Romeo X Juliet – 14
Having recently rescued Juliet, the Capulet group is now preparing to leave for Mantua where William’s mother Ariel has a home. Cordelia isn’t going and is worried, so Juliet reassures her that she’s okay because she feels she’s with Romeo even if they’re separated. Meanwhile, Romeo arrives at the Gradisca mines after telling his father that he let Juliet go because he loved her. When Romeo had said that he now understands why his mother left the castle, Montague decided to give his son authority over the mines and told him not to come back until he doubled the mining output. Upon his arrival, Romeo tries to give a speech urging everyone to work hard with him, but no one seems to care. Romeo then insists on seeing the work sites, so the head of the mines Paolo gives him a tour. It is during this inspection that Romeo notices a skinny boy carrying a heavy load who collapses. During dinnertime later, he is surprised at how little food the laborers get, and he also sees the boy from earlier getting picked on by two other men. However, when he tries to help, Romeo gets an elbow to the face. The two offenders go once they realize who they hit, but the boy Romeo saved isn’t grateful and instead tells him not to do anything unnecessary. Afterwards, Romeo turns down a chance to shower because water is precious here and decides that he’ll also go to work starting tomorrow.
Meanwhile, William parts ways with the rest of the Capulet group, but before he goes, he tells Juliet to show him a miracle concerning how she’ll fulfill her love with Romeo. However, once William is gone, Francisco asks Juliet to forget about Romeo because if she has doubts, then they can’t overthrow Montague. Despite this, Juliet remains firm about the oath she took with Romeo and believes that he’s looking for a way for them to be together. Back at the mines, Romeo starts working with everyone else, and on one particular day, he saves the same skinny boy from a several falling pieces of wood. Even now though, the boy – whose name is Petruchio – remains ungrateful and accuses Romeo of wanting to show Montague his good qualities. Petruchio reveals that everyone knows about how Romeo angered his father and got sent here, but it’s not until Petruchio starts talking badly of Romeo’s mother that Romeo gets angry. Petruchio wants Romeo to hurry back crying to Montague, but Romeo is resolved not to run away from his father or his own fate. Seeing Romeo continue to work hard as the days pass, Petruchio eventually helps Romeo out and apologizes for what he said earlier. The two quickly develop a friendship, and Romeo finds out how much Petruchio wants to go back to Neo Verona.
Sometime later, Romeo can’t find Petruchio in the dining hall and learns that the boy is sick. Once Romeo sees how poorly Petruchio is doing, he orders Paolo to send for a doctor as soon as possible. For the time being, he sits at Petruchio’s bedside and urges him to get better so that they can go back to Neo Verona. Petruchio, however, explains that he’s only got his little brother and sister left in the city and asks Romeo to take them on a winged-horse ride when he goes back. The following morning, Romeo wakes up to discover Petruchio dead. After burying the boy, one of the other laborers named Giovanni reveals that Petruchio was sent to these mines for stealing bread for his starving siblings. With Giovanni contrasting the extravagant noble life with the other reality, Romeo starts crying uncontrollably in front of Petruchio’s grave.
Here I had thought Montague would punish his son with hard labor for letting go his mortal enemy, and what actually happened – him sending Romeo away to supervise a mine – seems like a rather weak punishment in comparison. In a way, I guess you could interpret it as an illustration of the divide of thinking between the nobles and everyone else. Perhaps Montague still hopes that his son can make something of himself. Overall though, I found this episode rather predictable in terms of Romeo befriending Petruchio and Petruchio dying. For him being sent to the mines not to be a complete waste of time, Romeo had to go through some sort of hardship and learn something about reality while he’s out there.
Actually, I was more interested in how William narrated the recap at the beginning of the episode, and how he continues to want to find out how things turn out between Romeo and Juliet. It seems to reinforce the notion that he’ll survive all this and write the actual play Romeo and Juliet at the end of this story. That in turn makes me think that this will indeed end tragically, though I guess the important thing isn’t what ending, but rather how they get there. In any case, the preview for next week shows Romeo still at Gradisca, so the story will probably continue focusing on him instead of Juliet.