So our Capulet rebels are scattered to the winds, Juliet is escaping through the sewers with Tybalt, and the magical tree Escalus is dying because it didn’t get enough hugs as a child or something.
Tybalt sends Antonio to run down another sewer pipe in order to confuse the Carabinieri, and he and Juliet escape on his dragonsteed (after some more angry mumbling about how Juliet was late escaping from the attack and everyone’s going to die because of her, of course). Tybalt is still so nice, guys.
They fly off to what appears to be a Red Light District, and not only has Juliet never been there, she didn’t have any idea it even existed! (Again, this is a girl who apparently knew the city so well she regularly escaped from the Carabinieri on foot. You can’t have it both ways, show.)
Tybalt brings them to a high-end brothel/sex hotel, where he knows the matron. She gets them a room in exchange for a handsome purse, and promises to keep Juliet’s presence a secret, though she doesn’t seem to realize who Juliet is.
Back at the palace, Montague is furious that some of the Capulet rebels – including Cameo, who betrayed them – managed to escape. He wants to conscript every adult in the city into the military, therefore making sure that Juliet and co. have nowhere to hide. The noblemen of the court will, of course, pay for all those extra soldiers out of their own pockets. No one seems happy about it, but after what happened to Benvolio’s family nobody speaks up.
Except Romeo, that is.
Our sweet little lovestruck puppy suggests instead that mercy be extended to the last retainers of House Capulet, since any faults that caused Capulet to be deposed rest with Prince Capulet and no one else. It’s a laughably naive idea – especially since the remaining Capulets were actually plotting a rebellion – but he does make a few good points about not turning the city into a battleground because of revenge. Unfortunately, everyone is still too terrified of Montague and his proposal is rejected.
He feels so alone we get to express it with cinematography!
Mercutio comes by to tell him he needs to be less idealistic and more pragmatic next time he wants to convince the court to go against his father, which, yeah Romeo, you kind of do.
Back at the hotel/brothel place, Tybalt returns to see that Juliet hasn’t eaten anything or changed her clothes. She accuses Tybalt of not even attempting to save the others, and Tybalt replies he only bothered saving her because Francisco asked him. And then of course they both go on about how the whole thing was Juliet’s fault because she pushed everyone to act even though Conrad was going to try and attack Montague anyway and the real reason they were ambushed was because Cameo betrayed them, but you know. Juliet needs that angst, and Tybalt’s an asshole. They complete each other that way.
Juliet, feeling the innate need to rebel even when heavily depressed, ignores Tybalt’s orders to stay put and starts wandering around the Red Light District on her own. All exits are either guarded or lead off into the abyss, so she’s unfortunately stuck there, but at least it’s not so bad! She just gets mistaken for a prostitute, nearly run over by a carriage, slapped by a random lady, rained on, and then on top of that a kitty runs away from her.
Yeah, I’d be depressed after that too Juliet.
She’s so depressed, in fact, that she literally just walks past the guards and they’re too concerned about her mental state to ask any questions about her identity. And then she collapses in the middle of the street, and who should be walking by? Why, Romeo’s mother and another nun!
Mommy Montague quickly sees Juliet’s Capulet sword (told you it would be a bad idea to carry that around with you) but hides it from the other nun and tells her to go get help instead. Juliet, now delirious, says that she should have died with her family fourteen years ago rather than be the cause of her friends’ deaths. Tybalt watches on from above, looking pissed, and mumbles something about fate being an overbearing bitch.
Juliet wakes up at the convent, and we get an actually pretty touching scene where she and Mommy Montague bond over their complicated feelings for the Montague family. Juliet tries to run off when she finds out Mommy Montague knows who she is, but she’s too weak to stand; then Mommy Montague explains that she has no intention of revealing Juliet’s identity to anyone, and that she only knows because Romeo told her. Mentions of Romeo are the last thing Juliet needs right now, and her emotions finally overflow. Mommy Montague (her real name is Portia, I’ll start calling her that now) comforts her, and admits that she’s not proud of what Lord Montague has done and of her relation to him. Then she asks Juliet’s forgiveness for any small part she might have played in her husband’s actions against the Capulets, and Juliet cries some more, and the music is really pretty, and I’m totally here for Portia being everyone’s mom while wrestling with the complicated ethical implications of her past.
You, madam, are a class act.
Romeo’s off to see his mother in the middle of the night because he can’t stand staying in the palace knowing that Juliet is on the run from his father’s men, and quite possibly alone and wounded. Oh, and his mother called him, or something.
Romeo is shocked – shocked! – to see Juliet sleeping in the convent and relatively safe. Portia then decides to tell him the truth and the whole truth about Montague’s ascension to power. It turns out that the Capulets weren’t evil tyrants after all, which is what Montague had been telling everyone, and that no one, not even Portia, knows why Montague is so keen on killing them all. The reason she left Montague was that she’d seen him come back from his rampage, all smiling and covered in blood, and couldn’t bear knowing that innocents had died to give her the title of Princess consort.
Then she asks if Romeo has the emotional maturity to pursue a relationship with Juliet while acknowledging the terrible things that have happened between their families, instead of just pretending they never happened. He says yes (I have my doubts on that.)
Then Juliet wakes up and he kneels by her bed and appologizes, and she says it’s not his fault, and honestly if I cared more about their romance I would probably be eating this scene up.
The next morning we get a kind-of balcony scene (the line “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” is spoken, and there are grand declarations of love and undying devotion, and like a patio? Which is close enough to a balcony, I guess.) And then Romeo, to prove that he really can face his and Juliet’s family histories in order to pursue a mutually-fulfilling relationship that respects both his and Juliet’s identity and emotional baggage, suggests that they forget their names and families completely and run away together.
And Juliet, who just yesterday was so racked with grief and worry for her friends that she wandered the streets until she fainted, just smiles and agrees. I, just, what is consistent characterisation?
At least the cinematography’s really cute.
Hark! ‘Tis the Plot:
- I continue to wonder what Tybalt’s deal is. He seems to care for Juliet in a weird way, but then also spends most of his time telling her how useless and pathetic she is. Is he jealous he didn’t inherit the incredibly important responsibility of restoring the Capulets to the throne, or what?
- What happened to all the other rebels? We’re told that some of them escaped, and some were captured and some were killed, but that gives us absolutely no specifics whatsoever. I’m going to guess that Francisco and Currio probably made it out alright, but with that injury Conrad’s probably been captured.
- Except that none of that is going to matter, because Romeo and Juliet have decided to say “fuck it” to any kind of responsibilities and abandon the political plot altogether, and I’m so bummed about that guys, I really am. The political plot is so much more interesting!
- Tybalt only refers to Francisco as “that foppish blond rake” and Juliet knows exactly who he’s talking about. For some reason this amuses me.
- “Et tu Romeo?” is best out-of-context Shakespeare reference, because really Montague? Romeo visits his mom and your first reaction is “Woe is me, my only son has betrayed me”!? You overdramatic purple grape.
- Can this ending song die already, please? It’s such a wiplash every time.