01x06 - The God Who Us Has Freedom Sent

Episode transcripts for the TV show, "The Empress". Aired: September 29, 2022 - present.
When rebellious Elisabeth falls for Emperor Franz and becomes his unlikely bride, she enters a world of tensions and intrigue at the Viennese court.
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01x06 - The God Who Us Has Freedom Sent

Post by bunniefuu »

Dear Father,

when I got married, you said

that if I went to the Viennese court,

I would never be able to be myself.

But you were wrong.

I've never been myself more.

I've met such wonderful people.

Life here is intoxicating,

and I'm enjoying every minute.

After all, they do not really need me

to do much of anything.

My daughter,

yesterday I found one of your poems.

"Swallow, lend me your wings

Fly me away to a distant land

And should I soar with you

Up in the ever blue firmament

With all my heart

Will I worship the god of freedom"

You wanted to give your life meaning.

You have clearly failed.



- Is she still breathing?

- Elisabeth?

Good morning, Your Majesty.

Good morning.

Have you slept?

A little.


From your father.

Will you not read it?


Did you enjoy yourself last night?

Yes, with the girls.

I would like to have been informed.

Would you have come?

I know you've been unhappy

since the incident at the foundry.

I have a surprise for you.

The situation has changed.

We've been informed that the deployment

of troops is having an effect.

The Tsar is intimidated.

If the Russians retreat,

the moment to strike will pass.

The Tsar has not moved an inch, Buol.

It's just rumours.

How goes it with Rauscher?

Almost on side.

That leaves your mother.

No need to look so forlorn.

She's my mother, not yours.

We're risking our lives here as you are.

I have nothing to lose now.

Soon as you give the sign,

our men can be

in the palace in half an hour.

Which will lead to my brother's



Well, that's how it's done normally.

Is there a problem?


I'll keep you informed.

He's wild.

And restless.

Reminds me of you.

A horse walks into an inn.

Says the innkeeper, "Why the long face?"

You think a bad horse joke

makes up for everything?

I hoped so.

I want to see you tonight.

Just us.


How thoughtful of His Majesty.

You were so keen

to find a new pursuit, and look

he found something for you.

Yes, how nice.

Something known to distract you.

If you'll excuse me.

I must speak to you

about Countess Apafi, Your Majesty.

I have reason to suspect

we should not trust her.

Her behaviour, her abilities

are not worthy of Your Majesty

and service to this court.

In my eyes, she is more than worthy.

Your Majesty,

I have gathered considerable proof.

Spare me your slander, Countess.

I will not tolerate such behaviour.

Thank you.

Come after sunset.

The door to the east wing is not guarded.

You'll find the knife buried there.

You could do it yourself.

It'd make things much easier.

I'm no m*rder.


What are you then?

I had some doubts, but not any more.

They're just like all the rest.

They don't want change.

They must die.

The Empress too?

Yes, her too.


Then I'll dispose of her.

- Revolution.

- Revolution.

Your Majesty,

have you seen this?

More and more of them.

What are you after, Bach?

How do you plan to react, Your Majesty?

This is a matter for the palace guard.

Yes, of course it is.

I simply came to ask you

whether your connection

to the future Baroness von Sina

has offered us hope for further loans?

Hope? Yes, but the future baroness

wants something in return.

Something in return? May I ask what?

Would you please leave me alone?

I urge you to consider

how vital this railway is for Habs

Thank you.

Now go.

Have you seen

what's happening at the gate?

You must put a stop to this.

Nothing's happened yet.

Of course it has. Things have been

happening for some time now.

- And do you know why?

- Well, I assume you'll tell me.

She's distracting you. Wake up.

Her tantrums,

that insanity last week at the foundry.

That incident was not her doing.

The court tongues are wagging

because she stays up all night long.

You married a spoiled child,

and that weakens you as Emperor.

You need to command some respect.

Something has to change, Franz,

and you know it.

If you don't do it, I will.

Your Majesty, I cannot let you pass.

By order of the Archduchess.


- Move aside!

- You cannot go any further.

I am the Empress!

Your Majesty, forgive me.

Your Majesty,

the Archduchess wishes to speak to you.

She awaits you in the church.




