Will S01E06 1080p Something Wicked This Way Comes
50min | Drama | Episode aired 7 August 2017
Tensions rise as Will (Laurie Davidson) and Alice (Olivia DeJonge) continue to collaborate, while Anne (Deirdre Mullins) attempts to adjust to London life. Love forces Marlowe (Jamie Campbell Bower) to confront his darkest fears. Presto (Lukas Rolfe) is forced to confront true evil.
By the sixth episode in this ten-part series, it is clear that the filmmakers have failed to develop a plausible scenario for the development of Shakespeare’s genius as a writer. The complications of his his family life and, above all, the frenetic activities of a life in the hardscrabble world of the professional theater of London, offer no time for Will Shakshaft of Stratford to be a writer.
While the Henry VI plays are generally considered some of the earliest and indeed clumsiest of Shakespeare’s plays, this program argues that the Henry VI trilogy made the author a superstar of London with audiences chanting his name during the curtain call. This view misses the point that Elizabethan audiences attended plays in the public theaters for the content, not the marquee attraction of the writer.
Will is also shown in this episode composing his famous sonnet “When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes.” But while Will is struggling to eke out a living in the theater, there is nothing to suggest that he is in the kind of disgrace suggested in the poem. At one point, Richard Burbage reads the poem aloud to to aristocratic woman; at that moment, we sense the true inspiration of a sonnet, which was a courtly form of literary expression.
This episode combines numerous subplots including the ongoing religious persecution of Catholics. Topcliffe is once again depicted as a sadist in his torturing of heretics. He is also portrayed as a pedophile during an assignation with little Press, the pickpocket, who stabs Topcliffe. The marriage contract of Alice and Keenan Cooper is ended when it is clear to Keenan and Alice does not love him.
Will’s source of inspiration for his plays and poems is once again shown in his pilfering of words he hears spoken in London. When a character says, “Love is madness,” Will recognizes it as something he can use in a play. When Mrs. Burbage berates Will with the words, “You must be cruel to be kind,” Will once again senses that he can adapt what he hears to the stage. But this process flies in the face of the true creativity of the author who was writing from his soul, not parroting what he heard on the streets of London.
Admitting that she is illiterate and cannot appreciate the genius of her husband, Anne Shakespeare packs up the three children and heads back to Stratford, vowing to seek an education for Susanna and Judith. She only asks that her husband send funds. But this reading ignores the facts that William spent considerable time in Stratford, transacting business throughout the 1590s, such that by the end of the decade, he owned the second largest house in the village.
The research that has been invested in this project is clearly minimal with little intellectual curiosity in exploring the true genius of Shakespeare.
Director: Magnus Martens
Writer: Corinne Marrinan
Stars: Laurie Davidson, Olivia DeJonge, Mattias Inwood