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Mary & George – S01E01 – The Second Son | Transcript

Determined to reclaim her family's former glory, Mary Villiers urges her son George to embark on a risky endeavor.

Mary & George
Season 1 – Episode 1
Episode title: The Second Son
Created by D. C. Moore
Based on The King’s Assassin by¬†Benjamin Woolley
Starring Julianne Moore, Nicholas Galitzine, Tony Curran, Laurie Davidson, Trine Dyrholm, Nicola Walker
Original release date: March 5, 2024

Plot: Young master George Villiers lives at home with his mother Mary, siblings, and ailing, abusive father. He half-heartedly attempts suicide after his mother begins strategising a marriage for him, as he is in love with one of the servants, Jenny. During a fight, Mary pushes her husband down the stairs and he subsequently dies. The family’s accountant explains to Mary that her late husband left them no money or estate and advises her to remarry. Mary swiftly weds Sir Thomas Compton, particularly to secure funds for George, who is finally sent to France for further education in French, class, and court politics. There, George learns from the local aristocrats how to behave like a royal, and he is able to finally indulge in his same-sex desires. King James visits Sir Thomas and Mary’s home, where she meets him, his lover the Earl of Somerset, and his sole English aide Sir David Graham. Mary bonds with Sir David, who dislikes the Scottish and wants to see more English influence at the Palace. George returns from France and Mary organises for him to serve dinner to the king, but during service he is purposefully tripped by a fellow server. George beats the man in the dinner hall, enraging the Earl of Somerset but winning the notice of King James.

* * *

(THUNDER CRASHES)

(WOMAN CRYING OUT)

WOMAN 2: That’s it.

(BABY CRIES) Oh, shit!

WOMAN: Who dropped him?

Sort of both of us.

Sort of one of you pick him up. Yes, my lady.

Oh. Hello.

(BABY CONTINUES CRYING) Aren’t you a lovely boy? There.

(BABY FUSSES)

No. Here.

Before I cut you free… what shall I call you?

Do I even bother?

Perhaps I should have left you on the floor to rot.

Do you know why?

You are my second son.

And you will inherit nothing of any human value.

What use are you to anybody?

(SNEEZES)

Leave him attached for now.

And go, before I avenge the dropping business.

(THUNDER CRASHES)

(DOOR OPENS)

What of his name, my lady?

He is my George.

(TENSE MUSIC)

(SIGHS)

(ROPE CREAKS)

(KNIFE SCRAPING)

(MAN GRUNTS)

(SPLUTTERS, GASPS)

Good morning, George. (GROANS)

(SEDUCTIVE THEME MUSIC)

(MUSIC BUILDS)

(MUSIC FADES)

Maybe you apply it?

Is it sore, brother? Course it’s fucking sore.

Could have ripped his head off.

(GOADING) Now he’s on his deathbed like poor Daddy.

Kit! Yes, Kit. You and your sister, go.

But why can John stay, Mother? Because he’s the eldest.

And I prefer him. By quite the margin.

(HUFFS) (TUTS)

I want to be scarred forever.

Perhaps go, Miss Ashcattle? And take that one with you.

MISS ASHCATTLE: (HUSHED) I told you to put a cork up it, Jenny.

He’s just so… pretty.

(DOOR CLOSES)

What did you do? I don’t want to go.

All I want is Jenny.

I love her. She’s a servant.

Not in my heart. That’s not how it works.

That’s not how a single thing fucking works. Well, it should be.

Are you five?! No.

You will go to France, George. If you make me go,

I will kill myself, but this time I will make sure.

Fall in a way that breaks your neck?

So that’s why you left me to hang?

I left you because it was staged, you were play acting.

It was real, I promise you.

You just want to send me off to France to learn the ways of refinement.

And then return to marry some awful rich wife and milk her fat fucking dowry. It’s about more than that.

No, it’s not. I never beat you.

