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The following are reviews from in and around the internet of reviews other websites have done for the show. As on now, this page will only contain reviews from Season Two from the websites Ksitetv.com, TVFanatic.com and TV.com.
However, video reviews by the fans, and other video forms of social media are available at Fan Video Reviews

Since the reviews for TV.com are so long, read about them at TV.com Reviews

Snakes in the GardenEdit

Reign 1.02 “Snakes in the Garden” Recap - Ksitetv.com
In the dungeon, Colin is shown to be alive, albeit in the process of being tortured. His torturer leaves and a strange white-clad figure frees both his hand and foot bounds before encouraging him to leave. It takes a hot iron and burns him awake, fleeing the scene when he gains some semblance of his surroundings.

Elsewhere, Kenna, Greer, and Aylee are brought to Mary's room, where they find that Lola had spent the night crying over Colin. Mary is still worried about who could be behind the plot to take her out; the Royals are still insisting that it's an English plot, but Colin saying that it's someone high-ranking at French court has stuck with her and made her think that it's someone there who remains opposed to Scotland's alliance with France. She needs this alliance in order to protect her country from the domineering English and needs time to make Francis fall for her and want to get married after all.

While Mary is still waiting to become a bride, another of Henry's children is getting betrothed, as Francis' younger brother Prince Charles has been promised to French subject Madeleine. Her parents are inordinately wealthy, which worries King Henry that they'll do anything for power, and she's sailing in from Morocco by her lonesome. Queen Catherine "volunteers" Francis to watch over Charles during the journey and Mary manages to get in on the trip, as well, much to the Queen's chagrin. Once they arrive where Lady Madeleine was supposed to sail into, they see several more boats than they expected, in addition to an English warship that they think has been sent to capture Mary. However, Bash soon comes riding in on horseback and explains that the French boat took on water and that the English rescued them, bringing them the rest of the way. There's an emissary waiting at the castle who he got the information from, so the archers put down their bows and Mary brings Madeleine over to Charles, introducing them. Madeleine waves and curtsies, while Charles picks a flower and gives it to her.

At the celebration for Madeleine's arrival, Catherine is noticeably anxious about having the English parked at the coast and staying within the castle, though Henry assures her that everyone will be gone in a few days. Nostradamus questions Catherine for not being open to the English, since they both have the same goal of bringing Mary down, and she says that England is also an enemy of France, as they want everything in their possession. On the other side of the party, Mary meets Lord Simon Westbrook, the English emissary who brought word of Madeleine's condition. The two discuss his home in France and he asks about her engagement to Francis, which he think is hollow due to no date being set as of yet. Madeleine and Charles just got engaged and they're planning on getting wed on her 14th birthday; he goes on to demand that she goes back to Scotland and mentions the porridge at the convent, all but threatening her life should she continue to defy him. A drunk Francis comes over and gets her out of the situation, pulling her aside where he reveals that he only acted drunk as a way to save her and advises her to not show the English that she's scared. People may be aware of his wavering feelings for her, but he pledges to show off the strength of their union as a way of keeping her safe until the English leave.

Back in the dungeon, Nostradamus explains to Catherine that Colin's execution was botched. Anyone that gets executed has a red X painted on the outside of the door, indicating that it's their time to die; for some reason, the X was painted not on Colin's door but on the door of a young thief who was also in the dungeon. Colin was tortured and managed to escape, making a fearful Catherine declare that they must find him and kill in to avoid Mary's wrath. Later, Henry and Catherine inform Mary and her ladies that Colin is alive and continue the narrative of this being an English plot. Mary thinks that she now has a chance to speak with Colin and get a better picture of who her enemies are, but she's told that the informants have fled the country and that there's no guarantee that Colin is found alive. Once they leave, Henry turns to Catherine, who didn't immediately tell him of Colin escaping, and demands that she keep him informed at all times rather than hiding behind the excuse of his mistress, who is out at the country house.

There's a picnic held in honor of Charles and Madeleine, full of food, dancing, and games, including an activity where a blindfolded Charles is put in the center of a group of girls calling his name. He has to decide which is the voice of his true love, difficult since she's quite soft-spoken. Watching on, Mary and Francis reminisce about their own experience with games like this and she wishes she could be patient; Mary then informs him that someone French might be involved in the plot against her and backtracks when he questions whether she's accusing Catherine or not. All she wants right now is Colin alive and Francis promises to make every effort to ensure this for his fiancée. Instead of waiting around, Mary goes to Bash and informs him that Colin is the only one who knows who is her biggest threat at court, convincing him to help her locate the lost boy. He deduces that Colin ended up in the woods and that the guards, who exited from the south keep, wouldn't venture into them since they're afraid.

Afterwards, Mary finds Charles talking to a friend lurking in a passageway. He says that her name is Clarissa and she decides when you see her, she knows secrets and sees everything, and he bribes her to stay around, despite the fact that she likes people. Included in that are guessing games where he learns things. Mary enters into the doorway and calls out to Clarissa, picking up a marble and heading back to the castle, where she finds a random woman in her room. The servant had tried on her gown and begins writhing in pain due to being poisoned. However, when the guards come into the room, the woman is gone and there's no sign of anyone having been in the room. Mary thinks that she could have escaped through the stone passageway and Francis says that they would hear her since there's an echo. He does promise, though, that he will take care of the guards who weren't there for Mary when she went into her room. Elsewhere, the King approaches Kenna in public in an attempt to keep her reputation at court pristine. He can't stop thinking about her, although he understands why they had to stop the other night - to protect her virtue. However, he says that he wants a woman and not the maiden that she still fancies herself as.

Henry then talks to a suspicious Francis, who thinks that England is behind the plot since they have the motive to torture Mary. He chastises his father for treating Mary less like a human being and more like a pawn, asking him to release her from the engagement and let her go home due to not being safe. Henry says that Mary's job is to wait until he says it's time t get married and hits back at his son by questioning why he seems to be so invested in someone he claims to not want to marry. Meanwhile, Bash is in the middle of the woods with his horse and sees drops of blood on the flowers on the ground. He looks up and finds Colin, strung up by his feet and already bled out.

Francis informs Mary that Simon has been questioned and his alibi has checked out; he then tells her that he needs to go check on Bash, as it's getting late and he's still not back from the woods. He easily finds Bash in the woods and his brother insists on bringing Colin back to the castle, as Mary would like her subject to have a proper burial. It's not the guards that got to him like Francis thought, though, since they hang traitors up by the necks and not their feet. Bash concludes that it's the vagrants who are living in the woods that cut Colin's throat and cuts his own hand to ward off the shadows that suddenly enveloped him and his brother. Following a quick saying in another language and the blood being spread around, the boys are safe and load Colin's body onto a horse before riding back. Meanwhile, Mary goes into the passageway on the hunt for Clarissa. She announces that she needs help and that if the girl can hear her, to come out and find her. One of the marbles she dropped rolls, meaning that Clarissa is there. The two are to play a guessing game - if Mary guesses right, Clarissa rolls the marbles back to her; if she guesses wrong, Clarissa can keep them. As a result of the game, Clarissa reveals that she knows who is trying to hurt Mary and indicates that both the English and Queen Catherine are playing a part in the scheme. She soon flees, though, but not before breaking a marble and leaving a key.

The key ends up belonging to the door of Lord Westbrook, who is fooling around with the girl Mary thought was poisoned. The reason they faked the poisoning? To make Mary afraid of the English, since her presence at court angers them deeply. It turns out that England's Queen has fallen ill and Mary's illegitimate cousin Elizabeth is next in line for the throne. After that? Mary's the heir to the throne of England, but she doesn't want that type of power. She wants peace between England and Scotland; unfortunately, that's not to be, as England wants to crush Scotland to prevent any uprising from developing. They offer to leave her alone if she returns home to Scotland and renounces her alliance with France, but that alliance with France has been made in order to protect Scotland from England. No one budges and Mary surmises that Catherine had lent her support and that she'll never be left alone as long as she's in France.

The King pays Kenna a visit while she plays chess with Robert, Viscount of Lorraine and interested suitor. She's decided to end her affair with Henry on the grounds of needing to preserve her virtue for the man she wants to marry. Meanwhile, Francis confronts Bash about going out into the woods on Mary's command and the latter mentions that he feels as if its his duty to protect her, though Francis doesn't believe that was the reason for a second. Mary is continuing to fret now that Colin is dead, with her major concern being a lack of proof against her enemy and England still being petrified of her while she's in France. She thinks she could survive her time at court if she didn't have to deal with Catherine; however, she has no faith that she can do that and still maintains the opinion that the Queen is behind the entire plot to hurt her. As long as England feels like they have a clean shot at her, and they do as long as Catherine remains compliant, Mary can't stay there, as she can't marry any Kings if she's dead. Henry knocks on Kenna's door with Robert by his side. He engages the two and tells her, once Robert leaves, that her prospects only expand if she associates herself with the king. Elsewhere, Francis confronts Catherine in The Throne Room and questions where exactly her loyalties lie. She says that they're with her family and France, but he thinks that she's worried that because she can't trust (or divorce) Henry, her survival depends on the fate of the next King; if that turns out to be Francis, she doesn't want his loyalties to be split thanks to Mary, something he denies would ever happen. He leaves her with a threat - if anything happens to Mary, he's lost to his entire family. Catherine goes to ready herself for bed and finds a giant red X in the middle of the bed. Meanwhile, Nostradamus is cleaning up the red X on the thief's door and talking to Clarissa, as he thinks she tricked the guards in order to show Mary who her true enemies are. Outside the castle, Mary learns that Francis does believe her and he promises to be at her side to help battle any and all enemies - as a friend. It's a good place to start, at least.

Additional thoughts and observations:
-For those curious, the song that played at the very beginning of the episode was "Scotland" by The Lumineers. You can subscribe to a Youtube channel dedicated to posting music from the show here.
-At first glance, bringing Colin back to kill him before he could talk to Mary was a little cheap and took some of the power from the pilot. However, it deepened Mary's paranoia/suspicion of Catherine, brought her together with Francis for the first time, and allowed her to meet with Clarissa, so it served a good purpose. Plus, it gave us the scene that the pilot started off with (the blood dripping from a tree with white flowers, something that wasn't in the original pilot). -Still not much from Greer and Aylee. But then again, it's the second episode and there's plenty of time to fold them into the action.
-Sexy Nostradamus Watch: Still sexy. Also, not afraid of a little elbow grease or deformed ghouls that live in the walls of the castle. All good qualities in a man. -The new opener: good or not good? I actually liked it quite a bit - striking imagery, fun and informative narration, easy way for people to jump into the show without being fully caught up.
-Francis' shirt in the final scene with Mary looked like something I would buy from Old Navy for $5. I liked it, and would probably wear it in my everyday life, but it didn't exactly read royalty or 15th century.
-Favorite dress of the episode: Mary's black and gold sparkly number at the first party for Madeleine and Charles.
-Do you think that there are supernatural forces in the woods (or at work in general)? Or was Bash's ritual for naught/show?
-Another great scene: Mary figuring out that she's screwed. England will never get off her back while she's hiding behind France, but if she ever comes back to Scotland without France's support, she's setting her country up to be taken over. Interesting moral dilemma that helps solidify the premise of the show, since this could have easily turned into a haunted house horror movie with the "why don't you just leave?" angle.
-At the moment, I don't think either guy is that great for Mary. Francis was only nice to her this episode because he knew of Bash's interest; Bash only initiated contact due to the instructions of his mother, so while he seems to genuinely like Mary, there's no guarantee that his actions are without ulterior motivation. #TeamMaryQueenofSingleLadies
-On that note, I'm a little embarrassed about how invested I already am in Kenna/Henry. Hottest King in television historical fiction? Discuss amongst yourselves.
-Great visual to have the red X in Catherine's bed and a nice parallel for her to have with Mary, as both are going to be swimming in paranoia in the coming episodes. Was the X from Clarissa? Or is there somebody else in the castle who has it out for Catherine?
-Next week on Reign: A Portuguese prince makes Mary an intriguing offer, while Francis puts Bash in a risky situation.

By: Shilo Adams


KissedEdit

Reign 1.03 “Kissed” Recap - Ksitetv.com
One morning on the border between Scotland and England, the son of a farming family gets approached by a lone English soldier, who he offers breakfast.

However, it turns out that the lead soldier brought many, many of his compatriots along with him, meaning that England is now crowding the Scottish border, just waiting for the provocation necessary to attack.

Elsewhere, Catherine is informed of another of Nostradamus' visions - this one centers on war and the costs of such events, destruction he says will find its way to the castle.

Mary takes her ladies outside for a picnic where they gossip about who gave them their best kiss and whether they've even been kissed in the first place. Kenna says that the best kisser she's had was a man and not a boy, since she doesn't want to wait until boys their age figure out what to do in physical matters; Greer, however, has yet to be kissed, since she comes from a common family and can't afford to be looked at as used goods before meeting the man she is to marry. In her mind, he will be tall, dark, and noble Prince Tomás of Portugal, in France to secure a trade deal. Tomás may be the bastard son of the Portuguese king, but he still has the money and land necessary to help her (and her family) move up in the eyes of society.

The festivities get interrupted when Mary gets a visit from her uncle Claude, who comes bearing love and a letter from Mary's mother. He says that it tells her of the crisis currently facing Scotland, as England is looking for any weakness to exploit in Scotland and that the Scottish don't have the soldiers necessary to beat their enemy back from crowding the borders. With Henry slow to respond to their request for more men, now is the time for Mary to pull rank and use the alliance that has been cultivated for years in order to help keep her country afloat. Already annoyed that France seems to be keeping her in their back pocket until they need her (vs. helping her when she needs it), she meets with King Henry and Francis where she learns that while France will give Scotland supplies, they won't front the men (not eight companies, not six) and honor the alliance. Henry argues that they have more borders to protect and enemies to contend with than Scotland does and tells Francis that if they send men to Scotland and get defeated, it sends a message to England that France is soft and easy for the taking. Francis chases after an irritated Mary and informs her that he agrees with her position, that England will be stronger if it conquers Scotland and could come for France afterward, but he knows that they don't have the power to do anything about the situation now.

Later, Mary agrees to play with Prince Charles and the two kick around a soccer ball that eventually lands in a nearby tree. Mary climbs it to retrieve the ball and looks down to see Charles gone and Greer with Tomás, who she introduces Mary to. After (literally) falling into him, Mary tells Greer that she sees why she likes him and Greer mentions the upcoming Boating Party, where she'll pack a picnic basket for the moonlit celebration in hopes of securing her first kiss and the prince's heart. Meanwhile, Bash and Henry are sparring and the former gets defeated when it's obvious his mind is now on the enemy in front of him. Francis arrives in hopes of talking to his father about helping Scotland and explains that he thinks they're trying to poke France to see the reaction; if France acts quickly and harshly, it might scare them off from trying anything else. Henry again says that he has made up his made and Francis challenges him - if Henry wins a sparring match, Francis will shut up about the matter. If Francis wins, Henry sends the men. Francis ends up winning and yet, Henry refuses to honor the agreement, stating that making promises to everybody and then acting your own way is all a part of being king.

In preparation for the boating party, Greer goes to the kitchen and begins ordering what she wants the basket to be filled with, telling Leith that she expects the best. Afterwards, Mary asks her friend what kind of deal Tomás is her for and when she learns it's for timber, she hatches a plan. She brings Tomás to a nearby bridge away from the castle and offers Scottish timber in exchange for men to help her country, as her alliance isn't strong and Henry won't help her in the way that he promised. Since he's been told to find the best deal that he can, and doesn't want to anger Henry in his own house, Tomás agrees to ride with Mary to a run-down church that was originally built for Louis VII. Once there, he shows her a box of treasure and asks if it would make a woman think of him kindly. She says yes and he takes a ring, getting down on one knee in front of her. Tomás can't look away from her and admires her wildness of spirit, hating the fact that she's struggling so much in France and being forced to deal with her problems alone. If she says yes to his proposal, she'll guarantee herself the men needed to protect her people; in addition, he's been declared legitimate by his ailing father, since the next heir is a 3-year-old grandson, and will be on the throne soon enough, so not only will Mary get someone who wants to marry her, she'll get a strong country and the opportunity to be queen.

Mary confides in Aylee that she hasn't told Claude about the proposal, which the latter thinks is due to not wanting to let Francis go. Aylee tells her that she should take Tomas up on the opportunity and that Greer wasn't even a possible candidate for his bride, though Mary does admit to be considering the proposal. At the party that evening, Henry keeps looking at Kenna following an earlier encounter where she rejected his offer to have sex, citing the fact that as a girl, she needed more time. He uses the annoyance as fuel to go after Nostradamus, again huddled in the corner and whispering with Catherine. The king asks the seer to share his wisdom with the crowd, comparing him to Austrian leader Maximillian's own seer who uses tarot cards, and tell the fortunes of Mary and her friends. First, Nostradamus offers up fairly general platitudes to the girls before telling Mary that the lion will fight the dragon on a field of poppies (and that she'll fall in love with a man with a white scar on his face) and Aylee that she will never go home and see her family. Once Catherine orders the music to resume, Mary confronts the seer as she doesn't believe what he was telling her. But why were these the specific ideas he regaled them with? Who does Nostradamus serve? He says that he serves the realm, himself, and the truth.

reignTomas, with a white scar on his face, goes after Mary and cuts in while she dances with Francis. He then changes the music to something Portuguese and seductively throws her around the floor in a dance that was all lifts, dips, and seductive body contact. The masses are noticeably uncomfortable, except for Queen Catherine, delighted to see a rift develop in Mary's union with Francis. Mary leaves the floor once the dance is done and finds Greer going back to her room, crying in the hallway. She thought that Mary, as beautiful and powerful as she may be, could leave Tomas to her, but Greer's feelings weren't important to the queen. Just as Greer rushes off, Francis finds his betrothed and asks what that was on the dance floor. Instead of lying, Mary tells him that Tomas proposed, that it was his idea, and that she has finally found a way to help her country, since Henry (and the whole of France) don't seem to concerned with the impending invasion of Scotland. As much as she doesn't want to, Mary feels she has no choice but to accept the proposal from Tomas.

At the boating party, Kenna sees that the king has already set his sights on another girl due to her own unwillingness to bed him. While Greer gets the picnic basket she ordered delivered, Mary learns that Tomas married for love with his first marriage and thought that the rest of his life would be consumed by politics - that was, until he saw her up in the tree. Kenna finds Bash and shares a bottle of wine while commiserating about how awful Henry can be, with Bash acknowledging that he knows of their affair and encouraging her to try to get him back vs. simply giving up; Mary tells Tomas that her family needs to confirm everything he's been telling her, even though his ship has several companies of men that can leave the following day; Francis finds Henry alone and threatens to tell both Catherine and Diane about Lady Kenna if he doesn't send the troops to Scotland. Henry finally relents and says that the king-in-waiting needs to inform their fastest rider (Bash) and mobilize the companies at once. Elsewhere, Greer tearfully returns the basket to Leith and the two end up sharing its contents while learning more about one another. Greer hears a story about what made Leith switch to inside work and Leith learns the type of pressure Greer is under to marry well, since she has four sisters who need her to raise their status if they hope to find suitable husbands. Leith kisses her and she recoils, telling him that he's a servant and that this can't happen again.

Mary learns about the soldiers ordered by Henry and happily informs Francis that she would rather have hope of a marriage with him than a certain marriage with anyone else. The following morning, she brings Greer coffee and the two patch things up over what happened with Tomas, with Greer telling her friend that she's okay with a potential marriage with the Portuguese prince. She had only convinced herself that something would happen with him and that she would be the heroine of her family, nothing that could have been realistic. Mary confesses to never having been kissed either and is shocked to learn that Greer had her first kiss since the last time they talked. Greer goes to get some breakfast in order to be around Leith, though she isn't as outwardly affectionate with him as he would have hoped. Elsewhere, Bash returns from battle gravely injured, as he reveals that the English rode from Calais and slaughtered the six companies of men that Henry sent for Mary. Nostradamus, whose vision is confirmed by the carnage, decides to concoct a potion to put him to sleep.

Outside, Henry tells Francis that this was a lesson for him, that lives were always at risk and that the boy is too influenced by his heart, the worst thing to be guided by as a king. However, the carnage was less a result of the men being sent and more about someone warning the English in advance, but Henry won't tell his son that just yet, since it would impede on the lesson he was trying to teach (e.g. never trust your heart). Mary finds Francis out in the yard and tells him that he did the right thing; in turn, he kisses her and informs her that she should marry Tomas, as there are no more troops to send. Mary agrees to it and sees the dragon flag of one of his ships - the (English) lion will fight the (Portuguese) dragon on a field of poppies.

Additional thoughts and observations:
-Since I was all about the "Mary should marry Tomas" train, I'm assuming that he'll turn out to be the exact wrong choice for her, his pretty words and pledges of devotion proving to be a smoke screen for something more nefarious. But still, I loved how proactive Mary was for (most of) this episode; it's a danger that comes with setting television series in this time period, the threat of having stagnant/pawn female characters, so I'm glad that they're not trying to rein (heh) in her wilder tendencies and inability to be pushed around.
-Sexy Nostradamus Watch: He wears furs, mixes potions, and doesn't care for common card tricks. Also, he's super honest and would tell you of your doom in a (sexy, duh) hushed whisper.
-Just when I mentioned that Greer and Aylee didn't have anything to do, the show gave Greer a storyline and Aylee a conversation alone with Mary. Good job, show. I don't mind them pulling back on prominently featuring Mary's ladies, just as long as they each get a turn in the spotlight and they flesh out Mary's friendships/dynamics enough with each.
-Mary's entrance when she meets with Henry and Francis toward the beginning of the episode was a delight. Whipping those curtains like the HBIC, I see.
-The only reason I was wary of Tomas as a character is the risk of turning Mary into a Sookie Stackhouse, i.e. the character who every male main character must fall in love with because She's So Special. The show has done a nice job of keeping that bottled in, both with Francis' apprehensive approach to the relationship and Bash's ulterior motives in getting closer with Mary, so hopefully once Tomas is dispatched, they won't bring forth another potential suitor for Mary for a while.
-Interesting how Greer's storyline said a lot about the social politics of that time. She may be a commoner, but she's one of the queen's ladies and someone considered to be above a servant, so with the pressure on her to marry up, there's no way she can marry for love. Also interesting that her first kiss and Mary's first kiss share the commonality of being with someone they can't have a relationship with.
-Mary's black and gold dress with the high collar was outstandingly gorgeous. If you can say nothing else about Reign, the show has some killer costume design. -Kenna finds Bash sharing a bottle of wine - oddly funny and quite endearing for each, since they got to share in the misery that Henry brings everyone in his life. Also good because the show is experimenting with different pairings, a practice I always support.
-Next week on Reign: Getting out of her engagement to Francis proves costly for Mary, while Francis and Bash grow suspicious of Tomas.

By: Shilo Adams


Hearts and MindsEdit

Reign 1.04 “Hearts and Minds” Recap - Ksitetv.com
Francis and Tomás are on the archery field competing against one another while the crowd of Frenchmen watches on, with Nostradamus nervous about the Clarissa-shaped target and Mary's ladies mentioning how much bolder Tomas has been in recent days. As Tomas oversteps his bounds by using a second arrow when the event normally doesn't allow it, causing Francis to retaliate with another arrow of his own, Mary gets pulled away by Claude and informed that she's yet to be released from her engagement with Francis. It's been several days, though, and she's begun to grow antsy, even with Claude telling her that getting out of this isn't as easy as she might think. Henry doesn't want anyone to think that France is willing to walk away from an alliance empty-handed and the only way she gets the full brunt of Portugal's support is by appeasing Henry, so for now, Mary is in marital limbo.

Meanwhile, Bash's wounds from the ambush have healed thanks to Nostradamus, though his blood disease is spreading quickly, quickly enough to where his life is in danger. Lola comes looking for an update on Bash's condition and ends up being pulled to his bedside, as he tells her that he wants to see more f her worried frown and she begins helping him drink some water. After blurting out that she's known loss in her life and is only afraid of being alone, not of death himself, Lola is instructed to grab a book of Norse mythology from the shelf and read to Bash, something that will comfort him. Outside, Tomas ends up winning the competition and takes the pink rose over to Mary where he publicly asks her for her favor. She quickly tries to apologize to Francis for the thoughtless faux pas and he responds by lamenting the fact that they were a single spy away from still being together. But before either of them can linger on what might have been, King Henry announces that Lord Westbrook is the spy that caused the slaughter of the six companies of men.

Mary paces in one of the hallways and has a run-in with Queen Catherine, eager to get rid of the girl who promises to bring death to the castle. However, Mary isn't able to get out of the engagement quite yet, as Henry feels like Scotland was poached; she learns, though, that there is the possibility of her union with Francis being dissolved. Catherine and Henry need someone with an unassailable reputation to put their name to the words of a prostitute named Judith who claims to have seen Simon boasting about his involvement in the slaughter. Judith describes the man as having a fine face, posh clothes, and wearing the English seal around his neck, a heartless man who played games with others. Should Mary agree to put her name along with Judith's words, she will get out of her engagement, though when she does, Simon is sentenced to be beheaded at an upcoming banquet. After the meeting, Nostradamus walks along with Catherine and hears that she's willing to accept what happened with the ambush, even Bash's potentially fatal injuries, because of the fact that it could push Mary out of the castle once and for all. For her, the ends of the slaughter certainly justified the means, even though she learns that Nostradamus' dreams have only become more vivid in recent days.

Only engaged for about an hour, Mary has begun packing for Portugal. She is set to leave in two days and tells her ladies that they have the choice whether or not they'll be coming with her, since they didn't sign up knowing they would be going to Portugal. However, they all agree to stick with her and hope to give her the chance to be with someone that she likes, which Kings and Queens don't have the luxury of considering. Mary then goes outside and finds Francis practicing his archery and it's not long before the two have their hands on each other, Mary kissing his hand after it begins touching her face. But rather than risk being caught in front of the palace, they agree to meet by the lakeside at sunset, a plan that finds its way back to Tomas. Elsewhere, Kenna visits Henry with the intention of losing her virginity to him, only she again crosses the line between the physical and the emotional by suggesting that she stay in France and become his Mistress. Henry tells her that his heart needs time, but she doesn't have any to give him.

Francis is beside himself with thoughts of how the ambush and the broken engagement could have happened, though he blames Simon more than he blames himself. In fact, he knows that he did the right thing because England stopped attacking Scotland after France sent their companies of men, meaning that as much as Henry tried to steer him from this line of thinking, he knows that he can trust his instincts. He does so by going to the lakeside and trying to convince Mary that he heard Tomas was scheming and cruel to his servants; in turn, she says that all Royals have rumors spread about them, with people saying that Bash got all the good looks in the royal family and that Francis looks sickly and weak. The two end up passionately kissing again, stopping before things get too heated. Mary makes it back to her room to find Tomas waiting for her, only this time, he's not the charming rogue who swept her off her feet with a box of jewels and promises of military protection. He wants to discuss the rules that he has for her, including that everything in her possession is his and that she has neither freedom of thought nor action while married to him. He also brings out whipping boy Miguel, who he beats on when she questions him and interrupts him. Once he leaves, Aylee tries to convince her that she can't marry this man, but Mary knows that she must because she's a queen.

