At the beginning of the 2nd episode, Victoria (Jenna Coleman) is paraded through the streets, while the Duke of Cumberland (Peter Firth) addresses his concerns to the Duke of Wellington (Peter Bowles). He confirms the people have been referring to the Queen as the Mrs. Melbourne. Victoria arrives at her destination and is greeted by Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell), while Cumberland attempts to convince his comrades that the Queen isn’t of sound mind. He tells Sir Robert Peel (Nigel Lindsay) the Queen is fragile and that her duties are proving too much for her. They discuss the potential of John Conroy (Paul Rhys) and the Duchess of Kent (Catherine H. Flemming) assuming the role.
Cumberland insists the Duchess would need a co-regent of royal bloods. Meanwhile, the Queen speaks with Lord Melbourne, who consistently inspects his watch. He admits he is worried about an upcoming vote regarding slavery in Jamaica and is concerned the Tories might pull of a victory. The Queen offers to help in any way she can, but Melbourne insists she should remain neutral. Seconds later, John Conroy tells Melbourne that the vote is very close. This forces Melbourne to retreat back to the House and defend his position. The two parties argue back and those, while the Duchess of Kent attempts to speak sense into her daughter. Meanwhile, Penge (Adrian Schiller) stirs up a mess in the kitchen.
Francatelli (Ferdinand Kingsley) insists Penge and the installation of the gas lighting are ruining his cake for the Queen’s birthday. Penge tells him to blame the Baroness, since she is responsible the installation. Skerrett (Nell Hudson) and Francatelli have a flirtatious moment, before the gas lighting is flipped on. A wall board is removed and rats come flooding out. During this time, the Queen has her portrait painted. The Queen chats with her ladies about Melbourne and his strange behavior of late. The voting begins in the House. Brodie (Tommy Knight) begins capturing the rats with his bare hands. He is told by Penge that he has a plan for the creatures. Baroness Lehzen (Daniela Holtz) enters and tells Penge to find an expert to get rid of the rats, regardless of the costs.
That night, Francatelli watches as Skerrett leaves the castle. The Queen chats with her ladies about the gas lighting and Melbourne being late. The Queen insists he will come and he eventually does. Lord Melbourne tells Victoria about the outcome of the vote. Although his party won, they only did so with 5 votes. He insists he won’t be able to stick around as Prime Minister for much longer and will likely be forced to abandon his duties with the Queen. The queen doesn’t like the ideal and quickly asks if Melbourne would really forsaken her. He insists he has no choice. The next day, Victoria is distraught. She soaks her sorrow in the rain, before her mother attempts to comfort her.
While Victoria is comforted by her mother, Melbourne downs his sorrow with alcohol. The Queen refuses to get out of bed. Skerrett insists they should alert Melbourne, since he might put her in a good mood. Brodie is tasked with delivering a message to the lord. Melbourne writes a letter to the Queen telling her to speak with Duke Wellington, since he will help to form a government. Moments later, the Queen does just that. The Duke insists he is simply too old to become Prime Minister again. Despite the Queen’s pleas, the Duke tells her to speak with Robert Peel. During this time, Skerrett and Mrs. Jenkins (Eve Myles) chat about Victoria’s situation. Jenkins attempts to light the gas and winds up burning her hand. This forced Skerrett to seek butter from Francatelli.
Instead of butter, Skerrett is taken to an ice room and given a chunk. Francatelli tells Skerrett he remembers her from somewhere, but is unable to pinpoint where exactly. She blows him off and returns to Jenkins with the ice. The Queen receives a visit from Conroy. Conroy tells the Queen that the governmental change must be unsettling. He attempts to get back into good graces with the Queen, but she refuses. He admits it might be her decision soon enough. Penge meets with a professional rat catcher and negotiates a deal in his own favor. The Queen returns to her ladies and contemplates a trip to Melbourne’s home. Her mother doesn’t like the ideal. Lady Emma Portman (Anna Wilson-Jones) offers her carriage, so Victoria can travel in secrecy.