Perhaps I’ll begin. Father has enough times. Why don’t you?

(SCREAMS) Mother, don’t hurt him.

I won’t.

Think of John. Eldest and heir,

who will marry him?

How can we build and pass on anything unless we use your gifts.

(SIGHS)

What gifts? If I were a man and I looked like you, I’d rule the fucking planet.

(TEARFULLY) I don’t want to rule the fucking planet.

Then it will rule you. Second sons offer nothing. Inherit nothing.

Raise yourself, or you will be nothing.

If you make me go…

I will slit my wrists. I will make sure this time.

Oh, darling, you don’t have the will. (BREATHING HEAVILY)

Are you scared? Is that it?

To leave me?

(FIRE CRACKLES, WIND WHISTLES OUTSIDE)

Father was always against me going.

And while he still draws breath, his word means something.

Any final words… from anyone?

Better pack quick, prick.

Apart from those?

(PAPER RUSTLES)

Uh…

At least he won’t walk out on you.

(SOBS)

Get rid of him.

He reeks.

(SOMBRE MUSIC)

(GLASS SHATTERS) (GASPS, GROANS)

SIR GEORGE: ‘What were you before.

‘Sir George Villiers, Knight of the Shire, ‘dragged you from obscurity?

‘A serving girl worth nothing.’

And like a fool, I paid off the Beaumonts so they would lie and pretend you were one of theirs, so we might marry.

I gave you the Villiers name, held by great men for 500 years.

Two hundred, at most.

(LAUGHS)

And what did you give me

to carry on the Villiers name?

A hollow boy. All I built dies with your John.

You built nothing but regret, and syphilis scars.

You think you’re funny, bitch? None of this is. None.

What about that second boy, why give him my name?

As a warning. Oh. Of what?

Of what he might become if I fail him.

(CRIES OUT) More wit.

And you’d use my money to send that little tart to France?

I will. I won’t throw good money after bad.

My George, will go to France

and learn a better way than yours. (CRIES OUT)

All of you can fucking burn. (SCREAMS, THUDS)

(GROANS)

(BREATHES HEAVILY) Anymore to share?

(MUSIC BECOMES EERIE)

Fuck… (SPLUTTERS)

Nor I…

(BOTH CRY OUT)

(MUSIC INTENSIFIES)

(LABOURED BREATHING)

(PANTING)

(GROANING)

I see you looking at all the stable lads.

Do you like boys too, or what?

Shut up, Jenny. (CHUCKLES)

(PANTING) I just want you forever. (KISSING)

MAN: I’m sorry about your husband’s death,

but I am afraid I have more bad news.

I know you have little time for bookkeepers, even.

Assume I have less. I want my second boy to travel overseas.

There’s money for that, surely?

So, I only have the house?

Your husband signed over your house to one of his cousins.

I think to insulate it from his debt.

Fuck. Will the cousin sell?

No. You can stay, for a fixed rent.

I have to pay to live in my own house?

It’s not yours, that’s the crux- And-And what do I pay with, vapour?

Money.

There is also this…

Payments made, on your behalf, a long time ago.

To the Beaumont family.

The reason for payment is specified there.

If this became known, your position in society

would become untenable.

Never tell anyone of this. Understand?

(SOFTLY) But tell me

what do I do for capital?

There’s only one option.

Marry again?

Is there any worse Hell than a woman’s?(SCOFFS)

I could suggest suitable bachelors?

Though you would have to wait to not seem too unseemly.

How many weeks? Four at least.

Six if you care for…

(DEVIOUS MUSIC)

(INDISTINCT CHATTER, LAUGHTER)

Sir Thomas Compton? Afraid so. You?

Your next wife.

Sorry, love? Don’t be.

What is this? Really?

A proposal. Really.

(SCOFFS) To what, marry you?

I’m way past all that shit and noise.

Are you? You’ve had enough wives?

For two lifetimes. Three.

Why not live one more time?

