After leaving Gallowglass at Mont Saint-Michel, Diana and Matthew spend much of season 2 episode 5 traveling through 16th century France to Sept-Tours. Along the way, the stress of the journey and Matthew’s anxiety about seeing Philippe again affect their relationship. Once they reach Matthew’s ancestral home, Philippe is suspicious of Diana, but surprisingly honest with her.
Between this episode and the next, the biggest things that Matthew has been hiding from Diana are about to come out, kids. Grab your popcorn and lets get started.
We rejoin the gang on the row boat that’s dropping Matthew, Diana and Gallowglass off on the beach at Mont Saint-Michel, in northern France. Philippe has sent a welcoming party of armed men riding black horses to escort them to the de Clermont family stronghold at Sept-Tours. Matthew explains that the guards are meant to both protect them on the dangerous roads and to make sure they don’t change their minds about answering Philippe’s summons.
They say goodbye to Gallowglass, who is continuing on ahead of them to Emperor Rudolph’s court. He tells Diana, “Just follow the trail of vanquished enemies and satisfied women.” Then he warns Diana, again, to be careful not to lose Matthew or herself while with Philippe.
Matthew asks what he should tell Philippe about Gallowglass. His nephew replies, “Tell him I am my father’s son.” They shake hands and press their foreheads together in a goodbye that seems more modern than medieval to me, but I’m not a historian.
Gallowglass returns to the ship, while Matthew and Diana begin their land journey across France.
Back in London, Kit wakes up face down on a table in the local tavern when a barman kicks his stool in the morning. He jumps up and holds a knife to the barman’s throat. The barman apologizes and so does Kit: “You must know by now that I find mornings most objectionable.” He drops a coin on the table and leaves.
His hair still falls perfectly across his right eye, obviously. This is why he’s my favorite.
Outside, he sees a man and woman groping each other and chastises them for their public affection in broad daylight, calling the woman a whore.
I didn’t say he was perfect. 😜
The woman recognizes Kit’s voice and drops
her meal the man on the ground. It’s Louisa de Clermont (Elaine Cassidy), Matthew’s vampire sister and Ysabeau’s daughter. She was drinking blood from the man Kit thought she was canoodling with. She tells Kit that she was bored in Venice, so she came to London to visit Matthew, but he’s not home.
Kit explains that Matthew is in France. Louisa realizes that Philippe must have summoned him. She wonders why Matthew didn’t take Kit with him. Kit tells her that Matthew’s thrown him over. He prepares to tell her all about it.
Diana is experiencing another side of 16th century life as she rides through rural France on horseback. She tells Matthew that she takes comfort in knowing that the French Revolution and sexual revolution are on their way eventually.
She finally acknowledges that though her clothes are beautiful, they constrain her movements and are uncomfortable to wear. That’s compounded by the tradition of women riding sidesaddle rather than sitting astride the horse. Of course, Philippe could have sent a carriage or wagon for her to ride in, but that would have slowed down the journey and showed that he cared about a witch’s comfort. Diana is must keep up with the vampires, who don’t need to eat or sleep much or keep warm. Matthew also could have done more to ensure Diana’s comfort and health on this journey instead of pushing her to keep up, but he didn’t. Diana feels she needs to prove she’s Matthew’s equal rather than arguing for her own unique needs.
Diana tells Matthew that she’s looking forward to seeing Ysabeau again. He says that Ysabeau won’t be there. She’s helping kill witches at the witch trials in Trier. Diana is surprised that Ysabeau will eventually accept her into the family, since she hates witches in this time period. Matthew tells her that things can change in 400 years.
Louisa is shocked that Matthew has taken up with a witch. Kit assures her that her brother is in love with Diana, not bewitched. Louisa makes a pass at Kit, but he’s not interested. She’s surprised that Kit’s still in love with Matthew, even after Matthew rejected him, and decides to make it her mission to raise his spirits. He’s willing to let her try.
Going to guess it will involve trouble and that London will never be the same afterwards.
Matthew and Diana stop for the night in the French province of Anjou, where the Catholic populace hasn’t accepted King Henry IV’s claim on the French throne. They don’t trust him, since he was a Protestant who converted to Catholicism when he took the throne. In 1590, King Henry IV was in the 2nd year of a 5 year battle to secure his succession. France was embroiled in their Wars of Religion, a decades long civil war between Catholics and Protestants that lasted from 1562-1598.
