From week to week the most confusing storyline on E! Network's hit scripted series The Royals continues to center around Princess Eleanor and her bodyguard/blackmailer Jasper. I can't seem to wrap my head around their relationships considering it began with Jasper essentially date-raping Eleanor, filming the tryst and then using it to blackmail her into sex and whatever else he wants. But this relationship is now starting to turn into something much more strange. In recent episodes it's not only starting to feel like both parties are actually starting to forge some kind of strange emotional bond with each other, where Jasper almost feels protective of Eleanor and could even love her, and Eleanor has her own ties to him thanks to a darkness inside of her. A mirror was held up to that darkness on Sunday night's episode when she and Jasper visited a rehab center during a royal countryside promotional tour, but it didn't help her see a light, yet.
I can't figure out if The Royals writers are actually trying to get fans to 'ship Jasper and Eleanor or not, but something tells me that by continuing to push them towards each other through vulnerable and highly emotionally charged situations is not at all an accident or coincidence. On Sunday night's episode "Sweet, Not Lasting," Eleanor visited several areas in local British towns from a nursing home to a children's hospital, but her last stop at a rehab center hit the closest to home. There she encountered a young woman, around her age it seemed, who had been forced into the rehab program four times by the government. She spoke about her life being difficult thanks to a terrible relationship with a drug-addict mom who once left her in a car all night in the freezing cold to get high.
The woman went on to say that her mom was her excuse for her messed up life, and then asked Eleanor was her excuse was. She was clearly emotionally struck by the woman's honesty and potentially even the similarities in the relationship with her own mom (but with different details as to why the bond was screwed up of course), and she answered by stating that she just liked to get high. She then told the woman that her past wasn't her fault and that the sooner she could let that go, the sooner she could accept the help she needed and step into the light. Basically she gave the woman the exact advice she needed to give herself with one exception, that taking responsibility and wanting the change were also necessary.
But here's where the problem occurred. After having what seemed to be a breakthrough at the rehab center, Eleanor immediately came back to the castle and took drugs once again. She then asked Jasper to come into her room and "take advantage" of her. "Is that what you want?" He asked. "We all have to make our choices," she replied. And the advantage-taking began. But what exactly did Eleanor mean by this statement? Was she trying to say that she's not yet willing to make the difficult but necessary choice of recovery or that she just wants to continue down her destructive path? And will Jasper want to help her in this journey, or does he still have nefarious plans regarding her? It's all so very confusing but despite the major problems, it's still nice to see the series is attempting to involve serious issues and honest emotions into the storyline. Now if only I could forgive and forget how Jasper and Eleanor were originally chained together.
Images: Jim Marks/E!; stilesinthetardis/Tumblr