The Empress Season 1, Episodes 3 and 4 Review

The Empress. Image courtesy Netflix
The Empress. Image courtesy Netflix /

When we last checked in with Elisabeth and Franz in Netflix’s The Empress, they fell hopelessly in love after knowing each other for one day. Now they have a wedding to plan, as well as the issue of war.

Does Elisabeth understand the importance of her new role as Empress once she marries Franz? How will Maximilian handle the news?

The Empress Season 1 Episode 3 – The Wedding

Elisabeth and Helene’s relationship has been strained due to her engagement to Franz. In distress, Helene even cut nearly all of her beautiful, long blonde hair.

That’s how you know this is serious. Naturally, Elisabeth’s mother has changed her tune since her daughter’s engagement.

Honestly spare me your lies. When Elisabeth isn’t dealing with her family, she’s learning the ways of the Austrian court, which includes having a set schedule and a plethora of ladies in her court.

One of whom is actually a rebel spy, Leontine. She is trying to become one Elisabeth’s allies, but she too has to watch her back as one of the ladies in the court grows very suspicious of her.

Elisabeth struggles with the rules and obligations she must follow, which includes the ever dreadful and painful purity check. Both a doctor and priest must check to make sure she had not slept with another man, for if she did, the marriage cannot continue.

Although she seems to barely pass the exam, she is bitter about the experience and vocally expresses it that evening. Naturally, her little outburst in front of the priest, Franz and his mother does not bode well and they immediately gaslight her.

It’s here that we see the beginnings of a very dangerous trend. When Elisabeth becomes hurt by those around her, especially Franz, she seeks Maximilian for comfort.

Maximilian is hardly an angel as we learn just how cruel he can unknowingly become, when Franz pays a grieving father who lost both daughters to keep quiet. Franz is already growing annoyed by Maximilian, already troubled by his seemingly obvious obsession over Elisabeth.

But Franz cannot dwell on his brother for long as he decides to not choose a side in the war between England-France and Russia. Instead, he wants to build a railroad to unite his country and expand their reach.

Naturally Franz’s mother disagrees. But thankfully he is showing signs of his independence from her.

Things surprisingly get worse for Elisabeth, and on her wedding day of all days. The night prior, she and her ladies attended a wild and rather questionable party by Maximilian where she proceeds to get a little drunk.

It’s here that she realizes Maxmilian is after her, but she does not reciprocate his feelings. Her wedding thankfully is beautiful.

Honestly, Elisabeth’s wedding dress is breathtaking. Her presence alone seems to have garnered a large crowd of fans whom the guards can barely hold back.

But naturally things sort of fall apart that night. She is stalked by Franz’s ex-lover the countess, although she does make up with Helene and even asks her to stay and lead her ladies of the court.

When Sophie gets wind of this, she’s beyond unhappy and sneakily gets Elisabeth to change her mind. In fact, by the end of the night, all of Elisabeth’s family returns home, disappointed in her but also understanding that she needs to do this on her own.

Good riddance! After an insane night of sadness, stress and anxiety, Elisabeth and Franz finally have a moment alone together.

He confesses about his past with the countess but promises that he only loves Elisabeth. Desperate to have the one person she needs in her life, Elisabeth forgives him.

After the awkward wedding night procedure, Elisabeth and Franz wind up falling asleep together on their terms in the same room they laid on the floor together to cool off from the heat. The next morning, they make love without realizing that Maxmilian is plotting to possibly kill Franz.

If he is able to remove Franz from the throne, Austria will have France’s support. Austria would get involved in the war against Russia.

The Empress Season 1 Episode 4 – The Plot Thickens

If you thought episode 3 was rough, things only get worse. Two months have passed since the wedding and Franz and Elisabeth are still madly in love with each other.

Elisabeth hasn’t bled for 30 days which leads many to hope she’s pregnant. This issue comes up continually as Elisabeth is often forced to eat certain foods and avoid certain activities.

The idea of being pregnant doesn’t truly seem to affect her either way, as she wants to continue to do things as she normally does. The war between England-France and Russia is still going on and Franz is still being pressured to get involved.

Still, he relents, preferring to spend his time and money on the railroad. Here comes one of the most common tropes in historical dramas!

Maxmilian hasn’t been himself since the wedding and Sophie wants Franz to give him something to do. As yes, Franz must be his brother’s keeper, like he doesn’t have enough on his plate.

The truth of the matter is Franz doesn’t like that Maxmilian has feelings for Elisabeth and he worries about his brother taking the kingdom away from him. Which, as luck would have it, that is exactly what he is trying to do.

Even going as far as holding secret meetings with a group of people and sabotaging Franz’s plans to meet the Russian Emperor’s son and wife. It has become clear that Maxmilian doesn’t desire the throne but rather Elisabeth herself.

As crazy as it sounds, Franz hopes to meet Alexander and his wife in a private meeting looking to sway his opinions on wars in general. What was supposed to be an intimate meeting becomes complicated when Sophie invites herself as well as Maxmilian.

Sophie at this point, should be the last person to judge another when we find out that Franz’s father is not her husband but a man she’s had an affair with for years. Add to it, the episode seems to suggest that they lost a little girl years ago that Sophie refuses to talk about.

It does explain the random hallucinations or memories of her and a little girl. Sophie, as cruel as she can be, worries often, knowing Franz is the future of Austria.

She tells him as much when the people’s rebellion completely fails years prior. But at the same time, she needs to keep her mouth shut and let her son and his wife handle things on their own.

The plan goes smoothly at first, until Maxmilian basically insinuates that Franz refuses to get involved with the war so that both sides kill each other leaving him with the rewards. Things get worse when Elisabeth is hunting with Alexander, and she saves his life by killing a wild boar.

Offended and angered, Alexander and his wife hastily leave. Franz as well as the rest of the group are angry with her as well.

Franz even goes as far as ordering Elisabeth to go back home in the morning. She, however, gets a carriage ride with Maxmilian where the two get drunk.

When she returns home, Franz is angry to see her spending time with Maximilian. The episode ends with Elisabeth bleeding, meaning she is not pregnant.

The Empress Season 1 Episodes 3 and 4 – Honest Thoughts

Episodes 3 and 4 were wild to say the least. Already we can gather that when it is just Franz and Elisabeth, they are happy and content.

Isn’t life often like that today? But the second someone else interferes, most likely to torment Elisabeth, (cough Sophie cough), everything falls apart.

Franz is a good man but sometimes he needs to remember that he is both an Emperor and husband. He loves Elisabeth but hates it when she seemingly ruins things, even if its unintentional and frankly nonexistent.

What was she supposed to do when the wild boar was charging at Alexander? Let it kill him?

Apparently, not one person in the room thinks to say this. Truthfully, as newlyweds, and a couple who didn’t know each other well before marriage, they need to agree to communicate with each other.

Regardless of how mad or frustrated they may get; they need to do this. This is mostly directed at Franz.

Elisabeth tried to tell him how disgusting Alexander was acting with her before the boar attack, and he seemed oddly dismissive of it. Franz needs to continue keeping his mouth at arm’s length and he needs to be upfront with Elisabeth completely about Maxmilian.

No one is a mind reader, communicate! With all that said, I adore Franz and Elisabeth as a couple.

They are truly in their own, perfect world when it is just the two of them. They need to hold onto that and remind themselves of that whenever times get tough.

Otherwise, I fear their marriage will not survive.

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What did you think of The Empress season 1 episodes 3 and 4? Leave your answers in the comments below!

You can watch The Empress season 1 on Netflix.