Review: Victoria (Series 2, Episode 8)

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80%
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Good

It's sad to see Victoria go as it's a balm for the Sunday night blues.

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Victoria‘s eventful second series has come to a close. The period drama concluded with a somewhat melancholy final episode this Sunday. The series has tackled several challenging storylines this series, including a standalone episode about the Irish famine which was perhaps the best of the season.

However, one of the most charming arcs has been the romance between Edward Drummond (Leo Suter) and Lord Alfred Paget (Jordan Waller), which came to a devastating head in the final episode of this series. Much to the despair of fans, Episode 8 sees Drummond killed by as assassin. It is only in the past few years that it has become common for period dramas to include gay characters, let alone for gay relationships to feature as main storylines. Suter and Waller portray the relationship between their characters with great delicacy and subtlety, meaning the audience root for them despite the historical inevitability of the situation. Perhaps the standout performance of the episode must go to Waller, whose portrayal of forbidden grief no doubt resonates with many.

However, the significance of the storyline between Drummond and Lord Alfred does not mean that the central characters of Victoria (Jenna Coleman) and Albert (Tom Hughes) are completely eclipsed in the season finale. It is safe to say that the central theme of the show is the strength of Victoria and Albert’s marriage, but this was put to the test in this finale. Victoria is faced with making the agonising choice between her husband and her former nanny Baroness Lehson (Daniela Holtz). Jenna Coleman, as one would expect from the lead actress, excels in her role, particularly when faced with the illness of her young daughter. Likewise, Tom Hughes is given space to thrive in this episode, a change from the first half of the series, in which he was often consigned to merely looking good in a uniform.

Diana Rigg, who stars as the Duchess of Buccleuch, adds a touch of light comedy and also a shoulder to cry on, a voice of experience in a drama which is mostly comprised of young characters. It is she who provides the most touching moment of the episode as she takes Lord Alfred to one side after hearing of the death of his lover.

The production values and cinematography in the final episode of the series, as one would expect from ITV’s flagship drama were flawless, no doubt aided by the fact that all of the interiors are shot in an aircraft hanger mocked up to look like Buckingham Palace.

Overall, the final episode of Victoria is a success. The storylines were more delicately handled than your average finale, but this is well managed and it is refreshing to see the cast’s subtle acting abilities. Victoria very much fills the Downton Abbey sized hole left in ITV’s schedule, and is a balm for those weary of Monday before it has even begun. If Queen Victoria was able to watch ITV’s adaptation of her young life, one is in no doubt that for once she would be very amused.

Missed an episode of Victoria? Series 2 is available to watch on ITV Hub.

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