Bash's fever has broken, yet he's not permitted to leave his bed due to fear of tearing his wound open. Nostradamus leaves him alone with Francis who knows that Tomas is a monster and doesn't know how to prove it. He has heard that the prince killed his first wife, though, but before he can go further, Tomas enters the room, having heard the entire conversation about him. He reminds Francis, who he describes as a powerless princeling that couldn't even send a few men to Scotland, that Mary is his property now, no matter how many times he tries to make that otherwise. Bash pulls Francis away when he tries to attack Tomas and pledges to kill the prince if need be. Meanwhile, Mary and her ladies are preparing for that night's costume banquet, the event whose culminating will be the beheading of Lord Westbrook. But Mary is the only one seemingly excited for the event, as Kenna can't get her mind off of Henry, and Greer puts on a façade of optimism to shield her feelings toward Leith. When she gets back to her room, Mary sees that her chest had fallen from where she left it. She sees that Simon's royal seal was left in there, likely by Clarissa, meaning that there's only a limited amount of time for her to investigate the ambush and determine whether Simon was innocent or not.

reignAs Lola watches Bash practice with his sword, Francis arrives and has an epiphany when he realizes that had there been no ambush, Mary would not have had to accept the proposal from Tomas. Since the prince was rumored to be quite desperate to find a wife, having scoured the entire continent for a willing and able woman to help him gain legitimacy (and the Portuguese throne), they think that it was him that tipped off the English about the coming companies of men. Mary goes up to Simon at the banquet and discovers that his red seal is slightly different from the official white English seal before Tomas brusquely calls her over and roughly handles her; he lets go when Francis and Bash make their presence known in the room. Mary, Bash, and Francis then decide to go after Miguel, who hates his master, and Judith to see if they can't get either to turn against Tomas, because if they don't and Simon gets wrongly killed by Henry, France will have a heck of a war on its hands with England.

They get a shot in the arm when they find out that Tomas has taken Miguel to the game fields, possibly to kill him before anyone can talk to him about the slaughter. While Bash and Francis ride out to see if they can't intervene, Mary goes after Judith, who she manages to run down while leaving town with a new cloak. Though skittish around Mary, likely as the result of being abused by the man she's trying to escape, Judith confirms that the seal of the man who tipped off the English is white, not red like Simon's, and that she would be able to recognize him if she saw him in person. Bash and Francis get to the game fields just in time to stop Tomas from executing Miguel, though the whipping boy takes an arrow in the back when he tries to run away. After comforting Miguel and pledging to get the arrow out, only to see the man run out of fear of Tomas, Francis rushes to relieve Bash, who was busy having a swordfight with Tomas that leaves him bleeding from the stomach. The prince gets sent into a tree, yet Bash distracts Tomas long enough for Francis to get a dagger to his throat. Tomas offers peace for France in exchange for Mary's hand and Francis decides against it, stabbing Tomas in the heart after a struggle. His hands shaking, Francis helps Bash begin dragging Tomas' body back to the castle.

With Simon's execution approaching, Kenna tries her hand at negotiating with the king, begging him to wait for the additional evidence to be presented. However, he claims that justice cannot always wait and that Catherine tells him waiting makes him look like less of a king, even though Kenna thinks that kind of patience and grace is extremely what good Kings are made of. Talk then turns to how Henry couldn't keep him mind off of her when he saw her in her wood sprite costume and how he admires the fact that she doesn't hide her heart, something that is all too prevalent in his kingdom. When Kenna tries to leave him by telling him that she would think of him while in Portugal, Henry goes on to say that maybe it's foolish that he's still with Diane even though she mostly shops in Paris and maybe it's foolish that he's still with Catherine even though she constantly undermines him. He decides that he wants her to stay and act as his mistress, just as Francis, Bash, and Mary bring Miguel, Judith, and Tomas' body into the room.

Simon gets freed and a position as English envoy to Portugal for his silence on Tomas' role in the ambush. While the prince's death is blamed on a stag's horns while hunting, Simon thanks Mary for acknowledging the mistake, an action that not many Royals would be willing to take for fear of retribution/embarrassment. Mary's treaty and engagement will be reinstated, but instead of going along with the previous terms, she uses the fact that Scotland just saved France a lot of embarrassment and staved off war with the increasingly strong English to get France to begin holding up their side of the alliance with Scotland. She manages to get all types of military goods, including men, for her country, in addition to timber and farm land. She receives a visit from Francis that night, later thanking him for all that he did to help prove Simon's innocence. Mary alludes to the fact that maybe his heart is right more often than he knows, as he was the one who pulled back during their lakeside encounter. He tells her that she will make for a true queen one day, though his head and heart still differ on where they stand as of today. Now alone, Mary leaves the seal for Clarissa and tells the "castle ghost" that she hopes she doesn't feel alone any longer.

Mary gets into bed and goes to sleep, not knowing that Clarissa is laying underneath the bed and not in the stone passageways.

Additional thoughts and observations:
-"I'm going to make us both feel better and leave."
-Good for Francis for getting a win. The first four episodes of Reign have been a touch emasculating for him - constantly held down by Henry, feeling like he's in the shadow of Bash, losing his fiancée to Tomas - and it was nice to see him not only using his intelligence to secure himself a victory, but being able to use force against Tomas when he needed to. I still think that he's a bit outmatched when dealing with Mary, but maybe that feeling is due to him being sheltered as much as he has been, unable to develop the type of strength he needs to be with a queen like her. Deliberate coddling by Henry to keep his lone heir from being ready/able to replace him for quite a while? Probably.
-It felt like more plot happened in this episode than in the first three episodes combined. That was ultimately a good thing because this had the type of excitement, gray morality, and shifting allegiances that I wanted from this show, but I had much more notes on what was happening that I expected. Also, props on this being essentially a reset episode and still feeling like it was going somewhere. We all knew where it was going; I thought the journey was pretty strong nonetheless and telling for the next few episodes.
-Part of the reason this worked as well as I thought it did was because it put the love triangle between the two brothers and Mary in the backseat, instead giving us a picture of how they relate to one another in a non-romantic situation. Love and angst and all that are well and good; this is exactly the type of groundwork that the show has to lay in order to make the romance-centric plots with the core trio hit that much harder. If we don't know who these people are or how they interact with each other, why should we invest in who ends up with whom?
-Lola/Bash: are we pro or against? I think they're cute and Lord knows they both deserve some happiness, but I just hope that if the show goes this direction, they slow play it. Because a show like this has to be careful to not become too reliant on romance in lieu of other storylines and Lola/Bash is the least essential/riveting of the other pairings.
-Sexy Nostradamus Watch: He doesn't want people to shoot arrows into replicas of his friend's head, so he's sensitive. He can take care of someone when they're ill, a sign of a caring soul. And he has a sarcastic side - 16th century bad boy? I think so.
-Favorite dress: Mary's yellow and gray outfit was lovely.
-I like how the show brought in elements from Tudor history, mostly because I really enjoyed The Tudors and The White Queen.
-That ending! Reign, God bless it, has this weirdness to it that I am into quite a bit. That was a striking visual to end on and makes Clarissa more of a tangible presence on the show, hopefully setting up a future meeting between the two this season. Thus far, she's lurked in the shadows, rolled some marbles, and sat with Nostradamus; I'm very curious how they would play her character if she became more visible around the castle instead of the guardian angel-type figure she's been thus far.
-Kenna telling Henry to be gentle and him replying "I will. The first time.": super hot? Or super not?
-One character I'm missing right now is Diane. I know we've barely seen her thus far, Henry lampshaded the fact that she isn't around much anyway, and the central conflict of the show is Mary/Catherine, but I'd be interested to see the castle's dynamics with Diane thrown into the mix, especially now that Kenna has been taken on as a mistress.
-So, Greer isn't all the way done with Leith, as she meets him at the costume banquet and uses the masquerade element of the party to spend time with him. How far do you expect their romance to go?
-Next week on Reign: Bash consoles Mary when an ex-lover of Francis' arrives at the castle, while Catherine blackmails Aylee into snooping on Mary and the heretics accuse Bash of disrupting a sacred ritual.
By: Shilo Adams


A Chill in the AirEdit

Reign 1.05 “A Chill in the Air” Recap - Ksitetv.com

A carriage carrying Olivia D'Amencourt and her servant Theresa gets stopped in the middle of the road by a young man claiming that Kingsroad is flooded and that they'll have to cut through the woods. Once they're in the woods, though, the carriage crashes and the driver gets immediately stabbed by unseen forces. Olivia and Theresa attempt to duck down in the carriage, but Theresa gets her throat cut and Olivia takes off toward civilization. At the castle, Mary and Francis are on the best terms they've been on since Mary arrived at the castle, thanks to Scotland's borders being secured. They declare their exclusivity and seal it with a kiss, just in time for The Harvest Festival that afternoon.

Once there, Mary spends time with her friends and learns of a tradition where one writes down their regrets, attaches it to the stern of a small handmade ship, and watches as they float away for good. While Bash is happy to see Mary so jubilant and in such a good place in comparison to where she was beforehand, [Greer]] sets her sights on Lord Castleroy, a man 14-removed from the throne who made his fortune in the spice trade. But everything she tries to talk to him about always leads back to pepper and when she sees Leith staring at her, she gets jumpy, accidentally knocking into Castleroy and spilling his drink on her. She runs to her room with Leith in pursuit and he tries to help her get cleaned up, since the stain needn't be allowed to set. As she goes to her room and takes off her dress to give to Leith, Francis shows off the boat he made for Mary, only for their moment to be interrupted when Olivia, Francis' ex-girlfriend, gets escorted into the room. To add insult to injury, Mary learns that the two shared a math tutor, Olivia left only a few months before she arrived, and Francis was the one who ended up brokenhearted.

Olivia gets taken to a bed where she rests following her ordeal in the woods. She tells Francis of the boy informing them of the flooding and the guttural and foreign dialect she heard from those who harmed the driver and her servant, as well as the fact that she didn't have anywhere else to go. It turns out that Olivia left Francis because she received a marriage offer, an offer that fell through once her betrothed learned that she lost her virginity to Francis, but he feels responsibility for her and hopes to keep her at court long enough to find a husband that doesn't care about her being "used goods." While Greer complains about Lord Castleroy's fixation on pepper, Olivia enters the room and Mary decides to reach out her hand in friendship, introducing herself to the girl and offering her a place with her friends, as well as a dress for the Harvest Festival. Greer doesn't think that Olivia belongs at court after what happened with Francis, but Kenna reminds her that there are people who don't think that she, a commoner, belongs at court, either.

Aylee trips in the hallway and the ring that she was carrying lands at the feet of Queen Catherine, who notes that this is Mary's Rings. Aylee admits to taking things sometimes, which makes her feel better, while Bash arrives in the woods where he finds the bodies of the driver and Theresa strung up by their feet. He cuts down the driver, who he sees is still breathing, and interrupts the blood sacrifice that was ongoing. Meanwhile, Mary takes Olivia into her room to begin the quest for a dress and Olivia mentions that Francis spoke of marrying her and that what they had was true, a relationship full of passion and not built on politics. As Mary's marriage to Francis is not assured yet, Olivia says that she knows that he'll choose to be with her, thereby stunning Mary.

Nostradamus comes down hard on Bash for interrupting the fresh blood sacrifice, defiling the faith of [[|Pagan|The Pagans]] in the woods. The sacrifices have been going on for centuries, but as they were once hidden and limited to animals, they've become bolder and have now included civilized people that were lured into the woods under false pretenses. Nostradamus advises him to stay close to the castle for the next few days. In the kitchen, Olivia asks about the location of the wine cellar and runs into the boy who told the carriage to run through the woods, whose voice she thinks sounds familiar but who she cannot place. He expresses surprise that anyone survived the carriage attack, just as Mary talks to Francis about his past with Olivia, including the fact that the two discussed marriage. He confesses that it was in a moment of weakness that the topic was brought up and she mentions that there's a place in Paris that Olivia could stay, somewhere her reputation wouldn't get in the way of finding a husband.

Catherine sets her terms for not telling Mary about Aylee stealing the ring, thus branding the young girl as a thief and likely getting her sent away from court in shame. Aylee is to intercept the letters that Mary writes to her mother Marie de Guise and bring them to Catherine before they're sent to Scotland; Catherine argues that she doesn't think that Mary's happy and wants to know how to better her future daughter-in-law's time at court. reignWhile Leith couldn't remove the stain from Greer's dress and gets told again how there's too much riding on her time at court for her to get involved with a kitchen boy, Olivia finds out about the Paris arrangement that Mary came up with, which Francis agrees with. She laments that she made a mistake in leaving the castle and that Francis used to be the type of man who put his country before everything. Olivia still loves him and the scandal she underwent was made all the more worse due to dealing with it alone. If she cannot be his wife, she wants to be his mistress, as she would rather have a small part of him than nothing at all. After she kisses him, she tells him that he can have her anyway he wants.

Mary learns that Olivia's things have been recovered from the carriage and unpacked in the east end, right before Catherine comes over to her and points out Kenna's new necklace - the same necklace that she was given upon her first anniversary with Henry. She goes on to tell Mary about how you start to notice the signs when your husband gains a mistress, how you know the girls who are more serious and the girls who aren't. In her situation, she wed Henry at 14 and the two were in love for a while, but since Kings are given every opportunity imaginable and don't have to face judgment for their actions, it wasn't long before Diane was in their lives. He actually knew her first and had kept her in his heart the entire time before she was named his mistress; Catherine explains that he always felt responsible for her. Mary then confronts Kenna about the necklace and the affair with Henry, which she admits to. However, Henry is in Paris breaking it off with Diane and Catherine doesn't care about affairs since their marriage is more political than romantic, but Mary tries to convey that Kenna doesn't want Catherine de Medici as an enemy. Seeing as how Kenna has an offer to become Henry's official mistress, she proclaims that she only has to answer to him now and not Mary.

Nostradamus informs Bash that the driver of the carriage died and how there's a creature in the woods, a being who resides in a cave that requires blood sacrifices or else it drains the pagans of life. Meanwhile, it turns out that the Paris arrangement for Olivia has fallen apart, as the family who were to put her up have learned of her reputation. Mary then finds out that something happened between Francis and Olivia, only Francis stopped it, and she demands that Olivia be sent from the castle immediately. Francis pulls rank and uses his position as future king of France to keep Olivia in the country; Mary, though, refuses to have a relationship like Catherine and Henry. Francis reminds her that if they were like Henry and Catherine, he would have already taken Olivia as a mistress, an opportunity that has already presented itself, and Mary tells him to not let her stop him. She flees outside and finds Bash drinking by the lake. Mary laments that she and Francis could never be just a boy and just a girl because while she's stuck there without recourse, he's allowed to do what he wants when he wants. Bash wonders why he would ever look elsewhere when he has her and she kisses him. She says that she shouldn't have done that and he agrees, states that he should have done it, and kisses her while Francis watches.

Mary pulls back and expresses regret at the kiss before leaving to the ship launching. Francis is noticeably distant from her and quickly leaves once the ships launch, finding Olivia and walking off with her as Mary watches. While Aylee delivered the letters to Catherine, Greer finds Leith and kisses him in the hallway, telling him that she doesn't want to regret her time at court. Catherine invites Olivia to her bedroom and the two talk about the plan they've been hatching, where Olivia follows Catherine's guidance in a bid to break Francis and Mary up. Mary's short temper played right into their hands and the end game is to make Olivia the next Queen of France, since Catherine is able to control her unlike Mary. She relates to Olivia because she was an untitled rich girl before getting married to Henry and the next step, she says, is to get pregnant. Meanwhile, Aylee confesses to Mary and Mary expresses that she thinks that Catherine is behind Olivia's reappearance at the castle.

Bash runs into the boy from the road and learns that he's one of the pagans from the woods. After letting Bash go following what happened with Colin, they can't allow him to get off scot-free following his attempt at saving the driver. His punishment? Choose someone to sacrifice or the pagans will do the choosing. The boy mentions something about how there's nothing wrong with sacrificing for the greater goods before falling to his death.

Additional thoughts and observations:
-I liked how they filmed the sequence of the carriage attack, especially the color changes once it entered the woods and the fact that they didn't show the attackers. Part of what makes the woods a scary place on Reign is the fact that you don't necessarily know who you'll be running into and just having the seemingly normal looking boy at the castle implanted the idea that maybe, despite all talk of creatures and blood sacrifices, those who were doing the attacks were regular people. And that idea of someone capable of what the pagans in the woods were capable of being able to slip into society unnoticed might be the most unnerving part of the woods so far.
-To be sure, though, the idea of a creature living in a cave who needs blood is bizarre, especially for a show like this, but I'm going with it for now. If nothing else, it's an extremely entertaining, if tonally jarring, plot addition and something that adds to Reign's (charming) weirdness.
-The last 5-10 minutes of the episode were especially strong, the type of twisty plot maneuvering that shines on a show like this. The suicide was genuinely surprising, while the revelation of Catherine being the puppet master behind Olivia's appearance was especially juicy and a good way of showing how manipulative and evil she can be instead of merely hinting at it. Plus, Mary being able to figure out that Catherine was behind Olivia is promising, in that she seems intelligent enough to take on Catherine and provide a good battle for (hopefully) seasons to come.
-Good for Greer for putting the pressure from her family aside to be with Leith. I mean, I love pepper as much as the next guy, but Lord Castleroy doesn't seem like the most stimulating person to spend time with, so while she's young and unattached, she should be able to indulge and spend time with someone who excites her. I have a feeling, though, that her reputation will soon take a hit and that someone will see her cavorting with him, which should put her in an interesting position.
-I won't declare my #TeamBash allegiance until Diane returns and we learn why she had him pursue Mary in the first place. But based on everything we've seen thus far, I think Bash seems to be a better person and better for Mary, as he's unaffected by the royal lifestyle and unafraid to be open with her emotionally. -However, the fight between Mary and Francis was very good. You got to see the similarities between them and Henry/Catherine, as well as how much the ideas of being king and what it means to rule have been entrenched into Francis' subconscious. Although he may seem meek, on some level, he's exactly like Henry. -I almost felt sympathy for Catherine's story about marrying Henry and him taking on mistresses. Almost.
-Sexy Nostradamus Watch: He respects other religions! And cares about Bash! -Next week on Reign: Francis notices the growing bond between Mary and Bash, while Kenna confesses to her friends about the affair with Henry and Bash seems to repay his debt to the pagans.
By: Shilo Adams


ChosenEdit

Reign 1.06 “Chosen” Recap - Ksitetv.com

While Bash wakes up from a nightmare that found him reliving his final encounter with the butcher boy, Mary finds the boy's necklace on her pillow, though she doesn't know who the gift came from and, more importantly, who left it on her pillow. But there are other matters for the castle to attend to as today is the day that Henry is scheduled to return from Paris. Francis is relieved that the courtiers will finally stop swarming all over him, desperate to position themselves on the off-chance that Henry didn't make it back, and he laments to Olivia that he doesn't trust Mary.

Everyone makes it outside in anticipation of Henry's arrival and as Olivia gets scolded by Catherine for taking too long in getting Francis to bed, Mary compliments Kenna's dress and reminds her friend that although she may be infatuated with Henry right now, she should be wary of his mercurial heart and the presence of the ever dangerous Queen Catherine. Kenna takes offense at Mary presuming her to be a fool and the Queen of Scotland sets her sights on Bash, whose only regrets from the kiss come from the fact that Mary is engaged to his brother. She then mentions the necklace and shows it to him; Bash instantly recognizes it, but he can't delve into its origins with Mary, as Henry steps out of the carriage - with Diane in tow.

After the pomp and circumstance dies down, Bash takes Mary and Francis aside to explain the blood debt that he owes the Pagans and how he must either choose someone to die or have the woods dwellers choose someone, with their target looking to be Mary. Francis thinks that the pagans are just trying to get at Bash through Mary and while she pledges to do some digging around the castle to see if anyone saw a strange figure go into her room, Francis tells Bash that he doesn't blame him for cutting the bodies down. The reason that he's so upset is that there are too many secrets clinging to the castle walls these days. Also upset is Kenna, furious that Henry brought Diane back instead of breaking up with her in Paris like he promised. When she refuses to fall for his physical advances, he confesses that Diane will be staying at the cottage that resides on the grounds, though since that needs renovations, she'll be within castle walls for a while. He also reassures Kenna that things between him and Diane are over and that she's his official Mistress before the two make love on the floor of his chambers.

Bash visits Diane, a former Pagan herself, obviously worried about the debt that he's been forced to repay. She laments that the faith that she once held on so tightly to has become unrecognizable and warns Bash that if anyone at the castle knew of their connection to the pagans through her past, they would be burned at the stake and called heretics. As Mary is already marked and Francis will blame Bash if anything happens to her, Diane suggests that her son choose someone, settle up his debts, and learn to harden his heart toward Mary, since he's only being allowed to stay there due to her being in Henry's good graces. Across the castle, Mary is woken by a bleeding stag's head that someone strung up to her bed, the face of the dead animal looking her right in the eye. The way that those responsible were able to do their deed without being noticed by her? Poppy, which they put in the drinks of Mary and her guard. She also finds that she has the symbol from the necklace burned onto her hand, making Francis think that it might be dipped in some type of poison.

While Francis guilts Bash over bringing the pagans to the castle doorstep and attempts to motivate his brother to make a decision about the sacrifice, Kenna brings the other ladies to Henry's chambers and confesses that she's now the official mistresses of the King of France. All three have decidedly mixed reactions to the news, with Greer happy that Kenna is happy, Aylee extremely curious about how everything happened, and Lola skeptical due to how Henry is still so entwined with Diane. In fact, the tiles in the bedroom have Henry and Diane's initials on them and since their love affair has lasted decades, the ladies conclude that Kenna being named Mistress won't simply make Diane go away. In the throne room, Mary and Catherine call in the castle servants where the former offers them a chance to offer any knowledge they may have about who was responsible for the stag's head. Though Mary initially mentions that this would be a moment free of judgment and that everyone in the castle would suffer more if no one came forward, no one comes forward and Catherine decides to amp up the threat level, telling the servants that she'll burn down their houses if they don't provide information by midnight.

Kenna takes her concerns to the king, who has grown more irritated with her worries with each new fret presented. She tries to guilt him about renovating a 15-room cottage for Diane and being unwilling to bust up a few tiles for her, especially since she risked everything to be with him, but for now, he's refusing to honor her request of replacing the tile. However, later that night, he writes her name in candles on the lawn of the castle during the big fireworks display, causing her to forget her worries and run into his arms out of love. Bash heads to the dungeon and retrieves a thief that he takes with him to [[The Blood Wood]|the woods]], just as Mary finds herself worried sick about his whereabouts, a worry that only increases when she learns from Francis reignthe reason why Bash took someone out with him. He wants to sacrifice this man for Mary and to ensure that the future Queen of France won't be in danger from the pagans, a gesture that shows just how deeply his feelings for her run. Francis uses this moment to confront Mary about seeing her kissing Bash; she tries to explain that she wasn't thinking clearly, but he comes down on her for navigating court with feeling and heart rather than intellect and savvy. Because of her, he argues, he doesn't know who Bash will be when he returns.

One of the servants comes to Catherine's chambers and tells of seeing one of the royal guards carrying the stag's head, a guard who came into the kitchen for scraps. Though she didn't get to see a face, she noticed that he was covered in blood, meaning that he would have had to change and thus wouldn't be as kempt as the other guards. Catherine rushes outside for her guard Robert, who she chastised earlier in the day for his lackadaisical uniform, only to find that he's fled the castle. Out in the woods, Bash gets the thief to tie the rope around his feet and allow himself to be strung up, despite pleading for his life and mentioning the young child that he must take care of. However, the thief isn't Bash's target; it's one of the pagans who approaches him. The two have a brief duel that Bash wins, but before he sticks the sword in the man's stomach, he learns that the pagans know who he is and that their bloodlust is now in him.

Kenna might be getting the broken tiles that she so longed for, but Henry still ends up in Diane's chambers that night, frustrated that his new mMistress is taking too long in fixing things without bothering him. Elsewhere, Mary attempts to relax in her chambers and asks for a story from Sarah, the maid that she inquired about the stag's head to earlier. It turns out that Sarah is also a Pagan and draws a dagger on Mary, only for the guards to come and drag her away. Bash and the thief ride their horses back to the castle and the thief is especially thankful that Bash hadn't planned on killing him. He goes on to say that everyone chooses their own path or else the king will, citing the fact that he lives in a town primarily Protestant but that he practices Catholicism due to Henry being Catholic. Bash gets the thief to admit to knowing who he and his mother are before pushing him off the cliff beside them and taking the reins of his horse.

With Robert and Sarah in jail and scheduled to be burned, Bash returns from the woods and Francis tells his brother that if he would have died out there, that he would have deserved it, that he would have brought it on himself. He then informs Mary and Bash that the three of them are rulers and they need to start acting with the clear heads that they've been lacking lately due to the situation between the three of them. As such, anger can no longer divide them and while his engagement to Mary will remain, it's only in name; if their respective countries need something from the other, the agreement will be honored, but otherwise, they're to spend time apart. He gives her permission to spend time with others, only not Bash, and claims that he's doing all this to take control of the spiraling situation between them. Once the conversation is over, Francis goes to Olivia and hooks up with her, while Mary and her ladies watch Robert and Sarah be burned at pyres that night. Mary argued for a quick death for Sarah and hears an arrow being shot into the girl not long after the fire gets started.

Additional thoughts and observations:
-"Contrary to public opinion, I do not relish in destroying other people's homes." -So, the stag's head reveal: a little too tween Godfather? I thought it was nifty if only because it's one of the images from the opening sequence. The implications of it, that the pagans were close enough and crafty enough to make it into the future queen's chambers undetected, were sufficiently creepy, as well.
-I like that they're writing neither brother as being an ideal option for Mary, sort of a commentary on the fact that she doesn't have a choice on who to be with and that women during that time period were often faced with making the best of a bad situation. On one hand, Francis is a passive aggressive hypocrite who feigns self-righteousness only to fall into the arms of his ex-girlfriend; on the other, Bash killed a guy for what appeared to be no reason and might have blood inside him that makes him susceptible to bloodlust. Not exactly a clear-cut option in this situation, something that gives each of Mary's decisions moral complexity (how much is she willing to put up with? how much has she assimilated into life at court?) and a sadness of inflexibility that has been interesting to watch.
-Speaking of, let's talk about Bash killing some guy. I'm assuming he did it for a few reasons: the thief knew who he and Diane were and could have told people what happened, including that she had pagan blood; he was jealous/frustrated that the thief had more choice in his life, seeing as how he had converted to Catholicism, than someone with infinite more power than he has, especially after the pagan mentioned the thing about the bloodlust; and he didn't want to have a reminder of his time in the woods lurking around the castle. Some combination of those three, plus whatever gets revealed about his time in the woods/mindset in the next few episodes. But the push was ludicrous beyond belief and an awesomely cold-blooded way to muddy up the character - in a good way.
-Sexy Nostradamus Watch: He...didn't appear in the episode. He gets mentioned by Francis, though, because Sexy Nostradamus is the life blood that beats through Reign's circulatory system. Or something.
-Since Greer is so concerned with status, I figured that she would have been happier that Kenna had set her hooks into the king, but I do like how they snapped her out of her infatuation-fueled stupor and made her question what her status around the castle really is. Also, how long is it going to take for Kenna to get over the grand gesture from Henry and realize that he hasn't let Diane go just yet? She risked everything in order to be with him and if she is to have a man after Henry, she must navigate their relationship accordingly; even if she doesn't want him sleeping with Diane, it's not as if she can confront him about it, not when he holds as much power as he does. She already knows that she was pushing it with the tiles, so for now, she might have to lay low and look the other way until she has more leverage.
-I'm so happy they brought back Diane, you guys. I find her to be the most intriguing character on the show and appreciated that they started to fill in her backstory this episode, her pagan past a good way to connect the castle and the woods without having Bash interrupt more blood rituals or everyone working at the castle turning out to be pagan. That past also adds to Bash's feeling of being The Other in his own family, as he's not only Henry's bastard but linked with a faith that is seen as dangerous and savage. It's that feeling that I think will be the main guiding force behind Bash's actions this season, that battle between wanting to assimilate (e.g. his Catholicism) and not wanting to become like his brother or his father.
-I appreciate how Catherine can tell a group of people she's going to burn down their houses and sound like she's ordering coffee. I have a feeling that public opinion about her might be correct.
-Favorite Dress Watch: The dress that Olivia wore before Henry came home was gorgeous. As were Kenna's dress that she wore to greet Henry and the dress that Mary wore during the final conversation with Francis.
-Although I don't want this show to turn into Name That Pagan!, with every week another member of the castle staff being revealed as belonging to the mysterious group, I did think this week was effective, mostly because of how young/unassuming the actress they cast looked and how close she was able to get to Mary. The show can only continue to grow if they reinforce (and specify) what type of threat that the pagans are and what exactly is going on in the woods.
-Reign is off next week, but on December 5th, the castle falls under siege and Mary and Francis are taken hostages, while Diane reveals to Bash that she plans to have him declared legitimate.