Branch of the Bethlen Family, living in


The Apafi's have relatives in the city.

This is the cousin.

Now ask for all correspondence

with Countess Leontine von Apafi.

Or for a photograph. Go quickly.

Very well.


You wanted to talk to me?

Sit down.

What do you think is

the most important virtue in a ruler?


I know you disagree.

It is not that simple.

Let me tell you a story, Elisabeth.

It started when my daughter, Anna,

was three years old.

She shivered and shook.

And then her little body turned to stone.

No one could tell me what it was.

The archbishop said

a demon had possessed her, but

It happened every few weeks,

then more often.

The doctor said

it was a rare disease of the nerves.

They exsanguinated her.

Do you know what that is?

They drew blood from her arm.

She was so small.

They shaved off her hair.

Then to drain away the illness

from her body,

they put leeches on her head.

And Anna screamed.

And screamed.

"We must keep going," they said.

"A few more hours."

But I couldn't stand another second.

So I sent them on their way.

And I held her.

I'm not sure how many times the sun rose.

Or where her body stopped

and where my own began.

Four days later, she died.

I'm so sorry.

There's little use

holding out one's hand, Elisabeth.

Do you understand?

To be indulgent, to be compassionate.

You have to cut the sickness right out,

even if it hurts.

I must do all that I can

to ensure this family survives.

What is it you need to cut out?

Franz's wife should support him.

You wanted a puppet.

I want an Empress

to wear our crown with zeal.

Who puts the needs of this family

above everything else.

All around us, kingdoms are tumbling.

We need our empress

to save our nation from ruin.

An empress who's a shimmering light.

That is not you, Elisabeth.

You have two options.

Go back to Bayern.

Then we can say you're gravely ill.

And then annul the wedding

for Franz to marry again.


- And you'll be free.

- No.


Or you remain here.

And abide by our rules.

No horse riding,

no evening jaunts,

no ladies in waiting.

You will reside in the north wing.

Your only company

will be Countess Esterhazy.

And then at appointed times,

the Emperor will come to you.

Franz will not allow it.

He already has.

Take time to consider this.

- Your Imperial Highness.

- Your Imperial Highness.

She has until this evening

to make her decision.

May I say how greatly I admire

your clarity in dealing with the Empress?

She will no longer, in any way,

cause turmoil here.

You failed, Countess.

- I

- The people at the gate

Have you seen them?


we face the Russians at the border.

How much time do you honestly think I have

to take care of a girl

who howls at the moon at night?

Who carries on like a lunatic?

Why, Imperial Highness

You have lost your touch.

You need a new assignment.

Something simpler.

Should the Empress decide to stay here,

then your one responsibility

will be to stay by her side.

Just the two of you.

And by my side

Margarete will stay.

And if the Empress

should decide to return to Bayern,

you shall accompany her.

Some respite.

Do not send me away.

Not to Bayern.

I will make full amends.




You're making a fool of yourself.

Leave now.

Both of you.

I have to hand it to you, Mother.

You know how to inspire your minions.

I wonder

what the people intend to achieve.

It's pointless.

They want to be seen and heard.

Fetch me some water,

for I have a headache.

What game are you playing?

You think I'm playing a game?

Don't waste my time.

We all have our games. So

What game do you play?

Franz is not the emperor

that you hoped he would become.

I feel sorry for my brother.


How shall I put this?

When you see someone who is unwell,

and then you yourself are unwell

Ah, it matters not.

Are you going to get to the point?

We need to preserve our empire.

Or else it will crumble.

You know that as well as I.

Napoleon and Queen Victoria laugh at us,

and the Prussians are at our heels.

- And you know the people like me.

- Popularity is overrated.

Not when you're the only one who is liked.

I have excellent connections in Europe.

- And I have the support

- The support to do what, Maximilian?

It's high treason. Punishable by death.

- I have to try.

- Only God chooses the emperor.

You chose the last one.

You've shown me

what it means to protect this family.

And the price.


His Majesty is not here.

Where is he? I must see him.

I'm afraid you can't see him.

It is important. I need him.

Forgive me, Your Majesty.

It is not possible at this time.

Are you all right?

It's not a good time.

