There is not a single battle in Act III, but I got the impression this was only because we’re being set up for another battle in Act IV. Instead of fighting, we got a little sexual harassment and some political waffling that is like to make one’s head spin. We begin with Henry on the lam and being apprehended by Edward’s loyalists. Then we see the new king himself tell a young widow that in order to get the estates she is entitled to from her husband’s death, she will need to serve the king, if you know what I mean. She says yes, she will absolutely be a loyal subject and he says, yeah, but I want you to really love me. And she says, of course I do, you’re my king. Finally, he outright says, “I aim to lie with thee”. She refuses at first, but this only spurs him on, so finally he just proposes to her, and now the recently widowed Lady Gray is to be the new queen. Yeesh, what a creep.
We go to France where Queen Margaret is asking the French king “Lewis” for aid in getting Henry back on the throne. Lewis says of course, he’d be more than happy to help. However, Warwick arrives and Margaret denounces him as a foul, villainous agent of the usurper Edward. Lewis says chill, let me hear the man out. Warwick says he comes from England to tell Lewis that Edward would like to take the hand of Lewis’ sister Bona in matrimony to seal France and England together. Lewis says it sounds good to him, so sorry Margaret, and the former queen loses her damn mind and starts yelling at everyone, but finally lands squarely on Warwick, calling him all kinds of names. Just then, letters arrive for all parties involved informing them that Edward just took a wife, so this whole Bona thing is not really going to work. Margaret is happy as a clam and Warwick feels he has been made the fool here and swears revenge on Edward, asking Margaret’s forgiveness. She says ’tis not a thing but perchance a chicken wing, my good Warwick. But now you owe me a throne. Warwick asks Lewis for an army and now they’re all steaming mad on their way back to England.
I enjoyed the character work this act, because we got to see Margaret a little more fully in her righteous anger and then sudden self-satisfied magnanimity. Again, Henry proved to be a pawn being moved about by much stronger characters, in this case a pair of hunters in the English countryside taking control of his person with little trouble. I know a big fight between Warwick and the Yorks is coming up next, but I enjoyed the brief respite in battle as we reset the board for yet another takeover. I’m extra excited for Act IV!