By: Shilo Adams


Left BehindEdit

Reign 1.06 “Left Behind” Recap - Ksitetv.com
Mary and Catherine watch from the balcony as Henry leads a small army to squash a peasant uprising in Lorraine. While Catherine laments the fact that men seemingly always have to find something to kill, she taunts Mary with knowledge of Olivia taking Francis to bed and compares the Queen of Scotland's situation to her own with King Henry and Diane. However, things aren't as tight with Francis and Olivia as Catherine might have let on, as Olivia informs the queen that when she was being intimate with Francis, he called out not her name but Mary's, meaning that he still loves her.

Even though Henry will be absent from the castle during the battle, a Neopolitan Count will be coming for a visit, a dauphin necessary to greet him when he arrives. As Bash isn't legitimate and Henry is gone, Francis stays behind with the intention of playing host to the Italian. What he gets instead, though, is Mary confronting him over his relationship with Olivia and how she feels like a nunnery of one watching him parade her all over court. He rationalizes that each of them could be married off tomorrow for business/alliance needs and that he needed to forget Mary for a while after what happened with Francis. Meanwhile, Greer is spending time with Leith in the kitchen and informs him of a letter she received from her father; he's already inquiring on whether she's met any (rich) agreeable men during her time in France. It continues the lifelong training she's had in the art of flirtation and catching a man, but she's tired of not being able to handle herself, so Leith begins showing her how to cook. After the quick lesson, he suggests the two of them going up to a nearby hot springs and getting away from the madness of the castle for a while.

Count Vincent of Naples arrives less than a year after Henry defeated Italy in a war. As his men have their weapons confiscated, which is something of a routine procedure at the castle for all visitors, Diane poses the question of fate to Bash - namely, what will happen to him when Henry dies. Once that happens, Catherine will surely have Diane tossed out of the castle and it's only Francis' mercy that will save Bash from a road he doesn't want to go down. Her plan? Have Henry and Catherine's marriage annulled and Bash declared legitimate, thereby altering the line of succession to the French throne. She's been busy bribing various cardinals to order a fate accompli, even though Bash claims to be happy with where he is and who he is. Vincent recounts the events of France's war with Italy to Mary, Francis, and Catherine, including the fact that he had to negotiate the release of his son Roberto and how hostages are an old tradition in the art of war. After eight months of maneuvering, he managed to secure Roberto's release for 1500 ducats, which he says taught him the value of life. However, the castle soon falls under siege, with Greer and Leith's escape to the hills halted and a stream of Italian soldiers pouring into every room of the castle in hopes of accounting for everyone.

Vincent's demands? Restitution for Roberto, who died on the way back to Italy due to a nasty case of dysentery. With his wife dead and no other children under his name, the Count spent the last three weeks hiding in the woods with his men, waiting for Henry to leave and give them the opportunity to attack. The soldiers lock everyone they can find, including Bash, away in the dungeon and set their sights on Mary's ladies, who they want to have their way with. Luckily, Mary arrives in time to stop Kenna from being sexually assaulted by a particularly belligerent soldier; she negotiates with Vincent to allow her and her ladies to go upstairs to her room in exchange for their presence at a planned feast that night. The ladies soon find that Greer is working in the kitchen in order to remain invisible and Mary heads into the dungeon with a candle in hopes of getting Clarissa to mark a path out of the castle. Elsewhere, Vincent claims to want ten times what he had to pay for Roberto from France, but instead, Catherine tries to give him Mary, telling the Count that she could bare him children and that she would be forced to accept marriage once he ruined her. However, Francis offers himself up as a hostage for the Count as a way of exacting revenge on Henry for taking Roberto, an offer that Vincent ultimately accepts.

While Bash tries to fight his way out of the dungeon to no avail, knocking out one guard before running into two others, Mary and Catherine plot on how to go about defeating the Italians. Mary mentions the secret passageways under the castle and the hidden door in the hall that will take them there, which Catherine skeptically accepts as a reasonable escape attempt. She adds the element of distraction to the plan, though, by suggesting that they attend the feast and try to buy Francis as much time as they can. They'll keep Vincent and his men busy, giving Francis and the servants time to escape; Catherine says that she'll stay behind with Vincent to allow Mary and her ladies the chance to leave the castle, as well, claiming that she would go into hell for her son and that they can only trust one another right now. Knowing that Francis would not come back alive if he were to leave with Vincent, Mary agrees to the plan; Francis, though, remains skeptical, telling Mary that he doesn't want to leave without her and apologizing for everything that happened with Olivia. Mary responds by saying that she believes that Francis can help lead those in the castle to safety and the two kiss before a guard comes into the room.

Mary and Catherine recruit Olivia to stand in the dungeon and open the door, which can't be accessed for the hall, due to the fact that the Count wouldn't miss her at dinner. While she stands in the darkness with her lone reigncandle and Clarissa lingering, Bash finds himself alone and chained by the neck in a dungeon cell. To his surprise, though, one of Vincent's men has been paid off by Diane and offers him something to drink. Back in Mary's room, Kenna is freaking out about the plan and the possibility of Vincent not believing them; when Catherine tries to calm her down and reassure her that she'll be there to back them up, Lola begins tearing into the queen, citing the lies and backstabbing they've dealt with since coming to French court. In the mind of her and the rest of the ladies, at least the Italians are truthful about their motives, to which Catherine responds by telling them a story from her childhood. At 8 years old, both of her parents were killed and both her name and the fortune she inherited put a major target on her back. She was taken hostage for many a year at a convent, long enough where they had to debate what to do with her and the soldiers guarding her nearly agreed to sexually share her. Finally, she prayed for a rescue with the nuns and soon enough, she stepped out into the sunlight and over the bodies of those who held her captive for so long. She made it in tact and they can survive this dinner.

At the dinner, Catherine gives more gold to the Italians and overturns an hourglass on the table as they tear into their food. Meanwhile, Francis moves take a large candle off its holder and uses it to stab a guard who comes into his room; he then grabs a crossbow, shoots a second guard, and steals that guard's sword, taking his brothers along with him. Francis kills a third guard and gathers up all the servants in the castle except Leith, making it to the dungeon after knocking on the hall panel Olivia was standing behind. She pleads for him to take her along, even though she's to wait and open the door for Mary and her ladies, and Francis rejects her offer. Back in the dinner, Mary feigns breathing problems due to her corset and gets permission from Vincent to retire to her chamber with her ladies in tow. However, when they arrive at the hall panel, they find that Olivia isn't there; she bolted after Francis went deeper into the tunnel when she heard loud voices outside the door.

In the kitchen, Leith is discovered as the only servant still remaining by a guard and the two get into a scuffle. Leith gets thrown around the kitchen until Greer comes in to save him, eventually ending the fight by taking a frying pan and hitting the guard in the head with all her might. Not wanting Greer to think that she was responsible for killing the guard, Leith takes his blade and slits the man's throat, telling her that one of them did kill him but that they couldn't tell who. While Olivia gets lost in the tunnels and finds her candle being extinguished by Clarissa, Catherine grows noticeably tenser and threatens Vincent with the fact that Henry will go to war for his heirs. Vincent doesn't care, though, and she then offers Mary and her ladies to him and his men, claiming that they can take their virtues. The men swarm Mary, Kenna, Lola, and Aylee and just as the sands on the hourglass run out, Catherine tells him that the reason his son died was because his father was too cheap and had to spend months haggling for his release. Blood begins pouring from the nose and ears of each of Vincent's men and Catherine reveals that the gold she offered them at dinner was poisonous to the touch. Before he can attack the queen, though, Mary kills him with a knife and Francis comes in to cut off one of his hands.

The reason that Catherine saved Mary? She had risked her life for Francis and was due the respect of having her own life honored. Catherine then reminds Mary that she learned early to never wait for a man's rescue and that history is written by the survivors, of which she is one. Outside the castle, Diane admits to being in cahoots with Vincent when Bash confronts her about the decidedly light treatment he received while in captivity. But she didn't mean for Bash to even be in custody, as she thought that he would be off fighting with Henry. She then reminds him that he's merely blood-related to the family and not brothers with Francis, merely a complication borne from lust rather than an important cog in the royal machine.

Francis confesses to Mary that he loves her and that the two need to be together in order to stay sane. The two begin kissing and end up in bed, where they make love for the first time.

Additional thoughts and observations:
-Megan Follows absolutely owned every minute of screen time she got this episode. For much of Reign's run thus far, she's not had that much to do besides whisper to Nostradamus and glower at Mary, but the character got to show quite a bit of range (compare the opening scene with Mary to her telling the childhood story and how she reacted when Mary and company walked back in the dining hall) and added more dimension here than in every other episode combined. We already saw the vulnerability peeking through when she gave Mary her perspective on being married to a man who could do anything he wants without repercussion, so it's not as if this is the first time Catherine's soul is visible, but she's only used her troubled past as ammunition against Mary. Here, though, you got to see a clearer view of how her present has been impacted by her past and the fact that she's not worked through the type of pain that she experienced from a very young age.
-I did not see the poisoned gold twist coming. The hourglass was a curious inclusion and something that I knew would come into play, but I expected her to have poisoned the food/wine before the gold. Aside from showing range and creating depth for Catherine this episode, Reign allowed us to see how she's made it this long, despite an unfulfilling relationship and little real power to her name. Catherine is a smart woman and someone who learned the art of self-preservation before most people had to, so while she can still wither the freshest flowers with a single glance, it's nice to see how ingenious she can be when her back's against the wall and how there's more to her than the gravitas she brings to a room.
-They gave her some beautiful lines, as well. The whole "I'll go into hell" speech about Francis; the "history is written by the survivors" line; her saying that she emerged in tact from her experience as a hostage - all very well-written.
-Who knew Leith had that in him? Greer and Leith were a pretty cute subplot through the first six episodes of Reign and while having her kill the guard with the frying pan could have been cartoon-y, even with what that said about her confidence and conviction, Leith slitting his throat to rid her of the guilt of his death was oddly romantic and solidified them as something more than a fun distraction. Experiences like that bond people far more than trips to the hot springs and even though she might not want to admit it, their relationship has now evolved into something tangible and real as a result.
-I also liked how messy the fight itself was. It was well-choreographed in its awkwardness as Leith and Greer aren't exactly prime candidates to be great fighters.
-Favorite dress: Gun to my head, I think the red dress that Mary wore to dinner with Vincent was my favorite, but the Fashion in the episode was elevated from the show's already high standards. The black dress that Mary started the episode in and the butterfly-inspired dress Kenna had on when dealing with the soldier were also phenomenally gorgeous.
-Sexy Nostradamus Watch: Presumably, he went off to fight with Henry, because he didn't pop up around the castle. Perhaps he knew that trouble was descending upon the castle and decided to use the battle as an excuse to keep himself safe? So, he's brave, loyal, and resourceful, that Nostradamus.
-I love Diane, you guys. Throwing money at one of the world's leading religious institutions, plotting the downfall of a French dynasty - she obviously didn't get to where she is by being stupid, but watching her maneuver in the way she did without any of the advantages that come with being connected to the king was rather fun and the type of writing that shows like this are made for.
-Awesome musical score this episode. I don't mind the inclusion of folk/pop songs, but the show was improved by keeping songs like that to a minimum and opting to use moody instrumentals instead.
-For what was essentially a bottle episode, quite a lot happened this episode, no? Plus, I think this might be the goriest episode yet.
-I'm curious if they're going to follow up on Mary having to kill a man for her own personal safety. I mean, she had to do it or else he would have raped her and killed Catherine, but seeing something like that has to be traumatizing, especially once Francis cut the man's hand off. Are they going to show Mary losing herself in a world that clashes with her core values and who she was before she came to France, to the point where she's desensitized to something like that?
-Happy to have Clarissa back on the show and to see that she's as loyal to Mary as ever. On a related note, having one of the servants discover Olivia's body in the passageway could be an amazing cold open for next week's winter finale. I was fairly certain that they were going to keep her around for a while this season, considering the dynamic she brings to the show and the challenge she presents to Mary's relationship with Francis, but with Francis going back to Mary and the way that she was attacked by Clarissa, killing her now would be an effective choice, something that both raises the stakes for the rest of the characters and allows the show to write her off in an easy, clean way.
-Next week on Reign: It's the winter finale and while Nostradamus shares a prophecy with Mary, Clarissa works toward achieving her goals and Kenna tells Catherine of Diane's intentions regarding Bash. By: Shilo Adams


FatedEdit

Reign 1.06 “Fated” Recap - Ksitetv.com
It's the morning after Mary and Francis made love for the first time and they're decidedly closer than they were prior, with Francis wishing that Mary was already pregnant so their wedding can be pushed up. Their time gets cut short, though, when one of the servants comes into the room and informs Francis that a Cardinal was in The Throne Room and waiting for him. Over in another part of the castle, Kenna complains to Henry that he's maintained his distance from her and hasn't been by her side to help her recover from the injuries she suffered from Count Vincent's men; she also tells him that she knows about the trysts with Diane and how he hasn't given her the boot. He claims that he cannot let Diane go, even though Kenna informs him that she's sacrificed quite a bit to be with him, that she was attacked because of her association with him, and that she is "destroyed" after losing her virtue to him. Henry's response? She knew what she was getting into when they started the affair and if he's forced to choose between Kenna and Diane, he'll choose Diane every time.

Elsewhere in the castle, Diane approaches Bash to give an update on the progress (or lack thereof) of her quest to have him legitimized. She goes on to tell her son that this way, he'll be able to win Mary, as she'll marry the next king of France, no matter if it's Francis or him. Though Bash may be resistant to the idea of getting Mary this way, Diane reminds him that if Francis can win her this way, what's stopping him from doing the same? The papal emissary brings word to Henry and Catherine that the Tudor Queen is dying, meaning that it's nearing time for the next Queen of England to assume her title. The next queen? Mary. As a marriage to Francis will help her cause, Henry proclaims that it's time for a marriage between his son and Mary, but during the pomp and circumstance, Nostradamus has a stronger vision of the death and destruction this marriage will bring, which includes Mary with blood on her hands.

Mary's worries about pursuing the English crown due to her chief rival Elizabeth having the time to raise armies and gather supporters for her cause don't phase Henry, as he assures her that Elizabeth will be declared illegitimate due to being Anne Boleyn's daughter and that the Pope won't want to lose such an important nation to Protestantism. However, a Catholic Scottish queen on an English throne is likely to rile up a certain sect of the population and could lead to an uprising, something Mary doesn't think she can win since Elizabeth is known to be cunning. Henry believes that England will never be more vulnerable than it is right now and now is the time to strike and make up for the 50 years of bloodshed the English inflicted on France. Together, he says, they can rule half of Europe and subsequently urges Mary to not let fear deter her from greatness. As the meeting breaks up, he pulls Catherine aside and threatens her life if he loses out on control of England.

With Elizabeth's claim to the throne up in the air, The Vatican isn't going to rule on Bash's legitimacy anytime soon, which he doesn't have a problem with. His mother does warn him, though, to not want Mary, not even in private or in his heart of hearts, since Francis will be able to tell. Her advice? Keep his distance from her. Meanwhile, Kenna secretly goes to Diane's chambers in hopes of talking to her; while she's not there, Kenna runs into the papal emissary and learns of Diane's plan to have Bash declared legitimate, as the emissary is the one who Diane was corresponding with and thought Kenna was Diane. Outside, Mary and Francis take a walk to get away from the madness of the castle and the pressure of Mary's decision about England. She's terrified at the prospect of starting a war and of no one supporting her in her cause, but Francis assures her that he'll be there every step of the way and that they now have time before anyone gets in the way of their love for one another. As such, he proposes marriage to her, claiming that they can figure out later what they'll do with England; he'll listen to her, pressure her, argue with her - whatever she needs. Mary says yes to the proposal and the two run off to the castle.

Kenna bursts into Catherine's room and tells of her Diane's plans, which Henry doesn't know about. Kenna questions why Catherine chooses to co-exist with Diane and thinks that they could use the information they have over her to drive her out of the castle (and Henry's bed) for good. Catherine seems to like the idea, as Diane is rattling the line of succession at the wrong time and could conceivably be charged with treason, and asks for reigntime to ponder how exactly a move against Diane would benefit her. Elsewhere, Mary and her ladies bask in the afterglow of the marriage proposal. While Lola worries about Mary's safety, Mary assures her that Francis is a good man and that their Mary and Francis' Wedding


For King and CountryEdit

Reign 1.06 “For King and Country” Recap - Ksitetv.com
Mary and Bash get chased on horseback by several of King Henry's guards, hell-bent on bringing them both back to court to face the consequences for their decision to flee. Bash leads Mary to the edge of a cliff overlooking a body of water and the two jump off, leaving their horses as a way to put distance between themselves and the guards. It's been a week since they left the castle and while |Francis has been relentless in searching for his brother and (former) fiancée, Henry is more confused/angered by Mary leaving hours before her wedding. He confronts Catherine about why she's so against Mary joining the royal family and she claims that the English will always hate the Scottish queen and that she brings destruction wherever she goes, destruction that threatens their hearts, family, and standing in the country. However, this proves to be inadequate for Henry, as he warns her that if she had anything to do with influencing Mary to leave, he would be within his rights to execute her.

Francis arrives back from his latest search and informs Catherine that the only reason he went this time was that he received word of Mary being sighted in a nearby village. As not many citizens of France have laid eyes on the Scottish queen, though, eyewitness accounts aren't the most reliable and it turns out that this sighting in particular was of a girl not more than 10 years old. Since Mary has money and connections, as well as Bash to navigate, it's understandable that she would be difficult to find, yet Francis, seeing Catherine's hand in the disappearance of his betrothed, is bound and determined to bring her back to court. Even though he doesn't believe the reason she left had to do with his putting the interests of France ahead of her own. Meanwhile, Bash and Mary make it to an inn where they warm themselves by the fire and Bash mentions that tomorrow, he'll find them horses or a boat so they can make it to their destination. The two begin undressing as a way to avoid the illness that wet clothes bring when there comes a knock on the door, claiming to be from the innkeeper. Mary hides under the bed just in time for the king's guards to burst in the door and seize Bash; they threaten to cut off his fingers until Mary emerges from underneath the bed. However, her presence doesn't stop them from taking the royal son back to court on charges of treason.

While Bash gets taken to the dungeon once he returns to court, Mary reunites with Francis, who presses her on the real reason that she left. He knows she believed him when he pledged to always be there for her on the morning of their wedding and Mary confesses that when Aylee died, her heart broke, though that's not good enough reasoning for Francis. Mary then gets called into The Throne Room by Henry where she tells him she only came back on Bash's behalf and to foster peace between their nations. He wants to spin her departure as a bridge simply overcome by nerves, but she refuses, causing him to come down on her in a bid of "negotiation." Namely, since she wants to be treated like a leader, he offers his terms rather bluntly: if she refuses to marry Francis, Bash will be executed for treason and her reputation will be ruined, the girl who let her lover die and destroyed an alliance for her country.

Afterwards, Catherine goes to Mary's chambers and tells the girl that she should not have come back to court. She advises Mary to lie and say that she and Bash were already married, as Henry would not go against a union held in the eyes of God, but Mary doesn't want to do that, opting instead to get in contact with her mother looking for advice. However, Catherine produces the correspondence between Henry and Marie de Guise where the latter mentions that she wants Mary to assume the English throne. Mary's next option? Tell Francis of the prophecy. Catherine reminds her, though, that he's too logical a thinker to believe in what Nostradamus sees and that due to how relentless he is in his love for Mary, he would talk her out of her belief in the prophecy. Elsewhere, Nostradamus takes a doll into the castle passageway and gives it to Clarissa, who he has locked in a cage due to her culpability in Aylee's death. He notes that she feels no remorse for what she did to the young girl and reminds her that while Kings and Queens might be allowed to play God, people like her are not. She was given all the freedom she could have wanted if she just stayed out of sight and didn't harm anyone, but now, he threatens to starve her if she continues to misbehave.

Francis goes to Mary with the knowledge that though Bash's life is at stake, she still refuses to marry. Mary finally comes clean about the prophecy and Francis has the reaction that Catherine warned of - he refuses to buy into the superstition that others have, even with the vision of Aylee's death and other weighty visions having occurred in the past. Francis thinks that Mary shouldn't let fear rule her life, yet he pressures Mary about talking Nostradamus into recanting and she begs him to stop, both for his own safety and the safety of both Nostradamus and Catherine. Afterwards, Mary goes to Henry with her ideal she will lay her claim to the English throne, only if she's allowed to marry Bash, who will then be legitimized. Since The Vatican doesn't want England to fall into the hands of the Protestants, they would support this type of union and Mary argues that she wants to alleviate the pressure her mother is under from her advisors regarding England's throne. Henry and Catherine suggest making Bash a Duke or an Earl, but that's not enough for Mary, even with the threat of civil unrest on the table. However, were Bash to be legitimized, Henry's marriage to Catherine would have to be annulled and he would be forced to marry Diane, thereby stripping Catherine of her fortune, her crown, and her legacy, which she doesn't want to have happen.

When they're alone, Catherine confesses to Henry that Diane was plotting to have Bash legitimized behind his back and that that might be the reason Bash fled the castle, just as Mary and her ladies discuss the possibility of Mary marrying Bash. Lola and Greer are supportive of Queen Catherine, considering the kindness that she's shown them, while Kenna doesn't want to give up her relationship with Henry, which she would have to if Diane moved back into the castle. Kenna also brings up that had the fall not have killed Aylee, the poison that was brought to them, the poison that was meant for her, would have; she argues that both Diane and Catherine had something to gain from killing her and Mary bursts into Catherine's chambers to ask her if she had anything to do with the poisoning of her friend. Catherine admits to giving Diane the poison and knowing about the plan to legitimize Bash thanks to Kenna, but she denies doing it herself, stating that she was too fond of Aylee to do something like that. Even when Mary mentions that she could have done it to fulfill Nostradamus' prophecy, Catherine denies involvement and suggests that Mary leave for Scotland, where she would be able to use her connections to get a husband. Mary, however, refuses and rushes to the dungeon when she learns that Catherine told Francis about Mary's decision to wed Bash.

Mary finds Francis beating his brother up and stops it before too much damage can be done. She takes full responsibility for the idea and Francis lays into her for taking the inheritance from him, his mother, reignand his brothers, claiming that Nostradamus knows nothing and that he wouldn't forgive her. Once he leaves, Bash says that he never wanted the crown or the path that his brother was on, but he would be willing to think about the idea if given proper time. Catherine goes to Nostradamus about the prophecy of Aylee's death and how he didn't tell her due to fear that she would kill one of Mary's ladies herself. Catherine mentions that without power, she and her children would be vulnerable and she cannot have that happen, so she sets a plan into motion to kill Mary with a forged goodbye note, a bribed jailer, and an assassin. That night, Mary goes to the cellar and meets with Henry and Bash; Henry ultimately agrees to Mary's "whim" of marrying Bash, assuming the Pope gives his approval, though he does warn Bash that if Francis is stronger than given credit for, there might be trouble brewing in the castle.

As a way of getting Catherine to relinquish her crown, Henry has the assassin that she hired killed and drags her to the throne room, where he lets her know that he was steps ahead of her and that he knows her next plan would have been to kill him. Francis corroborates and warns his mother that if any harm fell to Bash, Henry, or Mary, the second he became king, he would execute her himself. He then turns to Mary and Bash and all but gives his blessing, telling them both that he's going to take full advantage of the freedom that he acquired for the first time in his life. Later, Catherine goes to Mary with the reality that an annulment wouldn't be good enough for Henry; he would look for a reason, any reason, to have her dead. Mary suggests that she leave France and find the happiness that she had been missing, but Catherine knows that happiness isn't something Queens get to feel. As Catherine is about to leave the castle for a "visit to her aunt" at a nunnery, Henry stops her and refuses to let her leave the castle grounds, as he knows what she's capable of and doesn't want her to do anything to interfere with his trip to Rome. She'll be guarded round-the-clock until he returns, just as Nostradamus returns to the Clarissa's dungeon and gets stabbed with the blade that she kept inside her doll.

Mary finds a pensive Bash, in disbelief that he's about to become king and that Mary will be his wife. She can't believe either herself.

