Wolf Hall: The Devil's Spit
April 27, 2015 7:45 PM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Anne gives birth to a baby girl, failing to produce Henry’s longed-for male heir. Cromwell demands the nobility and church swear an oath acknowledging Anne as lawful queen, but will Thomas More agree?
posted by ocherdraco (10 comments total)
 
Interesting flashbacks and fever dreams this episode. (Some of the handheld camera work was rather shaky, though.)

I feel like we're starting to see the acerbic side of Cromwell a bit more.

Having not read the books, I'm very curious now that we have arrived at the titular Wolf Hall. I hope to find out why it is of such significance (assuming that it has significance beyond being the home of Jane Seymour).
posted by ocherdraco at 7:49 PM on April 27, 2015


I love the books, so I'm afraid to watch this.
posted by mecran01 at 8:08 PM on April 27, 2015


Was More killed at block in the show?
posted by drezdn at 9:01 AM on April 28, 2015


Yes. Though, they didn't show the beheading itself. Just More being led to the block and him laying his head down. This isn't GoT, afterall.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:35 PM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm fascinated by the contrast between the slow pacing of each episode and the actual speed at which events are progressing (about six years have passed since episode one, although you wouldn't know it from the rate at which Ralph isn't aging). Cromwell pinning down Fisher et al. over the Holy Maid of Kent was quite snappy, though.

There were some interesting reworkings of A Man for All Seasons in this episode (More's very non-triumphant final speech, no upbeat declaration of faith on the scaffold, etc.).

Idly wondering if they're going to show us a copy of the real Holbein portrait or a new one got up for the occasion.
posted by thomas j wise at 5:03 PM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm fascinated by the contrast between the slow pacing of each episode and the actual speed at which events are progressing

I agree. It all feels very dreamlike.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:03 AM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


I love the pacing. It's actually probably about how life was lived back then, for all I know. I'm especially captivated by how quiet, measured, and controlled the performance of Cromwell is.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:59 AM on April 29, 2015


I like the show, camerawork, performances and pacing.

I'm often distracted by the sparsity of the sets and the small number of people in many of the scenes, especially castle interiors. I have no idea if the representation is realistic of the time, but I would've expected more footmen and underlings and fools to be wandering about in the background. I would at least expect scenes outside in the city (the torturing and executions) to be more hectic.

The small number of people on screen does make any movement jump out, however. That's effective.

There seems to be a rhythm of an establishing shot that looks like a period painting then shaky handicam shot-reverse-shot of the action. I'm ok with this but it's getting a little predictable.

I was very saddened to learn this morning (via the Slate Culture Gabfest) that there are only 6 episodes!
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 1:55 PM on April 29, 2015


I'm really, really upset at there only being six episodes for what, both book 1 and at least part of book 2? I'd happily watch entire episodes about Baking Day at the Cromwell Household or Thomas Cromwell Buys Gregory New Puppies or just an entire episode of nothing but Raife and the other Cromwell household boys lounging around, shooting the shit while waiting for Cromwell to come out from a meeting.

And, like.

I'm listening to the (largely excellent) audiobook? We just covered the part where, post-wife death, post-death of the daughters, Cromwell is standing in the storage room, looking at the beautiful star they used to hang up in the entryway, thinking about how for half the year, Elizabeth would be squirreling away every shiny or unusual scrap of cloth she could find to improve the costumes for the nativity play, and how Thomas's job during the same time frame was to come up with lovely surprises for the Magi to bring to baby Jesus -- and how one year, Thomas did such a good job that a gift got dropped because it started to sing.

GOD I WOULD WATCH A VERY CROMWELL CHRISTMAS
posted by joyceanmachine at 6:25 AM on May 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have no idea if the representation is realistic of the time, but I would've expected more footmen and underlings and fools to be wandering about in the background.

I was just reading a bit of the book in a bookstore yesterday (the part where the Cardinal is going up to York) and someone tells Cromwell (or he tells someone) that the Cardinal is "only" taking 160 servants to York. I think in the show, it's a combination of implication that many of the servants are just never even visible at this level, and of the reality that more actors cost money.

The place this shows to me the most is the scenes on the river; I'd expect to see barges and dinghies flitting all over the place.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:52 AM on May 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


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