Well, the cost, for a start. All living costs until we’re free.

Mm. Well, until that day, why encourage more expense

and more pain? Companionship, no? Closeness?

Well, that’s something I’ve missed.

As have I. And no, I know you are self-made.

I want none of your fortune. No rights of acquisition,

or inheritance. Nothing, except… Except…?

Except before we are wed: A small stipend to cover my son’s education.

Ah-ha! First, you talk like a courtesan

and now, just like a bookkeeper? Front and back of the same shop.

(SCOFFS) Fuck me down.

You are forward. I have been held back far too long.

Seems to me like nothing holds you back, like you’re used

to getting what you want? Oh, quite the opposite.

Why I’m presenting such favourable terms.

Come. Let us live.

You really value your son’s education enough to endure me?

(HUSKILY) You seem entirely endurable, Sir Thomas.

And, you should know… (WHISPERS) I am Mary.

(PLAYFUL MUSIC) (SIGHS)

(RECORDER PLAYS TUNELESSLY)

You’re just spitting in it.

Just take your time. Like I showed you.

I am to marry again.

Who? Father’s barely in the ground.

It won’t affect you, you’ll be in France.

You leave in a few days. It’s all arranged.

I don’t want to go.

Your want is irrelevant. JOHN: Can the music play?

I miss the music. All I want… is Jenny.

Do you know of Jenny’s family?

Her father? Her brothers? Brutes, all.

And if you stay in England, I’ll have no choice but to send her home.

She’s terrified of them. I know, isn’t it awful?

You wouldn’t.

You cannot sacrifice her to them. Please.

(TWIG SNAPS) I hate you.

Only because you know I’m right.

(BOLD MUSIC)

(SIGHS)

(SIGHS)

(HORSE WHINNIES)

(REIGNS CLINK, HORSE WHINNIES)

(SOBS SOFTLY)

(HOLLOW THUDDING) DRIVER: Whoa!

Oh, he’s fainted?

Or he’s choking?

(BREATHING HEAVILY)

I’ve never left England before. I’ve never been out to sea.

My French (PANTS)

is so ‘sans’, I’ll-I’ll never- You have nothing to fear in France.

(BREATHES SHAKILY)

What if I go later? When I’m older?

You could.

But if you miss this chance, you will fail us all.

And live, like your father, smeared in the unwashable excrement

of eternal shame.

Bon voyage. (SLAPS CARRIAGE)

(GULLS SQUAWKING, WAVES CRASHING)

MAN: Monsieur. I am Jean. How was your journey?

(GAGS)

(SPLUTTERS, PANTS, SPITS)

(COUGHS) Right.

(SPITS, COUGHS) That good?

Come.

(INTRIGUING MUSIC)

(EXHALES)

(WINCES) How were you hurt, friend?

Oh, uh… I took a tumble. So, you didn’t try to hang yourself?

No.

Where did you hear that? Your mother.

Told me in her letters.

It’s private. She’s paying me to help you.

Like I help all the English boys who come here.

And how can I help you if I don’t know who you are?

So please, do not lie to me again.

Or how will you become a gentleman?

‘Nous voila’.

Why-Why is there no-one here to greet me?(SCOFFS SOFTLY)

In England, its customary for the household-They’re busy.

Doing what?

(PEOPLE MOANING, GASPING)

(WOMAN GROANS WITH PLEASURE)

(WOMAN EXCLAIMING IN FRENCH, MAN GRUNTING)

Ah… Oh, I… I apologise, sir.

(IN FRENCH)

Thank… No, thank you. (CHUCKLES)

(SIGHS)

Did you take me through there on purpose

to humiliate me?

(SPEAKS IN FRENCH)

The other…

(EXCITED MOANS AND GRUNTING)

(WOMAN CRIES OUT)

(MUFFLED MOANING)

Where are we?

France.

(HORSES WHINNYING) (DEVIOUS MUSIC)

Come on.