Additional thoughts and observations:
-"I grew weary of you a decade ago."
-"You can watch him bleed to death on your wedding altar."
-"I will not be the cause of your death."
-"Let God mock the English for a change."
-"Aren't you ahead of me? It's as if we have one mind."
-"You're going to be my wife. How very unexpected."
-One thing I noticed about the episode that I liked was that it was continued the trend of the show relying more on score than on contemporary music. Part of the weird charm that Reign had early on was that 2013 rock/folk music was inserted into a show about 16th century France. While I never had a problem with it, I think that picking and choosing the moments where a contemporary song gets used has made the show better as a whole, as the times they've been used become more impactful (see: Francis going into the dungeon), while using a score keeps things mostly grounded.
-I wonder what happened to the horses that Bash and Mary left behind when they jumped into the water. Did they just wander around the woods, eating grass until someone found them?
-Although I kind of wanted to see what Reign would have looked like had Mary and Bash been able to go on the run for an extended period of time, both in terms of how the castle operated and the demeanor of those like Catherine and Francis, I think the show did well in bringing them back into the castle and putting the pedal to the medal in terms of political maneuvering. While Reign has provided some nice costume porn, a heck of a performance from Megan Follows, who continues to elevate every scene she's in, and primo romantic angst, it absolutely shines when we see the wheels turning in everybody's minds and there's betrayal after manipulation after scheme to keep track of.
-I love that Francis and Bash have switched roles this soon into the show. There might have been more ground to cover how things were before, but it's encouraging that Reign is willing to shake things up and I think that if/when things get reset, there'll be a different dynamic that keeps things from feeling like a retread. This episode, in particular, was great for Toby Regbo, who I've liked thus far but who never really had much to do aside from play moon-eyed lover boy to Mary. His best two scenes here, and likely through the series thus far, are when he gets nasty with Bash and when he flaunts to Mary and Bash that he's going to enjoy his freedom now that he's all but delegitimized, both due to the different shades they show of his personality and the fact that Regbo got to do things a little differently.
-For as much as they lean on Henry's romantic foibles, as well as his brimming hatred of Catherine, it was more than a little awesome to watch his ruthlessness as king when it came to negotiating with Mary. I hope that the show will be able to show him in action more.
-Do you think that the letters from Mary's mother that Catherine produced were real? Or did she have those drawn up knowing that she would be able to use them to her advantage?
-Still dying to see Clarissa's face and learn her story. I love how much of a wildcard she is and think that having her off her leash and lurking in the castle without restraint could produce some great material.
-Although I feel as if Catherine deserves some type of win against Henry, seeing as how watching her get emotionally beat up and ramming her head against the wall trying to get her way will eventually grow old, I do like watching her work. Anytime you put a smart character on television and allow them to be smart, it will always be compelling, as long as they're allowed to make some type of progress, however small. Catherine isn't going to completely strike down Henry or anything, especially considering the time period, but unless this is a grand commentary on the power of even the most powerful of royal women, give her something to hang her hat on, something dramatically interesting that keeps things at the castle off balance.
-Favorite dress: I loved Mary's leather riding outfit; her side-braid definitely added to the look. Otherwise, Kenna's blue dress when Catherine was about to leave was very pretty.
-Sexy Nostradamus Watch: He ends up bringing food to Clarissa, so he's not as much of a bastard as he portrayed earlier. Also, as much foresight as he might have thanks to his vision, he couldn't tell that a knife had been fitted into the doll that he gave her, nor was he willing to check to make sure the doll was just a doll, so he's the most trusting captor that has ever captured anyone. -Next week on Reign: An attempt is made on Bash's life, while Mary offers assistance to a jailed peasant and Lola tries to stop Catherine from meddling.

By: Shilo Adams


SacrificeEdit

Reign 1.06 “Sacrifice” Recap - Ksitetv.com
Mary finds Bash sword fighting with his new bodyguard Alec, who was hired by Diane, and tells him that his presence is being requested in the throne room. Now acting regent in Henry's absence, Bash must go out and prove to the royal audience, many of whom haven't met him before, that he can do the job of king. Though he's still nervous about the target on his back from the marriage agreement with Mary, Bash assumes the throne for the first time and hears a dispute over chickens and goats that nearly bores him to tears. He obviously seems over the whole thing and Mary reminds him that this is his chance to rub elbows with people who will one day be his subjects and that he should take this a little more seriously.

The next case he hears, once he renders his verdict on the chickens, is a pregnant suspected robber named Isobel who he seems to know. He agrees to a suggestion of having her house searched and sentences the girl to time in the dungeon, leading him to his third appointment of the day, an older woman who claims to be honored to be in the presence of the man who could be the next King of France. She heads toward the throne and gets tackled by Alec; he comes up with a poisoned blade that she had hidden in her sleeve that she intended to use on Bash. Mary then storms into the chambers where Catherine is being held and it's a far cry from the prison cell that Henry made it seem like he was sentencing her to, as there are tapestries, more than several servants, food, and anything she could have wanted. Catherine gets accused of having something to do with the attempt on Bash's life, but she counters with the fact that anyone of noble blood would want the boy dead and tells Mary that she would do the same thing if it were her own children's futures at stake. Catherine then accuses Mary of colluding with Henry to rule half of Europe and push her off the throne in the process, leading Mary to order the room to be emptied of all the lavish amenities Catherine had it outfitted with.

Mary returns to Bash and finds that Alec has a cut on his hand, which he's put poultice on for the time being. Bash explains that the pregnant robber he had sent to the dungeon is in fact the daughter of his mother's half-brother and not the mother of his illegitimate child as Mary thought. He has her released by bribing the jailer with the intention of getting her to their cousins in Benet before setting Isobel up in Paris with Diane. Bash knows that Lord Hugo was behind the arrest, seeing as how he wanted to rattle the acting regent on his first day, and confesses that the house search will turn up the ties that he has with Isobel, who he visited in the village and whose father was executed for treason many years ago. As such, Mary's ladies disguise Isobel, who is nearing the time of labor, in fancy clothes meant to help her get past the guards, through the passageways, and out into the stables. Mary forces herself into the planned trip, with Bash set to go one direction and Mary leaving with Isabel in another before the two will meet up at another location; Mary's ladies will then stay behind and gather evidence that Catherine was the one behind the assassination attempt on Bash.

A hungry, increasingly furious Catherine gets a visit from Lord Hugo and warns him that if Henry is allowed to change the rules and line of succession, he would be done for good. However, if they're able to reignkill Bash, the line would stay in tact, Catherine would regain her power, and the castle would be strengthened. She mentions that the bodies of Isobel and Bash will have to be found together in order to tie them together in the public's eye and Henry assures her that the next time he comes to her, he'll be bringing her crown. Mary, Bash, and Isobel safely leave the stables and make it out onto the road without being noticed, though Isobel is uncomfortable in the new clothes. Bash mentions how he feels trapped by the politics of France, which Mary thinks means that he's trapped by the situation he put her in, and he explains to Mary that after Isobel's father Jonathan, another bastard, and her baby's father died, he's acted as something of a big brother to her and protected her from all the harm that could befall a woman as alone as she is. With the guards on their tail, the carriage approaches a fork in the road and rather than going for the expected option, Bash decides to duck into [[The Blood Wood]|the blood woods]], seeing as how it could buy them some time to figure out what to do.

Kenna, Lola, and Greer arrive in Catherine's chambers and the queen proceeds to tear into all three of them, mentioning the king's rejection of Kenna (and her presumed grating and tedious personality) and Greer's family's financial failure before taunting Lola with her deduction that Mary isn't in the castle. If she were, she would never send the three of them to the chambers, but Lola fires back that Catherine's reaction proves she had a hand in every plot against Bash. Back in the woods, Isobel's water breaks and since she can't give birth in a moving carriage, they decide to stay in the woods until she delivers the child, using the tent packed for situations like this. However, they're not to stay longer than necessary before getting back on the road. Mary gets Isabel in the tent and notices that she's suffering from dehydration; while Bash goes off to get her something to drink, Mary tends to Isobel's aches and listens as the girl wonders whether Bash is shrewd enough to be king, as she doesn't know if he would be willing to make the type of decisions necessary to rule entire countries.

While Isobel's contractions have started happening closer together, Kenna goes on guard duty at Catherine's door and the queen advises her to leave Mary and politics. She argues that Kenna isn't smart enough to hang at court without Mary, though she's pretty enough to find a husband and have a nice, quiet life somewhere away from the city. Her boldness comes from the fact that she thinks that Bash is either captured or stuck in [[The Blood Wood]|the blood woods]], meaning that her crown is all but secured, and Kenna quickly leaves rather than continuing to listen to the verbal abuse. Mary goes outside the tent when she hears strange noises and finds a Pagan symbol hanging up, which she knocks down, and a necklace with the same symbol that marked her for sacrifice earlier this season. She runs back into the tent to tell the rest of the group and suddenly, the lights go out, with the pagans circling their tent on horseback. Alec, Isobel, and Bash repeat a prayer that keeps the pagans inside and leads to one of their horses being sacrificed instead. When the pagans leave, Mary accuses all three of her group of being pagans and heretics, questioning Bash about the "horrible shame" he carried with him from being a pagan. He reminds her that he's a practicing Catholic like she is and explains that the prayer he recited was something he learned from Isabel's family when he was little and how Isabel further embraced her paganism when Jonathan was executed. He goes on to explain that the only thing that separates pagans from Christians is that they see something different when they picture God and that the sect of pagans that Mary has encountered are different than the sect he grew up with. Namely, the pagans that just left believe that there's a beast in the woods they have to continually feed blood to in order to survive.

As Isabel delivers a healthy baby girl, Lola approaches Catherine in the chambers and tells the queen that taunting Kenna gave the girl an idea. In her barrage of insults, Catherine mentioned how words are like smoke and can dissipate in the air, which caused Kenna to come up with a plan of forging notes from Catherine that give them concrete evidence to approach Henry with. Greer wrote one letter with instructions to attack Bash with a knife and a second that authorized the use of Catherine's funds for an extravagant public banquet; Lola then threatens to show the letters to Henry and Francis if any harm comes to Mary and Bash, reminding Catherine that if her guards were tortured, one of them would eventually give her up anyway to save himself. Lola's whole goal in this is to take away the power that Catherine has abused for years, leaving the queen even more bitter and alone than she already is. Back in the woods, Mary apologizes to Bash for what she said about paganism and warns him that if he agrees to the proposal, things are going to move very quickly and soon enough, he'll become both the King of Scotland and the King of England. He'll have hundreds of enemies and a much larger target on his back, so she decides to give him an out - if he doesn't want to do this anymore, she won't force him to take the crown.

Just then, Alec alerts them that Isobel is in trouble and Bash arrives in the tent just in time for his cousin to tell him to take care of the baby and bleed out, dying in his arms. The body is taken to the castle and the baby to the court nursery, with the latter especially nerve-wracking due to the symbol Isabel put on the baby's foot, a way to distinguish babies in the eyes of God. Bash tells Lord Hugo that he found Isabel in the woods and used force in order to kill her when she tried to attack him. The guards had found the evidence in her home that linked her back to Jonathan Durant, a member of the revolution that sprung up following a series of pagan burnings 15 years ago, and Bash mentions that wolves might have gotten the child that she was carrying. Later, he buries Isabel and cuts his hand to spread blood on the grave, a pagan tradition. Mary does the same and when Bash reminds her that he's not Francis and he'll always put her above his country, she kisses him.

Additional thoughts and observations:
-"Learn to expect the blade you can't see."
-"I'm still locked in a tower, am I right?"
-"The next time I come, I'll bring you a crown."
-"Kenna, well, let's be kind and call her a seductress."
-I appreciated the show separating Mary from her ladies and giving Kenna, Greer, and Lola things to do that didn't have anything to do with their romantic lives. Thus far, the only time they've been together is when Mary needs counsel and the rest of their screen time comes from their romantic angst, so an episode like this makes them feel like deeper characters who are not just extensions/attachments of Mary. Although it would have been nice to watch them formulate their plans against Queen Catherine and try to survive the castle without Mary being their safety net, watching Lola stand up for the three of them against Catherine and threaten the queen was especially delicious, especially after how much Catherine has thrown her weight around when it came to the ladies.
-Speaking of, Megan Follows was in fine form this entire episode, giving a rather fun, soapy performance that infused the show with humor and the type of viciousness that has only been bubbling under the surface thus far. Catherine hasn't exactly been a shrinking violet when it comes to using what she had to do in order to get what she wants, but the pain she's wrought has all been action-related; as she mentions in the episode, Catherine is a woman who does stuff, so it was an interesting change of pace to have her verbally decimate Kenna, Lola, and Greer. Especially interesting when Lola proved herself to be unafraid, adeptly calling that Catherine is bitter after sticking her neck out for Francis and not finding his support in return.
-Sexy Nostradamus Alert: :(
-Favorite dress: Greer's green dress when the ladies were getting their orders from Mary was pretty. I also like the color of the dress that Isabel wore out of the castle.
-Props to the show for being confident enough to sit Francis out without sending him off on a trip or having there be extenuating circumstances that keep him from being in the middle of the action. Of course, Nostradamus, Clarissa, and Henry were all missing this week, as well, but each of them has missed at least one episode before and none of them are as central to the narrative as Francis. But it was a smart decision that allowed the focus of the episode to be on Mary's relationship with Bash, something that will be continuing for the foreseeable future and something that needed the type of development that came with this type of storyline. -While I figured Catherine was the one behind the attempted assassination, a part of me was rooting for it to not have been her, just to increase Mary's paranoia and make Bash realize the depth of the opposition to him taking the crown in the future. Considering that the other storyline was fairly close-ended, I understand why they made it Catherine, though.
-I like how you can fool French guards by putting on a new wig. Let that be a lesson, kids.
-I also liked how this episode tackled religion and added further shading to the pagans in [[The Blood Wood]|the blood woods]]. Though they've definitely had a presence through the first half of Reign's season, this is the first time where you felt some sort of understanding about who these people are and their reappearance led to what might be the most striking conversation the show has written yet in Bash's explanation that the pagans he grew up with are different from the pagans in the woods. Although the religious tolerance undercurrent in what he said felt very modernized, I buy that his years of being an underling in the castle and feeling like an outsider have left him feeling sympathetic to the plight of the pagans, particularly when his mother is still strongly connected to her fate.
-The sequence of the pagans circling the tent and Alec, Bash, and Isobel joining in the chanting was gorgeously disorienting. If nothing else, the blood woods bring about a certain mood that the show does well in integrating into the rest of its whole.
-I wonder if we'll be following the journey of Isobel's little girl, whose name we didn't learn. It'd make for a nifty parallel to Mary's story, as Mary dealt with whether she wanted to embrace/fulfill her destiny earlier this season and the baby will have a certain life path expected of it due to being from a pagan mother. -Next week on Reign: Catherine attempts to expose a dark secret from Bash's past in order to save herself from punishment from Henry, while Nostradamus exposes the truth about Clarissa.

By: Shilo Adams


InquisitionEdit

Reign 1.06 “Inquisition” Recap - Ksitetv.com
Bash and Mary head down to the wine cellar to meet with wet nurse Jean and Isobel's baby, where they learn that the Pagan symbol has yet to completely fade. If those who wish to do Bash harm find out about the pagan child being in the castle, a greater target would go on his back, so Jean is going to send the baby to a convent through her mother Agnes. Their time frame considerably narrows when Henry returns from Rome with the Francesca and Pietro de' Medici; the two visit Catherine in her chambers and reveal that they used their political clout to block the legitimization of Bash, as the Pope wouldn't even meet with Henry. While that might look like a win for Catherine, the wind gets taken out of her sails when she learns that his next plan is to accuse her of having an adulterous relationship with Nostradamus and execute her. Citing multiple wives of Henry VIII practicing how they would hold their head on the block before execution, Francesca and Pietro bring a block of wood to Catherine's chambers for her to practice on herself.

In the throne room, Henry and his friend Richard Delacroix help prep Kenna on what her testimony at Catherine's hearing will be, as the former knows that he has the reach to get his wife convicted and executed no matter if she did it or not. Catherine then comes into the room with the two guards that have been by her side since she was locked away and when she warns Henry that he's going to have to keep a distance in order to preserve the illusion of fairness to the trial, he acknowledges that Richard, who was exiled from court years ago after insulting her, will be the one in charge of evidence. Determined not to give up, Catherine announces to the artists in the castle that money will continue to flow their way, an uncertainty with rumors floating around about mass cancellations, and she finds Charlotte, one of the girls she has spying on Bash. Charlotte tells her that Bash and Mary have been spending an inordinate amount of time in the wine cellar with a wet nurse who has been seen around the stables; Catherine makes it to the stables just as the baby was leaving with Agnes and she sees the pagan symbol on its foot. Dismissing Jean, Catherine warns Mary that if Henry can get her killed based on rumors, Bash would be done for if people found out about his pagan history and there's no guarantees that she wouldn't end up on a stake right beside him. However, Mary is not one to be threatened by the queen and she promises to be by Bash's side when Catherine is executed.

Catherine pays a visit to Nostradamus in the dungeon and brings him water before asking whether Bash had ever seemed too in the know about the pagans in [[The Blood Wood]|the blood woods]]. Nostradamus admits that Bash's hunting in the woods could lead to him seeing things and as Catherine apologizes to him for getting him caught up in this, Henry comes into the dungeon to offer a deal. If Nostradamus testifies that the affair actually happened, he would simply be exiled from France rather than executed, but Nostradamus remains loyal to Catherine and rejects the chance to save his own life. Catherine then takes Jean down by the water near the castle and informs her that the baby is not at the St. Clair convent that was mentioned. When the wet nurse won't divulge the location of her mother's cottage, Catherine brings out Francesca and Pietro and threatens to have them harm the young girl if she doesn't reveal where Agnes lives; after some time being stretched out on the rack, Jean confesses where her mother lives, but Bash and Mary get a break when the Medicis are forced to use a map to find the home.

After the two have their conversation about whether a real romantic relationship is possible between them and whether Mary wants to fully commit to the life the two are building, Bash and Mary take a short cut over the hills to Agnes' cottage, just as Catherine has a close encounter with Clarissa that sees the queen grab the arm of the would-be castle ghost before the latter escapes back into the shadows. She heads over to the dungeon and confronts Nostradamus about who this creature is and he explains that Clarissa is someone who sees herself as Mary's defender and that he feels responsible for protecting her. He goes on to tell Catherine about the day that his father found newborn Clarissa during a storm and how she had a large birthmark on her lower cheek that her family wished to be corrected. However, when his father tried to remove it surgically and use various potions to separate it from her body, her wounds ended up putrefying; rather than returning her family following the attempts at salvaging her face, Nostradamus' father opted to tell them that she died during the procedures and pay off a couple in the area to take the girl on as their own daughter. Due to the condition of her face, Clarissa was tormented while a young girl and one day, she snapped, beating one of her tormentors to within an inch of his life. As such, Nostradamus brought her to the castle where she would be safe and where he could begin atoning for what his family put her through.

Later, Catherine goes to Henry's chambers and the two argue about their marriage, with him accusing her of being incapable of love. of pushing him away, and of treating him like a stud horse rather than tenderly like a husband. In turn, Catherine brings up how he flaunted Diane to the entire world and how she was terrified after going 10 years without having a child; he assures her that he would not have killed her for being infertile and wonders why she wouldn't simply trust him. She never had the ability to trust anyone due to the way she was raised and she declares the young, naïve children they were when they were first wed dead. Henry then orders her to let down her hair and the two make love, just as Mary and Bash make it to Agnes' place and find that the baby is still there. They warn her that she reignneeds to take her family and leave for a while to avoid being asked questions, but soon enough, six men on horseback arrive at the house. They come inside and begin poking and prodding around, looking for either the baby or Bash and Mary due to there being two horses outside; although they find the baby and take it with them, they don't stumble upon Bash and Mary. Bash does, however, get nicked when one of the men shoves his sword into the closet he was hiding in. The following day, Richard informs Catherine that Henry has cancelled the witnesses due to needing time to think. The two then embrace and talk about how he got himself exiled from court due to their romantic relationship and out of fear for both himself and Catherine. He tries to get her to say that she loves him best, which she acknowledges, and she makes note of the fact that he's the only man she's ever met that she hasn't lied to. Once the men leave, Agnes tells Bash and Mary the story of the queen's past secrecy, how her ladies knew that there was something going on between Catherine and another man due to the flurry of secret notes and how frightened Catherine was of not having Henry's child. She also reveals that Catherine's first born was a child with said lover, which causes Bash and Mary to escort her back to the castle so she can tell Henry and Richard something that could seal Catherine's fate. Agnes doesn't remember much about the baby except a port wine stain birthmark above its lip. While Lord Hugo takes the baby to Catherine, who sees that the Pagan symbol is gone, Richard gets brought before Henry in the throne room, as Henry knows that a birthmark in that particular shape runs in Richard's family.

Richard immediately gets sentenced to death and rushed out of the room, while Catherine learns that Henry has enough for a guilty verdict. She then brings up Bash either being a pagan sympathizer or a pagan himself, citing a sculpture she found in Henry's room that she claims is the pagan symbol of a lover's soul - in this case, Diane's soul, which she breaks on the castle floor. Rumors of the next king of France being a pagan could splinter Henry's realm and when Catherine mentions that the guards could vouch for the validity of her find, Henry asks one whether he saw Catherine find it in a chest and whether he would be willing to vouch for her. The guard agrees to speak on Catherine's behalf and Henry kills him, telling Catherine that Diane shared her secret with him and acknowledged that she wanted to put her past behind her. Catherine, he argued, was never going to leave the |Medici in her behind; on her way out, he tells Bash that whenever he sees a threat, no matter how small, he has to cut it down.

Francesca and Pietro leave Catherine with the knowledge that she's disgraced the Medicis by losing and give her poison to take rather than subject herself to the brutality of a public execution. Meanwhile, Bash tells Mary that none of this means anything to him except her, that he would cut down anyone who threatened her. The subject of whether she would have given him a chance if he was in Francis' position when she first arrived in France gets broached and Mary makes her intentions clear by kissing Bash. Her heart is open and she assures him that he doesn't have to be Francis to win her love. Later, Catherine crushes up the poison and sneaks into Mary's chambers to drop it into the tub she's bathing in. With a knife to the girl's throat, Catherine says that the least she can do for her children is take Mary out and restore their inheritance, with Mary slipping under the water due to the effect of the poison. However, Clarissa saves them both and draws attention from the guards, who apprehend Catherine and drag her away. But before they do, Catherine tells Mary that she made a choice that will bring her to ruin and Mary counters with the fact that she and Bash just killed the Queen of France.

Additional thoughts and observations:
-"You've killed me enough for one day."
-"Now let's not make that a lie."
-"Yes, I'm a good abject lesson, aren't I?"
-"Too bad you didn't see this one coming."
-"So, we're lovers now, are we?"
-"The shadows are the only life she has."
-"Diane's soul - lovely, if a bit lightweight."
-Hoooooooly crap, this episode. Holy crap.
-You know how I know I'm old? I'd rather a CW show focus on the adults than on the sexy love triangle. I actually think that Bash-Mary-Francis is one of the better love triangles on the network and that the show has been pretty smart on how and when to turn up the romantic angst, but seeing an episode that primarily follows Catherine and Henry shows just how strong the adult material on Reign is and how much every element of the show gets elevated due to more Megan Follows and Alan van Sprang.
-Still no name for Baby Pagan. Should we start a pool for when the name will be revealed?
-So, Clarissa is Catherine's child. Amazing. I feel like I should have guessed that, but I had absolutely no idea and my notes became a series of expletives when Agnes mentioned the birth mark on the cheek of the baby. I love that the show is making this ghostly presence more of a tangible, sympathetic character rather than relying on her evasiveness and sense of justice and I think that having her talk to Catherine without the burlap sack on her head will really throw the queen off balance from here on out. Something tells me that Catherine will be spending much of her time in captivity mulling over her past mistakes and that we haven't seen the last of the interactions between mother and daughter. Perhaps they'll come to enough of an understanding to where Clarissa sets her free, unable to enjoy her revenge while watching her mother suffer?
-Also, Clarissa's face!
-I would like to see more of Catherine's family because Francesca and Pietro said a lot about who the queen was without having that much dialogue and the deeper the show delves into Catherine's backstory, the more interesting she becomes. Plus, they make for intimidating figures to have around the castle (see: the pan to them when Catherine threatened Jean, the fact that they brought their own block of wood to Catherine's chambers, the poison) and at this moment, Catherine needs as many allies as she can get.
-Favorite Dress: It was less a dress and more an entire ensemble, but Catherine's all-black outfit while outside with Jean was stunning.
-Sexy Nostradamus Watch: He's a loyal friend who has a good memory and a surprising sensitive streak. Also, he took Catherine's "Too bad you didn't see this coming." in stride, so he has a sense of humor. Always important in your 16th century prophets.
-Another episode without Francis, which felt a little more unusual than last week's absence. However, it feels like they're going to set up a telling reveal of where Francis has been and what he's been up to in the next episode now that Bash and Mary are together romantically as well as politically. Speaking of, I was leaning toward Bash/Mary at the beginning of the season, despite the fact that I rarely root for TV "bad boys," but I'm very much on board the Bash/Mary train right now. He brings out the side of her that Francis would allow to lie dormant, while she gives him the type of happiness and fulfillment that he wouldn't have had otherwise.
-The outdoor scenes with Catherine were especially gorgeous. There was something about the way they were filmed and the color palette used, especially compared to the rest of the episode, that made this look and feel like the type of expensive, mature historical drama that you would see on something like Showtime rather than The CW.
-Henry telling Kenna that no one cares about the attempted poisoning was a delight. And I like Kenna.
-Really nice fake out near the end of the episode when it looked like Catherine was going to take the poison and kill herself rather than let Henry be the one to drop the ax. You knew that she wouldn't actually do it, but the fake toward actually going through with it made her attempt to kill Mary all the more fun and effective.
-Though Henry killing the guard wasn't really in line with the rest of the episode, at least visually, it was such an insanely over-the-top moment that I can't help but love it. It gave weight to the talk of Henry's ruthlessness and what he's capable of, necessary since he's been absent for a decent amount of the season thus far, and it was worth it for the sight of a bloody-face Catherine. -I love how relentless Catherine is and how she keeps coming back after running into dead ends. Just this episode, she could have easily laid down and quiet at least 3-4 times, but it's exciting to watch a character who's always thinking and who has had to be self-reliant for so long that they always have a Plan B, C, D, E, and F.
-Do you think that Catherine meant what she said to Henry before she ended up in his bed? I know she told Richard that she loves her husband, but we've seen that she's willing to do anything and everything she can to save herself and I don't buy that she didn't go into his chambers without the ulterior motive of sleeping her way to freedom. I think she was probably honest about the insecurities she faced when she was unable to conceive for a decade; I just don't think that all of that came out simply because she was concerned about her marriage. Which, I don't blame her for whatsoever, since she's been backed into a corner for much of the season and she has to do what she can to get herself out of the situation she's in.
-The shot of Clarissa lurking in the shadows and speaking to Catherine was especially spooky because I couldn't tell where she was standing in the shot, almost as if the show was framing her as an actual ghost before having Catherine yanking her back into the physical realm.
-Reign is off until February 27th due to the Winter Olympics. Hopefully that's enough time to recover.

By: Shilo Adams


Royal BloodEdit

Reign 1.06 “Royal Blood” Recap - Ksitetv.com
Clarissa makes her way into the queen's chambers and rifles through her things, only to be interrupted by two of Catherine's servants, taking the opportunity to steal a romantic moment in a private room. Afterwards, though, the female servant hears Clarissa whispering and goes to the window to peek behind the curtain, confused as to who she was hearing and whether they were of any danger to her. Clarissa then latches on to the girl and snaps her neck. Mary visits Bash at the stables and he assures her that The Vatican is going to ultimately side in their favor and legitimize him. She brings up the toll all the recent castle drama has to be playing on Charles and Henri and suggests that they take the boys to the Frost Fair in town as a way for them to socialize and get their minds off the instability of their home life.

However, when Bash and Mary load Prince Charles and Henri into the carriage and set off for the village, a group of anti-Medici thugs attempt to capture the boys, a product of the unrest the country is facing. Everyone makes it home safely and Catherine confronts Mary about the danger the children are facing, as she claims they'll be all but orphaned once she's executed by Henry. They'll receive no attention from their father, who will be wrapped up in his new marriage to Diane, and Bash will be dealing with the type of unrelenting pressure he hasn't yet faced, but Mary pledges to raise the boys as if they're her own before suggesting that she help Clarissa. Specifically, she wants to give the girl her own chambers and a mask to cover part of her face; Catherine, though, compares her daughter to an animal that needs to be put down. While Clarissa finds the mask in the box of things she swiped from the chambers, only to grow angry when she views her reflection, Lord Hugo warns Bash that he might need to begin thinking about doing something with the princes in order to assure his own safety and the safety of his position in the country. He argues that blood will be spilled as a result of the change to the line of succession - the only question is whose will it be.

