'Reign' Recap: A Means to an End
'Reign' Recap: A Means to an End
Emily E. Steck
Emily E. Steck
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
A little battlefield action, some plotting at court and the test of true love. Another episode of Reign.

"If the end of your story's a happy one, does the end really matter?" Greer offers this advice to Lola. It really applies to everything on the show, doesn't it? Catherine believes in a means to an end. Same with Francis and Henry.

But Mary's not so sure. Maybe it's because she was a royal raised by nuns or because she's the lead of a CW show where we are supposed to relate to Mary. Once upon a time, we were meant to relate to Elena Gilbert. This did not end well. However, Reign has what The Vampire Diaries does not: Mary, Queen of Scots. It's only when Francis and Bash step out of picture that Mary really shines. She's a grownup queen making her own decisions and risking it all for her love of Scotland. 

It's another Mary episode, ladies and gentleman. For better or worse. (But definitely for the better, in this girl's opinion). 


Mary wants to save and protect her mother. She needs guards, money, and resources, all of which she doesn't have. But she does have a memory! Mary brings up a plot point from an earlier episode. Remember when Catherine was gonna jump ship, leave Henry and continue being rich and alive? Mary asks Catherine for a loan of her secret cash flow, but Catherine gives out some solid life advice: if you give the impression of being weak, you too will need a secret fund. 


So what does Mary do? She gives the impression of being weak but is honestly not weak. Not at all. 

Catherine is busy with her cousins' arrival, which means more bitchy Medicis into the mix! Catherine rubs it in that Henry chose her over Hortencia, a classic Catherine rival. The cousins are demanding because of the 12 guards Catherine had killed that one time.

Catherine goes to confession, but is kidnapped, blindfolded, roped up and chained up. Overkill much? Mary doesn't think so. She has hired John, a mercenary, to extract the money from Catherine.

Catherine deduces the kidnapper has been hired by Mary and offers to double the deal as long as he brings the killer's head. Her scheming cousin insists the Medici's do not negotiate with terrorists, even when one of Catherine's earrings is sent to the castle. Mary somehow is convinced this is a sign they want to send Catherine back in pieces. Body parts = royal jewelry, according to the royals. Clearly jewelry>body parts, amirite?

John, the mercenary, suggests Mary pick an innocent to die to fool Catherine. Chop off somebody's head you don't like. Mary confesses this to Bash. Mary really wants to kill one of the guards in the castle, but instead she has a little riff with Hortencia. (Also, the score is beautiful during this showdown. They should play this instead of CW indie pop stuff).

And so John brings Catherine a head. Hortencia's head. Hortencia was being blackmailed by someone who suspected her of arranging her husband's death, or some other excuse for Catherine to believe it was her. Yet, Catherine ponders at another possible killer: Mary.  

Consider her she must because Mary murdered Hortencia, or hired John to kill her. All so she could gain Hortencia's guards to go protect her mother. She's a queen. Just another day of a means to an end.


War Games

Francis is in battle attire in the French Outpost Near Calais (according to the title card). Francis orders the troops to fight back after the English have just killed so many people because the English are evil. Only problem? His remaining troop consists of about 12. I've heard of 300 men defeating an army, but 12? That's not even a baker's dozen! It's just a dozen. 

A dozen men forced to become pawns in Francis' desperate claim to France. Francis decides to be noble, or rather not noble to fight in the war. Francis is a difficult character because he flip flops so much on things. One moment he's noble, the next he is power-hungry, the next he is desperately in love with Mary and willing to anything for her. One thing is clear about Francis: his loyalty and love belongs to France. So I guess this storyline makes sense?

Reign attempts to do a battle sequence. It is no Game of Thrones (because this itty bitty show has maybe a .01% of that show's budget), but its style is consistent with Reign's crazy MO: slow motion, fast motion, all motion. In fact, a lot of interesting things were happening in this episode, visually. Kudos to director Sudz Sutherland. Yes, that is his name. 

The war games give Francis something to do, but they are really in existence to bring back a fan favorite -- or at least my favorite -- Leith. Aka Kitchen Boy. Fighting in the army, befriending and saving Francis. Teaching Francis lessons, like how he and the other soldiers are not just pieces in Francis' game of chess. Francis takes this to heart, even though next week he'll probably try murdering babies for France, for the greater good. Francis is also a "means to an end" kind of guy.

So he comes up with a rather stupid plan to beat the English, one where Francis must go all Katniss Everdeen on the French. AKA blow them up with a fire arrow. Marking his soldiers as pawns and distractions, Francis and I are devastated to learn that Leith -- Leith! -- is injured.
No! He's too pretty to die. Francis gives Leith an incentive to hang on: Francis will give him a title so Leith can be with that girl of his. Francis is a Leith and Greer shipper! I would very much like this development because Leith is very pretty and I'm most invested in the Leith and Greer romance than I am over anything else on the show. I am a shallow gal. I am okay with that.


Honeymooners, Swooning?

Kenna and Bash are lovey dovey, Lola and Julian are dovey lovey. It's a double date playing football (translation: American soccer) in the snow. Lola, super pregnant, wants her husband to be there for child birth -- which is entirely too modern, but Lola's an entirely too modern gal. 

Lola learns that her dowry has come in and straight to the hands of her greedy husband. Julian has plans to go on a hunting trip. Without weapons, hounds, or morals. Lola is in love with her husband. Being the good friends they are, Kenna and Bash work to help Lola with her gold-digging husband, but Julian decides against leaving. He too is in love? 

Maybe I'm cynical, but I wanted a better storyline resolution than that. Lola is the girl quietly calling out society on their bull (the dowry, sex) and I really thought that would be the resolution. Instead, we get... romance? Or a romance I don't see?

Thoughts

- R.I.P. Hortencia. What a silly name.

- Catherine in confession is a highlight of the season.

- I am very happy there was no Henry tonight. I needed a break from that crazy. 

What did you think of tonight's episode of Reign? Are you liking where Mary's character is going? Who's the couple you ship together the most? How in love are you with Lola's clinging to female agency? 

Watch an all new Reign next Thursday at 9pm on The CW.

Want to add Reign to your very own watch-list? Download BuddyTV Guide for free for your phone.

(Image courtesy of CW)


News from our partners