The new Samantha Morton starrer period drama series “The Serpent Queen” has begun with its first episode out streaming on Starz. Set in renaissance era Europe, the murky, irreverent, and dramatic unfolding of the events during the ‘French Wars of Religion’ provides the backdrop surrounding the lead characters.
Its dark and satirical narrative with occasional fourth-wall breaks and witty insights into the mind of one of the most powerful monarchs of 16th century Europe is what’s so grasping in this Justin Haythe creation.
With so many violent historical events yet to unfold in this timeline, it cannot fail to create a genuine intrigue into how this retelling of Leonie Freida’s biography of Catherine de Medici will play out.
The Serpent Queen – A Brief Overview:
The French monarchy is coming under threat and their tenacious and resourceful Queen of France – Catherine de Medici, has to do whatever it takes to retain power during the civil and religious wars of France. With the death of her son King Francis II, rival factions in the French house all aim to grasp power as regent on behalf of the 10-year-old King Charles IX.
Catherine becomes regent and has to keep the political scenario in check to quash the protestant uprising and secure the Valois monarchy.
The Serpent Queen Episode 2 Release Date
The Serpent Queen Episode 2 titled “To War Rather Than To Bed” will be out on the 18th of Sept 2022.
The Serpent Queen is a retelling of Leonie Freida’s biography of Catherine de Medici that strives to bring another perspective to the repressive policies and actions of the Queen of France in the 16th century.
|Series Title:||The Serpent Queen|
|Producer:||Justin Haythe, Francis Lawrence, Erwin Stoff|
|Country of Origin:||United States|
|Number of Seasons:||Season 1|
|First Episode Date:||11th Sept 2022|
|Upcoming Episode Date:||18th Sept 2022|
|Where to Watch:||Starz|
|Filming Location:||Marseilles and Italy|
E1 Medici Bitch – Plot Summary (Spoilers ahead)
Catherine de Medici, the Queen of France in 1560, is in the process of appointing a new maid for her son’s coronation. Rahima, a royal servant is one of the candidates in question and is summoned to the queen’s chambers to serve breakfast.
Catherine tells Rahima that she used to be like her and narrates incidents from her past to ask what she would’ve done differently:
Born into a publicly hated aristocratic banking family in Italy, Catherine tells her that she was orphaned before the age of 2 as her parents died of syphilis and her grandmother who took her in also met with her demise within a few months.
Catherine grew up in a convent run by catholic nuns where she was alone and treated badly. She gets abducted by the soldiers and is then found by Pope Clement VII, who was her uncle. Catherine learns that the pope wants to marry her off to the French royal family to strengthen their alliances and secure the power of the monarchs and the church.
She is married off to Henry, the second son of the King of France. After their wedding, Catherine learns about her husband’s affair with Diane de Poitiers. Catherine tells Rahim that that was the moment she learned never to trust anyone.
Catherine knocks over the breakfast tray laid on the table and calls the guards to take the “clumsy” Rahima away. The guards drag a shrieking Rahima who cries that “it wasn’t me” along her way to a locked room. Rahima reveals an orange hidden in her skirt and grins as she begins peeling the fruit which is reminiscent of Catherine’s deceitful behavior towards a blind nun when she was living in the convent.
The Cast of Main Characters:
Samantha Morton as Catherine de Medici, Queen of France
Liv Hill as Young Catherine
Amrita Acharia as Aabis
Barry Atsma as Montmorency, member of King Francis’s privy council
Enzo Cilenti as Cosimo Ruggeri, Italian Fortune teller
Sennia Nanua as Rahima, the maid prospect
Kiruna Stamell as Mathilde, Catherine’s Diminutive lady’s maid
Nicholas Burns as Antoine de Bourbon
Beth Goddard as Antoinette de Guise
Antonia Clarke as Mary, Queen of Scots
George Jaques as Francis II
Where and How to watch The Serpent Queen online?
You can watch The Serpent Queen online from the official Starz streaming platform and on the Starz channel cable broadcast in the US and Canada.
Episode 2 Trailer – To War Rather Than To Bed: What we can expect?
Catherine struggles to conceive with Henry and tries all kinds of measures to bear a child with him. We know that it took Catherine 10 years to produce children, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
The relationship between Henry and Diane de Poitiers will be explored more in the scenes yet to come.
The strong feminine character of Catherine de Medici and the troubling political climate leading up to the French wars of religion seems to be a very promising backdrop for an exciting drama series.
The intriguing narrative with its raw and realistic dialogues carrying subtle hints of satire does make it a rewarding watch that hardly reminds us of the slow plot progression.
Some of the scenes were downright brilliant and memorable like the wedding consummation scene between Catherine and Henry with the royal audience standing watch. The “A good joust” remark proclaimed by the king as he departs from watching his son’s wedding consummation sums up perfectly the entertaining narrative that is present throughout the episode.
The individual performance of Samantha Norton, Liv Hill, and Charles Dance was unsurprisingly commendable.