While Rosaline and Benvolio play up their romance for public perceptions, a bigger conspiracy to bring the Capulets and Montagues to war unfolds. Get a sneak peek of Monday’s Still Star-Crossed!
The Still Star-Crossed premiere really sets the stakes for the escalating Capulet/Montague conflict. And in the second episode, we find that Rosaline, Escalus, and Benvolio become (somewhat) unwitting combatants in thia family feud, and continue to pay major costs as a result.
“The Course of True Love Never Did Run Smooth” actually begins with a flashback to the day Escalus leaves Verona. His father, Prince Cosimo, wants to send him to Venice to learn the skills of leadership outside of the tumult of the Capulet/Montague conflict. Cosimo also realizes that Escalus is in love with Rosaline and their relationship can’t survive. The Prince can’t be seen to take sides in the feud between those two families. Escalus pushes back on this because he loves Rosaline. Yet, for Cosimo, no one is worth the potential demise of their city.
We return to the EPIC Roscalus kiss that Benvolio has just interrupted. But when they all return to the throne room, Escalus still orders Rosaline and Benvolio’s marriage. She is clearly distraught… what about what they just shares? It also seems to me that Benvolio is feeling hurt because he’s been ordered to marry a woman that obviously doesn’t want him. Benvolio visits his favorite whore house to let off some steam… until he’s interrupted by Lord Montague. It shouldn’t surprise us that Lord Montague is eager for this marriage to take place and he won’t let Benvolio do anything to botch it.
Even though Rosaline has been restored to her position as a lady, she’s very much a captive in the Capulet home and will remain so until her wedding day. Nevertheless, Rosaline resists. She can’t marry into the family that killed her father. If Rosaline can just speak to Escalus, she believes the truth of their love will prevent him from forcing her marriage to Benvolio.
We also learn why Lord Capulet is supportive of the Ronvolio marriage. He’s in severe debt, so much that he can’t pay for the construction of the family cathedral. The bride price the Montagues will pay for Rosaline will help get Capulet’s finances on track. Benvolio learns all of this from the chief architect on the project who laments not being paid. He goes on to share this information with Lord Montague, who saves the information for the perfect moment to bait Lord Capulet.
Throughout the episode, Princess Isabella repeatedly counsels Escalus to maintain a show of strength, that this is the best way to create stability in Verona. And Escalus follows that advice, perhaps to his own peril.
When Capulet and Montague men accused of murder are brought to him, Escalus orders their execution, without trial (per his father’s last edict).
At the dinner he hosts for the great families of the city, when a Capulet/Montague argument breaks out (thanks to Lord Montague baiting Lord Capulet about the completion of the cathedral), Escalus stabs a man in the hand with a fork to get everyone’s attention. It is a total OMG-moment. Escalus is showing strength, and he puts fear into us all… but he’s also showing some of his crazy too.
Isabella arranges a secret meeting between Escalus and Rosaline where he ultimately decides that he might love Verona, but he’s not willing to give Rosaline up for the sake of the city. (It’s a really intense interaction, as Rosaline passionately speaks up for herself and Escalus declares his love for her. I swooned SO HARD.) They spend the night together talking and plan to tell their families the truth in the morning. In the middle of the night, a manservant comes to tell Escalus that Romeo’s body and grave have been desecrated. He knows that if the Montagues find out, the city would be in even more turmoil. Escalus orders the grave to be cleaned so that the Montagues never learn the truth. Then when morning comes, Escalus tells Rosaline that for the sake of her reputation and Livia’s, she should say she spent the night with Isabella and then marry Benvolio.
Meanwhile, Livia and Nurse continue to care for Paris in secret. I’m still not sure why Lady Capulet wants to keep Paris’ survival underwraps. At the same time, I’m 100% shipping Livia and Paris. She saves his life! I adore Livia’s optimism and want badly for her to have the family she wants. I think she would make a good partner for Paris and help him heal physically and emotionally. Plus, Lord Capulet could really use the additional bride price.
Lady Capulet still mourns Juliet’s death very deeply, and even though I don’t like her very much, I am sad for her. It’s interesting because, in grief, Lady Capulet seems to find some strength, at least enough to try and find out who led Juliet and Romeo to their fateful decision. Right now Lady Capulet is blaming Rosaline, but it won’t be too long before Friar Lawrence’s involvement comes out. I still find the man suspicious, anyway.
Some other thoughts:
(1) “Love is a matter of lust and circumstance”, harsh, but perhaps true words from Lord Montague. What exactly is he scheming to accomplish? He says he wants to merge the Montague and Capulet houses, but it seems like he wants more. Who so eager to learn about Capulet finances? And what is he planning to do with that information? In any event, Montague needs to watch himself, especially now that we know that Capulet will kill to get whatever he wants. (RIP to that chief architect!)
Also, I’m thinking that Benvolio and Rosaline will find themselves allies in this situation that’s been forced upon them. Even in their brief conversation during Escalus’ dinner, you can see a level of attraction underneath the disdain. Ronvolio would be awesome partners, even if trying to escape their arranged marriage. It wouldn’t surprise me if these two enemies find some love and lust.
(2) Here I am, still totally torn between the Roscalus and Ronvolio ship… though I might be leaning slightly more towards Benvolio after Escalus practically calls Rosaline a harlot and chases her away. What do you think?
(3) I don’t think Isabella is our friend and Escalus and Rosaline should not trust her. Isabella is too eager to help Roscalus have their secret meeting. Why? I think she’s the one who has Romeo’s grave ransacked in order to motivate Escalus to break things off with Rosaline for good. We see that Isabella doesn’t mind breaking the hearts of her brother and her supposed friend. I’m also suspicious of Isabella’s calls for Escalus to show strength. Verona is starting to chafe under his heavy hand… they looked ready to riot after he orders the Montague and Capulet men executed for murder. It’s looking like Isabella wants it that way. But to what end? Can Isabella even rule the city as a woman?
After a hiatus last week for the NBA 2017 Finals, Still Star-Crossed is back this week and, as the episode title connotes, Rosaline and Benvolio have to start acting the part of lovers.
In “All the World’s a Stage” (written by Rebecca Kirsch and was directed by Jonathan Jones):
IT’S A THIN LINE BETWEEN LOVE AND HATE－In an attempt to convince the citizens of Verona that Benvolio and Rosaline are madly in love, Prince Escalus suggests a public betrothal ceremony. Meanwhile, Livia bonds with Count Paris, and a larger conspiracy to keep the Montagues and Capulets feuding threatens Escalus’ plans for peace. (via ABC)
Is Escalus *really* sure he wants to do this? What are the next steps for Rosaline and Benvolio?
Watch two clips from the upcoming show. In the first, Rosaline demands that, in exchange for going along with the betrothal, Livia must be made a lady. In the second video, Rosaline is spending some time with Isabella, when Escalus interrupts:
— Still Star-Crossed (@StarCrossedABC) June 18, 2017
“You must give them a convincing show…”
How interesting… of course Rosaline will put on a show in order to help her sister, and I hope this is another step in allowing Livia and Paris to be together (ship, ship, ship!). But I’m still not 100% sure when Lord Capulet is going along with Escalus’ order for the arranged marriage. Is it just for the money?
And second, I still don’t believe that Escalus is just going to shove the woman he loves into marriage with another man. I am enjoying the tet-a-tet, and Rosaline is clearly making Escalus jealous with all her compliments of Benvolio. This is going to be such a fun triangle!
Check out 15+ images from “All the World’s a Stage” and make sure to live tweet with me this Monday, June 19 at 10p/9c on ABC!