Victoria, Season Three (2019)


Fear dominates Europe. It's a time of great social upheaval and uncertainty, where the common people want rights.


When the French rise up and depose their king, he flees across the Channel to seek protection from Queen Victoria (Jenna Coleman), but her Foreign Minister, Lord Palmerston (Laurence Fox) believes this will endanger her precarious position with the London Charterists. They want greater liberal freedoms. Much to Victoria's annoyance, since she wants to present a united front with the European monarchs, Palmerston has been rubbing shoulders with the common men, and treating their leaders with respect. Palmerston urges Victoria to send away King Louis. She refuses. And a riot erupts outside Buckingham Palace the same night she goes into labor with her latest child.


Worried about a threat against Victoria, the family moves against her better judgment to their private island. But Victoria wants to return, especially when the Charterists prove a peaceful movement. This creates a rift with her husband, Prince Albert (Tom Hughes), since it was his decision to leave London. Her sister arrives as a refugee from Germany, and uses this rift as an excuse to wheedle her way in-between them, causing Albert to doubt Victoria's sensibilities and Victoria to feel distant from her husband, while they bicker over politics, and how to raise their ever-growing brood. Meanwhile, one of her ladies-in-waiting suffers in a stifled, emotionally abusive marriage and seeks romance in the arms of the local footman.


I have mixed feelings about this season. Due to filming conflicts with the cast members, most of the characters from the first two seasons are absent (Victoria's mother has disappeared, Wilhelmina is gone, and there's no sign of Ernest or Lady Harriet, so we don't know how their syphilis-ravaged relationship has turned out). It's less depressing than the second season (although one episode kills off a fan favorite) and more frustrating, since Victoria and Albert are at each other's throats for most of the season, with him being cold, judgmental, and angry about his son's learning disabilities and Victoria throwing constant, childish temper tantrums. But they do reconcile before the end of the season, and her sister is in for some much-deserved castigation.


The writing remains good, even if our emotional investment in the new characters isn't that deep (they're forgettable compared to Harriet and Ernest). And as always, it's gorgeous to look at, with beautiful Victorian gowns and a truly superb recreation of the Great London Exhibition. But the longer the series lasts, the more historically inaccurate it becomes. It's a fun casual watch but not a very good representation of its historical figures.  


Sexual Content:
An extramarital affair (kissing, groping, implications of sex, a man and woman start to undress). References to children out of wedlock. A man has multiple affairs, his wife knows and indulges them, references to his "collection of women." Some flirtatious behavior between Victoria and Albert. A man's bare backside seen while he's skinny dipping / running toward the ocean.
None noted, maybe a use of "bastard" or two.
An assassination attempt, gunshots against the queen, riots in the street, people arrested.


Historical inaccuracies. Cholera devastates London.

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