Ronvolio’s adventures get underway as they try to uncover who is sabotaging a Capulet/Montague peace. Get a sneak peek of this week’s Still Star-Crossed!
Fellow Still Star-Crossed fans, it’s been awhile since we last visited fair Verona. In this interim period, we’ve learned some unpleasant news. The show has been moved from Mondays to Saturday evenings (at 10/9c). According to Deadline, this is a clear signal that the show has been essentially cancelled. This is further corroborated by Torrance Coombs tweets that Still Star-Crossed won’t be back for Season 2, even though the rest of Season 1 will air.
This news is particularly hard because I don’t know that the show was ever given a fair chance. The scant promotion, the initial decision to air at 10pm, and then to launch the show during the NBA finals all out Still Star-Crossed at a disadvantage. And the truth of the matter is that broadcast networks are beholden to ratings in a way that cable isn’t. So, unfortunately, Still Star-Crossed won’t be afforded the time and support to build an audience.
Still Star-Crossed is clearly a unique take on period drama. The fabulously inclusive and talented cast coupled with an interesting pan-Shakespearean world have made for a really entertaining show. As for me, I’ll be live tweeting until it goes off air and hoping-wishing that another network/platform will pick it up!
The last time we were in Verona, both Rosaline and Benvolio decided to follow through with the constraints placed on them by family and politics.
“All The World’s a Stage” begins with Rosaline visiting Isabella. As they enjoy some refreshments, Rosaline questions the plan for her to marry Benvolio. It won’t surprise us that Isabella shares her support of Escalus’ plan. They’re interrupted by Escalus, who has come to share some news of his own. Since the Montague/Capulet feuding is still underway, he wants Rosaline and Benvolio to have a betrothal ceremony sooner than planned. This will be a public show of unity between familes. Surely, this will help to calm things down. Interestingly, Rosaline says she’s thrilled with the plan… in fact, the more she’s gotten to know Benvolio the more she’s impressed with his wit and handsomeness. Yes, Rosaline says this all with a straight face, but we know it’s all to make Escalus jealous. And I think her digs to make some impact on the Prince.
Soon after, Lords Capulet and Montague debate Rosaline’s dowry. Escalus intervenes to tell Montague to pay Capulet’s price of 40,000 ducets. We know that Lord Capulet is desperate for those funds, but in exchange, Escalus is clear that Rosaline must willingly participate in the spectacle of her relationship with Benvolio.
Rosaline’s pretending is taking a toll on her. She confides in Livia that marriage to a Montague, the same people who killed their father, is unconcionable. As usual, Livia is optimistic… it has to be better than being a nun or a servant. They’re interrupted when a letter arrives from Benvolio inviting Rosaline to a picnic and sharing a sonnet, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day…” *giggles* because Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18! Rosaline is not impressed…
…and Benvolio is scandalized because it’s Lord Montague that had the sonnet written and sent to Rosaline. Now Benvolio is a laughingstock because the town believes he’s a sap. For Lord Montague, it’s all part of the propaganda. He’s adamant that Benvolio must follow through with the marriage and an heir, Capulet blood with the Montague name. Things get heated when Benvolio laments that if only Romeo and Juliet would have lived, things would be better for them all. As he drinks his misfortune away at the local pub, Benvolio continues to be mocked by the people of Verona, this time by a boistrous man name Petruchio (of course, Taming the Shrew pops into my mind, and I’m like, is this before or after Petruchio meets his Kate?) When Petruchio mocks Romeo (and his marriage to Juliet), a fight breaks out, one Benvolio wins.
Later at their (very public) picnic, Benvolio takes the opportunity to make a bargain with Rosaline. He will help her get away to the nunnery. Once she’s Sister Rosaline, there’s no way a marriage to Benvolio could go through. Rosaline agrees, at first, but rethinks it. She makes a bargain with her uncle: Rosaline will be a willing participant in the spectacle of her marriage, and in exchange, Lord Capulet will make Livia a lady again.
