Sorry I’ve been getting slower on these, guys, I’m travelling right now so my life is a bit of a mess. At least now I’m back for an episode full of DRAMA! and ACTION! and ANGST!
Which of course means we open on Romeo peacefully gazing over Neo Verona. He’s predictably angry and hurt that Juliet could possibly have been hugging another man, especially after she… told Romeo she didn’t want to see him anymore…?
I mean, are you really surprised she could have moved on, Romeo?
Also, are you not considering any platonic reasons she could have been hugging this dude? Like, I dunno, she may have witnessed the death of a person she used to think highly of and was being comforted by the closest thing to an actual human being the vicinity? I mean, Tybalt could be her brother for all her knows. (I am well aware that Juliet’s brothers are all dead or else we wouldn’t have a plot, and that Romeo knows this. But my point remains.)
So Romeo monologues some more about how hurt he is, and we cut to Juliet getting ready to cut (heh) her hair with her father’s sword.
I’m joining the army to defeat the Huns, Cordelia!
Mulan references aside, this is actually a very nice moment. “This and all my softness must needs be hewn from me,” Juliet sobs while thinking back on her inability to kill Friar Lawrence. I mean, she’s equating femininity with weakness, which is usually not my jam, but for a moment the whole thing is very dramatic and, well, Shakespearian.
She is interrupted by Francisco, who ominously tells her that “the hour draws near”. She follows him, hair uncut, and Cordelia reminisces on how Juliet always insisted on wearing her hair long despite Conrad’s orders. (Which I guess explains why they bothered with the wig, which is way more inconvenient than just having short hair – and since this entirely fits with the 20% of Juliet’s personality that is pure rebellion, I approve.) I think Cordelia is the only one worried about the effects this Capulet plot is having on Juliet’s psyche. You go, Cordelia. Now if you could actually do anything about that…
The Capulet rebels are having a secret meeting in a warehouse near the docks. So of course, this means EVERYONE YELLS THINGS AT EACH OTHER ABOUT HOW THE LADY JULIET IS COMING AND DID WE MENTION WE’RE LOYAL TO HOUSE CAPULET GOLLY GEE I REALLY HOPE NOBODY HEARS US.
Oh, and we meet this guy named Cameo. Cameo looks suspicious, and this is the first time we’re meeting him, and Conrad trusts him completely, so I’m guessing he’s a traitor.
I got my eye on you
Juliet arrives with Francisco and Currio and yells passionately about how she wants to kill Montague and bring peace to Neo Verona. Conrad is still happily surprised that Juliet is going along with this (again, I thought you were doing this with or without her enthusiastic participation), but Currio and Francisco both look on sternly. I guess they’re not liking how Juliet’s changed either.
Montague is hanging around his palace gardens while rebels are carefully plotting his demise. Hermione is looking out to the court ladies, wondering which one of them Romeo is having an affair with, while Romeo is looking into the bottom of the pond, pretending to read something. Mercutio tries again to get Romeo to confide in him, but Romeo’s starting to think all this sudden attention is suspicious and walks away.
Children flock to him, asking him to identify the strange feather-shaped leaf-thingy they just found in the pond. As Romeo and his irregulars investigate, they find out that the leaves are floating up from the bottom of the pond rather than falling down into it. How mysterious…
Montague is unhappy to see Romeo wadding through the pond with the other kids, and orders him to get rid of the leaves as soon as possible. He definitely recognizes them, so does that mean those are plot-relevant leaves? If only there was a plot-relevant tree in here somewhere…
We descend again with Montague into the bowels of the palace, where surprise! Escalus is dying and those are its leaves floating up into the pond. (I’ll leave the physics of that to another day.) Now there’s a girl named Ophelia in the cave with the tree, and true to her namesake, she speaks exclusively in riddles and rhymes. She seems to be saying that Escalus is dying for want of love, because Montague doesn’t “love” it enough. Also something about a goddess. And then she says she wants to show him something. And then we cut away to a tavern.
This isn’t what Ophelia wanted to show Montague, however, because it’s actually where Cameo is getting ready to betray everyone! I am so surprised.
Look at how surprised I am.
(I’m not actually surprised.)