Diana asks which side Philippe has taken in the battle for religious dominance and the French throne. Matthew says Philippe has taken the side of France itself, rather than one of the religious denominations in the war between the Christians. Philippe doesn’t think that humans can be trusted to run things on their own. Diana agrees with Philippe’s decision to support the people of France through this crisis, since they face starvation and death because they won’t bow to the king. She says he’s right that humans have made a mess of things throughout history.
Philippe is older than Christianity, so it makes sense that he wouldn’t see it as the one true faith or get involved in arguments over details about it.
Matthew mentions how dangerous it is to travel through France. Diana says she’s grateful they’re traveling with guards. Matthew only feels oppressed by the guards, who he thinks are there to make sure he makes it to Sept-Tours instead of changing his mind and going straight to Bohemia.
The subtext of Matthew’s words is that he has a history of avoidance and Philippe won’t let him get away with it this time. He’s making it sound like Philippe is the bad guy in the situation, but too much avoidance of issues causes just as many problems as being overly confrontational or controlling. And it means someone else has to do your dirty work for you. It sounds like Philippe has had to be the grown up in the de Clermont family for a very long time, which makes him appear controlling.
In London, Louisa and Kit drunkenly shoot pistols in the street late at night. Louisa shoots a man who complains that their target practice is too loud after curfew. On top of that, he’s the second person to call her a whore, which she is not. She’s actually striking a blow for feminism and against slut shaming by shooting him. She asks Kit if she’s more fun than Matthew. He looks as though he knows he’d better answer yes. In fact, I think he’s reconsidering a few life choices.
Matthew wakes Diana up in the morning so that they can get started again. It’s pouring rain outside. He acknowledges that he always forgets how needy warmbloods are and says he’ll tell Pierre to fix her a hot breakfast. But he loves her.
Such a caring and romantic guy. I hope Diana learns from this and takes over making their travel arrangements from now on.
Later in the day, they see a village that’s been attacked and burned by soldiers. Diana wants to check for survivors, but Matthew refuses. They need to keeping going so they don’t run into the the soldiers who did this themselves.
I have to side with Matthew on this one. It’s not like they could call an ambulance to bring medical help. Hard as it is to walk away, there’s really nothing they could do for the survivors.
They continue on, but the wet, cold and general stress drain Diana’s energy. She eventually falls asleep in the saddle and falls off her horse. We jump ahead to her waking up in Matthew’s arms as he continues riding his horse. He acts as though she took an inconvenient nap instead of having an accident that could have caused a major injury. She insists that she has to follow him everywhere.
Apparently it’s so urgent that they get to Sept-Tours that they can’t even give her a few minutes to rest while she’s unconscious. The more he emotionally pulls away from her, the more she clings to him, as if she’s somewhat in thrall to him (thrall= becoming addicted and enslaved to a vampire, especially to vampire blood, without turning into a vampire, as Gerbert did to Meridiana).
They stop for the night and Pierre helps Diana to the fireside. He tells her she should rest up for what’s ahead. She snaps at him that she understands that no one can hide the truth from Philippe. Then she apologizes, saying she doesn’t want Philippe to come between her and Matthew. Pierre tells her that Matthew will need her to be his “guiding light” at Sept-Tour.
Nobody particularly worries that Diana is going into the lion’s den of witch hating vampires for the first time. She is an afterthought, even to herself.
Once Diana and Matthew are in their tent for the night, they both complain again that this has been a terribly hard journey, what with all of the, um, clouds? Rain? Camping? Wait, apparently it hasn’t been too terrible after all, because Diana tells him that she’s his, no matter what, lies on top of him, and kisses him, working her way down his body.
We all know there’s nothing like falling off a horse and near hypothermia to put a woman in the mood for sex.
But after a minute, he rejects her advances. She seems almost feverish and demands that he stop putting her off. He says, “Not yet. Not now. In time.” And rolls back over, effectively both rejecting her and leaving her by herself.
The next morning, Diana finds a pair of pants/breeches waiting for her as a consolation prize. If she can ride astride, maybe she can at least stay awake and on her horse all day. She snaps at Pierre again while she’s putting on her pants in front of him.
Not sure why she’s being so weird toward Pierre- he seems fine toward her. Maybe a scene was lost to editing. Maybe she’d like to yell at Matthew, but she’s redirecting it at Pierre.
