The second season of Victoria continues with a new episode airing on PBS Masterpiece on February 4, despite ample ratings competition from Super Bowl 52. Queen Victoria (Jenna Coleman) is on a mission in Episode 4, as the series shifts its attention to the serious plight of the Irish, amid the potato famine that struck Ireland in the 1840s.
What else is in store for Episode 4? A return, a visit, and a death are among the events unfolding in this solemn installment of Victoria.
Caution: Mild spoilers for Victoria Season 2, Episode 4 are below.
What is the plot of Season 2, Episode 4?
Per PBS’s press site, the official synopsis reads as follows.
“News of the horrific famine in Ireland has finally reached the queen. She is adamant that her government should be doing more to help, but meets with surprising opposition from her prime minister.”
The famine in Ireland and Victoria’s handling of the crisis will be the cornerstone of Episode 4. This dark chapter in history holds a close connection for the series’ showrunner, Daisy Goodwin.
When this installment of Victoria initially aired in the U.K., Radio Times reported on Goodwin’s tweets at the time, wherein she revealed Dr. Robert Traill (Martin Compston), who is a pivotal player in Episode 4, is an actual person and her “distant relative.”
In a separate article she authored for Radio Times, Goodwin revealed Traill was her “great-great-great-grandfather” and that unlike the show’s portrayal, he never met Queen Victoria in real life. She explained her decision to include the scene despite its non-historicity.
“In the episode about the Irish potato famine, I have Victoria meet the Irish clergyman Robert Traill (my great-great-great-grandfather), even though it never happened in real life, because I wanted to show how affected she was by the suffering in Ireland. She has been called the Famine Queen, but in fact Victoria herself gave £2,000 (more like £150,000 in today’s money), to Irish relief – it was her government who let the Irish starve, not their Queen.”
The Potato Famine
Do you want to know more about the context of this episode and the potato famine? Radio Times has an expertly penned breakdown of everything you need to know about what caused the famine in Ireland and the aftermath of the tragedy, including some insight into the actions Victoria took in real life to help.
What’s next for Victoria and Albert?
Victoria is not the only busy half of the royal couple. Albert (Tom Hughes) takes on his latest mission in Episode 4 by supporting another man’s vision for a cleaner future. Their goal is to improve the public sanitation of London and Albert suggests they begin with the palace.
The couple also welcomes Albert’s brother Ernest (David Oakes) back to the palace, and he has some problems all his own.
Along with Victoria and Albert, the series will continue to follow the palace servants and their activities. Victoria will also split its attention to Ireland, focusing on the famine as it transpires on the frontlines. Figuring prominently into the episode is the aforementioned, Robert Traill, whose campaign to help those affected by the famine takes him on a compelling personal journey.
When and where will Episode 4 air?
The fourth episode of Season 2 will air Sunday, February 4, at 9 p.m. EST on PBS Masterpiece.
How long will this episode last?
Episode 4’s exact runtime is 52 minutes and 20 seconds.
Can I still catch up on Season 2, Episode 3?
Yes, you can. Episode 3 is still available to stream on PBS’s website, and you can click here to watch it. As has been the case with the previously posted episodes, the chance to watch it has an expiration date. According to PBS’s site, Episode 3 will expire February 11 at 11 p.m. EST.
What is fact and what is fiction on Victoria?
When watching historical series such as Victoria, sometimes you have to wonder: what is real and what is the work of a writer’s fictional flourishes? For those of you who want to know, PBS has a terrific breakdown of what was fact and what was fiction in Episode 3 in the special features section of their website.
Episode 4 of Victoria Season 2 premieres February 4 at 9 p.m. EST on PBS Masterpiece.