Bash wants to send the boys away for their own protection, to avoid having them grow up in an environment of fear, while Mary chalks his decision up to his feeling guilty over what happened with Francis and rejects the idea of sending the boys away. She uses her leverage with Henry against Bash and he reluctantly agrees to put extra guards outside their room. Meanwhile, in Paris, Lola arrives at Burgundy House to settle the gambling debts of her brother Fredrick Fleming. The man he owes, Morris, claims that the debt is much more complicated than what Frederick intimated, as the latter lied about his worth and tried to cheat at the table, a serious breach of house rules. As a result, the cost of his freedom has increased from what he owed + interest to what he owed, interest, and a night with Lola. She offers to double the payment instead and Morris rejects the idea, claiming that he's been around Nobles long enough to where he wants to finally get to touch a noble girl, a woman of title. Before he can make a move, though, word comes that a viscount wants to wager double Frederick's debt on one cut of the cards - that viscount being Francis. When the cards are cut, Francis loses badly and talks his way into wagering 16 times the debt owed and the rights to the girl; luckily, he wins and gets to walk off with Lola.

Back at the castle, Nostradamus brings a Bible to Catherine in hopes of providing her absolution before her scheduled execution. However, she rejects his advances and suggests that he bring her poison, as she doesn't want Henry to have satisfaction about the spectacle surrounding her beheading. He leaves the book, though, just as Mary and Bash walk outside into an impromptu Frost Fair. Feeling guilty about the boys not getting to go to the fair, Bash put it together himself and Mary kisses him for the sweet gesture. However, soon enough, Kenna and Greer notice that both Charles and Henri are gone and reignwhen the children all take their masks off, it's confirmed that someone took the princes. That someone? Bash, who orchestrated the "kidnapping" as a way to get the boys headed toward a nearby abbey before their ultimate destination of Spain. Elsewhere, the boys and their driver make it to their first checkpoint to eat and rest before hitting the road again, only for Clarissa to sneak off the wagon, having stowed away. She takes the boys on her own and promises to care for them, just as Lola thanks Francis for saving her and her increasingly adrift brother. Francis can relate to feeling lost and the two discuss what he doesn't miss about court (his mother's meddling) and the recent string of drama that has rocked the castle. She assures him not to be ashamed of the pain he's feeling and that his heart will mend soon enough.

Nostradamus and Catherine's guard bust into her room and find that she's hung herself from the ceiling with a rope that had been left. They get her down and Nostradamus pledges to bring her to the infirmary, only to take her to her chambers and revive her. Catherine's ready to hitch a ride with a wagon at the east end of the castle, which will take her to Italy so that she can regain her strength, but her journey gets derailed when Nostradamus informs her of the children being kidnapped. He tells her of Bash sending men to find the boys and she thinks that Bash was the one responsible for the kidnapping in the first place; Catherine promises not to leave the country until she knows the boys are safe. She later confronts Mary about the promise to take care of the boys and the subject of the box found in the passageway, the one that Clarissa took, gets broached, with Mary mentioning the piece of skin that was wrapped around the lockets of Charles' and Henri's hair that Catherine had been keeping. The skin belongs to Clarissa and Mary surmises that it means that the girl wants Catherine to know that she has the boys. Catherine pleads her way into coming along with Bash and Mary as they track the whereabouts of Henri and Charles, which Mary grudgingly accepts.

Lola and Francis wake up the following morning and she again thanks him for saving her and for the wine the two shared the prior night. He confesses to feeling empty inside despite all the material wealth that he has, a feeling that she knows deeply, and the two share a kiss. Lola pulls away, afraid of being disloyal to Mary, but Francis assures her that he'll never see his former fiancée again and Lola gives in, with the two falling on the bed together. The search party finds the boys' driver dead and Bash, Mary, and Catherine follow a trail that leads them to a nearby lake where Clarissa is holding Charles and Henri. They find the boys gathering rocks to put in their pockets, an order given to them by Clarissa, and when she sees that the jig is up, she holds Charles at knife point. Tearfully, Clarissa claims that Catherine never loved her and that she was tired of being forced to hide away as she's been in the shadows her entire life. Since Catherine took away any chance of family for her daughter, she wants to do the same by killing the boys. Catherine steps up and tells her daughter not to be like her, not to be so passionate in your convictions that you're willing to lose everything. Catherine lived her life like that and now she's an inch from being beheaded; it looks as if Clarissa is going to forgive her mother, only for her to latch on tighter to Charles and ready herself to slit his throat. She's interrupted when Mary hits her over the head with a rock and kills her.

Mary marvels at Catherine opting to stay behind when she had the opportunity to be free and escape her execution, while Catherine admits that she owes the lives of all of her sons to Mary. She then gets taken back into custody and when everyone returns to the castle, Bash promises Mary that the boys will have more security and attention for the foreseeable future. They make up from their spat earlier and Mary suggests that they get married today, getting what they want and not playing it safe for once. She proposes, only for Bash to reject and propose himself, an offer that she accepts and seals with a kiss. Meanwhile, as Lola and Francis prepare to leave, he receives word of Catherine's impending execution, said to happen within the week. He decides to return to court to stop his father from murdering his mother, while members of the castle guard toss Clarissa's body down a hill in lieu of digging a grave.

Additional thoughts and observations:

-"How lucky I am to have such steadfast support."
-"It's all very thrilling, but let's save that tale for later."
-"Safe choices don't always make us safe."
-This was the first episode without opening narration, yes? I guess they figure that the show is successful enough to where it didn't need the premise stated in the back half of the season.
-Was I the only one who expected Clarissa to still be alive at the end of the episode? After she was hit by the rock, I figured she was done for, but the fact that they cut back to her body and showed people "laying her to rest" just begged for a final revelation that she survived. Instead, it was just a heartbreaking coda to what was a pretty strong episode anyway.
-Snapping a neck always looks really easy on television. I mean, a malnourished girl who lived in the walls for years can quickly dispatch somebody in the same way that vampires do on The Originals.
-The fact that Reign killed Clarissa right as she became Richard Harrow makes me sad. C'mon, show. There was so much emotional complexity left to be explored and it's more than a touch disappointing that Reign cut one of the signifiers of its weirdness/unique approach to period drama.
-I like how this episode expanded the show's universe, especially since it took us to another city for the first time. Not only did it give one of Mary's ladies something interesting to do that wasn't directly tied to Mary and threw her up against another character, it made the show feel bigger and offered an interesting visual with the pleasure palace that the Burgundy House looked to be. The only disappointment in the show's Paris adventure was that we didn't get a Diane sighting, since that was where she claimed to be heading when she left the castle. -The lighting when Nostradamus brought the Bible to Catherine was gorgeous. If any show on television is going to take advantage of natural lighting, it'd be this show.
-Favorite outfits: Kenna and Greer looked amazing at the Frost Fair. Reign does winter wear quite well. However, my favorite visual of the episode was Clarissa standing by the boys after killing the driver and taking his cloak. Spooky. -Nice to see Reign taking a plot from Heathers.
-Catherine's speech to Clarissa about not making the same mistakes that she did might have made me choked up. That was some beautiful acting, Megan Follows, and it made the reality of Clarissa's death all the more sad. But will we get to see just how Mary handles the responsibility of taking a life?
-Next week on Reign: Mary must decide whether to marry Francis or Bash, while Marie de Guise's visit to the castle troubles Catherine and Henry.

By: Shilo Adams


ConsummationEdit

Reign 1.06 “Consummation” Recap - Ksitetv.com
With Mary's marriage to Bash seemingly more inevitable by the day, Catherine has sped up the wedding planning, since she knows that the nuptials will spell her doom and she wants to go out with a bang if she's forced off this mortal coil. Among her demands are full vases of flowers, cascading bouquets, and 100 casks of wine for the Nobles, as well as the executioner to not break the clasp on a necklace she promised to one of her ladies. Lola and Francis get ready to leave a cabin they stopped at on their ride back from Burgundy House, with the former feeling guilty that her lack of stamina when it comes to horseback riding prevented him from reaching his mother sooner. He assures her that everything is okay and that soon enough, he'll be setting Catherine and his baby brothers up somewhere before he heads off to Morocco. Lola then tells him that she hopes she never sees him again after her leaves the castle due to his being safe and settled with a family of his own before briefing him on what they're going to tell Mary.

Nostradamus finishes having sex with a redheaded woman and tries to get her to leave so that he can return to the giver of his gift and ensure the fact that both he and his power are okay. It turns out that the giver of his gift was death and Nostradamus quickly gets on a nearby stool, slips a noose around his neck, and kicks it away in hopes of having a near-death experience and a subsequent vision. The woman unties him and he acknowledges that the vision he just had will lead to his doom, as the queen will kill him when she finds out what he saw. Meanwhile, Bash and Mary look on as Catherine and an exasperated Henry discuss plans for her burial, which he deems too extravagant and guilty of dragging out the process rather than simply letting go and letting God. The argument is interrupted by a visit from Mary's mother Marie de Guise, in town from Scotland for the wedding. She takes Mary to another room and questions her about backing away from the plan to marry the future King of France, instead throwing away all their work for a bastard and the ramblings of a magician. After telling Marie that she missed her, since the last time they saw one another was at least half a decade ago, Mary mentions that she's beginning to fall in love with Bash, causing Marie to inform her daughter about Scotland being dangerously close to falling into Protestantism. Mary needs to marry a Catholic in order to get the Protestants to back down, yet Marie concedes to be patient when it comes to her daughter's complicated love life.

Except Mary sees right through her mother's obvious disdain for the idea of marrying Bash and she suggests that they elope, an idea that he takes to immediately. He goes off to procure a church, just as Catherine and Marie catch up in the throne room. Marie laments trusting Catherine to raise Mary into Francis' wife and the next Queen of France, while Catherine reminds Marie that they were never going to put the needs of a child ahead of the needs of the country and that Marie was the one who traded a child for power and protection. Marie chides Catherine for trusting the word of one charlatan, allowing his visions to change the course of nations after having sold her soul to keep herself in power. However, the people of Scotland no longer want Marie as their queen - they want Mary. Meanwhile, Greer brings out a veil for Mary's elopement and the two spot Lola and Francis returning from their time away from the castle. Lola mentions that they met up at a chateau and rode back together due to her carriage getting washed away in the floods and when the girls go off to get Lola settled, Francis and Mary have their first conversation since he left the castle. He tells her that he's only here to get the matter of his mother's fate settled and that when that happens, he's going to leave and they're never going to see one another again.

Catherine brings Clarissa's mask to Nostradamus, seeing as how he was more of a parent to her than anybody, and tells him of the unmarked grave that she was supposed to be buried in. The queen wonders aloud about what would become of her first born's soul and whether she knew any type of happiness during her short time on this Earth. Nostradamus assures her that Clarissa had kind villagers to look after her when she was a child and mentions that the girl's death took away the violent images of his vision about Francis' death. Since his vision was about Catherine's first born dying at the hands of Mary and he reigndidn't know that Clarissa was the first born, he now sees Francis and Mary being happy together, married for years with a whole litter of children. Nostradamus urges her to save herself now that Francis is back at court and she hisses out that if she can't convince Francis to wed Mary, she will be watching him burn to death at the stake.

Catherine reunites with Francis and begs him to go to Mary, citing that the prophecy had changed and that what matters is his love for her. If he gets back with her, he would save his mother's life and put himself in position to take the crown, so he rides out to the church Bash is at and makes the first move to reconnect with Mary. Francis tells his brother that there need not be an elopement with Mary anymore and when Bash mentions that neither he nor Mary would trust the word of Catherine, Francis accuses him of playing on Mary's fears and the two begin tussling. Soon, Mary arrives and breaks them up, only to learn about the prophecy and how her fate is now her own. When Mary gets back to the castle, she confronts Catherine about the prophecy change and how she doesn't believe a word the queen says, only for Catherine to use a piece of jagged glass to cut her wrists. Terrified by the gesture, Mary heeds her warning to talk to Nostradamus about the prophecy alterations, except that she doesn't get a chance due to having to clean Catherine's wounds and Henry summoning them to the throne room. The reason for the latter? A messenger just came with the news that the English queen is dead. Mary has to put in her claim to the throne immediately and wed the next King of France that very night.

Kenna pays a visit to Henry's chambers wearing nothing but a robe and she successfully manipulates him into finding her a rich, noble husband who will treat her right. In turn, she will stay at the castle and continue to have an affair with him. Meanwhile, Mary frets about having to make the choice between Bash and Francis, only to have Catherine arrive with what she claims is the letter from The Vatican about Bash's legitimization. Mary takes a look at the letter and goes to Bash, where she informs him that while she may love him, she loves Francis more and that is who she will marry. She then finds Francis in the hallway and the two embrace before she shows him that Catherine gave her a blank paper, allowing her the decision on who to marry rather than letting Henry force her into one option or the other. Mary tells him that it's always been him and he agrees to marry her and protect Bash from the impending danger that will surround him now that he has made a play for the crown. Except he goes back on his word by trying to convince his brother to leave the castle for good; Bash thinks that since he's merely a bastard, Francis showing the [Nobles]] that his brother is not a threat to the throne would allow him the chance to stay at the castle, but Francis won't agree to it.

The day of the wedding, Marie gives Mary a pair of earrings and advises her to pop out heirs quickly to secure her position at French court. While Kenna quietly calls Lola out on the fact that the chateau she claims to have ran into Francis at burned down a year ago, Nostradamus hears a blonde woman singing a song during the wait for the wedding. The reason for the song? Clarissa paid her to sing it near him. He goes out to where her body was supposed to be buried and he sees a trail of footprints and spots of blood, signs that she's still alive. The wedding reception goes well, all flowers and dancing, but things take a turn when Mary learns from Marie that the message about the English queen's death was a lie. Marie bribed the messenger to give that message and speed along the wedding; Mary kicks her mother out of both the castle and her life, while Nostradamus has a vision that shows Francis and Mary married a year, the former succumbing to an illness that causes him to bleed from the ears. However, he doesn't inform Catherine of the latest alteration to his visions.

Following the reception is the consummation, where several key figures around the castle watch as Mary and Francis make love. Also in attendance is Bash, who was stopped from leaving the castle by Henry and made to watch so that he knows what isn't his. When he is allowed to leave, Bash stops in the middle of the woods with his two guards, both of whom try to kill him under the orders of one of Bash's family members. Having dispatched them both, he rides away.

Additional thoughts and observations:
-"Shall I catch my head in my own hands, too?"
-"You're a treasonous adulterer."
"Then I'll continue with the seating chart." -"French court has gone to hell."
-"Has Scotland noticed its king has rather overexposed breasts?"
-Favorite dress: Oh, that wedding dress was something, wasn't it? Even on an episode that really brought the Fashion, particularly Marie's purple dress when she arrived at the castle and the blue dress she wore at the reception, that wedding dress stood head and shoulders above everything else, possibly above every outfit of the season thus far. Adelaide Kane was absolutely radiant in it.
-I was a tiny bit disappointed that they didn't give Marie more to do. Amy Brenneman was a fabulous addition to the cast, her performance hitting the exact tone that it should have and her presence a deliciously soapy mixture of pompous mastermind and world-weary survivor, and aside from the show putting Marie in a box with Catherine and shaking it, she didn't get as much of a showcase as I expected.
-I might have laughed when shirtless Sexy Nostradamus climaxed and went over to hang himself, but it was 98% from shock at what I was seeing and confusion about what the heck was going on. I actually enjoyed the material they gave the character this episode and how he's now in on the secrecy that has been bogging down life at the castle, as he can sometimes feel removed from the action, but the fact that we were rather close to the great prophet Nostradamus enjoying autoerotic asphyxiation was surreal and yet very, very Reign.
-So, Clarissa's still alive. I kind of wondered about that after I submitted my recap for the last episode, as Reign has shown to be willing to do some wacky stuff, but ultimately, I figured the final shot of her half-covered face was supposed to be a haunting reminder of the collateral damage that Mary's journey to becoming the Queen of France had wrought, a sad death that wouldn't take too much away from the main action. Welp, I was wrong, everybody. Reign is crazypants and we're all the better for it. Now we wait until Clarissa pops up again, likely turning from Mary's defender into someone looking to make life for the future queen a living hell.
-Oh, Lola. Why do you pick a chateau in an area that Kenna knows? Shouldn't she know about stuff like that? By the end of the season, Mary might be down another lady, should she find out about what happened in Paris.
-Speaking of Mary's ladies, let's talk about how Greer has faded into the background over the last several episodes. I know the focus of the show has become Mary and Catherine, but Greer has been invisible recently and that makes me sad because I enjoy her. And all Kenna seems to get is her affair with the king, which is disappointing; I liked the scene tonight a lot, since it showed what she's learned since she came to the castle and she took her life into her own hands rather than let other people decide her fate, but it'd be nice to have her do some other stuff in addition to banging the king, Reign.
-Here's my weekly shout out to the utter greatness of Megan Follows, who shone in her scene with Marie as the two pit bulls circled one another and when she warned Nostradamus about what would happen if she couldn't get Francis to marry Mary. Again, I think she's the best actor on any CW show right now and I would love to watch a show centered on this character.
-The consummation scene was weird because of the proximity of the audience. I don't know what's historically accurate, but on The Borgias, those in attendance watched from much farther away and gave the couple the illusion of privacy, at least. How could you get your groove on if you could reach out your arm and touch your best friend or your in-law?
-The snowy church where Francis and Bash fought was a beautiful set piece. Though I enjoy the castle, I like seeing what the show can throw together when it hits other areas in the village and beyond.
-Still #TeamBash over here. I think the show had to get Francis and Mary together, which is fine, but I just don't think Francis is a good person (e.g. forcing his brother out of the castle, sleeping with Lola) and Bash has been the much more interesting character of the two thus far. Also, Bash having to watch the consummation, almost like a dog having its nose rubbed in an accident it had on the carpet, was devastating.
-Who do you think paid the two guards to take Bash out? Henry? Catherine? Francis? Or, more interestingly, someone not in the French royal family?
-Since Reign has already been renewed, can we look forward to the show counting down to Nostradamus' new vision next season? Would future seasons be centered around additional visions? How will Reign address time in this universe - will it stay pretty linear or could we have a jump in the near future? Would that I were Nostradamus and I could answer these questions (and many more!) for us all. -Next week on Reign: Mary returns from her honeymoon to find Lola exhibiting strange behavior, while Henry seeks help from Catherine.
By: Shilo Adams


Dirty LaundryEdit

Reign 1.06 “Dirty Laundry” Recap - Ksitetv.com
On the way back from her two-month honeymoon with Francis, Mary expresses worry about returning to French court, seeing as how there's nothing but deception and scheming there, both things that make her love for her husband feel more fragile. However, Francis reminds her that Catherine is no longer a threat, the prophecy was proven to be untrue, and Bash is in Spain, so they can focus on producing a litter of royal babies instead. Back at court, Henry and Catherine entertain the Archduke of Bohemia, who is upset that a French ship fired upon a Bohemian ship without provocation, meaning that the two nations are now on the verge of way. Catherine assures the Archduke that what happened was an accident and after the meeting in the throne room, Kenna pulls Henry aside to chide him for not getting her proper suitors. As such, he introduces her to the Archduke, who was making eyes at her during the meeting and wouldn't be aware of her reputation due to being foreign.

Mary and Francis return home and while she tells Lola and Greer that she found suitors for them in Paris, Catherine grabs Francis and lets him know that Bash did not make it to Spain. The guards that Francis paid to bring his brother to Spain? Dead, their bodies found on the side of the road. Henry has already sent men looking for Bash, though the royal bastard has been living in the woods since he escaped the attempted assassination. While hunting boar with a bow, he's tackled by Rowan, a fellow hunter who didn't want him to get caught in her boar trap. She brings him back to her cabin where he meets her brother, who tells Bash that he's the first boy that his sister brought home, but their attention soon changes when a wild-haired, pale Olivia comes crawling up to the cabin. Rowan notes that this must be a noble, seeing as how Olivia was wearing silk, and that the cuts on her arm are from the pagans feeding on the poor girl. Rowan and her brother want Olivia and The Darkness she carried to their doorstep gone and when Olivia learns this, she begins slicing at her arm before fainting in Bash's arms.

Lola doesn't try on the dress that Mary bought her while on honeymoon, citing the fact that it's snug, but before anyone can question the reason for the snugness, Greer inquires about Mary's status - is she with child after the honeymoon? Mary explains that she's only been married a short while and tries to get Lola to eat marzipan, what was once her favorite dessert, before noticing that Lola wouldn't swallow it. Meanwhile, Kenna walks along the hallways with the widower Archduke and she lays it on thick, talking about how she's insecure about being with an older, more experienced gentleman and how she wants to save her chastity for the man she married. He falls for it, though, and claims that she must meet his equally pure sister Cecilia - who is busy having sex with Henry after the two scoped each other out during the meeting. The two make it to the window in his chambers and she inadvertently falls out, plummeting to her death.

Nostradamus gets interrupted by Bash carrying Olivia down into his office and grows worried at Bash pointing out Olivia's bite marks and her talk of being "chosen." Bash thinks it means that she's been marked by the creature in the woods, the one the pagans worship, but Nostradamus doesn't believe nature is malignant; any evil in the woods is manmade. He tells Bash that Olivia needs rest and gentle treatment for the time being and encourages him to get out of the castle for his own safety. Catherine takes it upon herself to give Mary tips on how to properly conceive a child, passing along various aids to rub on her chest and Francis' erection, only for Henry to bust into her chambers requesting a private meeting. He tells his wife about the death of the Duchess of Bohemia; since he can't trust his advisors and anyone finding out could lead to war, he puts his faith in Catherine, who thinks he's trying to put the blood on her hands necessary to keep her quiet. To help him out, she wants Diane's Château and although he doesn't want to give it up, he relents and passes it along to her.

Kenna goes to Lola's room to confront her about the obvious signs that she's pregnant. However, Kenna thinks Lola did an excellent job at securing her place at court by getting pregnant and becoming Francis' mistress; for her part, Lola is worried about how her family and Mary will react to the news, as well as the possibility of no longer having the freedom she currently enjoys. If she's pregnant with a royal baby, she's officially property of the Royals and no longer her own woman, so Kenna recommends that she talk with a servant she knows had an abortion. While Henry and Catherine clean the blood from the balcony Cecilia landed on and roll up the Duchess' body in a castle rug, Bash visits Mary in her chambers to warn her about the possibility of Francis having involvement in the attempt on his life. Since Francis views him as a threat to both the crown and his marriage to Mary, Bash thinks that there's a distinct possibility that his brother could have set up the hit, what with his newfound power. Mary, though, doesn't think knowing Francis ordered anything would change a thing and chastises Bash for threatening to kill her husband if it turns out to be true. Before leaving, Bash warns her to find out who she's really married to and advises her to put a candle in the window if she wants to talk.

Lola visits the servant and pays her for the information about where she got her abortion; though the servant cautions that the procedure is incredibly dangerous, she ultimately gives the location and Lola continues weighing her options accordingly. Meanwhile, a priest, one of Nostradamus' clients, goes to the prophet's office and begins rifling through his cabinets, only to hear Olivia. He goes to her and finds the girl seizing and possibly having nightmares; when he does an exorcism chant to free her from the demon he believes has its grip on her, she wakes up and stabs him with his cross necklace, killing him. Francis goes to Mary after learning she was talking to the guards about his orders for Bash and she confesses that Bash had been in the chambers with her earlier. Francis is hurt that she would thought Bash's suspicions just and valid and reminds her that he believed her when she came to him over Catherine's scheming. He adds that Bash likely killed the guards to stay in France and be closer to Mary, reigndespite the fact that he's not safe right now, and when Francis leaves, Mary puts a candle in her window to signal Bash.

Catherine and Henry get Cecilia's body back to her room and begin penning a suicide note, which they can't agree on the contents of. Henry's very particular about what he wants included in the note and the phrasing he'd like to use, including a description of the man she pined after as having the sexual prowess of a lion, and Catherine grows more frustrated at his demands the longer this goes on. In the hallway, Kenna receives a brief peck from the Archduke before pulling him closely and showing him that she's more than the meek girl she claims herself to be. She chalks up her kissing prowess as beginner's luck and just as he mentions bringing her back to Bohemia, she witnesses Cecilia's body plummeting to the ground. Kenna is upset at the awful timing and tells Mary where Lola went when the latter comes up missing the morning of a royal ceremony to commemorate the Archduke's loss - a cabin inhabited by a woman who gave the servant her abortion. Mary gets Bash to take her through [[The Blood Wood]|the blood wood]], just as Henry and Catherine come into The Throne Room and learn that Cecilia couldn't write. As such, the Archduke claims that the note was forged and Catherine leaps into action, telling him that the lover mentioned in the note was responsible for the forgery, yet it wasn't that he killed her. It was that Cecilia was walked in on by Catherine while in the arms of another man and became so ashamed at her actions that she throw herself to the ground below to preserve her family name. The note? Was written to keep the secret. When the Archduke wants to see the lover who made this happen, he's taken to the body of the priest that Olivia killed; Catherine claims that the death was unintentional, the product of overzealous interrogators, and the Archduke decides to avoid scandal by telling his family that his sister drowned in the river. Henry and Catherine then assure him that France will do anything to maintain its friendship with Bohemia.

Mary and Bash make it to the abortion clinic just before Lola was to go under the knife and Mary gets Lola to agree not to go through with it, that it's not the end of the world to be pregnant. She then figures out that the reason for Lola's odd behavior was that she slept with Francis, causing Lola to cry; after they leave, Mary tells Bash that she believes Francis and that since there's nothing here for him, he needs to leave the country. He cannot care for her, as she is married, and if he has to hate someone, she wants it to be her and not Francis. Bash, however, pledges to protect her. Mary then confronts Lola about the deception and how she knew that Mary still loved Francis; Lola then tries to get Mary to take a vow of secrecy about the pregnancy while she considers her options. Back at the castle, Henry and Catherine exchange pleasant words about their experience with the Archduke, but when Henry goes in for a kiss, Catherine pulls away.

Bash goes back to Rowan's with the intention of telling her goodbye and leaving France, only for the two to kiss. While Henry practices his sword fighting, Kenna laments what happened with the Archduke and how she still doesn't have a proper suitor; Henry claims that that's okay and that they can play until he finds someone decent. The two then kiss with the window open and only a few steps separating Kenna from becoming Cecilia. Nostradamus goes to Olivia and asks her what she remembered from the murder; she simply tells him that The Darkness is close and that it'll devour his soul.

