The Serpent Queen Episode 4 Recap and Ending, Explained

Starz’s ‘The Serpent Queen’ follows the story of the infamous Catherine de Medici and how she earned the eponymous moniker. The first three episodes introduced us to the young Catherine, a teenage girl who arrives in France without dowry or influence and with no support. Slowly, however, she begins to understand the world around her. The show leapfrogs ten years in its fourth episode. Gone is the impressionable and naive girl who was forced to bend to everyone’s will. With the reigns in France now in her hands, we can finally see her become the monarch she was meant to be. However, the road ahead presents many challenges. Here’s what the ending of this episode means for her future. SPOILERS Ahead

The Serpent Queen Episode 4 Review

Catherine was pregnant when we last saw her. She was also pregnant with her first child. Nine pregnancies later and she’s still in France, she is now a French citizen. The only thing she longs for now is Henry’s love. He continues to love Diane, and his grip on him grows every second. Previously, she’d helped Catherine because she knew that without her children, Diane would have to face the possibility of a different wife for Henry. Diane has decided to end that business and is not in the mood to share Henry any more.

As Catherine desperately tries to earn her husband’s favor, she has to entertain the possibility that she might turn out like other ladies in the court, who spend their days doing useless stuff, while their husbands court younger mistresses. She refuses to submit to her fate, and fate turns in her favor when Henry’s father, King Francis meets his end. Before dying, he makes sure that Catherine has a seat on Henry’s privy council, making it impossible for anyone to dispose of her or not take her seriously. To get rid of Diane, Catherine will need more than her political standing.

The Serpent Queen Episode 4 Ending: What Does King Francis’ Death Mean for Catherine?

One would think that becoming a queen gives more weight to Catherine’s thoughts and actions, but it soon turns out that she has an uphill task in front of her. Even though King Francis thought highly of her, going so far as to call her his family’s redemption, she is not well thought of by others. In their first meeting, Henry makes it clear that he values Catherine’s opinion, but he is still reluctant to take her as seriously as he should. She warns Henry that the Roman Catholic Church could challenge his reign. The Guises and Bourbons try to undermine her, even suggesting that she may have made the decision to start war by blaming her for her inexplicable actions. Henry pays heed to her, but he doesn’t take as strict measures as she had advised. Soon enough, the Holy Roman Empire sends his message to Henry in the shape of a severed skull. But that’s not what bothers the queen.

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Image Credit: Shanna Besson/ Starz

Catherine is not shocked by the attack on Church. She knew it was coming as soon as Francis died, and Henry became the King of France. What she didn’t foresee was Diane’s shrewdness, underestimating her influence on Henry. Catherine believed that her husband might lose his sense of humor if he was given the responsibility of becoming a king. He might then consider keeping Diane apart. It is not a good look for him, Catherine doesn’t understand that he will not favor his wife, whom he’s only known for a decade or so, over the woman that he has loved all his life. Catherine attempts to send Diane away but the mistress does her own thing. Henry refuses to let her go, and she manipulates her.

To demonstrate how much power Catherine has over her husband, Diane made Henry wear black and her own colors while Catherine is wearing blue. Their attire itself shows everyone how disconnected the new king and queen are and lets everyone know that if they want the king’s ear, they have to get close to Diane, not Catherine. Living under Diane’s shadow for all these years, Catherine still makes the mistake of underestimating her. She seems to have learned her lesson.

In the future, with the day of Charles’ coronation inching closer, Catherine doesn’t make the mistake of underestimating Mary, who believes that the throne belongs to her, now that her husband is dead. Catherine is aware of Mary’s resentment and, whatever she discovered through her letter at the end, it seems that Mary may have made her move. But the Catheirne that the young Scottish queen is dealing with is not the same ignorant Catherine who didn’t know how to get rid of a woman challenging her authority. It looks like Mary’s days in the French court are going to come to an end soon.

Read More: Why was Catherine de Medici Called The Serpent Queen? Explained

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