Women’s Friendship: Camelot (Starz)

A review of Camelot (Starz) fourth episode in the context of women’s friendship.

Spoilers ahead.

Queen Igraine &  Guinevere.

Guinevere’s in love with Arthur but newly married to Leontes, but instead of counseling Guinevere on how to deal with her emotions (as someone who’s had experience with a complicated marriage), the writers have the Igraine going the route of guilting Guinevere into staying with Leontes. Arthur’s not exactly concerned with Guinevere’s feelings on the matter. He chooses to pursue her, regardless of her choice to stay and marry Leontes, regardless of Guinevere’s own warning that she’s not some prize to be won in a piss fight. Not that Leontes is any better; he’s a loyal knight, but he is a man whose pleasure partly comes from his need to be the only one Guinevere loves, the only one she’s had sex with; the writers even make sure to have him explicitly tell her so when they are in bed one morning. Gotta love that testosterone entitlement to a woman’s sexuality.

I feel like Igraine and Guinevere should be closer- they are both women caught in the middle of men’s possessiveness, both are women whose worlds have been shaped around the machinations of men. There was a bit of this in the beginning but with the fourth episode, it feels like it has become Igraine’s job to guilt Guinevere into performing her ‘duties of a wife’; I suppose we are to understand this as Igraine’s need to avoid conflict, protect Arthur’s kingship by keeping Leontes loyal. I argue that she could do this without slut-shaming Guinevere.

Morgan & Vivian.

There is a bright spot in this show.

Vivian from Camelot

Image: Vivian in Camelot

Vivian and Morgan seem close, despite the mistress/servant barrier. They speak often, and rarely about men, and both seem to appreciate the power of women’s friendship- Morgan made a point of instructing Vivian to make sure that the castle’s household had more women in the first episode.

Vivian seems honestly concerned about Morgan and is very protective of Morgan. From the looks of the most recent episode, Vivian is the only one who can get Morgan to slow down and take care of herself. For her part, when she’s not busy fighting a power trying destroy her from inside, Morgan honestly cares about Vivian, having elevated her to confidante.

I’m hoping that the show continues to develop their relationship and don’t go with the women betraying each other trope here; their friendship could also be a way for Morgan to find a way to deal with her magic’s debilitating effects.


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