Additional thoughts and observations:
-"And what? She caught cold?"
-"If you don't know, then you probably shouldn't be having sex!"
-"It's a suicide letter, not an enticement to pilgrims."
-"You kiss like the French." "Well, we are in France."
-"That's awful. But not now."
-"You're very charming when you're not trying to kill me."
-For those curious about Bohemia, it's basically present-day Czech Republic. -This episode worries me, you guys. For all its positives, which I'll get to in a second, I kind of hate this whole "Lola's pregnant" deal. I like giving Anna Popplewell something to do because she's lovely and I think Lola is an interesting enough character, but this is an incredibly soapy move even for this show and I don't think it'll delve into any interesting character development for anybody involved. It makes Mary extremely unlikable (I know, time period context and blah blah blah, but still, she was very wrong for coming down on Lola and not Francis); it's hinged upon a secret, which is the type of flimsy storytelling I'm not a fan of; and it's another in a long line of examples of the plots centering on the younger folks being dwarfed by the adults on the show.
-Henry and Catherine's plot was the most overtly comedic the show has done thus far (the suicide note sequence was genius, as did the suggestion they pass the blood off as spilled wine) and though I was a little curious about the tone, I thought it was an excellent watch, thanks in large part to the chemistry between Alan van Sprang and ]]Megan Follows]]. The difference between the adults and teenagers on this show is that there's a lot of texture to the writing for Catherine and Henry, their history together and complicated dynamic (they kind of like each other, yet she's bitter about how he's treated her and he's afraid to open up too much) making their shared time on screen crackle. If you watched this episode without having seen the rest of the season, you'd know exactly the type of relationship they have, as most of the layers were touched on without being too heavy-handed or one-sided. The younger plots, meanwhile, lack the uniqueness and emotional complexity of everything with Henry and Catherine, often falling onto familiar teen soap territory and not pushing through to something more invigorating.
-Henry's final scene with Kenna: foreshadowing of her death later this season (his creepy stare at the camera, him getting her in front of the window) or visually interesting misdirect?
-The only other look at the camera that I liked was Nostradamus', as the quick cut of Catherine, Lola, and Mary was a bit on the nose and didn't add anything stylistically. Nostradamus', though, followed Olivia's warning about The Darkness coming and would have made an excellent final image. The entire episode was less than 40 minutes, so everything in the final montage, as well as the exterior shot of the castle, rang a little filler-y to me.
-Favorite dress: Kenna looked so gorgeous in the white dress Mary got her in Paris.
-I believe Mary said husband 432 times this episode, most of them during her final conversations with Bash and Lola. We get it; you're married. Take it down a notch. Also, the next time she needs to go into [[The Blood Wood]|the blood wood]], she can do it herself, because pushing Bash away and then playing on his attraction to her by asking favors of him is kind of gross.
-Did Rowan say her name during the episode? Because I didn't have it in my notes and had to look it up on one of the photos provided by the network. -This is just a me thing, but I hate it when shows put abortion on the table and don't follow through. I get why Reign didn't, but rare is the show willing to go through with abortion as a story choice and not an attempt to edge itself up. -I think I have a bigger role on Reign at this point than Greer does. #FreeGreer -This is your weekly reminder that Catherine de Medici is a genius and we should all bow down to the queen. I was genuinely impressed by how quick she was on her feet with the Archduke and how she used what Nostradamus told her to her advantage. There's a reason she's made it this far and I wouldn't be shocked if she's the last character standing.
-Olivia killing the priest with his necklace was the most Reign-y that Reign had been in a bit and I love it.
-Also really funny: Catherine pausing when the topic of putting something on Francis' erection came up. The hand up, head down thing that Megan Follows did killed me.
-Also also funny: Henry and Catherine being confused about how the servants washed their clothes. I think they dip them in something?
-Next week on Reign: A matchmaking event is held at the castle, while Kenna turns to Catherine after Henry flies into another rage and Bash learns firsthand about the horrors of the woods.
By: Shilo Adams


The DarknessEdit

Reign 1.06 “The Darkness” Recap - Ksitetv.com
Kenna arrives at the king's chambers the day following a vigorous round of S&M play, the same day that the annual First Light is to be held. In First Light, a party is held at the castle for all the eligible bachelors and bachelorettes, with the men giving women they're interested in candles. If the woman is interested in them, they'll light the candle in their room that night. Henry has a list of eligible bachelors to set Kenna up with, but before he's willing to do that, he wants her to fool around with Anna, a prostitute he hired. As he watches, Kenna finishes the last of her wine and ends up on the couch with Anna; the next morning, though, she wakes up to find Anna's body cold and pale next to her, causing her to flee to scene immediately.

Across the castle, Lola isn't exactly excited at the prospect of First Light, since she's too ill to be around food. However, she knows that she has to find a husband so that when she gives birth, neither she nor the baby become royal property. Mary suggests kind, well-read Count Philipe Nardin, a man she and Francis encountered on their honeymoon who she believes Lola will grow to love. Meanwhile, Greer watches as Leith prepares the various cakes and treats that were ordered for First Light, as men will often give pastries along with their candles to curry favor with a woman they want to be with. Leith mentions that Lord Castleroy ordered something for Greer and though the two kiss, it's put out there that nothing can become of their relationship. He leaves her with a letter from her parents in Scotland.

Nostradamus continues caring for Olivia, who has miraculously recovered from the state she was in when she arrived at the castle. She informs the prophet of what she knows about where she went; after she got lost in the tunnels, she ran out into the woods and into a group of peasants who kidnapped her and brought her to The Darkness, a creature who lives in a dark, cold cavern. It fed on her for nights that turned into weeks and eventually months, the only way she survived being the weight she lost from barely eating and drinking. That allowed her to slip out of her chains and back into the forest, where she found a stream and eventually Bash. Speaking of, as Bash says what he thinks are his last goodbyes to Rowan, who assures him that he's better off away from court, he sees that their door has been marked in blood by the pagans, meaning that one member of the family will be taken by The Darkness. Now that he's without a family to call his own, Bash won't let anything happen to Rowan or the ones she loves, so he decides to stay and fight rather than flee the country.

At First Light, Kenna approaches Catherine with word about Henry's exploits. She takes the queen to the scene of the crime, where the two look upon a body that has been choked to death. Catherine advises her to say that she saw Anna leave with the money, bragging about what it could to for some relative that lives far away from France, while Mary points Count Nardin out to Lola in the First Light ballroom. Just as Lola approaches Nardin, Francis comes to Mary and questions her choice of Count Nardin for Lola; Nardin, though, is very nice and very direct with Lola, telling her that life isn't all that free away from castle walls and that he's been forced to find someone to marry this year in order to keep his inheritance. He then calls her beautiful and gives her a candle, telling her that they'll be wonderful companions.

Elsewhere, Greer attends Lord Castleroy's planned dinner for two, with Leith serving them. Castleroy points out that he avoided including pepper in the meal, since he knows that Greer wasn't that interested in it, and he wanted to prove that he was a man that had more going on than his occupation. Just as Leith pours them some more wine, Castleroy's sleeve catches on fire and Leith uses a table cloth to put it out; Greer checks on Castleroy before tending to Leith and Castleroy praises the boy's courage and selflessness. Catherine finds Henry muttering to himself while staring at a map of the world and drinking; the main target of his scorn is Mary Tudor, whose condition appears to be on the incline, while Catherine questions the fact that he just killed two women and that the servants have complained about his water turning black. Henry chalks Cecilia and Anna up as messes in his chambers and claims that the headache he has isn't an illness, as Kings cannot get ill, before slamming his cane on the ground and scaring Catherine away.

Nostradamus wakes Olivia up with food and new clothes; he says that it's time for her to join the ranks of the living, even though she wants nothing more to do with French court. She wants to stay there with him and live out the rest of her days away from other people, as she believes that The Darkness knew that she was a bad person and filled her with evil during her time in its lair. Meanwhile, Francis goes to Lola's room where he learns that she accepted Nardin's candle; he claims that she's simply wasting time with the Count, while she only says that she wants to get to know Philipe before she passes any kind of judgment. Bash boards up Rowan's home and creates a murder hole with the intention of trapping The Darkness and getting a look at what has caused such chaos in the woods. Rowan and her family claim that they cannot leave even if they wanted to, as there are other families in the woods that will be moved on to if The Darkness is forced to pass them up. Since it cannot be stopped, they decided to lay down and let it down as it wishes with them and to ensure that Bash doesn't stop them, Rowan slips something in his tea that makes him pass out.

While Leith gets offered an apprenticeship in Spain by Lord Castleroy, which he accepts after Greer encourages him to take it and assures him that things are ending hopefully rather than bitterly, Mary and Francis discuss Lola's marital situation and he confesses that his reticence about Count Nardine comes from the Count being gay. He then admits to having slept with Lola in Paris, which Mary seemingly shrugs off, while Mary confronts Lola about having to lie to Francis. Mary warns Lola that she'll resent her if word of the pregnancy comes out and Francis no longer trusts her and to make things right, she has to wed Phillipe and leave France. Lola then learns about Philipe preferring men, but Mary believes that her friend already had her shot at happiness and that all that matters is keeping her own marriage in tact rather than forcing Lola to wed someone who could never fulfill her. Since Lola made a mistake and must fix it, Mary says that she must either wed Philipe or face Francis finding out the truth about the pregnancy. Mary goes into her bedroom to find many First Light candles lit and when Francis tries to get intimate with her, she pulls away, telling him that they've vigorously tried to have a baby for months and that maybe tonight, they could not try. He explains that he doesn't make love to her to have a baby; he wants to have a baby with her because he loves her, a sentiment which changes her mind and the two make love accordingly. Greer joins Lord Castleroy on the balcony and while she thanks him for his generosity in giving Leith the apprenticeship when she asked, she can no longer accept kindness from him and rejects his advances once again. Meanwhile, Bash wakes up in the middle of Rowan's cabin to find the family asleep and a young goat tied to a post in the room. The Darkness enters and after it slaughters the goat, Bash makes a noise and Rowan looks at him, her eye contact dooming her to be taken by The Darkness.

Nostradamus takes Olivia to a nearby pond and baptizes her, telling her that evil is a choice and that all that matters is what she chooses to be. He encourages her to hang on to who she thinks she is, for it will be her salvation, and she claims that she feels anew. While Bash goes out looking for Rowan and gets the idea to go to the castle for extra help in tracking The Darkness, Mary and Lola make up from their earlier fight, though Mary still has doubts as to how long the affair between Lola and Francis was going on. Lola reminds her friend that she wants nothing to do with Francis like that and that he is not his father, while Mary encourages her friend to save herself and not rely on a man to do so. Later, Greer meets Lola on the balcony and explains that she received a letter two days ago from her parents that said they arranged a marriage for her, with her suitor pulling up to the castle as they speak.

Henry approaches Kenna in the hallway and utters the same sentence he did before killing Anna. However, Catherine interrupts him and learns that he went to the physician, receiving tonics for what was supposedly wrong with him. However, he claims he's done kowtowing to women after receiving a sign from God that he's meant to be king and he warns Catherine that there will be others like Anna and Cecilia in the near future.

Additional thoughts and observations:
-"I see a lust in your eyes that won't easily be extinguished."
-So, I'm all about Crazy King Henry and his crazy eyes and the show flashing a big neon sign that says KENNA IS GOING TO DIE THIS SEASON. It's weird and it's off-putting (when he said the same thing to Kenna that he did Anna, I might have gasped) and it's Reign at it's Reign-iest; however, do we really need another serial killer on television? The context in which it developed is interesting and I like how they're flirting with his sanity, but it's worrisome that a week after a cliché pregnancy plot we get what could end up as a retread of the past five years of television. Alan van Sprang is awesome, though, so I'm not going to write this off just yet.
-Speaking of the pregnancy plot, let's talk about how atrocious Mary and Francis are. Francis fights so hard to not be his father, yet he tries to control the private life of the girl he slept with once (and we don't even know if the Count is even gay), while Mary treats the girl she claims to hold as a friend like any of the nameless, faceless peasants that reside in her kingdom. In particular, Mary blackmailing Lola into marrying Nardin due to her silly little insecurity and inability to hold her husband accountable for his actions was, although true to the time period and a sign that the Mary who arrived at the castle is long gone, gross to watch and might represent the end of her being a likable heroine.
-I mean, I get the parallels between Francis/Henry and Mary/Catherine, particularly if the show pursues Francis' obvious feelings for Lola and turn her into the Diane; it just feels a little heavy-handed and way too soon, with Regbo and Kane not possessing that x-factor that Van Sprang and Follows have that keeps their awful behavior firmly on the entertaining side of the television spectrum. -I dig that Catherine de Medici is the Olivia Pope of her time. This show would grow by leaps and bounds if it was just Catherine cleaning up the messes that everybody gets themselves in, with episodes punctuated by her sharing a drink with Nostradamus. Get on it, writers.
-Everything with Bash and The Darkness was pretty good, as well. I totally buy him staying behind to protect Rowan, both because he cares about her and because he wants that sense of belonging/having something to fight for, and the show has not yet gone wrong by embracing what the hell's going on in the woods. Also, what the hell's going on in the woods? We didn't get to see much of The Darkness, beyond a glimpse of his lair in Olivia's flashback and some shadows in Rowan's cabin, so I'm still unsure what exactly it'll be and how it'll look.
-Petition for a flashback episode focused on Olivia's journey from the castle to the woods to the lair of The Darkness to Rowan's cabin.
-I might have gotten a teensy bit choked up at what Nostradamus told Olivia about evil being a choice and how all that matters is what you choose to be. Darn you, grizzled prophet voice. Another weird reaction: I felt some deep, deep empathy for Lord Peppercorn when he lamented people making fun of him for being excitable about things he likes. I can relate, Lord Peppercorn.
-Hey, everybody, did you know Greer was still on this show? The show just remembered and put her to very good use, as everything with Lord Castleroy and Leith was strong. In particular, her romance with Leith had stretched about as far as it could have feasibly gone, though I'm curious if they'll pull him back into the fold if/when he works his way up in the merchant class, and I'm especially curious to see who her parents chose for her.
-Something tells me that no one will want to join Bash in the fight against the bloodthirsty creature in the woods that controls a legion of violent pagans. Might just be me, though.
-I get the reason why Mary is jealous of Lola and Francis beyond the surface level stuff, but I think it's hilarious that she thinks she has a leg to stand on when she nearly married his brother. I also like how Mary and Lola discussed super secret lady business in the echo-iest hallway in the universe. With guards listening.
-That love scene between Mary and Francis was the biggest piece of fan service of the series thus far. I generally don't mind them as a couple, even though as individuals I'm souring on both, but can we not write bad fan fiction? If we're going to do fan fiction, we could at least do good, compelling fan fiction that feels like it has a purpose beyond evoking squeals from legions of teenage girls. -Next week on Reign: Bash saves Francis' life while they're in the woods exploring the latest threat, while Henry and Greer deal with servants and a new couple is forced into a union.
By: Shilo Adams


MonstersEdit

Reign 1.06 “Monsters” Recap - Ksitetv.com
Olivia wakes up from another nightmare about her time in the cave and Nostradamus assures her that The Darkness can no longer reach her. By keeping her mind so focused on her past, she's allowing it to sabotage her, but when Nostradamus notices an infected wound on her back, he drains it and finds a tooth from The Darkness embedded in it. Meanwhile, Henry spaces out while in a meeting with a nobleman and lashes out at him when the noble requests aid in defeating a baron in battle. Since Henry has told him to handle the conflict on his own before, he punishes the noble for not listening by pouring candlewax in his ear. Catherine interrupts, though, and talk turns to Queen of the Bean, a yearly tradition where a cake is baked and slices handed out to the servant girls of the castle. The girl whose slice contains a single bean gets to become queen for a day; Catherine cancelled the tradition due to Henry's erratic behavior and how he could bring harm to both those he loves and France as a whole, but he overrules her and reinstates the contest.

Outside the Queen of the Bean, Francis tells Mary about how his father would have relation with the various Queens, resulting in he and Bash going out on hunts while the day-long competition goes on. As they wait, Mary lays eyes on Lord Julian, the man Greer's parents picked out for her, while Kenna laments that she's been at the castle for a year without any signs of a suitable suitor coming her way. Mary meets Julian and approves of his engagement with Greer, though things are not as good for Lola, whose suitor will be delayed five weeks. Since she's about to start showing, she's understandably upset, but Mary assures her that things are going to work out. Nostradamus informs Catherine that he's been monitoring Henry's food and drink intake for days and that there's no trace of any poison, meaning that he really just might be mad. He then gives her a sedative that induces a coma-like sleep, something they need a Trojan horse in order to get to Henry and slip past his seven tasters. Catherine decides to use Penelope, the kitchen girl who won Queen of the Bean and became queen for the day.

Bash returns to the castle and before he can get out his reasoning, Henry sends him to the dungeon; for his part, Francis doesn't care, since he thinks Bash came back for Mary. However, Mary sneaks down to the dungeon and sees Bash, where she tells him that he stirs up the type of jealousy and bitterness in Francis that scares her and that he needs to get out of France at once. Bash then explains the reason he can back to begin with (Rowan), just as Catherine fits Penelope with jewelry and promises the girl if she does what she says, the two could become long-term friends. She goes on to explain that Henry has a voracious sexual appetite with even more impressive stamina, with his vigorousness making anytime a woman lays down with him feel like hours; Catherine produces the sedative vial and claims that it's an aphrodisiac that will help Henry finish quicker and reduce the pain Penelope will have to deal with. All she has to do is put it in Henry's wine. Elsewhere, Francis catches Mary getting Bash out of the dungeon and learns about The Darkness, a concept he scoffs at. His reaction changes, though, once he hears that Olivia actually survived The Darkness and lived to tell the tale.

Leith barges into Greer's room the day before he's scheduled to go to Spain with Lord Castleroy. He tells her he had to see her and she admits that though Lord Julian is everything she wanted, he's not Leith and the two kiss. Unfortunately, they're caught by Lord Julian, coming into the room baring a gift for his betrothed. Leith takes full responsibility, claiming to have come on to Greer and that the action wasn't returned, and though Julian won't let any harm come to the kitchen boy, the Hungarian Lord cannot bring himself to marry Greer. Francis and Mary get the details of Olivia's time with The Darkness, but he believes less in monsters and more in fear, pledging that he'll go out and find the human the pagans are holding up as a symbol of their beliefs. Olivia gives them some vague landmarks to look for on the way to the cave (a curving field of snow, a meadow of fir trees) and Nostradamus comes in to reveal that The Darkness is, indeed, human, that the tooth embedded in Olivia's back was filed to look like a fang.

Greer cries to Lola and Kenna about the breakup with Lord Julian and how she feels like she'll never have a future or be able to face her family again. After Mary assures them all that things will get better and that they don't have anything to be ashamed of, she goes to Henry to try and get Leith pardoned, only to find out that Lord Castleroy has already gotten the boy out of jail. Leith has been signed up for a military service tour that begins tomorrow, but before Mary can leave, Henry tries to get her to teach Penelope how to please a royal by demonstrating what she does for Francis. Flustered, Mary attempts to get Penelope out of the room, fearing for the girl's life; Penelope, though, won't leave. Instead, she takes control by tying Henry's hands together and embracing his love for bondage. In the woods, Bash and Francis lead a search party for Rowan that splits up when they reach the fir trees that Olivia mentioned. Francis is the only one with a weapon and he rants about how Bash wants to be with his wife, while Bash harangues Francis for having everything in front of him and still being threatened. Before the two can fight anymore, they spot nearby tracks that look to be from The Darkness.

Penelope approaches Catherine in The Throne Room and while she admits she didn't give the "medicine" to Henry, she assures the queen that she knows how to handle the queen. Elsewhere, Lola is distraught reignabout not being able to fit in her dress and that any time she had to find a husband has run out. Using a suggestion from Greer, Mary tries to get Lola to agree to marry Lord Julian; though Greer was spurned by Julian, he was kind about it and Greer knows how this would help Lola since Lola confessed to being pregnant. Mary also needs this marriage between Lola and Julian to work and Lola relents, telling her friend that if she can sway Julian, she'll do her best to marry him and better the situations of everyone in her life. Meanwhile, Bash and Francis continue trailing the tracks until one of their horses gets spooked and Bash hears the piercing whistle of The Darkness, the same one he heard while in Rowan's home. Francis goes out further on the ice and sees that the prints stop and that The Darkness left behind the severed hand of Rowan. Just then, the ice beneath Francis' feet gives way and the future King of France falls into the water below. Bash ends up running ahead of his brother, busting out an ice hole of his own, and pulling an unconscious Francis to safety.

Back at the castle, Henry remarks that the gossip about Greer and Leith is the first interesting thing he heard about her, while Lola chats up Lord Julian in a bid to help her reputation and her friendship with Mary. Lord Castleroy approaches Greer and informs her that he helped Leith for her; he knows she has a good heart and he wants to marry her so that all rumors about her can be put to rest. He then tells her that he knows the world will be cruel to the next sweet girl who opens her heart to someone others don't see and when he proposes to her again, she accepts, causing him to hug her. Across the room, Olivia has rejoined society and attempts to get Nostradamus on the dance floor, to no avail. Francis, wrapped up in a blanket in front of a fire, tells Bash that the men did find the cave of The Darkness; however, they only found blood, with no sign of Rowan. Bash admits that he saved his brother because of their familial bond and that he wants something that's his own, while Francis promises to slay The Darkness in the name of each of its victims, including Rowan. Just then, Henry comes into the room, furious about Bash being released from the dungeon. He rambles about how Bash is a threat to everything he wants and admits to being the one to pay Francis' men; Francis gets in between his father and his brother and talks Henry down from killing Bash, saying that Bash saved his life that day and that if he were to be harmed, it would be like Henry harming himself. Henry backs down, but he warns the both of them that if his next plan doesn't work, it's their lives. Both of their lives. Nostradamus admits to Olivia that the last time he danced with a woman was with his deceased wife, who died along with their young children in the plague. As a result, he dedicated his life to saving others; Olivia then tells him that he saved her before kissing him. While Lola and Greer convene on the balcony and watch Leith head off to the military, Catherine confronts Penelope about the sedative again, only this time the truth is revealed. Henry spryly comes into the room and chastises Catherine for insulting his queen, who he claims to be in love with. When Catherine goes for the crown, he warns her against insulting Penelope and it's revealed that Catherine was given the full dosage instead. Luckily, she manages to stumble into the hallway and tell Mary to get Nostradamus, who quickly administers treatment. Bash then fetches Mary and Francis so that they can witness Henry's final solution - marrying him off to Kenna. Henry titles Bash Master of Horse and Hunt and the wedding goes on with Kenna in tears. However, while Bash doesn't like Kenna, he does have more power now and he orders a search of the woods.

Additional thoughts and observations:
-Do you think that was actually Rowan's hand on the ice? Or could The Darkness have used another hand since he knew Bash would come out looking for his friend? -Reign-iest Moment of the Week: A human tooth being embedded in Olivia's back. And when Nostradamus held it up, it looked almost like a shark's tooth in shape/size, so I'm especially curious what The Darkness really looks like. Give me your worst, show.
-So, we've been at the castle for a year now, which is surprising even considering the larger time jumps (e.g. wedding-coming home from honeymoon) the show has taken recently.
-Where are Little Henry and Charles? They've been MIA since the episode they were kidnapped. Don't become Joffre Borgia, boys.
-I still have no idea what they're trying to do with Big Henry. Are they planning on taking him so far into irredeemability that there's no other choice but for him to die? Or is there some type of "cure" for his madness that will be put on the table in the final episodes of the season? A death would be interesting, as it'd cause the entire court to scramble for power and impressively shake things up, but is the show willing to throw itself off balance like that?
-So much romantic tragedy/angst tonight with the shotgun wedding of Bash/Kenna (who have shared less than a handful of scenes alone together) and that gut punch of a final look shared between Greer and Leith. The former will be intriguing to watch due to how little we know about their dynamic, and how each of them will use the other for their own personal gain, while the latter had some nice counterbalance with another beautiful scene with Lord Castleroy. (That hug!) Although I immediately latched on to the idea of Greer and Leith and think they have the best love story on the show, it was inevitable that they were to be parted and if she has to marry someone else, it's good that it's Castleroy, who seems like such a good guy and who will do his absolute best to take care of Greer emotionally and financially.
-Good for the show for not sidelining Catherine with the coma plot. I think it could be fun to see how the castle operates without her and how her absence impacts people like Francis and Henry, but Megan Follows is too good to be out of commission for long.
-Dark horse for best relationship on the show: Nostradamus and Olivia. I like seeing her try to break through with him and it's nice for him to have a connection with someone outside Catherine. Obviously, considering his past and what she recently went through, this is less grand love for the ages and more two people who need somebody while in their darkest hours. It's a bond forged in experience and support and even if nothing comes from it, it's a character combination that I'm glad the show is exploring.
-Hopefully now Francis can be less of a douche toward Bash since Bash saved his life. And the show can straighten out his characterization, which has been a bit inconsistent and plot determinant.
-Henry might be off his rocker, but the line about Greer kissing a servant being the first interesting thing he heard about her was deliciously catty. Would that cattiness be the main symptom of Henry's ills.
-I was a bit disappointed that Lola's confession happened off camera, only because it had the makings of a great scene that played on the dynamic between the girls. It's especially disappointing because Mary, Lola, Kenna, and Greer have felt more distant in recent weeks and part of the foundation of the show is their friendship.
-Reignn is off next week, but on April 10th, Mary uncovers a secret clause in her marriage contract.
By: Shilo Adams


Liege LordEdit

Reign 1.06 “Liege Lord” Recap - Ksitetv.com
Neither Kenna nor Bash has gotten over their sudden marriage that was forced by an increasingly mad King Henry. While Kenna is upset that she got a man whose title didn't bring about the money/status she was looking for, Bash being strong-armed into marrying one of his father's mistresses is tough for him to stomach. However, he believes that despite how self-centered Kenna may be, the two of them have to begin to like one another if this marriage is going to be anything less than painful. Meanwhile, at a gathering in the castle, Francis receives the gift of an Arabian thoroughbred from the Sultan of Constantinople and bats back against Henry's madness, which has channeled itself into infatuation over Penelope; Catherine has diverted letters that come to the castle and handled castle business herself, but how long can she keep up the charade that Henry is himself?

Lola fills Greer in on the lovely time she's been having with Lord Julien, all skating and laughing and bonding, and the fact that he seems reticent to propose. Since she should be showing in a few days, Lola decides to take matters into her own hands and get Julien out on the dance floor. Once in his arms, he tells her that he likes how unusually clear she is about what she wants; however, he worries about not being husband material due to his first two wives dying in childbirth, something that has made him swear off having kids. Before Lola can find it within herself to say something, Julien drops to one knee and proposes to Lola in the middle of the party, to which she says a quick yes. Elsewhere in the party, a servant named Charlotte "inadvertently" runs into Mary and spills wine on her dress, giving her the excuse to pull the queen away from a much needed aside. Charlotte is a member of the Flying Squad, a group of Catherine's women who she orders to sleep with important men and obtain important political information. While Charlotte was all well and good with the arrangement before, she had to take a step back when the queen enlisted her to seduce Henry and turn the king's attentions away from Penelope, seeing as how Catherine would be able to control Charlotte much easier than she would Penelope.

But Charlotte knows how mad Henry is and she doesn't want to put herself in the position to end up list his past victims, so she's decided to leave France and asks Mary for her assistance. In exchange, Charlotte tells Mary about a secret clause in her marital contract that would give Scotland to France if an heir is not produced from Francis' marriage. Mary rushes to tell Francis about the clause, hidden in a lengthy and labyrinthine contract, and how the king now has a way to murder her without recourse. If she fails to claim the English throne like he wants, he could opt to cut his losses, murder her, and use Scotland as a way to leverage Francis' next wife onto the throne of England, so the plan is to now find the original copy of the contract in Henry's chambers. For that, Mary enlists Kenna, who reluctantly agrees when she finds out her country's fate is up in the air; she finds what turns out to be a copy of the contract that lacks any signatures and gets forced into fooling around with the king to keep his suspicions off of her.