Today is their last day on the road. Matthew sends Pierre to Bohemia to find them a place to stay and to keep Gallowglass out of trouble. I get the impression that Matthew is getting rid of witnesses to his life with Diana in London who might talk to Philippe.
Later, they stop at an overlook for a moment and Matthew tells Diana he wishes he could prepare her for what will happen at Sept-Tours, but it’s just not possible. Philippe is just unreadable and unpredictable.
Keep the irony and sheer duplicity of that statement in mind when they have their first conversation with Philippe. Matthew actually has a very good idea of what’s coming, but he’s trying to shift blame to Philippe.
Diana notes that Ysabeau didn’t like her at first. Matthew adds that he didn’t like her either either.
Matthew lost Philippe and now he’s seeing him again. Diana is worried about how that will affect him. Pretty sure we’ve been seeing it affect him since they arrived in 1590 and he’s not handling it well.
At Sept-Tours, they’re taken straight to Philippe, who’s
lying in wait waiting for them in his study near the dining hall. Matthew hands over the coin Philippe sent with his summons. Philippe asks Matthew to explain his relationship with a witch. Matthew plays dumb and tries to remain silent, leaving Philippe and Diana to hash out most of the “explanation” themselves. Diana is at a distinct disadvantage, as usual, since she’s out of her own time, in a foreign country and doesn’t understand vampire culture, never mind 16th century vampire culture. And she’s coming into this confrontation exhausted.
Diana tells Philippe that she’s not just a witch, she’s a weaver. Unlike Matthew, Philippe already knows about weavers and isn’t impressed. He throws his old age and vast experience back in her face and tells her there’s nothing she can tell him about herself that will impress him. She says she’s seen things that haven’t even happened yet. Philippe realizes that she’s a Timewalker.
Matthew is embarrassed by her defense of herself and makes ineffectual noises trying to make her shut up.
Philippe reveals that Hubbard told him about Diana and the ways Matthew had changed since her appearance in his life. Now Philippe understands that Hubbard only knew half the story- that they’ve both come from the future. He questions why a powerful weaver had to come to the past to hide. Diana tells him that she was spellbound and needed a teacher.
Philippe mocks her complex story. She doesn’t argue that it’s complicated, but offers the clarification that she and Matthew are in love, a clarification that should have been offered by Matthew. Philippe laughs in her face, while Matthew begs him not to reveal the truth.
But Philippe is not here to help his son lie, even to a witch. It’s about to get ugly.
Matthew: “Please don’t doubt my feelings for Diana.”
He speaks quietly, but Matthew Goode’s eyes bug out of his head, as Matthew de Clermont silently pleads with his father not to reveal the truth of their relationship to Diana.
Philippe: “Surely you are the one with doubts. If this relationship truly meant something to you…”
Matthew: “Please don’t!”
Philippe: “You would have consummated it by now. Did you really expect me not to know? You both have very distinct scents. And as you know, if you were mated…”
Matthew: “That’s enough!”
Philippe gives in and changes the subject, sort of. He sends them off to bed, since he can see they’re tired after their long journey. He’s put them in separate rooms, since they aren’t mated and it would be improper for them to share a bed. The men he sent to escort Matthew and Diana to Sept-Tours have probably already told him that she normally sleeps in Matthew’s bed.
Diana walks out without another word. Matthew, Ysabeau and Marthe led her to believe she was fully mated.
I fell in love with Philippe during this portion of the book. Matthew lied to Diana for months and set her up for shame and embarrassment. Philippe told her a hard truth, but it was something she desperately needed to hear and he told her out of respect for her position as his potential daughter-in-law, a high ranking member of his family. He showed her more respect in the first few minutes of their acquaintance than Matthew has in their entire relationship.
Think about it- every vampire and creature who understood vampire culture, in both time peiods, has known he was lying to her and playing her for a fool. Gallowglass and Kit are the only other people who tried to say anything. Kit warned her that she shouldn’t trust Matthew. Gallowglass thought she knew the truth already and apologized for misunderstanding their relationship at first.
Matthew follows Diana to her room and proceeds to make things much worse, using the arguments of a man caught cheating on his wife: She’s the only one he loves, really; He could never love anyone more than he loves her; What difference would a piece of paper make between them when they love each other so much? And the best one- EVERYTHING he does is for her, but it’s COMPLICATED.
