if she had anything against her, wouldn’t have resorted to physical violence. This has no basis as well, we know Anne confided in Jane and planned against one of Henry’s mistresses with her.

Jane Boleyn describing George and Anne's 'affair'

Jane Boleyn describing George and Anne’s ‘affair’

Later on, Mark Smeaton confesses his and Anne’s love to Cromwell. Everyone seems to suddenly be confessing to him, a weird coincidence. Mark is obviously hurt by Anne’s words and Cromwell seems like the innocent party in this for a while. I could hardly believe this, that Mark would tell him just like that. This soon turns into threats to Mark when he starts to change his mind. I believe that Cromwell made him say untrue words first instead of Mark randomly confessing to him. Even with Cromwell making Mark stay, he tells people not too torture him too much, still making him seem like the innocent one.

Henry soon gets told of these developments and sets off to talk with Henry Norris, abandoning Anne. It then goes back to Cromwell and he watches Anne eat her supper in silence. It is strangely moving from a character that we have been made to hate and that is so outspoken to just sit in silence, almost in tears.

Anne sitting in silence

Anne sitting in silence

After several interviews with the different men, Cromwell goes to see Anne. She talks about how her ladies are spies for him and how the King has to be testing her. She asks to see her brother but is just teased by one of her ladies, them saying that it is ‘hardly appropriate under the circumstances’. She confides in Cromwell and hopes that he will speak to the King for her, before saying the famous line ‘I only have a little neck’.

Anne speaking to Cromwell in the Tower

Anne speaking to Cromwell in the Tower

I am so glad we saw Anne Boleyn and George’s trials, especially George’s. It wasn’t shown on the tv show The Tudors and only briefly in other movies like The Other Boleyn Girl. I also think I’ve never seen George’s before on any show or movie. We see him read the note he was told not to and then condemn himself before quickly moving on to Anne’s execution. For a moment, I actually like this Anne. The last few scenes have almost redeemed her and we can see her struggling to contain and compose herself while she does her speech. Thinking back, Cromwell remembers talking to the executioner about how he’d behead Anne. He mentions not using a block. Between Anne’s actual execution and Cromwell remembering talking to the executioner, they talk about whether she would be steady or not. The crowd gasp when he takes the sword out and she tries to look with the blindfold on. Luckily, the executioner shouts and she looks away. Then it is over. Her women sadly take her away as Cromwell watches, almost remorsefully.

Anne being blindfolded before she is executed

Anne being blindfolded before she is executed

Speaking of remorse, Henry shows none when Cromwell sees him at the end and brings him the news. He joyfully hugs him and, despite no words being exchanged, is probably thinking about Jane Seymour.

Rating: 3.5/5

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One Response to Wolf Hall – Episode 6 Review

  1. Reblogged this on tudors & other histories and commented:
    The series and the books are enjoyable but they are works of fiction, especially the former since it is based on the latter which is historical fiction. Anne slapping Jane, shocked me and it was way out of place and also asking the other men to dump her in the river. I found it very ironic that Cromwell was so self-righteous that he seemed about to cry every time he questioned somebody or say somebody. Like he was forced to do these things by these ‘evil’ or ‘mean’ people. As for the scene with Smeaton. I found it ironic too, because in episode 4 or 5 he is telling More that he is evil because of the men he tortured yet the series omits that Cromwell tortured men too. Not personally of course, but he gave the order, he turned a blind eye and yet they make him look justifiable.
    I did like that the men (including George) executed before Anne, and later Anne, were more human in this at the hour of their trial and finally their deaths. Anne (Foy) did redeem herself here, you certainly felt for Anne at the end of this episode. It was very sad.

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