And it was all a welcome relief from the relentless bombardment of Tudor dramas we’ve had over the years. In the final stages of Gunpowder, on the eve of his capture, when the priest-hunters are closing in, Garnet finally turns to Anne Vaux and solemnly explains his raison d’être: everything, he says, earnestly putting the essence of his life into a single sentence, everything he has done has been done for… the love of Anne Vaux. I will pray for you.’ Henry responded, ‘I thank you good madam, and for your prayer; you might keep them at this time and if it pleaseth God to give me perseverance, I will not forget you in my prayers.’. Spoilers ahead in our review... Was the BBC drama Gunpowder, in the end, a horror story? While both of them put in serviceable performances, other actors stood out much more strongly. As the gunpowder plot unravels, Father Garnet comes to the conclusion that as a known Jesuit Priest he is likely to be hunted down and executed. I’m glad that the director, J Blakeson, applied the same principles to these last difficult scenes as he did to the ones that kicked off the series. Fawkes was taken, the entire plot discovered. So, overall, how did they fare? He was even good-looking with his head on a spike. Not that you would guess it from Gunpowder. Read our community guidelines in full, The latest offers and discount codes from popular brands on Telegraph Voucher Codes, Kit Harington as Robert Catesby in Gunpowder, Who's who in Gunpowder? Thankfully it kept fairly close to the broadly known facts, and was a simple but presentable visualisation of the events. That some justice is given. Mark Gatiss’ Lord Robert Cecil on the other hand, while still a great character, fails to find the emotional range across the series, and instead by the end begins to look a little like a caricature. The episode also features some spectacular action sequences, from Fawkes’ one man stand as he guards the gunpowder, to the last stand of Catesby and his fellow rebels. One particularly juicy (if probably far-fetched) line of thought – conspiracy theorists, listen up – holds that Cecil actually helped concoct the gunpowder plot himself, intending to use it to demonstrate just how dangerous English Catholics really were, and to discover the most radical agitators. Everyone was handsome, and went in for much bromantic hugging. Considering James’ father was assassinated (by gunpowder, it’s worth noting), he is also concerned. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. The underlying clash of the Reformation in England is not explored in any way, shape or form, and the ‘Catholics’ and ‘Protestants’ could have easily been named Capulets and Montagues – or Romulans and Klingons, for that matter – for all that it meant to three hours of television time. But that hope, though misplaced in the events of Gunpowder, is not foolish. Guy Fawkes and the other captured plotters were sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered – and Fawkes did jump from the scaffold, hastening his own death (a wise decision, given what lay in store). All his tight-lipped fury gave way eventually to a very effective moment where we witnessed his silent, shaky signing of a confessional document. It all felt a bit workmanlike rather than well-crafted. Hold!’ Then a third time. Ronan Bennett’s script, directed by J Blakeson, worked best as a sinuous and deftly paced portrait of cynical realpolitik, embodied by Lord Robert Cecil (Mark Gatiss) and Sir William Wade (Shaun Dooley), the hard cop and harder cop of anti-Catholic oppression. It is this decision, made innocently and with hope and devotion, that causes the Plot to fail. Fawkes was a man so shrouded by fake identities he barely knew his own story any more. The denouement of the Gunpowder Plot is celebrated every year on this day. Nobody resists torture forever. We do know that Guy Fawkes was tortured, and that his ability to withstand the prolonged interrogation impressed even James I. There was no looking away from what the state was capable of. It looked great: opulence for the court, beautiful Giotto-like frescoes for Anne Vaux’s Catholic household, pale wintry landscapes, dinginess and slime everywhere else. So, the Constable visits Father Henry, begging for information on Robert’s plan. Tricked into thinking Spain wants to help their cause, John reveals the Plot. When the hangman pushed him out to swing on the noose, the people were all quiet, ‘much moved with his modesty, constancy and his protestation of innocence at his death.’. A naked woman was crushed to death, a youth was horribly hanged, graphically drawn and savagely quartered. But historians are still unsure about who actually penned the warning, with many believing that it may have been plotter Francis Tresham, who was known to have doubts about the murder of Catholic MPs – and who was also the brother-in-law of Monteagle. Add to Watchlist. The final part of this retelling of the infamous foiled plot of 1605 showed us the dramatic discovery of Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder stash, as well the grim fate of the other conspirators, Kit Harington’s Catesby included. Marketed very strongly as a show staring Kit Harington and Liv Tyler, it is interesting that their characters and performances weren’t the strongest in the series. The Constable takes this information directly to Robert Cecil. Catesby, Fawkes, and the rest of the men involved in the Plot carry barrels of gunpowder underneath Parliament. Change ). It was one of the most important trials of the decade. “There was certainly no sense of impending danger in his conduct, such as might have been expected if the letter had presented him with a genuine mystery.” She also points out that Tresham, the prime suspect if the letter were genuine, never confessed to writing it, even when on the point of death – despite the fact that doing so could have proved advantageous to his descendants. Etc.[i]). The other stand out action sequence of the episode is that of Fawkes guarding the gunpowder. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. The sequence was mesmerizing, showing not only the action itself, but the passion and conviction with which the conspirators fought.
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