Purchased the place after I made real money.

When we still had young children.

Perhaps it’s ill-advised, rattling around here, alone in my cage,

all these years? There are worse cages.

(CHUCKLES SOFTLY) So, you won’t mind living here?

(WHIMPERS)

What’s wrong? Do know, Mary,

I’ll not risk all this.

A contract must signed. Don’t worry. I know just the man.

(DEVIOUS MUSIC CONTINUES)

(PLAYS MELANCHOLY TUNE ON RECORDER)

(SIGHS)

My God, George. What is that?

It was a gift. A gift?

A gift? Who from, a child?

(SIGHS) Why would you do that?

Follow me, Mr Piper.

That was a present. Oh, you want to be known

as the son of a knight who falls in love with stupid

little serving girls and also plays a shitty pauper’s flute?

So, you know about that, too? I know everything.

Your poor older brother.

Your violent father.

How he beat you

daily.

And you never fought back.

You just

took it.

Mm. (SOFTLY) What was I supposed to do?

Defend yourself.

Like a man.

Not shiver and cry, like a lost boy.

(GRUNTS, CLEARS THROAT)

Voila.

Own your body.

Your territory.

In France,

and even in your wet, sad excuse of a little fucking country,

it counts for who you are, George.

Yes?

There are rules for those who rule.

Codes.

Honour.

(CLICKS FINGERS) Also

from now on

no more English. It is like um

disease of the tongue, it debases the mind.

So, from now on…

(SASSY STRING MUSIC) There.

(BIRDS TWEETING)

(SWORD SWOOSHES)

(SWORDS CLINKING, SCRAPING)

(GRUNTS)

(GRUNTS, GROANS)

(SIGHS)

(SWORD SWOOSHES)

Ah…

Ooh!

(BOTH GRUNT)

(TENSE MUSIC)

(CHUCKLES SOFTLY)

(CHUCKLES)

(SPEAKING IN FRENCH)

(MUSIC DROWNS SPEECH)

(FIRE CRACKLING)

CROMPTON: There are 15 rooms that are being decorated at the moment.

OK. I’ll report that two or three months’ time would have been fine.

Thank you. Yes.

Who was that? You don’t wanna know.

How’s your fetching lad doing in France?

He turned full frog yet? No. Tell me, who was it?

Him? (EXHALES) The parasite’s parasite.

Advance party. Scouting for the King.

His Majesty’s summer travels bring him our way.

He must be housed and fed, watered and wiped.

The King will be staying here? Oh, God, fucking no.

Our renovations won’t be finished in time.

What renovations? I thought you were the bright one

of your brood, Mary. Why would you lie about having renovations?

I put King James up once before and the big buggering go at fucker

nearly bankrupted me ten times over. More. Is it not worth the price?

How provincial are you, girl? I have never met the King.

I should like to.

For once in my life.

I understand your instinct. I do, really.

But, honestly, it is a fucking nightmare.

The Expense. Paperwork. The mess.

Or

Do you think you can seduce His Maj how you did me?

I could try. Well, I fear you’ve got one too few penises

and two too many tits. Well, I know about the King’s tastes.

But still, I’d enjoy the privilege. Time with him.

Conversation. Conversation?!

He won’t give you a second fucking glance, woman. A first is fine.

Look, I-I admit, I am provincial.

My husband barely let our family leave the house.

I’ve been shuttered away in the dark for so long,

I want to emerge into the light. Let me meet His Majesty, please.

(SIGHS) I promise you, love.

The King is a dead-eyed, horny-handed horror

who surrounds himself with many deceitful, well-hung beauties

unlike anything you know.

Indulge me, husband.

What’s the worst a well-hung beauty can do?

(SCOFFS) You’ll find out.

(OMINOUS MUSIC)

(HORSE WHINNIES, BIRDS SQUAWK)

(HOOVES CLICKING)

DRIVER: Whoa, there!

