Madness, meet the monarchy. Season 2 of The Royals came to an end tonight, and there were so many twists and turns that the E! series practically gave us whiplash while we were along for the ride. The episode, called "The Serpent That Did Sting Thy Father's Life," begins in a plane, which is being flown by a soldier over the sea. When an operator warns of danger as the aircraft makes a rapid descent, the pilot turns off the radio system, and then he flashes back to his childhood. Turns out, the pilot is none other than Prince Robert. We see him as a young boy, running around the palace while flying a paper plane on the day that his siblings, Liam and Eleanor, were born. In the present, we see Queen Helena reminiscing about the day her twins were born, too.
Thats when the episode flashes back to events that began 36 hours earlier. The story picks up just after the shocking end of last week’s episode, where we saw Jasper tell Prince Liam that he knew who killed his father, King Simon. Now, Jasper and a gun-toting Liam head to the security room, where Liam watches the startling footage of the palace’s Head of Security, Ted Pryce, killing his father. Infuriated and betrayed, Liam tries to leave the room to track Pryce down, only to realize that Jasper has locked him in after anticipating the Prince’s next move. It’s for everyone’s own good, Jasper explains. Plus, he has a better plan to get revenge on Pryce—one that doesn’t involve going straight to the police.
As Liam tells Eleanor the news, Cyrus remains blissfully unaware of the latest update about his brother’s murder. Instead, he plans a celebration: his wedding. Cyrus tells Helena that he’s getting married right away, even though he and Prudence seem far from ready to live happily-ever-after. Helena says that she’s done fighting Cyrus for the throne, and she’s accepted the fact that Prudence will become the new Queen of England. Cyrus is skeptical, but Helena claims she’s ready to move on—although she does admit that she would “rather attend an execution” than be present for his royal wedding. Not that she could make it, anyway. Helena is heading to The King’s Cup, the first annual football match dedicated to her late husband. But before that, Agent James Hill hands Helena a flash drive containing the footage of her husband’s murder. After watching it, Helena heads down to the palace’s hidden tunnel, where her kids and their bodyguards are hatching a plan to take down Pryce and his recent co-conspirator, Dominique Stewart’s brother.
At the same time, Cyrus’s pregnant fiance, Prudence, hands him a prenup. “Nothing says true love like a wife who blackmails you,” Cyrus says before signing the papers. Shortly after, we see the pair in the chapel. After they’re joined in holy matrimony, Cyrus tries to kiss his new bride—but she turns away. As she heads out, security guards block her way as Cyrus reveals that she’s not going anywhere until she “spits out” his firstborn son.
Back at the palace, Helena is convinced that she’s to blame for Simon’s death. She apologizes to her kids, saying she’s responsible for their father’s fate because she was “inconsiderate” and “unkind” to Pryce following his wife’s death years prior. For once, Liam and Eleanor tell their mother that she isn’t to blame. In response, Helena tells her kids that no matter what happens tomorrow, “Remember that I love you.” Looks like we’re back on what Cyrus has officially dubbed #TeamHelena.
As the royals prepare to set their revenge plan into action, Eleanor thanks Jasper for “never giving up” and finding her father’s killer. She says that doesn’t know if she can go through with their plan, because if it does work, then one of them could die tomorrow. Either way, Eleanor has one last request for Jasper: to go away. She explains that it’s too hard for her to see him every day, and she asks him to leave and never return once this is all over. Tearfully, he agrees.
The next day, the family’s plan quickly goes off the rails. As they’re set to leave for the King’s Cup, Liam is nowhere to be found. Taking matters into his own hands, he gets in the car that Helena was supposed to ride in with Pryce. Soon, he pulls a gun on the murderous bodyguard. But after taking one quick call from a begging Eleanor, Liam decides not to become a killer himself. Suddenly, it’s Pryce who’s pointing a gun at Liam—but he quickly hands over the weapon and instructs Liam to “do it.” Pryce explains that he committed the crime as a form of justice, but it ended up being nothing more than retaliation. At this point, the car pulls up to the stadium, and the pair casually walk inside.
As they make their way to the center of the field, Eleanor, Agent Hill, and Jasper are setting the plan into motion. They upload a video to the stadium’s computer system as Liam begins to speak to the audience. “What you see of our family, it’s pretty much what we allow you to see,” he says. “But I promise you, what you’re about to see is the truth—on my father’s grave.” All eyes turn to the screen, which shows the Grand Duchess Alexandra enter the palace’s main room. For a minute, it looks like the video is about to show her confess to killing Dominique Stewart—until the video cuts to Pryce stabbing King Simon, that is. As the spectators in the stands realize what they’re watching, they begin to storm the field, and right before he’s viciously attacked by an angry mob, Pryce turns to Liam. “Tell Ophelia not to miss me,” he says. And just like that, Liam gets in the car and rides away, passing a sign that reads, “Down with the Henstridge monarchy” along the way.
Back in Cyrus’s world, Prudence has just given birth. Cyrus plans to announce his son’s arrival to “appease” the people after the day’s violent chaos. But suddenly, the baby has disappeared, and so has Prudence. Helena appears, explaining that her friendly chat with Cyrus earlier in the day was an act. She never had any intention of making peace, and she’s been working with Prudence to orchestrate a sham marriage with a fake prenup. A shocked Cyrus learns that he and Prudence weren’t even married by a priest; they were “married” by Helena’s gynecologist. When Cyrus asks Helena why she’s doing this to him, she simply says, “Alistair Lacey. You take away my future, I take away yours.” And then she heads to King Simon’s tomb.
“My son is the rightful heir to the throne, and Simon’s DNA will prove it,” Helena says. “Let’s make things right—get me those bones.” But when Simon’s tomb is broken open, Helena looks shocked at what’s inside. But before we find out why, the scene flashes to a beach. A soldier is lying on the sand, and his helmet reads “HRH R. Henstridge,” a.k.a. Helena and Simon’s believed-to-be-dead firstborn son, Prince Robert. Suddenly, the soldier’s hand forms a fist. After all this time, could it really be that Prince Robert is very much alive somewhere? We’ll have to wait until next season to find out.