Still Star-Crossed – Pluck Out the Heart of My Mystery
By: Stacy Miller
As the episode opens, we seeing a cat crawling around in Juliet’s room. But instead of treats, (Sorry kitty, you’ll have to wait four hundred years until Tender Vittles is invented!) it finds the bottle of potion Juliet used to end her life and the cat knocks over the vial. Meanwhile, Lord Capulet (Anthony Head) is trying to figure out why Juliet’s ghost came to him. What was his beloved daughter’s spirit trying to tell him? A servant finds the seemingly dead cat (Rest in peace Tabby) along with the empty poison vial under the bed and alerts Lady Capulet (Zuleikha Robinson) and together they bury the cat. The mystery of her daughter’s death continues to haunt Lady Capulet as she wonders why Juliet decided to poison herself. Meanwhile, the servant sees that the cat has jumped out of the grave and is walking around. Not dead after all. Troubled, the servant speaks with a priest about the strange things going on at the Capulets.
Benvolio (Wade Briggs) goes to see Lord Capulet (Anthony Head) to request to spend the afternoon with Rosaline (Lashana Lynch). If they are to be wed, he should get to know his future bride. Makes sense Benvolio…do you even know what your future wife’s favorite color is? No, well maybe you too can talk about that on your little outing. Unless of course you have more important things to discuss like who was the archer that showed up at the betrothal ceremony and caused that disruption. Lord Capulet gives his permission even though he believes it is dangerous for Benvolio and Rosaline to be out in public after what happened. Benvolio sees Rosaline and tells her that he spoke with her uncle about them spending the day together. He explains that he may have a lead on the man’s identity, but has to go to a brothel for the information. No problem, Rosaline insists on coming with him. Most couples go on a stroll in park, but not Verona’s famous couple. It’s to the whorehouse for them! Once there, Benvolio questions one of the women about the archer, a man named Trucio, who was a frequent visitor. Apparently, this Trucio would come to the brothel with a friend; he and that man had large amounts of money to spend for their “fun.” They spoke of a statue of Juliet Capulet in which they had painted the word “Harlot.” From the description of Trucio’s friend, Benvolio is able to draw a sketch of the man (Who knew that Benvolio was also an artist, he’s a man of many talents!) Drawing in hand, Benvolio and Rosaline decide to take the sketch to other taverns in the hope that someone there will recognize the man. Detectives Capulet and Montague a/k/a Rosaline and Benvolio (I couldn’t resist, I really enjoyed seeing Rosaline and Benvolio doing their cop routine trying to find their guy) show a waitress at one of the taverns the drawing and the woman recognizes the man. She tells them that he should be in later in the evening. Benvolio decides that he will stay to find the man, but Rosaline has to go home. Benvolio insists on walking her back home because he doesn’t think it will be safe for her to go off alone. But Rosaline is not afraid; (Because she’s Wonder Woman or a badass, whichever you prefer) she tells Benvolio that they are in Capulet territory where she’s perfectly safe. He’s the one who should be worried because he’s a Montague.
Tessa (Claire Cooper), the sister of Lord Montague (Grant Bowler), arrives in Verona. He is so happy to see her that he throws his arms around her. And if you believe this, I have to ask you what show have you’ve been watching? Lord Montague is less than pleased. But Tessa has heard about all the trouble Verona has been having and thought she’d pay a visit. Tessa knows that as the heir to the Montague family, Benvolio will need all the help and guidance he can get. But why is Tessa really in Verona? I have a feeling it’s not because she was having sleepless nights concerned for her family’s well-being. I think she’s trouble with a capital Tessa!
