‘The Serpent Queen’ Episode 1 Ending, Explained: How Did Catherine Become Queen?

The Serpent Queen

Welcome to the Ending Explained for the first episode of The Serpent Queen, a new period TV series that is available on Starz starting today. The series is developed by Justin Haythe and tells the story of Catherine De’Medici, a young woman who ends up getting married into the line of the Kings and Queens of France. Catherine will need to navigate the dangerous waters of the court as she faces the consequences of having been born as a Medici, the most hated family in Europe.

The show is quite entertaining thanks to the solid writing and the unexpected and twisted relationships between the characters. And the fact that the series is trying to go into a more comedic vein than the rest of similar shows tackling history. The series also has an amazing cast of actors, all of them playing fascinating characters who get involved in all sorts of problems of their own making. The show really knows how to explore the more sordid aspects of the French royal court without becoming too extreme.


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The following paragraphs contain spoilers for The Serpent Queen Episode 1. Read at your own risk.

How Did Catherine Become Queen?

The series begins by introducing us to a framing device that will serve to tell the story of the Queen in the form of a flashback. To do this, the episode introduces Rahima, a young servant girl working in the palace. Rahima is to serve the queen her food, and it becomes quite funny when we see that no one wants to be in front of the queen, no one wants to be even in the same room as her. They are all afraid of her. Rahima enters, and the queen greets her.

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The queen is preparing for her son to become King after the coronation ceremony, and before that happens, she feels the need for the company as she is quite bored. It is clear that while Catherine, the queen, is speaking with confidence, she is actually a prisoner inside her own room. Probably, put there by her own son until he could get his hands on the crown and become king once and for all. However, the queen seems to be planning something else.

The Serpent Queen

Meanwhile, she begins telling Rahima her story. Catherine tells Rahima that she reminds her of her. The servant doesn’t believe her, but Catherine tells her how she was born a Medici, but her parents died, so when alone in the world, she was given to the nuns. There she grew up being a servant to the nuns and was often punished physically if she committed one mistake. One day, a group of mercenaries came to the convent looking for her.

It is revealed that the mercenaries were working for another Medici, who was looking for her. That Medici in question is Pope Clement VII. The Pope is facing the rage of the masses, and the Vatican’s coffers are almost empty. In order to strengthen his position and solidify the continuity of the Medici house, the Pope plans to marry her to the second son of King Francis, the young Henri II, future king of France. Catherine isn’t pretty or refined, but the Pope and his team do their best to make her presentable.

What Happens When Catherine Marries Henri?

Of course, the entire marriage with Henri and his family only serves political ends. However, Catherine confesses to Rahima that the moment he met Henri, something terrible happened. She fell in love with him, which could only mean suffering and despair for her. When she arrives at court for the first time, she sees that one of her distant cousins, part of it, Diane de Poiters. Catherine feels glad that at least she has family in the court.

Diane behaves quite friendly towards Catherine, and she explains the current status of the court and how everyone relates to each other. Diane is older than Catherine, but she acts in a very jovial and casual way. It is hinted she has something with young Henri. The marriage ceremony takes place, and then the couple goes to bed. As in medieval tradition, the Pope, and everyone else, sees them having sex for the first time. It is a very uncomfortable experience for both of them.

The Serpent Queen

Henri seems quite upset after having sex. Once everyone leaves, he screams at Catherine to do the same. Catherine is taken aback. She can’t sleep, and so she tries to go back to Henri’s room and be with him, like a good wife. However, there she finds Henri wrapped as a baby, clinging to Diane’s breasts. It is a disturbing scene, and Catherine leaves in horror.

Back in the present day, Catherine finishes to tell her story to Rahima, and then accuses her of stealing. Rahima is taken to her room, and they both smile. It seems that both characters have entered into a sort of agreement that we will see develop in future episodes. The queen is more clever than people think she is.