Elsewhere, after observing Isabella in this episode, my suspicions continue to escalate. It’s obvious that she doesn’t enjoy being sidelined by her brother. Does this mean Isabella wants to rule herself? Lord Montague also notices Isabella’s interest in playing a more active role and speaks to her directly about the Capulet Cathedral. With Capulet announcing that his chief architect has been killed (AKA Capulet shoved him off a balcony), construction on the cathedral is at a standstill. Montague proposes that his architect finish the cathedral with Isabella as the new patroness, an inspiration to Verona’s women. Lord Montague’s epic shade continues because you know Lord Capulet won’t be happy about being upstaged in this way.
The next day, in the town square, the show is on. Escalus performs the betrothal (despite supposedly feeling tortured by watching Rosaline with Benvolio… he doesn’t stop it though!) The scene as a whole is fascinating because, in the midst of the Ronvolio betrothal, these exchange longing looks with the one ones they actually love: Rosaline and Escalus, Benvolio and Stella (his blonde mistress from the brothel), who watches from the audience. Rosaline and Benvolio exchange vows, at least until they’re interrupted by a cloaked man who sets off a bomb in the middle of the square!
What does Rosaline do? She urges Benvolio to case after the culprit! This Ronvolio adventure becomes even more intense when the catch the guy… Petruchio! Benvolio accidentally pushes Petruchio off a roof (so maybe this isn’t the same man from Taming of the Shrew). Ultimately, Rosaline and Benvolio realize that there’s some external force who wants to keep the Capulet/Montague war going. If they can figure out who it is and stop the person who keeps sabotaging the peace, then they won’t have to get married anymore. So it seems more Ronvolio adventures are in our future and I CANNOT wait.
Other things to keep in mind:
Livia’s and Paris’ relationship is deepening and I’m so happy! The two even take a midnight stroll through the gardens to help Paris get his strength back. As they learn about each other, it seems that Paris could be willing to make a bid for Livia and help elevate her to a lady again. COME TO ME COUNTLIVIA!
Throughout the episode, we see Lord Capulet experience what many of Twitter call a “Macbeth” moment. He begins hearing and seeing ghosts, perhaps that of the architect? This makes Capulet extremely paranoid, so much so, that he doesn’t even want Lady Capulet to have a shrine to Juliet. The idea of dead spirits lingering isn’t very comforting for him. This is until Capulet finds himself in Juliet’s crypt and sees her ghost. Juliet’s message? “Beware!”
Ambassadors from Venice and Milan have arrived in Verona. News of peace in the city via Rosaline/Benvolio marriage has apparently opened up opportunities for business. But when the ambassador from Venice is killed in the explosion, both Escalus and Isabella realize that their situation has gotten even more dire.
In tonight’s episode “Pluck Out the Heart of My Mystery” (written by Linda Gase, directed by Ericson Core):
Rosaline and Benvolio work together to uncover who is responsible for pitting the Montagues and Capulets against each other. Meanwhile, Lord Montague is forced to welcome an unannounced visit from his sister, Tessa Montague, who has a manipulative plan of her own on how to deal with the Capulets . (via ABC)
You *must* watch this clip from the episode that gives us a sneak peek at Rosaline and Benvolio partnering up to solve their mystery. It’s AWESOME. And in a second clip, Escalus deals with the fallout from Venice’s ambassador dying as a result of the attack at the betrothal ceremony:
— Still Star-Crossed (@StarCrossedABC) July 7, 2017
— Still Star-Crossed (@StarCrossedABC) July 8, 2017
I love how these two give each other such a hard time. But you can tell that a grudging respect is emerging on both sides… and these are the perfect circumstances for me to ship, ship, ship!
As for Escalus, like Hamilton’s Washington says, “Winning was easy, young man. Governing is harder.” And Escalus is having a really tough time of it. I can’t imagine now having to deal with animosities from other cities too.
Remember that “Pluck Out the Heart of My Mystery” will air tomorrow, Saturday, July 8 at 10p/9c on ABC. Take a look at 25+ images from the show and come live tweet with me!