Episode 5 of The Empress is a flashback that shows what Ava did to transform into Leontine a while ago. This is what Egon indicated in their last episode’s tense encounter.
Elisabeth, a present-day Elisabeth, once more shows her distinct personality by sneaking around countesses and guards to write poetry in a tree. Leontine is also there, and the two seem to have developed a mutual respect and love for one another. They bond over bird calls, and Leontine distracts Elisabeth’s attention to please him.
Theo wakes up Franz, and he prepares to leave. He encourages his soldiers to fight for Austria’s borders. This is a powerful, sincere, and inspiring speech. He asks them to keep peace in their territory but not hesitate to fight the Russians if they threaten. Esterhazy gives a briefing back at the palace about the golden rules the Empress must observe while meeting with the people. This is her day to encourage their hopes and show that she cares. Leontine is there to support her, but Sophie and Esterhazy are strict with her.
Von Bach informs Franz of disturbing news. Sina canceled the agreement because the Emperor sent large troops to the border. He scolds him. Franz and Elisabeth discuss the changes in their personal and professional lives. Their love and bond are what give them hope and strength. Max and Charlotte slept together for one night. Max practices the rousing speech he will deliver as a new emperor to the people. Franz decides that the army will not attack and keep the lines at the cabinet meeting. While Sophie is supportive now, Franz sings a different tune to her in person.
Elisabeth travels to the city with Esterhazy and Ludwig-Viktor and gives them directions on how she should meet them. Esterhazy insists that Elisabeth enter a foundry to observe the horrible working conditions. Hedi, the girl she briefly met at the beginning of the episode, is there to meet her. The Empress notices that she doesn’t own any shoes and gives her a pair. On Esterhazy’s orders, Kempen takes the Empress out with her in her arms. This angers the people and gives an impression of high-handedness. Ludwig is hurt in the ballyhoo.
Amalia, still looking for Leontine, discovers a bloody dress. Leontine is about to enter her chambers when von Bach approaches her. The two go for a walk, and Bach asks Leontine to take him along. Max needs three things to get the throne: support from the army and the Catholic church, but most importantly, the support of Sophie. He holds the key to his master plan. This could be a problem that he will need to confront “forcefully.”
Franz meets Countess Louise and tells her about his engagement with von Sina. She is insulted by Franz’s attempt to toast Sina and Louise’s love. Franz begs her to convince Sina that he should reconsider his decision. After some sadistic tactics, she agrees. Esterhazy is furious at Elisabeth for her gesture. Franz and Sophie meet in their rooms. Franz confronts Elisabeth about the true story of the foundry. Franz asks Elisabeth to keep her distance from the commoners, even though he is acutely aware of the contempt that they create.
Sophie warns Esterhazy about the fire consequences of Elisabeth having another miscarriage. Max visits the church, and the Archbishop is pleased to see him again after the death of his betrothed. He suggests his coup to the Archbishop, but he doesn’t reciprocate. He questions her intentions. Leontine warns Elsa (one of the conspirators at the palace) to stop the plan because Amalia knows her identity. She says that they will continue with the plan regardless. Elisabeth wakes up and walks downstairs in search of a maxi from the party.
He offers to accompany her to Prague via a secret tunnel. This will allow them to escape from the royal mess. Leontine is packing her bags for the run, and Elisabeth meets Leontine. They ponder their motives in the palace. Hedi almost dances in her shoes, but she harrowingly looks on as the guards kill his brother in the violence outside the foundry. Their determination to make a revolution stronger.
Inexperience at the court and her spontaneity caused Elisabeth to falter in this episode. Based on what we know about the Empress and what we’ve seen so far, Elisabeth certainly had the potential to do something unexpected. We know she cares, but maybe she takes it too far. It seemed like a joke to take off her shoes and give them to the girl.
The Empress has made mistakes by using artistic freedoms to examine historical accuracy. Staying from the established path is fine, but accepting it isn’t easy. This episode also highlighted the slippages in the plot, albeit briefly.
It might not be the best end for Amalia, considering Amalia’s current state. Amalia is close to having Leontine expelled from court and possibly even hanged, but the game can do 180 degrees in a split second. The Empress has in common the constant desire to fight against the system. The Empress tries to show the perspectives of disappointed young people far ahead of their time in many ways.
The revolution gained its final strength in this episode. It has many demonstrative qualities, even though we don’t know how it will end. Franz’s situation is difficult, and the Emperor lacks allies and answers. Episode 4 saw the political aspect of his reign reach its peak, and the Emperor tortured the ruler in episode 5. Although it is common for historical shows to use that essence of the times, The Empress does so in a respectful way.