"In Cold Blood" is the first episode of the first season of The Tudors, and the first episode overall. It introduces King Henry VIII, the young, ambitious, sexy monarch of England. Henry's domestic affairs are threatened when he discovers that his mistress Elizabeth Blount is pregnant with his child.
King Henry VIII of England contemplates declaring war on France after the assassination of his uncle. Following the advice of his chancellor, Cardinal Wolsey, Henry decides against this action. Wolsey proposes that Henry should endorse a "Treaty of Universal Peace" which is meant to bring peace and harmony to Europe. However, the King's domestic affairs are threatened when he discovers his young and beautiful mistress Elizabeth Blount, lady in waiting to Queen Catherine of Aragon, is pregnant with his child.
Full Recap and Plot
The very first episode of the series opens at Ducal Palace in Italy, where a man comes out of a carriage clearly not happy. The men meeting him tell him the Duke wants him right away. Walking past men in purple robes, he asks what the French are doing there. After briefly explaining this is the purpose of the meeting, the man is stabbed to death.
Switching to Whitehall Palace in London, we discover the murdered man was King Henry VIII's uncle and the ambassador. Henry comes in declaring the French have aggressive tendencies and the murder of his uncle is cause for war. Everybody cheers, and Henry says, "Now, I can go play." We see he is in bed with his beautiful mistress Elizabeth Blount. When they briefly stop having sex, Henry asks how her husband is. She responds that her husband is extremely jealous and wants her sent to a nunnery. "That would be such a waste," Henry says, and they resume their sexual encounter.
Cardinal Wolsey meets with the cardinal of France and the French Bishop. Wolsey promises he can get his master to agree to these terms if they can do the same. Agreeing, they ask what Wolsey wants, Wolsey tells the French cardinal he wants only what he can give him.
Henry plays tennis with his brat pack. Charles Brandon, Henry's best friend, points out the girl on the left and says she is Lord Buckingham's daughter. Henry says he bets 100 pounds Brandon can't get her and Brandon agrees, saying, "Done."
Henry has dinner with Catherine of Aragon. He asks how their daughter Princess Mary is, and she says Mary's tutor says she is a very bright young girl and Henry should be proud. He confirms he is. Catherine asks if he's returned her nephew's letters. Henry, losing it, grabs Catherine's hand roughly and tells her that she is not his chancellor or advisor, but his wife. Catherine replies that she would like to be his wife in every way, and says he has stopped coming to her bedchamber like he used to- Henry dodges this reference to his infidelity by telling Catherine to eat.
Henry undresses for the day, and decides to sleep with one of his maids since Catherine has gone to pray. He removes her clothes and they begin kissing, while the scene snaps to Catherine, who remains in the chuch faithfully praying. We see a jousting match happening. Henry is seated by Catherine while his best friend Charles Brandon is about to go up. Brandon comes up to Buckingham's daughter, and asks to wear her favours today. Agreeing, she ties her ribbon onto his lance. Buckingham sees this, unhappy. Henry and Buckingham are about to joust, and Henry asks Catherine for her favours. She obliges, while Henry looks at the girl he slept with last night. Henry and Buckingham joust, Buckingham loses. Henry goes to see More on a boat, meeting More's family and then talking privately to him. When questioned, More says he doesn't like it at court. When asked his opinion on the war with France, More responds war is for beasts. Henry, as a king, disagrees. More tells Henry to spend money on the welfare of his people rather than war, and Henry assures him he will be a just ruler. But he says that a successful war will make him famous and immortal.
The scene snaps to Buckingham complaining that he has a better claim to the throne, and that the court doesn't belong to Henry. Returning to his room, he finds his daughter with Charles Brandon. He demands to know what is going on and Brandon responds that it's what it looks like. Brandon suggests that Buckingham's daughter is not a virgin and has slept with somebody else before, and Buckingham points his sword at Brandon's throat, saying he should kill him for violating his daughter. After Brandon leaves, Buckingham slaps his daughter, causing her to bleed.
Elizabeth Blount visits Cardinal Wolsey and tells him that she is with child and it is the king's. Wolsey rudely tells her that he will send her away when she can no longer hide her condition and she can then give birth to her bastard child. Thanking Cardinal Wolsey, Elizabeth Blount leaves the room.
Wolsey visits Henry, telling him about Lady Blount and the treaty between France and England, and Henry likes it. He thinks it will make them immortal. Buckingham storms in, demanding that the King banish Charles Brandon from court for violating his daughter. However, Henry declares that there was no crime and there will be no punishment. Buckingham leaves, and Thomas More warns Henry that not even his father stood up to Buckingham, saying Buckingham is richer than him and could build a private army against him. Henry writes a letter to the King of France, stating he loves France and the King himself. He says he won't shave until the treaty to prove his love. The French Cardinal visits Wolsey and says the pope is seriously ill and soon Wolsey will be the pope. Catherine gets ready for bed, with her ladies in waiting (who have now both slept with her husband). Catherine requests Lady Blount stay, saying she's only person she can trust. She speaks about how she's tried and tried to give the King a son but has been unsuccessful. She says Henry blames her and doesn't understand the suffering she goes through. Henry confesses. He talks about how Catherine was married to his brother and when his brother died Catherine swore it was never consummated. So Henry married her to keep the alliance in Spain. Henry declares a man who married his brother's wife will die childless. The priest says Henry does have a child, but Henry replies by saying he has a child but no son.
Buckingham plots against Henry, also plotting to build an army to protect himself when it's done. Buckingham is planning to murder Henry himself and take the crown, bringing other people in on the plot such as Thomas Boleyn. Thomas Boleyn plays chess with Henry, and the King questions Thomas about the king of France. He says he's tall but ill-proportioned and Henry asks if he's vain. Thomas replies that he's French. Henry gives Thomas complete control over the diplomatic affairs in France, because he's the French ambassador.
Catherine asks to speak to Henry, and tells him she doesn't like the situation since the treaty means that Mary will be married off to the French. Henry says that Mary is his to do as he pleases with, and leaves the room after telling Catherine she will have to mask her distress. Catherine is left on her knees.
Thomas returns to the French court to tell his two daughters Anne and Mary Boleyn, saying they'll meet Henry at the summit. He implies that they can use this opportunity to gain the King's favor. Mary gives a giggle as he pours wine, while Anne smiles knowingly.
Wolsey sees Henry while he's getting dressed, and Buckingham holds the bowl to wash their hands. He holds it for Henry but spills it on Wolsey, and the King forces him to apologize. Wolsey gives Henry the details for the summit. It's to be at the palace of illusions. Henry says they'll change the world forever and be immortal.
- "Now, I can go play."- Henry referencing his philandering with the ladies of the court.
- "My husband is extremely jealous." Elizabeth Blount talking about her husband.
- "It's exactly what it looks like." Charles Brandon while having sex with Buckingham's daughter.
- "You violated my daughter!" A furious Buckingham at Charles Brandon.
- "I am with child. It is his majesty's child."
- "You will apologize. I said you will apologize!" Henry after Buckingham spills water on Wolsey.