When Diana rightly tells him she doesn’t need his protection and points out that his father didn’t seem to think complications should have gotten in the way of them completing the mating bond/having sex, Matthew tells her to go have sex with his father, then.
If I were her, I’d be on my way to Gallowglass and the Book of Life in Bohemia after that statement, since as a Timewalker she can get there instantaneously. She doesn’t need to fool around with Matthew’s endless baggage and power plays. Sadly, she’s not at that point.
She does at least slap him and power shove him out the door, locking it behind him. He bizarrely tries to force the door open again while literally growling at her. It doesn’t budge.
Good for her. I guess all it took for her to find her spine again was discovering he and his family had lied to her and made a fool of her for months, plus finding out he thought insulting her and threatening violence was the right form of apology afterwards.
Matthew goes back to Philippe to take his temper out on his father. Philippe admits right away that, with his vampire ears, he heard what just happened. Matthew tries to claim that he’s never lied to Diana and their relationship is none of Philippe’s business. Philippe was prepared for all of this and basically brushes him off, telling him they both know that’s not the truth. Diana was inevitably going to find out about Matthew’s lies anyway.
This is why I love Philippe. He doesn’t treat Diana like she’s a stupid child and doesn’t fall for Matthew’s smooth lies or “charm”.
Then he moves on, pointing out that Matthew is still lying to Diana, referring to the Blood Rage that Matthew is currently displaying. He doesn’t belabor that point. Instead, he pushes Matthew to hunt, because, like all parents, he’s worried that his son isn’t properly taking care of himself.
Plus, if Matthew isn’t hungry or tired, it will help his mood immensely.
Like all adult children, Matthew is upset that Philippe thinks he can’t take care of himself. He thinks Philippe isn’t taking the real issues seriously. Philippe looks him over again and realizes that Matthew must be reacting to something that’s wrong between them in the future, because this is strange behavior for his 16th century son. Matthew hates that Philippe can read him so well and begs him to stop. Philippe agrees to let it go (for now), if Matthew promises to hunt and feed in the morning.
True to his word, Matthew is up bright and early the next day and rides out into the forest to hunt. Out in familiar territory, with no obligations but to find and track his prey, he begins to perk up.
As soon as he’s gone, Philippe sends a maid in to wake up Diana and help her dress. Diana tries to put her off until later, but the maid has been instructed to politely, but firmly, insist.
You didn’t think Philippe got Matthew out of the house solely for some fresh air and sunshine, did you? The crafty old paterfamilias wants a little time alone with Diana.
She finds him waiting for her in the dining hall. He makes it sound like it was Matthew’s idea to spend the morning in the woods, but he also offers to bring her to his son. She declines. Philippe accepts the blame for the rift between them and says he hopes she understands why he had them sleep in separate rooms. Diana gracefully acknowledges that it’s his house, so they will follow his rules.
On that note, he offers her the keys to the household, normally carried by the highest ranking woman. It’s an acknowledgement of her status in Matthew’s life, even without completion of the mating process. Since Ysabeau is away, Matthew’s mate would be next in line to run the household. Diana turns him down, saying they won’t be at Sept-Tours long enough for it to matter. He explains that he’d hoped she’d at least accept the gesture.
He leaves unsaid that his gesture of acceptance won’t be lost on the rest of the household. Since she’s a witch, it’s necessary to make sure the community understands that he approves of her. After that, it’s much more likely that their approval will follow.
Diana asks if the keyring holds a key to the library. Philippe says they don’t lock up books, since, “Reading seldom leads to bad behavior.” With a twinkle in her eye, Diana replies, “Oh, you’d be surprised.”
He takes her to another room off the dining hall with several shelves of hand bound manuscripts. Gutenberg invented his printing press in 1440, so the de Clermonts have had 150 years to acquire a collection of early printed books to add to their earlier handwritten volumes. Philippe says the most dangerous thing he could possibly say to Diana, “Take anything you like. I’ll leave you to your reading.”
How long would she stay in that room, if left to her own devices? 🕸
A servant shows another witch, Andre Champier, in to see Philippe. Diana senses his presence in the household and puts on the ring given to her by Ysabeau. Philippe brings Champier to see Diana. The other witch claims that he sensed Diana’s great power and was summoned there to examine her. Philippe told Champier that Diana has amnesia. Rather than allowing her to be seen as a member of the family, Philippe said Matthew found her and took her in. Diana denies this, but no one listens to a woman when two men have already agreed on the truth.
