Paris has been somewhat of a mystery throughout Still Star-Crossed
. But Benvolio and Rosaline finally learn that he's alive and working with Lady Capulet when they interrogate the Friar in "Nature Hath Framed Strange Fellows in Her Time." Now Paris is out in the open. The question is: What does he want?
Isabella, meanwhile, heads off to Venice with the intention of manipulating the Doge. The Doge is a disgusting pig, and Isabella finds herself in over her head. But she proves to be as intelligent and quick as she claims when she blackmails the Doge's mistress into helping her. She really is the one running the show. So will she get the power and recognition she deserves?
Isabella Takes on the Doge
Still Star-Crossed's "Nature Hath Framed Strange Fellows in Her Time" begins with Isabella going off to Venice despite Rosaline and Benvolio's disappearance. Prince Escalus doesn't want her going alone, but he needs to worry about his royal duties and finding Rosaline and Isabella can handle the Doge on her own.
So Isabella heads to Venice and finds the Doge with a bunch of women. Let's just say, it's a little awkward.
So Isabella goes to see the Doge later, and he introduces her to another woman named Valentina. Isabella apologizes for the death of his brother/ambassador, but he's not quick to forgive. He says if she were truly sorry, she'd get on her knees for him, which is gross. She tries to manipulate him and says they could discuss their relationship after they discussed politics, but things aren't going to be that easy. The Doge's brother died, he's furious, and he wants her to pay.
Isabella meets one of the ladies in waiting, who helps her dress for court. Then Valentina comes in and asks Isabella if she's a virgin. She says Isabella needs to be ready for how "insatiable" the Doge is. "For what it's worth, I heard one or two of the girls enjoyed it," the lady in waiting says. That's not comforting.
Isabella then has dinner with the Doge. She wants to talk, and he obviously just wants to sleep with her. They're interrupted though, when Valentina shows up and tells the Doge that blood was found on Isabella's sheets. Isabella has her period and the Doge is thoroughly disgusted.
Isabella decides to just leave Venice after the Doge signs some papers. It turns out she left blood on her sheets by cutting her leg instead of having her period. But then Valentina shows up and says the Doge wants Isabella to stay a while longer.
So Isabella goes to Valentina to talk about their cities' alliance, but Valentina says they both know what Isabella really wants to talk about: She's desperate to preserve her virtue. Valentina basically says she has to sleep with the Doge, but Isabella offers to pay her to help her get out of it. Of course, things are never that easy.
Later at dinner, the Doge complains about the Papal States acting up. Then he tells Isabella that Valentina told him about their discussion. Valentina would never betray him for any price. He reminds Isabella that his brother was murdered and he could start a war or murder her brother in revenge. She needs to be grateful he hasn't done that, especially if she wants him to sign her treaty.
Luckily, the lady in waiting wants to help Isabella. She says she needs something more valuable to the Doge than Isabella's honor. Isabella thinks there might be some clues in Valentina's journal.
So Isabella asks Valentina for advice on how to please the Doge while the lady in waiting searches for the journal. She breaks into a locked drawer and finds tons of gold coins. Luckily, Isabella recognizes them. She goes to the Doge and Valentina and tells them about a spy and traitor in Verona. A trusted advisor had a hidden compartment in his desk and had gold coins from Milan inside. He was spying from Milan. So, Isabella realizes, Valentina's been spying for the Papal States. Isabella says she won't tell the Doge if she helps her. Obviously, Valentina agrees. So they tell the Doge that his brother was the one who had the coins and was spying for the Papal States. Valentina suggests that they call things even with Isabella since she helped find out who the spy was and they sign the treaty.
So with her mission complete, Isabella heads back to Verona. The leady in waiting gives her a memento from her time in Venice and says she'll be a great leader when women rule some day. They have a pretty emotional goodbye, so we may not have seen the last of her.
Rosaline and Benvolio's Mission
Rosaline and Benvolio are sill on the lam. Rosaline wants to take a break and start a fire, but Benvolio's much more cautious. They're being hunted, after all. Of course, they're sitting in the cold and dark, so Benvolio naturally has to keep her warm. Can these two admit they're in love already?
Friar Lawrence had told Benvolio that there were "forces at work greater than both you and I combined." That's it? Rosaline didn't realize Benvolio had such little information when she agreed to run off with him, so she starts freaking out and regretting her decision. Still, Benvolio's been framed and needs to get out of the city and clear his name. Plus, the Friar has to know something and they're going to find out what.
Eventually, Rosaline and Benvolio make it to the church, but they're scared that the people will turn him in since he's wanted for murder. Benvolio knocks on the door and begs for sanctuary. The man who answers the door refuses him sanctuary because of all the trouble in Verona, but Benvolio swears he's innocent and says he needs to clear his name and restore his city to greatness. Eventually, the man agrees.
Later that night, Rosaline and Benvolio put on disguises and search for Friar Lawrence. They find him and he calls the guards. They hide and a big search ensues, but the Friars turn the guards away. They then find what looks like a dead Friar Lawrence, but Rosaline knows the truth: He took the same potion as Juliet.
Benvolio doesn't believe that Friar will wake up and he wants to run away before the Prince finds him and convicts him of murder, but Rosaline asks him to trust her and stay. So they stay. Benvolio says she could go back to Verona herself, but she ruined her reputation by running off with a man. At least that means she won't have to marry anyone. She says she's not sorry she ran with him. Then the Friar wakes up.
The Friar says he just wanted their families to stop their war, but he can't help them. His only advice is to stay out of the city. Rosaline threatens to accuse him of witchcraft if he doesn't help, so Friar Lawrence says that Livia healed Paris and Paris is helping Lady Capulet. Rosaline is shocked and decides to go back to Verona right away to save Livia. And Benvolio just has to go with her even though he'd be arrested the minute he shows up in the city again.
They have to stay off the road without being caught, but Rosaline needs to get back to Livia fast because she thinks Paris and Lady Capulet have evil plans in store for her. A bunch of guards show up and they hide in some bushes and luckily aren't seen.
They eventually get a room and agree that Benvolio will sleep on the floor. And things get pretty flirtatious when Benvolio takes a bath. Rosaline reminds him he doesn't have to go back with her, but he feels "responsible" for her. She promises she won't let them kill him if he's caught. She'll say he's "innocent and kind" and a good friend.
The guards show up just as Rosaline and Benvolio get ready to leave. Rosaline decides to go out and say Benvolio left her behind so he can have time to get away. She demands to see the Prince.
Instead of being taken to Prince Escalus, though, Rosaline is taken to Paris. Apparently, Prince Escalus left the search in his hands. This can't be good.
What does Paris want? Will Rosaline and Benvolio be reunited? Leave your comments below!
(Image courtesy of ABC)