After pouring over the copy, Francis informs Mary of a payment to Marie de Guise on the ledger following their wedding; in short, she thought she could make some money for her rule by including the clause in the contract and that Mary would get pregnant quickly, never to know that Scotland was used as a bargaining chip. Mary then sets up the next part of her plan - she wants to use the Protestants pressure on her mother against her, leaking word of her agreement with France and disregard for the health and well-being of the country. She'll have to publicly distance herself from the idea and burn her copy of the agreement as a result, which would lead to Catherine and Henry doing the same to avoid suspicion. To help this plan along, Mary throws a party for every Scot within a hundred mile radius, all for a chance to speak to Lord McKenzie, in the country on a mission to sell wool to the French military. He fought alongside Mary's father against the English, meaning that she thinks she could have an in with him and use him to spread the word of her mother's betrayal in Scotland, though Francis is unsure their tenuous connection would prove to be beneficial.

Once she inquires about the whereabouts of Charlotte to Mary, Catherine learns from Penelope that Henry is adding diamonds to her royal crown and gets hit on by one of the dozen men Lord McKenzie brought with him to the castle, a stopover on his journey to Paris. The Scot believes that Catherine is one of the queen's ladies rather than the queen herself, having never been to French court before, and Catherine plays along with him. Elsewhere in the party, Henry approaches Bash and asks how marriage is treating him, using the opportunity to poke at his bastard son regarding his recent encounter with sexually voracious Kenna. He leaves Bash with the thought that his first born could be a king's son, something of a belated Sebastian and Kenna's Wedding


No ExitEdit

Reign 1.06 “No Exit” Recap - Ksitetv.com
Kenna has been struggling with her marriage to Bash, as he's forced to give her a small family heirloom as a wedding ring while Lola is in the middle of planning her quickie wedding to Lord Julien. After watching her friend receive a sapphire necklace from the wealthy Hungarian, Kenna declares herself bitter, though Greer does remind her that Bash is young and handsome; Bash's appearance won't keep away Henry, who comes over to tell Kenna that she's doing a good job distracting him and that she needn't hide from him, since he'll have to come find her.

At the reception, Lola gets tears in her eyes from how grateful she is for Julien rescuing her from a life of being owned by French court, while Catherine pulls Mary and Francis away from their dance to break the news that Cardinal Morrisini, the new Papal Envoy, has arrived at the castle a week early. He planned on meeting with Henry concerning rents and tenancies, money that the French desperately need, but since Henry is off in his own world recently, Mary takes things into her own hands. She walks over to the Cardinal and instantly charms him, getting him to agree to meet with her and Francis over the rents and dance with her so the two could discuss their terms. While Mary tries to keep the Cardinal smiling, Catherine finds Henry tied up and collared in his bedroom, his sexcapades with Penelope on pause while she fetched more supplies. After chastising Henry for promising Penelope an entire estate, Catherine warns him that the talk about his relationship with Penelope and what they do behind closed doors could soon reach The Vatican.

Mary receives a visit from her brother James, the Earl of Moray, and hears of unrest in her country. Particularly, the Scots are bristling at a French-born queen installing several French citizens in her government; they feel as if their country is being swallowed whole by their ally and they want Mary to return and at least show them that she's still supporting them. While she wants to make the trip, Francis isn't so sure about it, suggesting that they send diplomats in her place. He believes that France is truly unstable right now and that if things don't go well with the Cardinal, Rome will withdraw their support, thus leaving his country to look weak before the world. This would invite challengers to come and overtake France and as we all know, Henry is in no position to lead a military mission, so Francis argues that they need to lock down Cardinal Morrisini's support before even thinking about leaving for Scotland. However, Mary notes just how much of her life at court has been geared toward bending for France and addressing French problems, so she still wants to go to her country, Francis support or no Francis support.

Julien and Lola wake up on their first morning as husband and wife, though things aren't as happy as Lola would've wanted. She tries to bring up their impending marital tour and how she wants to get to it before she shows anymore, but all Julien seems to be concerned about is acquiring her dowry. Meanwhile, Nostradamus and Olivia are continuing their tryst and as much as the two are enjoying each other's company, Nostradamus has a vision of himself finding Olivia's dead body that completely unnerves him. In the throne room, Henry approaches Kenna and when she shows off her ring from Bash, Penelope requests it for herself before insulting its size and clarity. Kenna gives it up, upsetting Bash, but Catherine is forced to part with her own ring to make up for the loss. After Penelope and King Henry depart, Catherine approaches Kenna about bringing down the new queen for the good of the country, promising her son's wife an estate of her own and a chance to live away from the horrors and pressure of French court.

While Bash inadvertently gives Francis advice on putting Mary first and how it's okay to be a bad king sometimes, Lola steps on her necklace and breaks one of the sapphires. Greer suggests that maybe he had to have one of the stones replaced with a fake and brushes aside Lola's concerns about Julien's inability to talk about his past and the two wives dying in childbirth. Nostradamus tells Catherine of his plans to leave court and join Olivia in Trinidad, a place where they could have a fresh start and truly begin their lives together. However, she doesn't want him to leave, not when his sight has proven invaluable, and he warns her that if he's forced to stay, he won't use his sight to help her. Though Catherine wishes him luck, she tells him that the New World is filled with vipers, implying that he might be going from a dangerous situation to an even more dangerous situation. Elsewhere, Francis goes to Mary and assures her that he's willing to go to Scotland with her, as long as she'll wait until things with the Cardinal are squared away. She agrees and the two begin planning for France.

James isn't a fan of the idea, as it's just another wave of Frenchmen invading his country, though he does ultimately relent and allow Francis to come. Not so lucky is Olivia, who nearly gets bitten by a snake planted in her luggage by Catherine; Nostradamus ultimately kills the animal. Kenna approaches Penelope in her chambers with the intent of giving the new queen advice on how to keep Henry happy. She doesn't want Henry in her life now that she has Bash, but since she knows what happens when he gets bored of a love interest, she claims to want to help Penelope keep her head above water, so to speak. After suggesting blindfolds and hot wax, she mentions a sexual position she only refers to as The Standing Cross.

Meanwhile, Bash and Francis spot James' footman paying one of the higher-end castle prostitutes and bring him down to the dungeon where they question him about how he could afford this, why he was using English coin to pay, and where he was headed after he paid the prostitute. When the footman won't talk, Francis calls in the torturer.

But Mary isn't so quick to distrust her brother, even though he's a Protestant who is second-in-line to the throne behind her. Francis suggests that maybe they were going to kill her on the way to Scotland and he gets time from Mary to produce proof that this is all a set up against her. Penelope gets Henry to agree to a Standing Cross - his wrists are cuffed and attached to boards, his arms fixed in a crucifixion pattern, and his legs are tied at the ankle and resting on a platform. For as voracious as he is, the scene makes Henry uncomfortable due to the giant cross in his chambers and once Penelope gags him, Catherine bursts in with one of the bishops that accompanied the Cardinal on his journey to France. The bishop asks where God is in this situation and what would happen if Henry were to lose favor with him, seeing as how God was the one who put him on the throne in the first place. Henry quickly kicks Penelope out and back down to the kitchen, just as Nostradamus informs Olivia that he won't be accompanying her to Trinidad. He lies about his vision, saying that it was of her happy with someone else, and warns her that if he went with her, Catherine has to reach to take them out. If she stayed in France? She would be shackled to him for the rest of her life and under the watchful eye of a wicked queen, which is no way to live. Once he informs her that his cousins will look after her, the two part with a final kiss.

Lola takes a meeting about her dowry and learns that her word is what will transfer it from her father to her husband. Since she doesn't trust Julien, she postpones the decision and that night, she turns from him when he tries to kiss her. She claims that she's uncertain about him due to the two rushing into their marriage and he assures her that knowing a lot about somebody isn't going to guarantee a good marriage. James goes to Mary to tell her that a rebellion has gotten underway in Scotland and that she would have to come back now if she's to come back at all. When he questions whether she wants to be a pawn or a true queen, she agrees to go and allow Francis to catch up, though Francis is busy torturing the footman in the dungeon and bribing him to give up information regarding who he's working for. Once Francis mentions that he'll pay 10x what the man got from his first conspirator and allow him to leave scot-free assuming his information pans out, the footman mentions that he was paid by a group of people who wanted to assassinate Mary before she arrived in Scotland.

While Kenna tells Bash that she likes the ring he gave her due to the certainty in her heart that it symbolizes, Henry continues to be haunted by visions of his former evil-doings and Mary refuses to believe that James would have a part in the plot against her. She claims that he's told her of countless plots that would benefit him, though when Mary tells Francis that she's going to Scotland, he has her thrown in The Tower. He says that she'll be there until James leaves and he can assure her safety, but she calls him a liar and accuses him of doing this for his sake rather than the sake of her and her country. If Scotland were to fall while she is locked away, she'll never forgive him.

Additional thoughts and observations:
-"I'm too high-spirited to be a widow. People will talk."
-"The land is soft and sweet but filled with vipers."
-"Then close your eyes, pious fool."
-"You don't love a queen or you would allow me to be one."
-So, Lord Julien is a greedy murderer and not gay as I suspected. I assumed that the show, which has been a little hero worship-y of Francis at times, would give him another victory by having him be right about Lord Julien, but apparently Lord Julien is a similar character to Prince Tomas. Which I don't mind, honestly, because it allows Lola to gain strength on her own (e.g. postponing her dowry) and puts the weakest of the Scot ladies in a bind, bringing about more tension to a storyline that would likely crumble if it were given to Greer or Kenna. -The sight of Henry trying to stand up with being tied to the bed post is the stuff that gifs are made of and made for.
-I love that the show had Catherine team up with Kenna to bring down Penelope. For any show, I'm a big fan of different character combinations and Catherine and Kenna had the right amount of tension between them for this to work; they're both smart, they both had a common goal, and though neither one of them trusts the other, they know that they'd both be better off with Penelope around, so it made sense for them to put aside whatever differences they had for the time being. However, I don't think Bash and Kenna will get to their estate; if they do, there's no way that I see Henry allowing his bastard son to be happy, particularly with a Mistress he's made clear he's not finished with.
-Having "Royals" be Lola's wedding song was a cute touch - it's a way for the show to be current by using a recent hit and not entirely anachronistic by allowing it as a stringed instrumental. Plus, the song sounds pretty the way it was played, so I'm all for it and would recommend they switch up arrangements/styles for any future 21st century songs they use.
-A bit relieved that Mary and Francis' relationship became more compelling this week. For much of the season, it's been one of my least favorite storylines, especially once they flirted with throwing Lola into the middle of things, but what they did with the two here was distinctly Reign, in a good way. I've been looking forward to seeing how the show uses politics as a relationship obstacle, particularly since Mary is in the opening stages of accepting her queendom, and I wasn't disappointed in the slightest by the return of headstrong, defiant Mary. Other plot-related obstacles are fine-ish, but this show has such a wide range of topics it can introduce that can't be found on any of its peers and watching this two kids try to separate who they are from where they're from, with their feelings for one another caught in the middle, makes for compelling drama with a decidedly adult age.
-Do you think Sexy Nostradamus has successfully saved Olivia from the fate he saw in his vision? Was making the changes that he did enough to bypass the events of the vision? Also, why didn't they mention anything about writing to one another? C'mon, Sexy Nostradamus. I thought you and your luxurious chest hair had more game than that.
-Raise your hand if the snake in Olivia's luggage scared you. Just me? Okay.
-Seriously, though, it was sad to watch Nostradamus have to give up possibly his last chance at a normal life to protect Olivia from Catherine. It was a nice reminder of what Catherine's capable of, how desperate she is to hang on to the allies she does have, and the humanity that lies beneath Nostradamus' visions. But Trinidad felt like such a random place for them to flee.
-A Mess of Sex is the name of my new grindcore band.
-Henry telling Kenna that, in no uncertain terms, every breath she takes, every move she makes, he'll be watching her might've been the creepiest thing in the entire series. And this can be a pretty unsettling show, so that says something. Again, I reiterate a point made in an earlier recap - Henry can't possibly make it to next season, right? With his hallucinations becoming more vivid and his mentality reverting back to something more child-like (e.g. crying in his room, how he acted upon the visit from the bishop), I don't see how they bring him back from the edge and turn him into a king to be respected, loved, and feared by the masses without it taking some major retconning.
-Francis telling Mary something to the effect of "the Cardinal only likes you because you flirt with him and pass him innuendo" was gross, no? As much as he was ultimately trying to do the good thing by keeping her off the ship at all costs, what stuck with me here was how little he valued her contributions to France's cause and how he's felt the need to undermine her power on more than one occasion.
-Next week on Reign: Mary's uncle arrives at the castle and brings dire news about Marie, while Henry devises a destructive plan and Bash and Kenna grow close.

By: Shilo Adams


Toy SoldiersEdit

Reign 1.06 “Toy Soldiers” Recap - Ksitetv.com
While Mary's uncle Christian drops off a deceased soldier from his company at the home of his parents, abducting the soldier's young brother as his replacement in the Scottish army, Mary has a snowball fight with Kenna, Greer, and Lola. Afterwards, Greer laments the fact that her father will be coming to the castle to meet Lord Castleroy, particularly stressful since her dowry leaves much to be desired, and Kenna assures her that they all have messed up relationships and that she's not alone in not being where she expected to be at this age. Mary begins talking about how her relationship with Francis was negatively impacted by the time she spent in The Tower before receiving news from Scotland - Protestant rebels have surrounded her mother's castle, demanding that she surrender and cede her control of the country. As Marie won't be able to hang on much longer without military aide, Mary wants to pull strings to help protect both her mother and her home country.

But when she and Francis go to Catherine to see about sending troops to Scotland, the Queen tells them that they have worse problems to deal with. Namely, England's next ruler has been named and it's not Mary, as Mary Tudor, still alive, effectively handed the crown to Protestant Elizabeth, a move that infuriates Henry. He berates Mary for not being pregnant yet, for draining the castle of resources, and for providing nothing but drama and headaches since she came to stay with them. She responds by informing him that Scotland has been helping France on two fronts and reminding him that it's France's time to return the favor, but Henry wonders whether Marie's death would do everyone a bit of good.

Once Mary and Francis get some time alone, he tries to apologize for what his father said; however, neither words nor threats worry Mary. What does? The thought of losing, so she decides to contact her uncles, since she's currently a queen with a scant amount of power. Francis takes issue with this, asking Mary if she would even be able to trust her mother's brother, but she informs him that churches are being pillaged and burned in her home land and that for as dangerously ambitious as Christian is, he has a huge army that could be of service to them. Meanwhile, Penelope approaches Henry's chambers and gets stopped by the guards before she can enter. She claims to be pregnant with his child and Catherine doesn't believe it, ordering the guards to take her away. However, Penelope makes enough noise to rouse Henry and when he pokes his head out, he orders Penelope a cottage in the village, suggesting Penelope take up in Bernet with the rest of his mistresses. Once he shuts the door again, Catherine warns Penelope to not press her luck looking for additional handouts. Elsewhere, Greer's father and two of her sisters arrive at the castle; her mother and the rest of her sisters didn't come because her father wants to do damage control on Greer's reputation and begin looking into suitors for his next two daughters.

Bash arrives back in his chambers after spending weeks in the woods chasing the darkness. After informing Kenna of their new home and how much work it needs to be livable, he inquires about her having an encounter with the king and she assures him that she's made sure to keep her distance. The two begin kissing and when he pulls away, he tells her that he cares about her experience and wants it to be the best it can be, so good that it makes her forget all the other men in her life. He begins undressing her and asks her to tell him what she wants him to do to her - very specifically. On the balcony, Catherine chastises Francis for not controlling Mary and for allowing a vicious killer in Christian into their home. However, Mary's not so worried. She and her husband go down to meet with the Duke of Guise and things quickly descend from usual pleasantries to business, as the Duke knows why he's been asked there and mentions rumors he's heard about the king's dwindling sanity. His price for agreeing to help his niece? He wants to become Lord's Magistrate, right-hand man of the king himself and a higher position than the one he had the first time he was at court, before he was banished by Henry for being too power hungry. Even though Francis doesn't like the idea of kowtowing to the man who undercut his father at every opportunity, the door is left open by both sides.

Catherine walks in on Penelope hooking up with a stable boy in the kitchen and after kicking him out, tells the girl that she must do whatever she can to protect the king's baby and make sure no other man can lay claim to the royal heritage. Her solution? Locking Penelope in The Tower, since she knows that the girl isn't pregnant in the first place. As she leaves Penelope to think about her botched plan, Catherine tells her that she'll visit every month or so to watch her belly grow. While Lord Castleroy offers to give a royal tour to Greer's sisters and rejects his fiancée's dowry when her father presses the issue, claiming that he only wants his future father-in-law's blessing, Francis interrupts Henry maneuvering his toy soldiers on the map of Europe that he uses for military strategy. Henry says that since the English never wait before making a decision, he's not going to either, so his plan is to attack England from several sides beginning tomorrow. The soldiers will be marching northeast under the command of a new general, since Henry demoted the most recent general, and Francis tries to impart that the country has zero military strength right now; they're too spread out and if Henry goes through with this, thousands will die. Henry's response? To quote the Bible, claiming that God told him that he'll claim victory.

Francis quickly finds Catherine and tries to explain the situation, only to learn that she's been in contact with the generals and that they're under strict orders not to make any moves unless she gives the okay. While Bash continues teasing Kenna, not allowing her to take her skirt off while they fool around, Francis meets with Christian and pieces together that the Duke wants to be his Lord Magistrate - not Henry's. As the Duke again gives notice that he knows about Henry's condition, Francis agrees to the proposition, only if the army would be willing to report to him and if they would take him to Scotland. Should Francis die, the promise they just made would be null and void, so he believes that he's doing his best to ensure his safety. Mary learns of the deal and passionately kisses Francis, which Bash sees as he walks by; as a result, he returns to his room with Kenna and eschews taking things slow, pulling off her skirt and taking her on the bed. In The Tower, Penelope confesses to Catherine that she's not pregnant, but Catherine already knew that and doesn't mind the deception - in fact, she recruits Penelope to join her ring of ladies, telling the girl that she'll be sent to Italy to learn manners and the art of deception. If she shows enough progress, then (and only then) she'll be able to return to the castle.

Greer has a meal with her family and Lord Castleroy and when her father comes down on her in front of her fiancée, this time disparaging her intelligence, Castleroy tells him that he knows that the family mines have been played out for years. After informing his fiancée's father that he's not to talk to Greer like that again, Castleroy lays out his plan to give 10,000 francs to each of Greer's sisters so that they may find men of status to marry, with Greer getting the approval over who they ultimately wed. He wants to ensure that the rest of her sisters can marry for love and refers to his fiancée as being priceless. While Mary and Francis make love due to her gratitude toward him for going to Scotland, as well as the fact that he'll be gone for months, Bash grows distant during his own lovemaking with Kenna, so much so that she tells him that she wants him to see only her when they're together and to remember what she feels like.

Francis and Catherine head to Henry's chambers and he calls them on sending generals to humor him rather than taking his military plans seriously. The troops departed that morning, anyway, and he wants to be the one to lead them, so he dismissed all of his generals as well as his pants in the process. Henry then reminds them that he's the one that guards his own legacy and that with God's blessing, he wants to be known as the greatest strategist since Hannibal. Instead of arguing against him, Francis takes his father's side, volunteering the services of Christian's army in the process. He believes that France will have to win this war for them to have any future, while Henry is just proud that his son is by his side as they make history together. Lord Castleroy goes to Greer's room and apologizes for his behavior at the meal and she claims that she's never had anyone stand up for her like that before. He tells her he's grown to love her outspokenness and didn't want to bring her family's financial status up due to being a gentleman, claiming that everyone deserves a chance at happiness. When he produces their wedding contract and mentions that she now has final approval, she kisses him and surprises herself with how much she likes it.

Mary comes down on Francis for leaving her mother to the Protestant rebels and once again promising to defend Scotland without actually doing anything to defend her home country. Since he will always put France before her and Scotland, she admits that she made a mistake in marrying him, that she had many opportunities to end things but that she didn't because of how much she loved him. However, with tears in her eyes, she makes him promise that he'll stop promising her things that he knows he can't produce and to not allow England to take him from her. As she watches the soldiers leave, Mary tells her friends that while she can forgive Francis for doing what he thinks is best for his country, he hopes he can do the same for her when she has to make a move for Scotland. And she will be making moves, as she's tired of him endangering her country for the sake of France.

Additional thoughts and observations:
-"Surely a bounty of demeaning tasks awaits you in the kitchen."
-"Nothing bothers me more than problems I've already solved coming back to be problems again."
-"You just let the devil into our home."
-"Don't make friends with rats. They bite."
-"Define utterly. Because this is a man who's ridden a pig through The Throne Room in nothing but his underthings."
-"Oh, stop groveling, as much as it warms me to hear it."
-I'm assuming since next week is going to follow Francis on the road to war, we'll see Martin, the dead soldier's 14-year-old brother, out on the battlefield, as well. That was a sad cold open, watching the Duke basically abduct the boy from his home and not allowing him to mourn his brother, and you have to wonder just how long this show will have Martin last in the cold, dark world away from his family.
-I really enjoyed the snowball fight, since this show always spring even more to life when it remembers that Mary, Lola, Kenna, and Greer are friends. Also cool was that it was paired with that cold open, both focusing on the end of innocence (Martin being drafted, the girls discussing their marital difficulties, Mary learning about the situation in France).
-I'm very curious when they're going to drop Henry's intensity; he's been on volume 11 for quite a while and while there's a certain creepiness that permeates throughout the show when he's on screen, the constant manic state and nobody being willing to do anything about his continued descent make his appearances feel a little same-y. Even when he's losing his pants and plugging away at his latest military strategy, you just want to see something different, something human from him and I don't know if that's possible to wring from this character anymore.
-That being said, I did like Mary standing up to him when he came after her. That's something even Catherine has shown herself unwilling to do, so whether it be from her naivete or the recklessness required due to Marie's situation, good for Mary. Same with her final argument with Francis - while I hated that she pulled back toward the end, it was so nice for her to rip into him for how he's treated her since they were married. It also helps that Mary and Francis are much more interesting to me when they're fighting than when they're all over each other, so this type of episode is where the show truly shines.
-No Nostradamus this week. I'm assuming him and his chest hair are still mourning Olivia's departure and actively avoiding Catherine's company for the time being. -I would watch a spinoff about the ladies Catherine sends out to seduce leaders far and wide, with Catherine acting as something of a 16th century pimp. I would also watch a spinoff about Penelope going to Italy and learning the art of deception, because that just sounds too cool.
-Let's talk about how literally every single Bash/Kenna scene made me blush. Him telling her that he wants her to forget every boy that smiled at her and every man that flirted with her? Hey now.
-You'll notice every line quoted is something from Catherine. As per usual, she injected so much energy and humor into her screen time and I especially loved how over Penelope she seemed by the end of the episode. Yet Catherine knows that Penelope can be a good pawn for her in the future, so rather than banishing her or having her killed, she effectively puts the girl in her back pocket for later use. -I like that it looks like Henry invented Risk.
-If you don't love Lord Castleroy after watching this episode, I don't know what to tell you. I was beyond touched by how he treated Greer this episode, since it was obvious that she didn't grow up in the greatest home environment due to her father wishing she was his son, and the fact that he already did his research over the mines her father owned? Perfection. In a court filled with morally gray characters and a whole lot of deception, greed, and backstabbing, Lord Castleroy is a pure, generous soul and someone whose appearances I always look forward to, someone who brings a little light into the darkness the show has been shrouded in. Plus, it's nice that the show gave Greer an older, desirable love interest that didn't turn out to be controlling, sexually abusive, or packing some type of daddy/daughter complex that he projects onto her.
-Next week on Reign: Mary hires a mercenary to help her save Scotland, while Francis prepares France to wage war on England and Lola fears Lord Julien will betray her.
By: Shilo Adams


Higher GroundEdit

Reign 1.06 “Higher Ground” Recap - Ksitetv.com
Francis arrives at a French outpost that recently pushed back the advances of the English army. With their commander dead and their ranks cut in half, they want to retreat back into the outpost and hide from the upcoming fleet of English soldiers, but Francis knows that they can't keep doing the same thing and expect to defeat the English. Rather than allowing themselves to be picked off, Francis convinces the 12 men that they should move toward and seize a castle with the help of the Duke's men. To solidify his stance, he gives up the protected position of noble and becomes their new commander in the field. Meanwhile, Mary's been isolating herself due to her worry over Francis, her nerves becoming even more shot when she sees a guard responsible for the massacre of her people.

Catherine's cousins Roman and Hortensa arrive at the castle and while she's happy to see the former, the latter brings about the type of tension she thought she got rid of when Henry went to Paris. The two share a jagged history, Henry dumping Hortensa to be with Catherine when they were younger, but Mary interrupts the festivities when she receives a letter from her mother. Once she gets Catherine alone, she pumps her for money that would go to extricating Marie from Scotland, citing the 50,000 loan that could be put to use her. Mary knows that Catherine knows what it's like to be a queen that feels powerless and uses the existence of Catherine's hidden funds as leverage to get the queen to side with her. However, Catherine doesn't bite and chastises Mary for begging. Mary then goes back to her room and finds the mercenary she hired waiting for her; she wants to use him to get the money from Catherine, with no blood lost along the way. The mercenary, named John, promises her that he'll try to take the money from Catherine as cleanly and subtly as possible, but there are no guarantees.

Catherine goes to confession where she mentions her loathing of Hortensa, the Scottish massacre, and a domestic incident with her servant. Before the priest can say anything, though, he's snatched from the confessional and killed, while Catherine gets abducted by a figure that won't let her lay eyes on it. She's taken to a cabin where she's chained up and blindfolded, but that doesn't stop her from quickly piecing together that her silent assailant isn't looking to kill her yet and either works in the castle or as a mercenary for someone in court who wants her dead - someone desperate for money who wants her dead. Catherine then offers to double Mary's offer if John can bring her the Scottish queen's head. While a playful game of soccer between Julien, Kenna, and Bash gets interrupted when Lola has stomach cramps that closely resemble contractions, Francis and his men get ambushed by English forces a few miles from the English line. With an assist from Leith, Francis is able to fight off the assailants that come after him and he doesn't lose many men along the way; however, because he put the noble colors on another of his forces, an innocent man lost his life, as England targets the [Nobles]] in battle before anyone else.

Lola's taken care of by one of the servants in court, who stops the bleeding and gets her as comfortable as she can be. She then tells Julien that she wants him to be around for the baby's birth, since she's nervous about going through what is sure to be a dangerous endeavor. Julien won't tell her yes and merely assures her that she has strength that she's yet to realize, a polite way of saying he won't be along with her when the baby is born. Mary learns of the kidnapping from Hortensa; however, the |Medici claims that her family doesn't negotiate with kidnappers and that there's no rush to make a move right now, as the assailant would have killed Catherine already if he was going to. While Francis mistakenly walks his men into cannon fire, the English hiding on top of a nearby cliff and laywaiting their arrival, Lola tells Greer about her fears regarding Julien, how her dowry has already been transferred to her husband's account. Lola wonders why any man would marry someone with baggage like her unless they were broke and Greer posits whether his finances matter anyway. She argues that the only important thing is how Lola's love story ends and even if she and Julien didn't get together under the most honest of terms, they've grown to love and respect one another, so that has to be enough.

