'Reign' Recap: Mary's Killer Plan and Francis' New Relationship
'Reign' Recap: Mary's Killer Plan and Francis' New Relationship
Emily E. Steck
Emily E. Steck
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
On CW's Reign, Mary and Bash try to save Catherine's other sons from one clearly demented Clarissa, who should never, ever try and rock another mask again. Francis and Lola grow closer, because hey, why not. And Catherine remains a suicidal mess in captivity.

First and foremost: where was the VO explaining that Mary Queen of Scots is the chosen one? I missed the gravelly voice of the doomed Sutherland legacy (He plays Nostradamus, for those not up on your Hollywood family trees). 

Also, remember how last episode, "Inquisition," had more plot lines than an entire season of Scandal? Okay, maybe not that many, but definitely too many? Thankfully, "Royal Blood" slows things down. A lot. It also gives Lola something to do for the first time since the pilot, allows us to see Francis again and brings down Clarissa. 

Clarissa Snoops It All

Last time on Reign it was revealed that Clarissa is the daughter of Catherine, Clarissa has been on the forefront of crazy. Remember, she has a special bond with little Prince Henry and Mary, but chick is flat out, soap-opera evil psychotic.  

She's got a voyeuristic fetish, obviously, watching two castle staff get it on in the Queen's private chambers. And later ends up cracking/snapping the chamber maid's neck! 

Clarissa is more animal than human, according to Catherine. A dangerous girl Mary feels compelled to help, just like she feels compelled to take care of Catherine's "soon-to-be" orphaned children. Mary feels an intense need to protect people, obviously, and this extends to Clarissa. So she gives Clarissa the creepiest Phantom of the Opera mask to wear while she stalks the castle, in the shadows.

Creepy Masks

Mary and Bash have their little romantic beat about loving one another, a staple of Reign episodes lately. It then segues into Mary promising to take Catherine's other children, Princes Henry and Charles, to the village festival fair. In the carriage to the festival, Henry asks about his mother, which is incredibly funny given that Mary is responsible for that whole deal. 

Here's the thing that frustrates me about Mary this episode: she is sort of self-correcting her own flaws. Mary wants to protect everyone, but doesn't like the consequences of it. So she sort of overdoes it. By doing everything to save Francis, she screws up Bash's life, Catherine's life, Catherine's children's lives, and maybe the entire country of France. The country is in unrest over Mary's true love for Francis. By making Bash legitimate, it will solve all of this, but not without a price.

Mary and Bash meet up with Lord Hugo, a sassy side-taker who wants his piece of the power pie. In case you didn't know he was evil, he suggests killing Catherine's youngest children, Charlie and Henry. 

This brings out an interesting reaction for Bash and Mary. Bash wants to send his brothers away to a less turbulent country. Mary dismisses this, as many assassination attempts were made on her life in another country. Bash accuses Mary of feeling guilt about usurping two little children of their birthright to marry less important duchesses. Mary claims Bash feels guilt about what went down with Francis, who is sadly keeping his distance. Mary forbids Bash from ordering them away, citing that Henry will take her place. And we have some real tension between the two.

It's pretty much gone, though, when Bash brings the village carnival to his half-brothers, with wonderful masks and celebrations and snow. Snow! Of course, it is these very masks that cause the princes to go missing, as Greer and Kenna notice something askew. Is this the full purpose of the girls this half of the season? Noticing something gone wrong? What happened to their love interests? Personalities? Is it better this way? I rather like Greer. 

However, Bash has had them removed. Kidnapped them in fact, to the edge of France. But guess who hitched a ride on their get away ride? CLARISSA. She has the same gravelly voice as Nostradamus, the crazy edge of Catherine, and the absolute psychosis needed for Reign. She kills the princes' driver and announces that she will raise the boys. 

C'set La Vie, In Paris

At a brothel in Paris. Lola, remember her? She looks like Susan Pevensie? Lola has come to a brothel/casino/sin city to bail out her brother from a debt. The owner insists on whoring out Lola to forgive the debt. 

And then, guess who shows up? My small framed, beautiful boy Francis. Seriously, he's so tiny. Francis, enjoying his bachelor freedom, shows up to play double and double and double and double or nothing for Lola's body. Gross. But he wins, luckily, and the two drink and talk by a fireplace.

Inevitably, Bash and Mary are brought up. And Lola says Francis has a true heart, one that will mend. Francis then suggests they should find something to keep them occupied until they sleep. This is a very odd suggestion after that sentiment, but they just play a game of Medieval cards instead.

Naturally, they fall asleep next to one another, what with all the wine and talking. There are all of these long gazes and feelings' monologues, which came on rather quickly, like all of Reign's plot lines. Then, some Francis and Lola kissage, which leads to a question of Lola's virtue. Which leads to sex. 

It's sort of a cute little setup, until the stupid bar owner mentions that Catherine is on trial for adultery. Thus forcing Francis to come back to France and save his father from murdering his mother. It's how I am forced to come home every Thanksgiving. Such is the way of life.

Catherine's Motherly Instincts

Catherine and Nostradamus have a little pow wow about life and death or something. I was too busy watching Catherine's cold face. Catherine's mere suggestion of suicide sends Nostradamus into a rant about damnation, practically throwing his bible at her. And then Catherine, with her wicked wit, banishes Nostradamus away. 

Oh, and next time we see Catherine, she has hung herself. But it was all a rouse, a hook hidden in the spine of a bible he brought. Of course Nostradamus has helped his BFF escape. BUT. She learns her children are missing. Which is very clever, actually, because if we know one thing about Catherine, it's that children trump over everything. 

So she sneaks into Mary's chambers to learn more. Mary concludes it must be crazy Clarissa, bent on torturing her mother by stealing her children. Clarissa may hate Catherine, but didn't it seem like she liked Henry and Charles? 

They end up finding Clarissa, Henry and Charles in the woods. Clarissa, desperate, is even sillier and crazier in sunlight, especially with the mask Mary had made for Clarissa. She grabs a prince and puts knife to his throat. Catherine pleads with Clarissa, citing motherly instinct for all of her children. It's all to bide enough time for Mary to bash Clarissa's head with a rock, thus killing her. What? Mary just killed someone. Why is this just brushed under the carpet? Why is that less interesting than watching a proposal between Mary and Bash? I find the fact that Mary killed someone way more interesting than who's she declaring love to this week.

Of course, I should have known the show was not going to focus on this because Clarissa is probably very much alive somehow. Especially since the laziest gravediggers ever decided not to bury her, leaving her for a possible return. 

Anyway, what do you think of this week's Reign? Was it a definite improvement over the over-stuffed plot of episode last? Do you like Francis and Lola's hookup? How do you think this will go over with Mary? Sound off below.

Reign airs Thursdays at 9pm on The CW. 

(Image courtesy of CW)