What happened?

You can trust me.


She wants rid of me.


Your mother.


No, I'll not allow it.

I can't find Franz. Where is he?

So what do you want?

A change is on the way.

It's coming.

And no matter what happens,

I want you

I want you by my side.

What's going to happen?

I cannot tell you now.

I know how much he loves you.

But when you need him most

When you need him most, he's not there.

He needs you to feel alive.

For that, a part of you must die.

Is that fair?


You and I

It was always meant to be.



Get out!

Your Majesty, did you summon me?

Where is Leontine?

Countess Apafi.

Your Majesty,

your brother wishes to speak to you.

Your Majesty.

I was wondering where you would be.

You will not like

what I have to tell you.


So there are groups out there

who have no confidence in you now.

They are calling for change.

What are you saying?

Have you looked out the window?

You've lost your control.

You want to rule?



We'll ensure an easy handover, Franz.

There's no need for scandal.

You choose.

You have no idea at all

what ruling is like.

When all decisions are yours.

To bear the weight alone.

Forever. And not set it down.

I do know.

You know nothing!

You live in a fantasy, Maximilian.

You always have.

You told me there were palace elves

who watch over us.

They do not exist.

Nor does your imaginary empire.

Why not just enjoy your life?

You should try that.

This is my birthright!

Your time is over, Franz.

I have the Church on my side.

And the army.

They're not enough.

And your wife?

Is she enough?

She has indicated

that I have her full support.

She never said that.

You're right.

She didn't say that much.

You noticed our frisson back in Ischl.

And that's why you stole her from me.

For shame.

Get out, or I'll have you hanged.

It'll change nothing.

Your reign's over.



Have you eaten?

For days now,

I haven't kept anything down.

And it appears

you have not bled this month.


Is there another way of telling? I mean

how can I be certain?

Take off your clothes.


I'm going to touch you.

- May I?

- Mmm.

It's firm.

You are with a child. I'm certain.

Are you pleased?

Is this all?

There's this. A family celebration,

but they told me Countess Apafi

wasn't there.

What am I paying you for then?

A nursemaid.

Countess Salm-Reifferscheidt.

What can I do for you?

Countess Esterhazy.

I must speak to her urgently.

But have you not heard?

The Countess has been given

another role at court.

But you can tell me.

No. I will speak

to the Archduchess personally.

Thank you.

What have you there?

Who's that?

Is this about Countess Apafi?

Have you found something?

Not another word.


Make sure my brother

cannot leave the palace.

And find Kempen. I need to speak to him.

- Franz, I have something to say.

- Do I not give you everything you need?

- What do you mean?

- Answer me.

I'm scared.

You know I don't care about things.

- Gifts.

- Says a spoiled young girl.

Do you really think that you can scheme

behind my back without me even noticing?

What's this about?

You will never see my brother again.

Do you admit it?


What's happening is not what you think.

What does that mean?

I love only you.

Do not look like that. It's true.

Why, then, is that not enough?

Your mother wants me gone.

What did she say?

That I'm a distraction.

And it needs to stop.

And she is right.

What do you mean?

- Did you know?

- No, but she's right.

It can't go on like this.

What can't?

The sitting around for hours all day,

and tea drinking,

and wearing pretty clothes,

and keeping my mouth shut,

having a baby and not thinking for myself?

No, your nighttime creeps,

putting yourself in danger,

behaving as if you've lost your mind,

incapable of following the rules.

But that's why you wanted me, Franz.

I want more, Franz.

You can't keep me locked up.

I need someone who's able to be content.

Then you should've chosen Helene.

Yes, I should.

You're afraid.

Tell your mother that I'm going home.

Going back to Bayern.

If you leave, you can never return.

Better a madwoman of Possenhofen

than one more day here as Empress.

To the gate.

To the gate. To the gate. Go!

And halt!

We estimate 300 people

at the main gate alone.

More surround the palace.

And what do you intend

to do about it?

We've locked all the gates

and doubled the guards.

They won't get in.

Is that all?

I want you to post 100 armed men

at the gate immediately.

- And keep the palace guard at the ready.

- Your Majesty.

They're mostly from the poorer quarters.

If you look, you can see they're unarmed.