Champier approaches Diana and tells her not to be afraid- he’s there to help her. She says she doesn’t need help and brushes past him. He stops her, then places his hands on her head, saying there are ways to unlock memories. He senses deep wounds in her past. She cycles through flashbacks of feeding Matthew to save his life, while Champier questions her. Outloud, she denies feeding a vampire. Champier calls her a traitor and tells Philippe he’ll extract the rest of her secrets.
Philippe watches impassively as Diana painfully struggles against Champier’s mental intrusion and threats. Champier tells her to give him her memories, moving beyond anything that has to do with vampires or the current situation. He just wants to take her memories for his own purposes. Diana screams in pain as she attempts to get free, but Champier has a vice grip on her consciousness.
Matthew returns to the castle and hears Diana scream. As he runs into the library, Diana uses telekinesis to call Matthew’s dagger to herself. She stabs Champier in the chest by pushing the knife up under his ribcage. She pushes the knife in all the way up to the hilt as she tells him, “I said, no!” Matthew tries to intervene, but Philippe stops him. He wants to see what Diana can do on her own.
Once Champier is mortally wounded, Philippe calls Diana off. She lets his body drop to the floor and keeps hold of the bloody dagger,. She’s ready to keep fighting if necessary, rather than dropping the dagger in fear, shame or disgust.
Philippe used Champiers as a test for Diana, to prove she was strong enough to be part of the de Clermont family.
Ysabeau meant it when she told Diana the de Clermont women protect themselves. Good thing Diana has always taken her wisdom to heart.
When Diana used her power to push Matthew out of her bedroom, it reminded me of True Blood, when Sookie Stackhouse would decide she’d had enough of one of the vampires and rescind their invitation to visit her. Since in True Blood mythology a vampire had to be invited into a human’s home to enter, when Sookie revoked her permission, the vampire in question would move out of the house against their will, as if pulled by an invisible force, then be stuck on the outside until she invited them in again. Both Diana and Sookie’s power moves were equally satisfying.
I’ve been wondering if the show would return to the faux mating storyline, which was done well in the books, but only mentioned in one previous episode of the show, in the season 1 “bundling” conversation. In season 1 and in book 1, when Matthew returned to Sept-Tours after Gillian broke into his lab and he and Dina said their “I love yous”, the couple began engaging in sexual activity.
All we were shown on the show was the one instance of him telling her they were going to “bundle” the old fashioned way, which meant they would sleep in the same bed, but they wouldn’t have sexual intercourse. According to Matthew’s flirtatious silliness, in France, bundling can involve extensive sexual activity, as long as intercourse isn’t involved. Now we find out from Philippe that Matthew’s rules have also precluded anything that involves more than minimal exchange of bodily fluids, since it’s the mingling of this “essence” that seals mating.
You’d think the fact that he consumed most of her blood would count, but maybe it has to be explicitly sexual to differentiate a mating relationship from a predator-prey or master-slave relationship. Actually, the fact that he’s clearly fed from her but hasn’t had sex with her may be why some people have treated her so badly or taken so long to warm up to her. A blood-only relationship would signal that she’s just a floozy he’s making time with and the fact that he’s convinced her that she’s his wife tells most people he has no respect for her and she’s totally gullible.
This puts a totally different spin on Hubbard’s actions. Even though he’s a vampire, he takes care of the witches in his jurisdiction. Matthew is known to hate witches. Hubbard was acting to protect Diana, even when he wanted to see her memories. He wanted to make sure Matthew didn’t force her to lie. Just because he might have also gotten something from the transaction doesn’t mean he didn’t have her best interests at heart.
Matthew was complex in season 1, but in season 2 so far he leans toward being a villain. He’s acted selfishly and destructively in an attempt to keep his secrets from Diana. Philippe is doing them both a favor by forcing their relationship to sink or swim based on the truth rather than lies. In two hundred years, original, non-time traveler Matthew will go on to lie to Marcus for hundreds of years, even after Marcus accidentally creates a family of children with Blood Rage who need to be culled. Sadly, Philippe doesn’t respect Marcus enough to tell him the truth. Marcus doesn’t find out until the present day, when Ysabeau finally tells him because Matthew put him in charge of the Knights of Lazarus.
Images courtesy of AMC and Sky One.