Sir David Graham. Only Englishman on the King’s staff.

A shine less turd of a man, but I feel for him.

Why, if he’s a turd? Because he has to deal with them.

The Well-Hung Crew. The men of the King’s bedchamber.

All Scots.

And he, most hung:

Earl of Somerset.

(DOOR CLOSES)The King’s… well, every-fucking-thing.

SOMERSET: All of you inside!

King James is tired, does not want to see anyone.

(MUFFLED) King James will not be ready to see anyone until dinner.

Is this normal?

Nothing’s normal with these cunts.

(FIRE CRACKLES) (PEOPLE CLEARING THROATS)

(SCOFFS SOFTLY)

(SNIFFS) Hm.

(SNIFFS)

Any news, my lord?

Oh, the King is… more tired than we thought.

He may, in fact, be very ill.

As such, he does not want to dine.

Or anyone else to, either,

in case the sound of your collective masticating

echoes through to his very modest rooms

and disturbs his fragile peace yet further.

If King James is not himself, then of course none of us shall eat.

But may you stay a while with us and we converse with you, my lord?

No.

Go.

What is wrong with the King? You may never know.

He is prone to illness, but also moods, tempers, hangovers.

And then you have Somerset who lies as often as he defecates.

So… forget him,

come to bed.

Or are you gonna stalk the halls all night trying to get a wee glimpse?

(SIGHS)

KING JAMES: Why do this here? Fucking relax!

You mean accept less than I deserve? No, I mean… No! Robert!

Where are you going?

What are you doing? Are you a spy?

It is my house, my Lord. No. No. No. No.

I am Lord Chamberlain, privy councillor.

Wherever I am is my property for the King’s business.

What? What is it?

You are so handsome.

But you must be terrified, no?

His head will turn one day for another more beautiful?

Well, luckily, there is no such man.

If there is we’ll have to meet him.

You really want to meet some- It was a wee joke, for fuck’s sake!

Your Majesty.

Now, where were we before all those rash, silly words?

Must we fight like cats?

We should play.

We should play like pups.

(BREATHING HEAVILY)

To the kennels.

(DOOR CLOSES)

For a thousand years, since the Romans, since Hadrian,

we kept the Scottish hordes at bay.

Not much more than a decade of James’ rule

and we’re over-run here at home.

The King is Scottish. You don’t want a new monarch?

That’s treason. No, I like the King.

Even pity him. He’s a… he a different kind of Celt.

I mean that surly sodomite Somerset and his Scottish semen-guzzlers.

So, you’d prefer we were ruled by our own plucky, homegrown sodomites?

(SCOFFS) It would be better.

Why? Do you know any?

I may.

(JEAN SINGS IN FRENCH)

(KISSES)

(DOOR OPENS, CLOSES) (SOFT LAUGHTER)

(MUFFLED LAUGHTER)

(DOOR OPENS)

Jean…

George…

Ah…

(SCOFFS)

Mm.

(IN ENGLISH) I don’t understand.

You said there were rules.

Rules about how one should act

about honour. No, no, no.

(KISSING) (MOANS SOFTLY)

(SOFT, INTENSE MUSIC)

(KISSING AND MOANING)

(HOOVES THUDDING, HORSE WHINNIES)

I like giraffes.

Good. Me too.

Such long necks.

Colours of dawn and day. Mm.

DRIVER: Yah!

Whoa!

Who’s this stranger? It’s me, Mother.

My son’s not due back for another week.

Did you miss me?

Is it George?! Welcome home.

Whoever you are.

Oh! (CHUCKLES)

Your new inclination… always in you, I think.

(SPEAKS IN FRENCH)

They’re more than that. They’re currency.

You married well.

And I hear the King visits you here? It’s impressive.

Once. Briefly. Unimpressive.

What’s he like? James?

So, cock-struck it’s like a curse. (LAUGHS)

Yes, the French say that. And laugh. Well, it’s not funny to him.

