I’ve loved the TV series Victoria right from the get go, so season 3 was a highly anticipated treat that I had been saving for a time when I could binge watch the lot. The time was this long weekend just gone, but sadly, it was a major letdown.
For a start, most of the supporting cast had changed. This happens of course as a show continues on and actors find work elsewhere, but one of my pet hates is when characters just vanish, with no one ever mentioning them again.
Take Wilhelmina, a series regular as one of Victoria’s ladies in waiting, from season two. In the Christmas special, she becomes engaged to Lord Alfred Paget, Queen Victoria’s Chief Equerry. Where is she in season three? There is no mention of her at all. Lord Alfred is still there, but no Wilhelmina. If he mentions her, it’s off camera. Google tells me she is living at the Paget country estate and caring for their infant son. Well thanks Google, but who told you?
Then there’s Ernst, Albert’s brother, a series regular since season one. At the close of the Christmas special, we were all anticipating at long last for Harriet and him to get their happily ever after. Neither of them are in season three and no one mentions them at all. Another vanishing act. Google is a bit quiet on this one, so it seems no one is fessing up. Ernst and Harriet were both strong supporting characters so their absence was felt from a viewer perspective. But this sort of vanishing really ticks me off. I’m a stickler for details and this is just plain shoddy.
These character omissions were not the only thing to let me down this season. Victoria herself is rather bad tempered, right the way through, at times quite juvenile and spoilt. Albert is sulky and contradictory, and in later episodes, starts hinting that Victoria’s volatility is the result of ‘baby brain’. Hhmmm…I still can’t believe the writers went there. Out of the two though, I still favour Albert for his passion for progress and social reform. He’s a man who was ahead of his time and I felt sorry for him, over and over, at the mockery he was subjected to on account of his visionary outlook.
A welcome addition to the cast was Lord Palmerston, who was like a flea in Victoria’s ear. But he was entertaining and had presence. In all honesty, he saved the season from being entirely intolerable. Likewise, Vicky and Bertie, the two eldest children. While I do think we saw a bit too much of them, they were both quite adorable. Bertie, the little future King with the weight of the world on his shoulders. It was here that I disliked Albert most, in his insistence that Bertie was simple, even trying to ‘medically’ prove it. He was just a little boy, possibly a tad undisciplined, but creative and inquisitive and most likely suffering from poor eyesight or dyslexia. But definitely not a simpleton.
An unwelcome addition to the cast was Feodora, Victoria’s half sister. What a simpering, creepy, repulsive character she was. And she was always lurking about, appearing in almost every scene. It got on my nerves and I think they overdid her. She seriously sucked my enjoyment for the show right out of me. And at the end, when she’s finally going to leave, Victoria insists she stay. I bet they don’t pull a vanishing act with her come next season, more’s the pity.
After two seasons with very strong Prime Ministers, this season’s PM was a dishrag. I don’t even remember his name and care so little about him that I can’t be bothered Googling it either. He was wishy washy and weak, overshadowed by Palmerston. Maybe this was what he was like in real life, either way, he annoyed me whenever he entered a room and continued to do so until he left.
All in all, it just seems like this was a nothing season. All whine and moan, no guts and glory. I was distraught by what happens to a certain gorgeous couple from below the stairs, but this proved itself to be the only episode that moved me at all. The ending scene in the final episode was absurd. For a show that takes nearly eighteen months between seasons, ending like that was atrocious. I really hope we get a season four, who knows, this one might have been low on ratings and they might not get the go ahead. I’d like to see them back, if not just for a chance to improve things and raise the show back to the level of its first two seasons. Or maybe this is just the beginning of a downward spiral. Time will tell, but please, in the meantime, let’s all vote 1 for Palmerston as PM.