Lehzen travels with the Queen. Melbourne is surprised by the visit. Melbourne describes his admiration for the constitution and insists remaining on board would be detrimental to the government. The Queen admits she doesn’t want Robert Peel, but Melbourne insists she must remain neutral. He also confirms she may be required to give up a few of her ladies for Tory women. Meanwhile, Cumberland plots his move. He insists things will become a little more interesting now that Melbourne is out of the way. Melbourne passes along advice for dealing with the Queen. Next, Victoria checks out drawings for a coin featuring her likeness. She seems repulsed by the coins. Peel enters and admits the likeness is spot on.
The Queen’s ladies are sent away, before Peel attempts to convince the Queen to replace one or two of her ladies with Tory women. He refuses and sends Peel away. Peel returns to Wellington and is told to flirt with the Queen to win her favor. Cumberland enters moments later and insists his comrade has been defeated by an 18-year-old girl. Cumberland attempts to convince the others that the Queen may have a mental deficiency. Conroy angrily speaks with the Duchess, who admits there is nothing they can to sway Victoria’s opinion. Victoria receives a visit from two of her ladies, who agree to resign. Victoria refuses and insists they’re going nowhere. That night, Francatelli encounters Skerrett leaving the castle.
Again, the chef attempts to convince Serrett that he has seen her somewhere before. She denies it and departs quickly. Conroy pays a visit to Cumberland. They both admit Victoria has lost her sense and Cumberland admits that could swing things into their favor. Meanwhile, Melbourne contemplates his life after retirement. He receives a letter from the Palace that summons him to speak with the Queen. The Queen learns about Jenkins’ injury, while Serrett does her hair. She also catches a glimpse of a rat. The Baroness asks Penge about the rats and their location. Melbourne arrives at palace and speaks with the Queen. Victoria insists she has arranged things perfectly. However, Melbourne again attempts to convince her to change her mind. The Queen remains adamant and insists she cannot lose her ladies.
Melbourne admits he doesn’t want to be the Queen’s Prime Minister under these circumstances. The Duchess speaks with Conroy and insists her daughter isn’t mad. Conroy insists they can use the opportunity to push the Duchess into the Regent role. Melbourne returns home and locks himself inside with brandy. That night, the Queen hears weird noise. Her mother calms her nerves and insists she just needs a little peace. Her mother attempts to convince her she will protect her. Victoria doesn’t believe it, since her mother has let her down so many times in the past. In the morning, preparations begin for the Queen’s birthday. Penge tries to convince the Baroness that the rats are gone. The Queen enters and a song is sung in her honor. She admires her birthday cake and thanks her servants, before her mother and Conroy arrive.
The Queen receives a gift from Melbourne and is told she can learn a great deal by looking to the heavens. Moments later, rats appear on the Queen’s birthday cake. She freaks out. Cumberland and Conroy speaks about the event and Cumberland admits it raise questions about her sanity. The Queen is examined, but admits she is totally fine. Baroness Lehzen tells Penge that the installation of the gas lighting has been stopped. Again, Victoria speaks with Wellington and insists she will not force her ladies to resign. Melbourne speaks with Wellington and learns about Cumberland and Conroy’s scheme.
The Queen arrives moments later. She prepares to pull the cape away from the painting, but is unable to do so. Melbourne steps in and helps. She also agrees to return to his former duties, as long as the Queen calls for a ministry. She agrees. Cumberland tells Wellington nobody wants a queen, who has lost her sanity. Wellington insists she seems perfectly fine and that she must’ve got whiff of his scheme. That night, Serrett is harassed in the street. She is saved by Francatelli. He asks Serrett about her time at Ma Fletcher’s nunnery. She pleads with the chef not to tell about her background and he agrees, but admits he wants to get to know her better. That night, Melbourne is told he won’t be able to remain by the queen’s side, after she gets married. He admits his days are numbered.
The 2nd episode of Victoria was just as good as the previous. The scheme continued, while Victoria was forced to take action to keep Lord Melbourne by her side. Despite a few hiccups along the way, she managed to leap the obstacles and regain the loyalty of Melbourne. Penge also proved to be cunning. And a little more was disclosed about Skerrett and her history.
Next up is a potential marriage proposal for Queen Victoria. How will that play out? An 8 out of 10 is deserved. Catch up with previous recaps of Victoria right now!