After the death of the ambassador at the betrothal ceremony, Prince Escalus (Sterling Sulieman) and Princess Isabella (Medalion Rahimi) meet with the visiting ambassador from Venice. The new ambassador tells them that the trading between Venice and Verona has been affected because of the death and violence in Verona. As any good ruler would, Escalus assures that he has the situation well in hand. The ambassador is skeptical. Escalus later comes back to the ambassador to try to convince him that he’ll make things right with Verona. The ambassador has a suggestion on how Escalus can do this and it basically amounts to him (Escalus) sending Isabella to Verona where she would prostitute herself. Prince Escalus is furious. “My sister is a princess, not a whore,” he says angrily. When Isabella learns of the altercation between Escalus and the ambassador instead of thanking him for defending her honor, she is angry. That is until he tells her the real reason why he and the ambassador had words. Isabella can’t believe that the ambassador assumed she would compromise herself. The conversation is interrupted when it is announced that Princess Isabella has a visitor. It is Tessa Montague. Tessa and Isabella go to the bed chamber where the ladies talk alone. Tessa tells Isabella that although it is horrid what she (Isabella) was expected to do, Tessa believes that Isabella still should go to Venice. Tessa thinks Isabella holds all the cards; she (Isabella) can sleep with the Doge if she wants to, but regardless of what Isabella decides the situation can be manipulated to her advantage. So, Isabella returns to her brother and tells Escalus that she wants to go to Venice after all.
Meanwhile, remember when Rosaline said she was going home? Well, she did return home but not to the Capulets. She goes to her old house. Rosaline is surprised when Benvolio arrives. He explains that he was worried about her being out alone so he followed her there. She shows him the portrait of Rosaline and Livia (Ebonee Noel) when they were children with their parents. She tells him how their parents were killed by the Montagues and that began a vicious cycle where Capulets and Montagues continued to kill each other seeking revenge; it’s a never ending war and all she wants is for it to stop. Benvolio expresses his sorrow for her pain and his indirect part (from being a Montague) in it. When he leaves, Benvolio finds the man he was looking for and takes off after him. Rosaline sees this and runs after them. Benvolio demands to know who the man is working for when a hooded man suddenly appears and stabs the guy! A woman screams when she sees Benvolio over the body and says that a Montague has committed murder. Rosaline tells Benvolio she can help him.
News of the murder travels to Prince Escalus. Rosaline arrives and tells Escalus that Benvolio is innocent; the guilty party is the man who has been terrorizing the city. But Escalus accuses Rosaline of defending Benvolio because she is in love with him (Benvolio). Escalus orders his men to search the city and find Benvolio so he can face justice. As Rosaline starts to leave, Escalus has a chair pulled out for her. He wants Rosaline to stay. The woman who saw Benvolio standing over the dead man’s body is brought into the room. She testifies that Benvolio Montague killed the man. Just then, Lord Montague enters. He knows that Benvolio has his faults, but he’s not a murderer. However, if his nephew is found guilty, Lord Montague proposes another option for a Capulet/Montague marriage. After he leaves the room, we learn that Tessa wants Benvolio out of the Montague family. Lord Montague tells his sister that they are the ones who made Benvolio the man he turned out to be. Then, Montague orders Tessa to leave. Ah oh, Lord Montague better watch out…Hell hath no fury like Tessa Montague scorned!
Benvolio hides out at the brothel and asks the girl he loves there to run away with him; saying she is his family. But the girl betrays him and Benvolio is almost captured. He goes to the Friar and asks for sanctuary, but the Friar can’t give it because he is leaving Verona, telling Benvolio that there are “forces at work.” So, Benvolio asks Rosaline to run away with him. He believes they can end the Capulet/Montague feud once and for all if they discover the truth. Rosaline writes a goodbye letter for Livia.
Livia and Count Paris (Torrance Coombs) talk about Juliet. Livia tells Paris that Juliet was in love with Romeo and even admits Romeo and Juliet had married and that Rosaline witnessed the ceremony. Later, we learn that Paris is in cahoots with Lady Capulet and that he is the hooded man! As the episode closes, Lady Capulet comes looking for Rosaline, but sees her fleeing with Benvolio. She finds Rosaline’s letter to Livia but hides it. Her screams cause Livia to enter the room and that is when Lady Capulet lies to the girl that Benvolio kidnapped Rosaline.