Victoria Season 3

‘Victoria’ Season 3 Finale: “The White Elephant” Recap

Victoria and Albert at the Great Exhibition (Photo: Courtesy of Justin Slee/ITV Plc for MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Victoria: After two thirds of a season at odds, Victoria and Albert finally make things up between them again, complete with a dramatic chase through the rain and a sort of awkward realization that they are, well, the people they are. All of this, of course, happens just in time for Albert to dream up the idea of the Great Exhibition, a huge event meant to highlight the best in invention and industry from countries the world over. He engages a gardener/architect to design him a massive glass structure, which will come to be known as the Crystal Palace, to house all these wonders in the middle of Hyde Park. In his element hyping the wonder of modern invention, Albert’s the most likeable he’s been in weeks, and it’s nice. Elsewhere, the Duke of Monmouth has poor Duchess Sophie dragged off to an insane asylum (maybe?) after he deduces that she’s stepping out on him with the help. Read our full recap of “A Public Inconvenience” here.

Now that we’ve officially arrived at the Season 3 finale of Victoria, a lot of plots suddenly need to resolve themselves, so it becomes clearer than ever why the season’s penultimate episode had to deal with the Vicbert rift on its own. Their main storyline this week concerns the Great Exhibition and whether or not Albert will pull it all off. (Spoiler alert: He does.) 

‘Victoria’, Season 3: “A Public Inconvenience" Recap

Victoria and Albert, finally back on track. (Photo: Courtesy of Justin Slee/ITV Plc for MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Victoria: King Leopold comes to visit, which doesn’t do much to dissolve the tension flying around Victoria’s court. In fact, it probably makes it worse, given that he doesn’t recognize Feodora, his own niece, and is a witness to the increasing problems between his son/nephew and the queen, who continue to argue about everything from their son’s head shape to public opinion about some leaked family drawings to Feodora’s motivations. (Which, to the surprise of no one, turned out to be fairly selfish and petty.) Read our full recap of "A Coburg Quartet" here

Since Season 3 is rapidly hurtling toward its conclusion, it makes sense that Victoria (finally) has to spend some time mending the rift between Victoria and Albert that it’s pretty much devoted all season to creating. That it does so rather deftly is true, complete with one of the couple’s standard over the top romantic scenes involving a chase through the rain. And in most ways, the resolution of the tension between them comes as a relief, because let’s be honest, this show isn’t nearly as much fun when the two are in constant conflict in this way.

‘Victoria’ Season 3: “A Coburg Quartet” Recap

Uncle Leopold's in town! (Photo: Courtesy of Justin Slee/ITV Plc for MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Victoria: The queen takes the court on a trip to Ireland, in an attempt to make up for what is apparently decades of royal neglect of the Emerald Isle. The visit is a public if not a personal success, because although Victoria makes a sincere effort to start fresh with the Irish people, Albert insinuates his wife just wants another crowd of people to cheer for her. But we do get to meet Lord Palmerston’s frankly amazing spouse, Emily Lamb, who not only seems to adore her husband, but to have somehow carved out a marriage and a life that works for them both. (Even if it does include acknowledged infidelity.) Read our full recap of "A Show of Unity" this way

Victoria is a soapy costume drama and, as such, it doesn’t often get the respect it deserves. Sure, there are occasionally ridiculous storylines – Duchess Sophie’s literally bodice-ripping affair with a hunky footman isn’t exactly what you might call prestige drama, for example. But Season 3 has made a genuine effort to tell complicated stories with emotional heft in a way that few period dramas attempt. Last week’s installment saw the show exploring various ideas of marriage and what it means for a romantic relationship to be successful one. “A Coburg Quartet” takes that theme one step further, expanding outward to wrestle with the larger umbrella of family, and what it means to love someone.

‘Victoria’ Season 3: “A Show of Unity” Recap

Victoria, in her element. (Photo: Courtesy of Justin Slee/ITV Plc for MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Victoria: Tension lingers between the queen and her husband, as Albert insists that his wife’s obsessive need for love and adoration from her subjects is borderline psychotic, while Victoria argues that he just doesn’t understand what it means to be a monarch. A cholera outbreak strikes London, resulting in the death of many people – including Nancy Skerrett Francatelli, who goes from finding out she’s pregnant on the eve of her husband’s restaurant opening to dead in the space of an act break. Yikes. (Need more details? Our full recap of "Foreign Bodies" is here.)

After the tragedy of last week’s installment, Victoria pulls up stakes and sends everyone off to Ireland following an assassination attempt that convinces the queen she must work to mend the frayed relationship between the crown and its Irish subjects. Much like Season 2’s “Entente Cordiale”, a new location makes for the best episode of the season – but not because this installment is a particularly lighthearted romp. No, instead, “A Show of Unity” uses the introduction of Lord Palmerston’s – quite frankly, amazing – wife, Emily, to present three competing, fascinating pictures of marriage.

'Victoria' Season 3: "Foreign Bodies" Recap

The queen and young Bertie in a sweet moment (Photo: Courtesy of Justin Slee/ITV Plc for MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Victoria: Victoria and Albert are vacationing at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, because London supposedly isn’t safe thanks to all the political upheaval going on. Victoria frets about being so far away from her government, but Albert is having the time of his life, bullying his eldest son Bertie through overbearing educational practices and occasionally bossing his wife around. Surprisingly, Victoria and Lord Palmerston – after much sniping and scrapping – finally come to something of a tentative détente, while the Foreign Secretary and the queen’s sister Feodora both discover some secrets about one another. (If you need more details, our recap of "Et in Arcadia" is here.)

In its third season on-air, it’s nice to say that Victoria is still capable of surprising you. Rather than settle for a paint-by-numbers recitation of history, the show is more than willing to lean into the often ridiculous nature of royal life, make things up for the sake of narrative drama or kill off one of your faves that it can’t quite figure out what to do with. It does all three of these things here, and “Foreign Bodies” is an episode that works on multiple levels as a result.

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