If anyone so much as twitches,

arrest them.

And if they do more than that, sh**t.

- You can't sh**t. They're peaceful.

- Are you contradicting me?

Your Majesty.

Von Bach,

this doesn't concern you. Go.

What are you waiting for, Kempen?

Elisabeth is going away for a while.

A sensible idea.

I know it pleases you, Mother.

Franz, it doesn't please me.

It was a beautiful dream,

but everyone has to wake up in the end.

Men, move up. Over there.

Can you make sure

that this dress goes to little Ludwig?

You should stay here.

Speak to him.

I can tell him to come and see you.

Keep this.



Does he know you're with child?

But he does need to know.

Not now.

Remember our first day?

You said this was a symbol

of human fragility.

You were right.

This court has broken me.

Can you not see that life here

at this court is but a game?

And I've never liked rules.

Sometimes, though,

you have to play by them to win.

But I didn't come here hoping to win.

There's nothing for me here.

I'll write.

- Wait.

- What is it?

It's not about you, Elisabeth.

The people burn these as a cry for help.

If you want to help,

then you must stay.

Countess Apafi.

Countess, what can I do for you?

It's about the Emperor.

Imperial Highness.

I have received word from St. Petersburg.

The Tsar has ordered his troops

to retreat.

It will be seen as a great success.

Your brother's plan has worked.

But as yet, no one knows.

Does he know?

Keep it to yourself.

Such news cannot be withheld.

- The moment is gone.

- No.

I will speak to Mother within the hour.

- No. It's over.

- It's only over when I say!

You've not looked this at ease

for some time, Your Imperial Highness.

If I may say so.

And I thank you for your trust.

I won't let you down.

I know.

Archduke Maximilian.

Forgive me, I must urg

urgently speak with you.

Do you know what he wants?

He wants to be Emperor.

But he's as ill-suited as everyone else.

And why would you say that?

I've spent my life

in the shadow of weak men.

And you, Maximilian, are one.

Not one of my sons is fit for the throne.

Including you.

Do you really think I would let any of you

destroy what I've built?

Not you, not your father,

not your brother,

and certainly not Elisabeth.

That reminds me,

I wanted to bid her adieu.


To recognize one's frailties in life

is a valuable lesson to learn,

my darling girl.

I wish you a pleasant journey.


I would never permit myself

to question my Emperor's decisions.

The Empress is on her way to her carriage.

Your Majesty?


Don't move!

Put down the knife!

We know who you are.


Halt! Halt!

Halt immediately!

Whoa, there. Whoa.

Your Majesty,

I must ask you to turn around.

No one is to leave tonight.

Turn the carriage around

and take Her Majesty back to the palace.

No. Wait.

Your Majesty, there are people

blocking the gate. It's too dangerous.

I must ask you to get back in the coach.

- Open the gate.

- I will not.

Open the gate at once!

I have to leave the city.

Look at us!

Your Majesty, I must warn you.

You betrayed him.

No one knows about you.

Go. I won't betray you.

Now you can never go back to Vienna.

We'll make sure of that.

One step outside and we'll k*ll you.

And here here,

time is running out for you.

There you are.

- The Empress, she is gone.

- Yes, she is.

Do you think it's 'cause

of the uproar outside?

Or a fight with the Emperor?

And if that's the case, she is gone

For once, can you be quiet?

Are other people's lives so interesting,

or you're just unable

to think for yourself?

Then I shouldn't tell you

about the photographs of you

that Amalia was carrying.

The Empress is at the gate!

We need reinforcements!

- You have my dress.

- No, it's not yours.

What happened to the real Countess Apafi?

Please, Amalia. Think carefully.

Why should I?

You've been trying

to get the better of me.

Are you jealous?

I'm here to protect the Empress

and the whole court

because it's my calling!

I've laboured to protect it all my life.

It's a duty I fulfil.

And you want to destroy it all.

You are vile scum.

What are you doing?

Open it.

I see you.

Imperial Highness.

Would you follow me, please?

What is she doing?

What's going on?

Your Imperial Highness.

She has informed the people

that she is with child.

Did she now?

That is wonderful news. Yes.

Unlock the gate.
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