The whole structure of this story is different, with half dedicated to Prince Hal and his father. The other half is dedicated to Hal’s middle-aged overgrown man-child friend Falstaff, who, after this episode, I officially hate. He screws everyone over, steals, meanders through life without ever taking responsibility for anything, and then lies and cheats his way out of ever being held accountable. People are starting to get seriously tired of him, and rightly so. Even more ridiculous than Falstaff’s jackassery is the fact that we have to survive an entire half hour before Tom Hiddleston appears. Although when he does the scene takes place in a sauna, so it’s quite worth the wait.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and so:
Prince Hal leaves the sauna (boo) and arrives at the old tavern he used to frequent just in time to hear Falstaff talking crap about him. When Hal confronts him about it, Falstaff tries to talk his way out of it as usual, but Hal finally realizes that Falstaff is not good company to keep and kicks him to the curb. Meanwhile, Hal’s younger brother John sets out to broker a peace deal with the rebels to prevent further battle. As soon as the rebel leaders agree to the deal and send their soldiers home, John has them all arrested for treason. Which while effective, is a dick move.
Sadly, everything has taken too much of a toll on King Henry IV, and he collapses. When Hal arrives at his bedside, he gives a speech (which Tom dominates, by the way) about what the burden of the crown has done to his father. Believing that the king’s death is imminent, Hal takes the crown into another room to contemplate the fact that very soon he will have to take over the throne. But surprise! The king wakes up and flips out on Hal, giving him a whole, “Way to jump the gun, I’m not dead yet” speech. In an amazingly acted scene, Henry talks about how England is basically headed into a spiral of doom once Hal becomes king because he has no idea how to lead and Hal trying to convince his father that he’s changed and truly understands what a huge responsibility lies ahead of him. With his dying breath, Henry places the crown on his son’s head. It’s a crazy good scene, I actually cried a little.
This episode ends with Hal becoming King Henry V. If you’ve ever wondered if Tom Hiddleston can look good even wearing a high collar, now you have your answer. That robe is fabulous, and extremely kingly. But of course Falstaff has to get his ridiculous self in there somewhere once again, and literally busts out into the aisle during the coronation to try and buddy up to his old friend. Like a drunk uncle at a wedding that makes everyone uncomfortable with an overly long and rambling speech. The new king tells Falstaff, “Presume not that I am the thing I was,” and “Not to come near our person by ten mile.” Translation: “I’ve grown up, maybe you should try it sometime. Oh and also, stay the hell away from me.”
Are you loving this mini-series? Because I most certainly am! Next week’s episode, “Henry V” is the last one. That one will focus on Henry V leading his troops to victory in a battle during the Hundred Years’ War (what could people possibly fight about for a hundred years?) and then courting a French princess. That’s right, Tom Hiddleston is going to be wooing a lady, so you need to tune in for that…