Ahh, Reign. You continue to bring life every week. Guys, I’m so glad I stuck with this show. Yeah, it’s a historically inaccurate hot ass mess most of the time, but it’s a highly entertaining one. It is impossible to hate a show that brought such glory as blood sacrifices, psychotic con artist princes, more parties than Sweet Valley High has dances, faux fur during the Tudor era, and sexing someone out a window (I doubt anything is ever going to top that scene, for real). And since the show was renewed and got an actual budget, it can only get better (and by better, I mean balls-to-the-wall insane). This was a solid episode–so solid, in fact, I felt like i was watching a different show. Now don’t get me wrong–I love weird vampire-beasts in the woods, pagans, bed-hopping, teen angst, and love triangle melodrama as much as the next gal (OK, I hate love triangle melodrama, but 4 out of 5 ain’t bad), but it was extremely nice to see an episode about what the show was ostensibly supposed to be about–political intrigue and Mary coming of age as a ruler and not just as a teenage girl.
Before we began, let’s catch up on Days of Our Lives in the French Court. King Henry went loo loo and is possibly a serial killer, Emily Fitch is the Bean Queen/kitchen whore who managed to 50 Shades of Vanilla BDSM her way into Henry’s pants and favor, and Bash and Kenna were married in a swordpoint wedding—the precursor to the shotgun wedding, I guess. Oh yeah, Greer lost her kitchen boo and ended up engaged to the old dude she was flirting with way back in an early episode consigned to the misty cobwebs of my mind (ho’shit, you guys… consistency!) while Lola was trying to win over the Greer’s ex-betrothed in an attempt to cover up her pregnancy (Francis is her baby daddy!). The Darkness in the woods had sharp human teeth and Nostradamus and Olivia hooked up once he Florence Nightengale’d her back to health. Get it, Olivia. Bash came back to obtain Francis’s help in hunting down the Darkness and avenging his peasant boo Rowan, who was dragged off by the Darkness last we saw her. And now I’m going to need a moment to recover from typing “the Darkness” with a straight face so many times.
Now that we’re all caught up, Greer’s boobs welcome us back from the short hiatus:
Daaaaaaaaamn, I’m jealous of old dude.
The episode opens with Kenna complaining to Bash after their recent nuptials. Bash is fabulously snarky in this scene, and it’s the most I’ve liked him since before the unbearably tedious legitimization plot. Mash shippers, cover your eyes, but I think he’s a lot better when he’s away from Mary and Francis (and ya know… a ship named after food for old people and babies? That might be one of the most unfortunate portmanteaus since Meth… no wait, Meth was awesome. Carry on). Marrying him off to medieval Karen Smith might be the best decision the writers could’ve made for his character. Poor Rowan, we barely knew ye. Bash snidely points out the creeptastic creepiness of being married to a woman who banged his father, and Kenna’s not too comfortable with the whole thing, either. I wonder why they didn’t have to go through the bedding ceremony like everyone else? Maybe watching his son bone his ex-mistress was too much even for crazy ass Henry.
Later on, there is a truly creepalicious scene when Henry describes to Bash the experience of boning his wife. Dude. Dude.
The Lola plot is advanced in a truly stupid manner when her prospective fiancé confesses that he doesn’t want kids after losing his two previous wives in childbirth, but there are ways to prevent that (nudge nudge, wink wink). Lola panics, because Tudor-era birth control would never fail, but she agrees to marry him anyway.
She later confesses to him that she’s preggers and he still agrees to marry her. Ahh, show, I love how you continue to reward characters for their stupidity.
But the real meat of the episode is, of course, Mary/Queen C smackdown round infinity. Mary finds out about a stipulation in her marriage contract stating that should she fail to give birth to an heir, Scotland will go to France. During party #872637869, she shmoozes with a Scottish silver fox, rallying his support and that of his men with a rousing speech while sporting a creation provided courtesy of the latest Tudor Project Runway challenge—whip up a strapless gown using only a tablecloth and fishing line.
At the party, Queen C bestows the honor of her presence on us plebes sitting at home. Now the party can really start!
She is truly magnificent in this episode, keeping the ailing kingdom together while her crazy ass husband cavorts with kitchen whore Penelope. She’s earned the right to party hard for a night. She immediately gets her game on with a Scottish dude badly in need of some hot-oil treatment but possessing some flaw free taste in women:
She plays the role of a lady-in-waiting before finally revealing that she’s the queen, taking advantage of Scottish dude’s shock and awe to pry information out of him re: Mary’s meeting with the Lord Silver Fox. Once Queen C has hit it and quit it, she arranges for this unfortunate dude to be killed Praying Mantis style (OK, he appears to be strangled, but I had to make the reference). At least he went out on a high note? She also has Lord Silver Fox and his men offed while they’re cavorting at a brothel. The whores were either paid to keep quiet or were killed along with the lords, and the brothel burned down for purposes of plausible deniability. Guys, this is some Buffy-esque “sex is the real villain” type imagery here, I’m just sayin.’
The greatest scene comes right after the deed is done. Anne Shirley acts the shit out of this scene, conveying flawlessly the mental toll this kind of cutthroat scheming and killing takes on Queen C, one of the rare moments of vulnerability that make her a much more layered character than the usual stock villain of these costume dramas. Mary confronts her, and Queen C delivers the grandest speech of the entire episode, informing Mary that as queen, men are going to fight and die for her, and she will have blood on her hands and she might as well get used to it, sister. Mary, you got served.
Mary takes the queen’s advice to heart, and later outplays the player—she bluffs her way to gaining a copy of the marriage contract by threatening to leak the news of the court’s precarious state to various French nobles. But later, during some light pillow talk with Francis, Mary reveals that she was not in fact bluffing and would sell out her husband’s country if it meant saving her own. Francis is disposed to be a bit uneasy about this, which makes me wonder if there will be trouble in paradise soon. Francis, you’ve got a target on your head and you’re starting to outlive your dramatic usefulness. Is your ear feeling OK?
As for Queen C, well, she may be down but she’s not out. Waiting to see what glorious retribution she’ll serve up to Emily Fitch, because nothing brings life like watching Queen C fuck shit up.
The only complaint I have about this otherwise sublime episode is the lack of Nostradamus. Boo. I guess he was too busy getting it in with Olivia, and far be it for me to begrudge him that.
Until next time, my lovelies. Party hard.