Francis comes up with the idea of shooting a flaming arrow into the English's ammunition, causing a massive explosion that would take each of the enemy soldiers out. He wants the men he's with to charge one way while he goes another and sets up the shot, but Leith tells him that they're too used to generals and Lords treating them as chess pieces and that they're not going to agree to the plan because of his status at court. They'd agree for the money, to avoid being a coward, and for love. As Kenna urges a reluctant Bash to look into Julien's finances, since she's worried about her friend's heart, John meets Mary in the dungeon and assures her that the ear that was sent to the castle with Catherine's earring was in fact the ear of a cadaver that he purchased. Catherine is fine, in fact; the ransom business, where she's to procure 20,000 francs in exchange for Catherine's release, is merely a distraction, though he brings up the queen's offer to double his rate to bring down Mary. He won't take it, of course, since he doesn't want people to think he can be bought off easily, but Mary is going to have to find a credible alternative - someone whose head he can bring to Catherine. Worried about having blood on her hands, Mary goes to Bash with the news and tells him that she wants the non-innocent she sacrifices to be the guard she thinks had something to do with the Scot massacre. Bash is against it, though, since he knows what it's like to kill someone and have the guilt from one action linger over you from that day forth.

Mary heads back inside and as she approaches the guard, Hortensa steps in and makes it known that he's one of her men and that she suspects Mary has been spying for Catherine just like Beatrice was. The reason Catherine would have gone through the trouble? To see whether her cousin was involved in the massacre, a claim that Hortensa denies. The Medici then threatens Mary if she continues making things that aren't her business into her business, saying that Catherine must be taught to stay out of her affairs. Bash returns to Kenna with information on Julien - he's planning a hunting trip, but he doesn't have hounds, falcons, gear, or more than one horse, so it looks like he might be taking Lola's dowry and skipping town. Kenna quickly goes to her friend with the news and when Julien comes in, Lola tries to get him to refrain from going hunting. When he's dismissive of what she says and tells her he'll be sleeping in his quarters that night after playing cards, she confesses that she doesn't need any elaborate material possessions. All she needs is him; before leaving, he tells her that she's everything he dreamed of.

Catherine gets a bloody head in her lap, but it wasn't the one she was expecting, as John delivers Hortensa rather than Mary. She gives up the location of the gold and returns to the castle, determined to search through her cousin's room to find anything to pin her to the abduction. Meanwhile, Francis kills the English soldiers in the explosion, only Leith finds himself injured by a wayward cannonball. Francis talks him into pressing forward by bringing up his love life, saying that the boy could get land/a title from their newfound friendship, two things that would help him reconnect with the girl he claims to be above his station. Francis wants Leith to marry her, be happy, and live life to the fullest and Leith responds by getting up and pressing forward. Julien decides to stay put at court and ends up confessing everything to Lola. He tells her of the family difficulties that have left him with next to no money of his own and the shame he was feeling about possibly having to be in a marriage with a woman as the sole provider. Julien might have married Lola for money, but he claims to have fallen for her along the way, his insecurity at only having himself to offer her showing. The reason he came back, though, was that she mentioned she's not about extravagancy and she assures him that, although she doesn't trust him right now, she wants to be with him.

Roman comes forth after the search of Hortensa's room and brings Catherine a note of instructions on money delivery. Hortensa had pissed away the money she got from the death of her husband on blackmail, as she was the one responsible for his death and bankrupted herself trying to cover it up. Catherine, though, wonders aloud about Mary, who she deems capable of everything thus far except for murder. She says to Roman that she was nearly 30 when she killed her first innocent and once the innocence is lost, it cannot ever be regained. Elsewhere, Mary meets with John in the dungeon and he produces a sample of the gold Catherine gave up and assures her that Hortensa's body has been properly buried. Mary chose the woman because Beatrice's life was in danger, so she was essentially exchanging one life for another. Now, though, she wants John to lead Hortensa's men, who all now serve her, into Scotland to help free her mother.

Additional thoughts and observations:
-"Oh, there you go. More words."
-"You're a queen. Don't beg."
-"I'm glad I'm a step above a nunnery."
-So, the opening credits have changed again, huh? I don't know if I like having them so deep into the show or that the network is still tinkering with them this far into the season.
-It was nice to see Francis involved in a non-romantic plot and something that shows his readiness for the throne. For all the talk of him and Mary becoming the next rulers of the country, we don't really see them exercising the muscles necessary to fill Henry and Catherine's shoes, so this episode was a good way to highlight that, yes, Francis is intelligent enough on the battlefield and Mary is politically savvy enough to handle themselves despite their young ages. Also, the explosion made for a nice visual and I liked how the battle sequence that ended with Leith saving Francis was shot, an interesting mix of slo-mo and spaced well enough to avoid being too cluttered and chaotic.
-With Henry in Paris, could we see the return of Diane before the end of the season? I kind of hope so, because I like the dynamic she brought to the castle and Henry's marriage.
-Kudos to Mary for hiring a mercenary and then fretting about blood being spilled. Aside from that, though, this was a very telling episode for the rest of the season, as it shows just how far Mary is willing to go for her country and gives a taste of just how many secrets she's going to have to hide from Francis upon his return. Her taking on Hortensa's men after they were behind the massacre feels like the moment the show, and this character, turns into something different and I'm curious just what lies ahead for both.
-Catherine was in top form tonight, from her obvious hatred of Hortensa to the very funny confessional to how quickly she deduced that Mary was behind this whole thing. And then the punctuation of her remembering the first time she killed someone innocent? Perfection. Catherine works so well when the show balances her bigger tendencies - all the one-liners, the very comedic bent to her interactions with certain characters - with stark, lonely moments like that that shows the wounded woman that's just barely holding herself together some days.
-I still don't believe Julien. His refusal to go into what happened between him and his family is very suspicious, almost as if he knows that knowledge of the incident would make him look back to Lola. Plus, he did something quite manipulative in making a spectacle of a confession and using that to hide the fact that he didn't actually reveal anything. Therefore, he looks better to Lola and he didn't have to actually dig down and tell her something that he might not have wanted her to know; very tricky, that Julien. Very tricky.
-I really want to see Marie again this season, assuming that the mercenaries are able to rescue her from the Protestants. Mostly because I'm intrigued by the impact being under siege has had on her psyche and the way she views her daughter, especially when she finds out that Mary is the one who organized this little rescue party.
-Are you looking forward to Leith's return? Honestly, I'm not sure that I am. I think Lord Castleroy is such a good guy and that he and Greer have formed a genuine connection, so as much as I like Leith (and the possibility of a Leith/Francis friendship), I don't want someone to come in and bust up his happiness. It should be a fun test, though, of how much Greer has grown since she arrived in court and what has become the most important thing to her in a mate.
-Hortensa's insect monologue about Mary and Beatrice was the greatest thing in the world. It was just batshit crazy enough to make me laugh and just terrifying enough to make me realize that she meant every word of this.
-Next week on Reign: Mary teams up with Catherine to deal with Henry, while Bash resolves to destroy the Darkness and Lola tries to protect Julien.
By: Shilo Adams


Long Live The KingEdit

Reign 1.06 “Long Live The King” Recap - Ksitetv.com
The Duke of Guise leads the victorious French soldiers back to court, with Mary's friends whispering about whether Leith would return after what happened with Greer. While Kenna is disappointed that Bash is once again chasing the Darkness in the woods, Mary and Francis spot each other in the crowd and embrace, having reunited after months apart. But as the Duke hypes up the crowd about the fall of Calais, Henry interjects that he's had spies following the English and that Mary Tudor is dead - their own Mary, Mary Queen of Scots, can now ascend to the English throne and the French can rule half of Europe.

After reconnecting in their bed, Francis tells Mary he thought she wouldn't forgive him for bailing on Marie, but Mary assures him that since her mother has escaped the castle and fled Scotland, they're okay. They get called away, though, when Henry presses Mary for her response to the death of Mary Tudor. He believes Elizabeth knows she's vulnerable prior to the coronation and that if they're going to strike and seize the English crown, it's going to be now. Mary doesn't want to make her cousin her enemy for life, of course, but Henry doesn't care - he wants the crown and he wants Mary to be the one to take it. Meanwhile, Lola and Julien have moved into a new home away from court, complete with servants who complain about his self-sufficiency. Lola, however, wants to live somewhere further from court and Julien deduces that she's worried about what the child will look like, that people will piece together that she was pregnant out of wedlock; he informs her that it won't matter how the child looks or who it belongs to, since the two are together and, most importantly, happy.

Out in the woods, as an eclipse breaks across the sky, Bash comes across more sacrifices and a bloody body in some brush - however, the body, that of a little boy, turns out to not be dead after all, as it rises when Bash blows the whistle that was in his hand. Though those he's with warn him against taking the child, Bash takes it upon himself to rescue the boy from the horrors of the woods. He brings the boy, who still won't speak a word, to Nostradamus, who determines that the blood isn't that of the boy and that the whistle in his possession was a warning of the coming Darkness. While Bash presses the boy for information, Kenna causes him to retreat when it's clear that the boy isn't speaking not because he can't, but because he's afraid of Bash. Back at the castle, Mary approaches her uncle to talk business and he chastises her for writing Elizabeth with wishes of peace and to relinquish her claim to the English throne. Mary doesn't want the blood of the thousands who will give their lives to put her on the throne on her hands, wondering aloud whether Scotland could be enough for Henry; the Duke, though, tells her that as a queen, she's always at war and she can't afford to disarm herself at such an important moment.

Elsewhere in the castle, Catherine learns from a spy that Henry has refused to delay the invasion of England. Originally, he wanted to wait a week to celebrate, but troop mobilization has already began. Meanwhile, Julien's uncle Bartos arrives at his house and discovers that the man claiming to be his nephew isn't, in fact, Julien. It's Remi, Julien's secretary; Bartos is angered that his nephew would continue evading his family after traipsing throughout the continent, so he decides to stay put until the real Lord Julien turns up. Remi then runs up to Lola's room and spills everything - Lord Julien died in a fire in Bavaraia and when he put on his master's cloak/crest, people automatically assumed that he was the real Lord Julien. She's disgusted at the thought of marrying a grave robber, though he denies murdering Julien and pleads with her to help him get Bartos out of the house. Francis meets with Mary and Catherine, who inform him of the fleet setting sail for England; in short, it's to be a bloodbath for France, since they needed the time Henry originally gave them to rest up, replenish their supplies, and ready themselves for what was sure to be a rough battle. With Henry's madness showing no signs of letting up, Catherine implies they should set him up for murder, but Francis rejects the idea, telling his wife and mother that his father is not a sick animal they can just put down. Once he leaves, though, Mary and Catherine discuss what ways they can possibility take out Henry, with Catherine urging Mary to think like a queen now rather than a little girl. As much as Mary will be giving up by getting rid of Henry, Catherine will be widowed, her children won't have their father, and she'll be handing over the power she's worked so hard to acquire and hang on to to Mary.

Remi manages to convince Bartos that Julien was on the run from gambling debts he acquired, leaving behind a very angry and very pregnant wife. Bartos agrees to financially take care of Lola and the child - until he sees Remi wearing Julien's ring, something that his nephew wouldn't have left town without. While Kenna cleans up the boy and learns that his parents passed away, possibly before being taken to a town in the mountains called Visigoth, Catherine informs Mary of her plan to take out Henry. The only place he's completely vulnerable? When he takes communion, so she suggests they poison him and use their one chance to get him off the throne. Bash decides to track down Visigoth, since it's the place where The Darkness resides, though he leads Kenna on to believe that he's taking her away from court and, most importantly, away from Henry. His motivation? To protect her and to use the opportunity to exorcise the darkness that has seeped into his soul, a result of his killing two men. Out on the battlefield, Henry shares a story with Francis about his father, telling him of the time his father was captured by the Spanish and traded him and his brother as hostages for his freedom - an arrangement he orchestrated himself. It was then that Henry learned that sons are to sacrifice for their fathers, but Francis urges him to let the past go, that God's doing His work through him and that there's so much more to do in France before Henry can even begin thinking about England.

Though Remi argues that he has the ring to keep Julien from gambling it away, Bartos notes that there are no boots or cloaks that fit his nephew; just then, Benjamin comes in and inadvertently outs both Remi and Lola, offhandedly mentioning that the man before him was Lord Julien and that Lola was his wife. Bartos and Remi then begin tussling, with the former choking the latter on the table. Lola comes over to try and break things up, but in her attempt to separate the two, she sends Bartos flying into the fall, an errant nail piercing the back of his neck and killing him. While Kenna and the boy, who reveals his name as Pascal, leave the castle, despite Kenna's disappointment in Bash not coming with her, Francis rushes to Catherine and Mary to inform them he convinced Henry to stay in France for the time being. Catherine, though, believes they can't risk it and the hit continues on as planned, despite Francis' protestations and Mary's weakening. Except that as Henry is about to take communion, he gets attacked by a guard, who he beats to a bloody pulp.

Catherine then reveals that she stopped the poisoning in time and that the guard attack isn't from her. She quickly deduces that the Duke is the one behind this, as he stands to win either way - if the hit succeeded, he's already promised a job with Francis, and if the hit failed, Henry's paranoia will return and he can take advantage of that by turning the king against his queen. For now, Henry will listen to no one but the Duke. Meanwhile, Remi and Lola try to determine their next move with a dead man in their new home - though she tries to get him to flee with her, Lola ends up returning to court alone, as Remi burns down the house (including the body of Bartos) and leaves on his own, opting to keep the woman he loves from coming into contact with the destruction he leaves in his path. Before they part, though, he tells her to never be alone while at court and to let the father of her baby, who will now be born with a name and respectability due to their marriage, see his offspring. While Pascal says a rhyming prayer to himself in the carriage with Kenna, the subject being the father that Bash killed out in the woods, Mary apologizes to Francis for not including him in the plan, telling him that she and Catherine wanted to spare him. She claims she did all this for France, something he wouldn't have hesitated to do before, while he wonders just who she's becoming while under Catherine's wing.

In Henry's war room, he mentions how he misjudged Francis, that his son would be content to hide and that fear is not something he can tolerate in his empire. Since God spared him, he's going to destroy Elizabeth, kill Francis, and marry Mary.

Additional thoughts and observations:
-"You're a very imaginative murderer."
-Apologies for how ridiculously late this recap has been. You may have noticed that it's upfronts season, aka TV blogger Hell Week. I've been over at ScreenFad dealing with renewals, cancellations, scheduling announcements, and trailers, so unfortunately, shows that I've regularly covered have suffered. However, upfronts are nearly over and I should be back in action, with the Reign finale recap to come soon after the East coast airing. Thank you to everyone who's stood with me through this and who inquired about the recap absence - sometimes it can feel like I'm writing in a vacuum and that there's nobody out there, so it was nice to know that people are there and that they appreciate these things.
-Reign-iest Reign Moment of the Week: Henry's final rant to himself was just marvelously kooky. One of the things I'm looking forward to about the finale is to see what the heck they're going to do regarding his mental state and redeemability, but hearing him go on about how he has to kill Francis and wed Mary was both hilariously soapy and strangely compelling, further twisting an already messed up royal family dynamic into something that could become much darker than a typical CW soap. -Did you have Lord-Julien-isn't-really-Lord-Julien in the Lord Julien Dysfunction Junction betting pool? Admittedly, I wasn't expecting it, so I thought it was a nice twist that kept him from being too much the villain. While Lola throwing a grown man into the wall was a little silly, there was a sadness to her final scene with Remi that I liked and I appreciated that they didn't give him a sense of closure. He's got some demons that'll have to be slain off-screen, both as a result of him taking on Julien's identity and the crumbling of his marriage, and Lola is now in the interesting position of returning to court with no protection from the Royals. Will she try and quickly find someone to marry? Or could she end up leaving court on her own?
-My favorite twist of the episode, though, was Bash murdering Pascal's father some episodes ago. I love a show that'll keep you on your toes regarding seemingly inconsequential elements - the murder was important for Bash's psyche and all, but I didn't expect it to come back up like this, his misdeeds literally staring him right in the face. You have to wonder how Kenna will react when she finds out, since she's been good at getting the boy to talk, and whether slaying The Darkness will be worth it for Bash if he loses his wife as a result. -Plus, everything about the woods and the Darkness is visually impressive, with the discovery of Pascal's body particularly well-filmed.
-The score felt a little intrusive here, particularly during Kenna finds Bash's final moment. Sometimes it's better to just let a moment breathe rather than piling on the music to tell us how to feel, y'know?
-I like how the final Mary/Francis conversation found them in completely different roles. It wasn't perfect, since it was just a couple of episodes ago they had alternative perspectives, but it felt in line with who Mary's become during the second half of the season and most of the weirdness came from the show time jumping between episodes. I'm hoping that a second season will take place in a more condensed time frame or, at the very least, there'll be two distinct halves of Season Two that will be broken up by one big time jump. The show has a lot of historical ground to cover, but it misses out on some crucial character development by fast-forwarding when and how it does.
-I appreciate the show giving Henry a human moment during his story about his father. It has sometimes leaned on his craziness a bit too much, losing the man behind the madness, so learning something interesting that greatly informs who he became as both a man and a ruler was a nice touch.
-Next time on Reign: It's the season finale and while Mary and Francis take drastic action to deal with Henry's escalating madness, a terror in the woods puts everyone in peril.

By: Shilo Adams


Slaughter Of InnocenceEdit

Reign 1.06 “Slaughter Of Innocence” Recap - Ksitetv.com
Henry summons everyone into the courtyard in the middle of the night and informs them that he knows one of them, one of his friends and/or family members, wanted to have him killed. Therefore, he's hired new men loyal only to him and swears that when the sunrises, his sword will cast a shadow on the guilty party. He then turns to the secretary to Lord Bellamy and asks if the man went to confession; though he did, he never took the Lord's name in vain or fornicated, so Henry kills him due to how prepared he is to die. The slaughter sends a message to Francis that his father is not redeemable and after the display, he meets with Mary and Catherine to discuss their options. Since it's too late for an assassination, the idea of a coup gets brought up, though that could be deadly if it doesn't work (e.g. Henry has them executed) and dangerous if it does (e.g. the military has too much power).

The trio ultimately decide to contact the generals that Henry dismissed, keying in on the ones who have the men to help overthrow Henry. Their plan should get Henry imprisoned for the rest of his life and neutralize the danger he poses to France. While Pascal awakes from a nightmare he had about Bash, where the man who killed his father was outside the window, Bash hunts for The Darkness and Leith approaches Francis about the land deed he was given as reward for what happened on the battlefield. Francis regrets not being able to give him a title and wishes his new friend luck with the girl he wants to impress, just as a member of the king's guard harasses a young woman in the hallway. Leith steps in and gets him to back off, but he has to reject her offer to get a drink due to his loyalty to Greer and eagerness to show her what he has to his name.

Henry plots to poison Francis at the victory meal that evening, telling his man that he's already reconciled the act with God, before finding Mary in the hallway and inviting her to the naval spectacle that afternoon. While Francis She gets forced into attending while Francis evades the display. Meanwhile, Leith shows up in Greer's room, flaunting the land he received from Francis as a way to get her back in his life. However, whatever her feelings for Leith may be, Greer tells him that he's the comfortable choice - someone who can't cover even 1/10 of her father's debts, someone who wouldn't be able to keep her sisters from being sold to the highest bidder. Before leaving for the naval spectacle, he tells her to take a risk and to trust love, for once in her life. While Lola goes into labor on the way back to the castle and ends up in a stranger's cottage in the village, Henry, Mary, and Catherine get the seats of honor at the spectacle, which should feature two ships full of the surviving Calais soldiers igniting fireworks and putting on a display for the crowd. However, the cannons end up being fired at Henry's behest and one ship gets destroyed, killing the 100 men inside.

Afterward, Catherine tells Mary that Henry wants an annulment and that she saw the way he was acting toward her at the spectacle; she then says that Henry wants to give his daughter-in-law an heir himself, implying that he would be willing to kill Francis to get the job done. As of now, they're relying on the Dauphin to return with generals in arm, as without them, he has no protection from his father and will be vulnerable to attack. As Francis comes upon the damage inflicted by Henry's botched stunt, which will be repeated tomorrow, and learns about the 3000 men readying a trip to England, Mary tries to convince her uncle to join the coup and help oust Henry while they still have a chance. But The Duke surprises her when he suggests that she, not Francis, emerge as the French leader following the coup, since Francis leading the country would remind the masses too much of Henry and could cause his reign to be short-lived. Elsewhere, Bash and Nostradamus reach Visaguard, an abandoned, flooded city on top of a hill. They find Pascal's home, fresh with sacrifices and with various symbols on the wall, all corresponding to recent natural disasters. The lone missing piece - a drawing of stars falling - puzzles them as to its significance, though once Bash sees the rhyme written on the wall, he knows he has to get back to Pascal and Kenna.

The Darkness bursts into the home Kenna and Pascal are holed up in and the two hole themselves up in the pantry, as the Darkness calls for Pascal to give Kenna's blood to the Gods. While Greer finds that Leith survived the naval spectacle stunt, the joust begins, with Lord Montgomery dominating as per usual. The big story, though, is Mary making an entrance wearing the English coat of arms, a clear sign that she's ready to lay claim to the English throne and challenge Elizabeth for the crown. The crowd goes wild seeing the future ruler embrace her power, but the English envoys in the crowd scurry away, off to tell Elizabeth about the challenge to her title. Henry ends up out on a horse challenging Lord Montgomery, likely as a way to impress Mary, and though he wins the first round, he gets a lance in the eye in round two and gets knocked off his horse. Elsewhere, Greer and Leith cannot keep their hands off of one another in her chambers, though she pulls back, telling him that she cannot marry him. He takes the words harshly, tearing into her about how he'll rise to become the man she thinks she needs and how he's to never be hers again, before storming off and leaving her emotional.

Bash makes it back to Kenna just in time to face down and duel The Darkness, pushing him back into the blade of Nostradamus. A dying Darkness tells Bash that Pascal must succeed him in order to keep a blood plague from spreading throughout France, but rather than letting a child falling into the clutches of the Pagan world, he kills the Darkness without allowing Pascal to formally accept his position. It turns out that Francis is the one who delivered the knockout blow to his father, having disguised himself as Lord Montgomery to the knowledge of only Catherine, though Henry managed to survive the fall and the shard in the eye. However, part of the lance is stuck in his brain, giving him very little time left, so Catherine and Francis go in to say goodbye. Henry tells Catherine to make peace with Diane, who he calls extended family, while he confesses to Francis that he killed his older brother, who he considered weak. Hence his attempts to turn Francis against Bash. But Henry realizes that turning against someone you love blackens the soul, so he urges Francis not to follow his path before succumbing to his injuries, making Francis the King of France.

As Francis leaves his father's chambers, he spots Bash and when his brother begins to bow, as to show respect for his king, Francis pulls him up and the two hug.

Leith meets the woman from earlier, whose name turns out to be Ivette, and attempts to buy her a drink, though she rejects the offer, saying she has to go meet a man. That man? Lord Castleroy - her father. Lola, still in labor, tells the woman she's staying with that she fears for her life, so she dictates a letter to Mary absolving her of the secret they share, urging her to bring help, and giving her permission to raise the baby as her own if she doesn't make it. While Kenna assures Bash that he doesn't need to keep fighting for his place in the world, as he has one with her, the two see the shooting stars that were on Pascal's wall - a sign of the blood plague. Elsewhere in the castle, Francis and Mary exchange their concerns about their current situation - he never wanted to become king in this manner, she feels a part of herself dying and the tender heart she once held dearly hardening by the day. As the two agree to be more honest with one another going forward, trekking the same path rather than going it alone, Mary receives Lola's letter and tells Francis that the baby is his, sending him forth at once.

When she goes to gather help, though, Catherine and Nostradamus inform her of the plague's existence in the city and how the castle is going on lockdown until it ran its course. Mary manages to make it to Francis before he leaves, but he still wants to help Lola and rides out regardless of what his wife says. Mary can't help but watch helplessly as the distance grows between herself and her husband. It turns out that Francis was the one who delivered the knock out blow to his father

Additional thoughts and observations:
-"I miss the girl you were." "Many will. She was easy to kill."
-Props to the show for being willing to get rid of Henry. Though the character was always an interesting wild card and Alan van Sprang was game for whatever wringer the show put him through, there was no way Henry could have been redeemed after what he'd done the back half of this season, so it was nice to see the show have some consequences and to be unafraid of losing such a powerful presence. The way they sent him off, while a touch silly ("I've got to go now"), was pretty excellent stuff, bringing up the show's supernatural side (the boy he keeps hallucinating is the brother he killed) to emotionally satisfying effect and allowing a character that had lost nearly all of his humanity one final moment of dignity. Bravo.
-Interesting parallel: in the winter finale, Mary rides away from the castle, while in the season finale, Francis goes it alone.
-The thing I was most curious about during this episode - no title sequence? The show has been weird in that it's only begun to experiment with its first act during the latter half of its season. I figured stuff like this would happen in late fall and early winter, but to have the tinkering still going on in May is different. Could we see the show with an entirely different approach to how it integrates its credits next season?
-Were you surprised that Yvette was Lord Castleroy's daughter? Do you think the entire thing with the royal guardsman was set up so that she would lure him away from Greer? Would Lord Castleroy really want Greer's ex-boyfriend dating his daughter or does he have more nefarious plans for Leith, so as to keep the boy away from Greer permanently?
-I like how the show didn't write Greer as a bad person for staying with Castleroy. Personally, I think she made the right decision and that Leith's reaction to being rejected felt a little out of character, as he's made it clear he understands what type of pressure Greer's facing and how she would never be able to make a decision for herself as long as her sisters remain unmarried. I get the emotional response coming from the actuality of the conversation not matching the way he built it up in his head during his days in battle, but it wasn't as wholly authentic as it could have been.
-Henry reaching under Mary's blanket and trying to touch her might be the creepiest thing this show has done yet. And we've had blood sacrifices, innumerable gruesome deaths, and a feral child living in the walls.
-Visaguard was a good set piece, to the point I wanted them to stay there for even one more scene. Also, the plague that resulted from Bash (literally) slaying The Darkness inside him should make for a fun (can a plague be fun?), claustrophobic jumping off point for Season Two.
-What did Kenna and Bash do with Pascal after the Darkness was killed? Another hanging thread: Clarissa's whereabouts. The last time we saw her, she was alive, but it's been a handful of episodes since her presence was felt. I figured she's come back into the show's orbit at least by the end of the season.
-Favorite dress: Mary's solid black thing with the golden neckline was gorgeous beyond belief. Even if this show wasn't clicking as well as it has been, I would probably still watch for the clothes porn.
-I see Entertainment Weekly has been reading my recaps. Hey, EW! I hope you enjoyed this season of Reign.
-I love that the show looks at the price of power and how much of a negative impact living their lives to become rulers has had on Mary and Francis. It's an approach I wasn't sure this show would take, breaking down their main characters and central couple and showing just how frayed their sense of individual identity actually is, but it's something I'm glad to see, since it makes Reign richer and more thematically engrossing.
-Once again, thank you guys for reading my Reign recaps this season. I had my doubts about the show being able to sustain 22 episodes of content, but bar a slight quality dip earlier in the year, Reign has been operating with both guns blazing and an impressive sense of narrative momentum. The show managed to keep its Reign-ness while successfully destroying its love triangle and focusing heavily on the political machinations and social structure of 16th century France, all the while keeping a pretty decent audience. Reign will be keeping the post-Vampire Diaries slot next season, so here's hoping I see all of you come October and we can dissect pretty dresses, Sexy Nostradamus' chest hair, and everything that makes this show the weird, wonderful ride it's been thus far.

By: Shilo Adams


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