Francisco and Currio are bringing Juliet back to the theatre while the menz are away plotting in the warehouse. They say it’s for her safety, but Juliet points out that it’s bullshit since everyone in that room is willing to die for her and yet they won’t even let her contribute. Then Francisco accuses her of not being serious enough about the cause. Currio backs him up, echoing Tybalt’s warnings that too little resolve on her part will spell their end. Juliet protests, and they look… sad? I mean they don’t look convinced, but they don’t seem angry at her for endangering the mission or anything. Just… sad.
Then William sneaks up on them and Juliet turns into Dracula for a second:
I vant to suck yar blooooooood….
But then it turns out it’s all okay, because William knew Odin’s true identity from the beginning. Which makes sense, since, you know, he’s been hiding her and her crew in his theatre for 14 years. And, as any true artist, William decided to let them hand around in hopes that their rebellion would give him inspiration for a play. Not because of like, political convictions or the kindness of his heart. Nope. Because ART.
And then he tells Juliet that instead of bloody tragedy, he’s now hoping to get a love story out of it. And that she should give in to her feelings for Romeo. And potentially endanger everyone else she cares about. So that he could have a better story.
Fortunately, when Juliet tells him no thanks, he decides that her reluctance just makes his love story all the more compelling. He watches her go with the equivalent of a “you’ll see things my way eventually, Juliet,” and gee, I wonder if William is the author stand-in in any way?
Either that or he’s some kind of minor deity flitting about and bending people’s lives to his whims.
When they arrive at the theatre, Conrad tells them the wondrous news: Montague will leave his palace tonight, alone and with only a small guard! And we know the information is trustworthy because Cameo got a hold of it! Currio and Francisco are both a little sceptical and worry this might be a trap: Conrad calls them cowards for refusing this opportunity to destroy Montague once and for all. Juliet, upon hearing that this plan would spare lives by avoiding a larger battle, immediately orders that preparations begin to attack.
I guess Currio and Francisco are starting to regret doubting her resolve now.
Francisco leaves to do “something that needs doing”, which I take to mean he’s going to find someone to sleep with. Because he’s a cad.
Like, a lovable cad though. But still a cad.
We see Montague indeed leaving the palace with Ophelia and barely any guards. So does that mean Cameo’s intel is partly true? Because I’m still assuming the whole thing’s a trap.
And it turns out Francisco is meeting with… Tybalt? Is… is he who you’re sleeping with, Francisco? Currio and I feel betrayed.
Nah, they’re not sleeping together, just quipping about each other’s allegiance before the camera cuts away. Oh Tybalt, still as angry and dramatic as ever, I see.
Everyone has now gathered at the warehouse and are preparing to attack Montague’s carriage. There’s yelling, and swearing of allegiance, and rousing speeches, and then…
The rebels are trapped inside the warehouse, Conrad is wounded, and in the chaos Juliet stabs a guard and blood comes out. So of course, we get another BSOD and she collapses and is utterly useless from that point on. Like, to the point where Francisco trusts Antonio, a ten-year old child, to keep Juliet safe better than he trusts her.
You. You were the Red Whirlwind. I find it really hard to believe you never stabbed anyone before. Like the guy’s not even dead, she just caught him in the shoulder. Is it… is it cause you’re a girl now so you have to be useless? What happened to my badass child. What. Tell me so I can help you.
Anywho, Francisco drags her off the floor and leads her to a secret passageway out into the sewers. He tells her Tybalt is waiting for her below, and sends Antonio to keep her safe. The he and the others stay behind to hold off the guards as long as possible.
Ophelia is showing Montague what appears to be a giant dead root: it belonged to another tree like Escalus, which is now dead. Ophelia warns that this is what’s in store for Escalus if nothing changes.
Cue ending song. This is one of the few episodes where it’s even remotely appropriate, so kudos.
Hark! ‘Tis the Plot:
- So Escalus is dying for want of love. What does that even mean? How can Escalus be saved? What are the consequences if it dies? WHY IS THERE A HUGE MAGICAL TREE IN THE CENTER OF MY TRAGIC ROMANCE?
- So everyone is scattered now (and possible dead) and Juliet is stuck with Tybalt again. Will we ever find out what his deal is? Also, what will the rebellion do now that they’re, you know, possibly all dead?
- “You didn’t think I knew a hawk from a handsaw?” is best Shakespeare reference this episode. Yesssssss.
- I really like Juliet in a ponytail. There’s no deeper meaning to this, just an observation.
- Very little of Romeo this episode, and it really didn’t bother me all that much. Honestly, Romeo’s more interesting in relation to other characters than he is on his own.