They also say how weary he is? Of Somerset?

(HUSHED) They argue like man and wife. What about mine?

Have you found me a wife? I’m sure you have just the girl in mind?

Hmm. I think we aim higher.

James dines soon at Apethorpe with his brother-in-law, the Danish King.

And a new friend tells me there are openings for cupbearers.

You want me to hold a man’s cup while he swallows?

I’ll leave the specifics to you, but it’s not a man.

It’s a King.

So, are you ready for His Majesty or not?

(PLAYFUL MUSIC)

(CHICKENS CLUCKING, CAGES RATTLE)

Now, now… this tray of delights is fit for His Majesty.

Well, two of their Majesties.

The Danes’ they love their meat, they do. So, what are you gonna do?

I thought I was supposed to be serving drinks?

You were. To be.

Our darling lad little Laurence here was meant to be serving

the two-king table their meat tonight, but some Devil

pulled their Devil strings and instead, it’s the Devil you.

Do be careful.

Heavy load, that.

Yeah… (SIGHS)

Thank you, chef.

(DREAMY CHORAL MUSIC)

(MUSIC INTENSIFIES)

(DIALOGUE MUTED)

(CRIES OUT, GRUNTS)

(PEOPLE EXCLAIM) (PUNCHES SMACK)

(GRUNTING WITH EFFORT)

(SLAPS) Calm yourself. Do you know the customary punishment

for starting a physical assault in your monarch’s presence?

You lose a hand.

As there are two kings here: It’s both.

Stop resisting my husband. He tripped me deliberately!

Don’t you dare talk back to the woman who shares my bed!

(WHIMPERS) You will be silent and still,

or it will be a massacre. (CRIES OUT)

(PEOPLE EXCLAIM)

The other boy did trip him. Sought his own justice.

There’s no need to implement more. All is done. Your Majesty, I.

Ah, ah… Does King Christian agree?

(CHUCKLES) I enjoyed the fight, but I’m here for the ale.

(LAUGHS) And what is Queen Anne’s decree?

(GROANS)

Same as my king’s.

Let the boy keep both wrists. You saw what you saw.

(GROANS WITH RELIEF)

(PLATE CLATTERS)

Back to work lad. (PANTS)

Music.

(UPBEAT PERCUSSION AND STRING MUSIC PLAYS)

(PUDDLE SPLASHES) (GRUNTS)

(GROANING)

(SHEEP BLEATING, CHICKENS CLUCKING)

(HOOVES CLICKING)

(HORSE WHINNIES)

(DOG BARKING)

(DOOR CREAKS)

(EERIE MUSIC)

(CROMPTON SNORES SOFTLY)

(DRAWER SCRAPES SOFTLY)

(SNORING CONTINUES)

(MUSIC INTENSIFIES)

(FOX BARKS DISTANTLY)

Apethorpe went well, then?

When you were young

did you ever disgrace your family?

I barely knew them.

Who raised you?

Myself.

I raised myself.

No

Like this.

Do you know why you couldn’t?

Pride.

I have none. Oh, of course you do.

Now, tell me what happened.

Leave nothing out.

We face the world together.

My first child died inside me.

My second was John.

And then, there was you.

Second sons are usually a waste of life

and yet I knew, as I held you with your grace and light,

I might raise you up.

I’m sorry. Why?

I ruined everything-Self-pity is so ugly,

leave it for the ugly.

But beauty is fragile. It does not last.

So, we must act quickly.

But how? Kings do not pardon men

for crimes done in their sight against their lover’s say.

Unless they yearn for the new.

He saw you.

And he will think of you tonight as he sleeps

wakes… defecates.

Pleasures himself. All we need to do is get you back in his sight.

Are you pleased with me?

As the snake as Eve ate her dark fruit.

If we tread right, George, he’ll be yours.

Mine.

Ours.

(SINISTER MUSIC)

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