‘Becoming Elizabeth,’ a Starz historical drama, follows Queen Elizabeth I throughout her formative years. While her reign has been the subject of countless films and television productions, none of them have focused on the years leading up to her coronation. In this drama, Elizabeth is a teen whose world is flipped upside down after her father dies. The first episode introduces us to the characters involved in the struggle for the crown. In the conclusion, it’s evident that no one is who they appear to be, even if they appear to have good intentions. The road ahead will be challenging for her due to the complicated arrangement of each character and their proximity to the throne. Here’s what the first episode’s titled “Keep Your Knife Bright” ending indicates for Elizabeth’s future story.
Recap of the first episode of Becoming Elizabeth
The first episode of Starz’s new historical drama Becoming Elizabeth opens in England in January 1547. King Henry VIII has passed away. Mary, Elizabeth, and Edward, his three children, are all from separate mothers. Elizabeth (Alicia von Rittberg) is furious that they aren’t being allowed to grieve, while her stepmother, King Henry’s sixth wife Queen Catherine Parr (Jessica Raine), appears to revel in her husband’s death. Catherine is childless and has an affair with Thomas Seymour (Tom Cullen). Edward VI succeeds to the throne as the only male heir. Because he is only nine years old, everyone in the court wants to take him under their wing so that they can wield more influence, nearly equal to the monarch. Thomas desires to be in charge. That’s all he’s got.
Hear ye, hear ye! England has a new ruler, King Edward VI, and you’re invited to his court.
— Becoming Elizabeth (@BecomingSTARZ) June 12, 2022
While Thomas is pondering how to effectively propose his and Catherine’s marriage to the new monarch, his brother has already taken action. It doesn’t take long for Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset (John Heffernan) to isolate Edward VI and appoint himself Lord Protector. Because the king is still a kid, Edward Seymour will be in charge of all decisions, something Thomas does not approve of. Meanwhile, the Spanish ambassador approaches Princess Mary (Romola Garai), a Catholic and Henry’s first wife Catherine of Aragon’s daughter, and tells her to make a bid for the throne with their support.
Princess Elizabeth plays the piano at Chelsea Manor while everyone rests. After his brother returns, Thomas’ appearance makes at least two of the women thrilled, and Elizabeth ignites the idea that he’d like to prove his value to her in a tournament. His endearing attitude has her smitten, and she has begun to ponder marrying him. While Elizabeth is debating whether or not to marry Thomas, Lord High Admiral, Catherine Parr is meeting with a priest in secret. Thomas’ brother is away in Scotland. Catherine bribes the priest to perform the ceremony after considerable deliberation. Thomas and Catherine tie the knot. Because it is theoretically treacherous to marry without royal authorization, they marry in secret, but Catherine is confident that if they don’t, she will be forced into a politically beneficial match.
— Becoming Elizabeth (@BecomingSTARZ) June 13, 2022
Bringing Lady Jane Grey (Bella Ramsey) into Catherine and Thomas’s home is a part of this process. When Elizabeth visits Jane, she is enraged, partly because Jane speaks openly about the possibility of Elizabeth and Mary being proven illegitimate. Jane simply does not have the best social skills. Elizabeth may have been brought there as a pawn, but Jane is the real pawn here, and she will remain such for the rest of her life. This is a real shame because, with her knowledge of seven languages, Jane Grey was supposed to be an even better scholar, or at the very least one who was more committed to her studies. When Elizabeth runs into Catherine’s chamber to complain about Jane’s presence, she is met with Thomas, who makes her quickly back down. Catherine goes into the hallway after he asks her for a moment. Then Thomas practically admits that he wanted to marry Elizabeth but had to settle for Catherine. However, at the end of the episode, Elizabeth comes close to kissing him, but Thomas takes a step back.