I think I'm watching Reign wrong.
It must be me, right? I'm just too insane to take this show. That has to be it. Or maybe, just maybe, when the other voice in my head whispers, you aren't the only insane one, they are not wrong. Let's be real: this show is bonkers. Scandal, the reigning champion of the last few years, has nothing on this show in terms of batcrap crazy. Whatever can happen, will happen in the course of ten minutes. And then the rest of the episode is the foot on the accelerator for the next 50 minutes.
On one hand, this is good for a show like Reign. There is an element of surprise because there are no limits to where the plot can go. In that sense, you could say that Reign is fearless. However, can Reign sustain this power in an interesting way? The most successful shows sustain themselves through characters where this show breathes plot.
That's not to say Reign doesn't have interesting characters. Catherine begins the episode ordering people to execute the most perfect party for her execution. This is a classic Catherine, and is actually a perfect opener for Reign, even though we know it will never, ever happen. Catherine is the show's strongest character because she's sharp, desperate to save her children and is great at manipulating people and power. I've also never hated and loved Mary more than this episode.
But the rest of the characters are weak at best. And the plot just can't groove without good characters.
Nostradamus Is French For "Sex God"
We have finally learned how Nostradamus has his visions. Bang a French servant, cause a little asphyxiation and then... prophecy! The details are a little unclear, but the show went there, if I read it right.
After this process, Nostradamus has another vision that almost ret-cons the entire series: if Mary and Francis get together, Francis will not die. Anytime Reign toys with history, I am immediately suspicious because they would go there. They would ruin history and just have hot CW actors have sexy time in historically inaccurate costumes.
Nostradamus tells Catherine this, citing that because Catherine's first born was Clarissa and not Francis, Francis is in the clear. Catherine is psyched to say the least. If she can convince Mary that this is true, then Mary can marry Francis and Catherine can be pardoned. It sounds easy, right?
That's basically how this throws down. Mary's mum visits, actually, and she's just a Scottish version of Catherine, but with a worse wandering accent. Usually I don't comment on British accents on this basically Canadian show, but wow was that bad and weird. Mary's mum warns of a great danger of Protestantism in Scotland, but we all know that she's there for something more.
Mary's mom and Catherine face off for most of the episode. Mary's mom, who is also named Mary, is a nice match for Catherine because both will do anything for their children. However, Mary of Guise (her official title) is hell bent on making Mary marry Francis and take the French throne. So we know she's up to something...
The Love Triangle Fails
So how do Francis and Lola get to the party? They ride all night on horseback. Let that sink in for a moment. Mary and Francis have eye sex almost the entire time. Almost immediately after is a confrontation with all three of them.
Outside in the snow is Bash who is waiting in the wings, forever. Francis yells some vague insults at him, Bash yells some vague insults right back at him. Then come the fists and the fighting. The weird thing is, I thought they were bros? Last time they saw one another, I thought on some level that Francis understood Bash had been somewhat coerced into this and didn't want the throne. But now, they are going at it in the snow. Mary comes to break it up for some reason. No one can convince me that Francis could hold his own with Bash.
Suddenly and urgently, everyone is called to court. According to the show, the Queen of England has died, forcing Mary Queen of Scots to claim the English throne and marry one of Henry's sons. The ultimate ultimatum. Mary's response? She won't be bullied into making this decision. I don't think I've ever loved and hated Mary more. I hate her because she causes a lot of her own drama, to use a 21st century expression, and I love her because she doesn't take crap from anybody anymore.
That's why it is so disappointing when she is easily tricked by her mother and Catherine. The letter that will legitimize Bash or not is given to Mary so she can choose who she loves more. And it's blank! And anyone who's seen any TV show knows she is going to see Bash first to break up with him. It's honestly kind of devastating for me, personally, because Bash is shirtless and pouty (I also can't help but stare). He's also broody. "Say that you love me," he pleads. "I love Francis more," Mary says.
Then she goes and makes out with Francis and true love conquers all and blah blah blah. End of the episode right? NOPE. The two get married. YEP.
Now, we witness the wedding, Reign style. Mary wears a dress totally made in the 21st century, there is flowy hair, the Lumineers play the band music, and there are bridesmaids. It is, hands down, the worst wedding I've ever seen on TV and I watched The Red Wedding on Game of Thrones last year without being spoiled. This is the Reign Wedding, and it is far worse.
Here's the biggest problem with this love triangle: I don't believe it at all. Bash loving Mary. Mary loving Bash. Francis loving Mary. Mary loving Francis. I don't buy it at all that there is all this conflict. If we look at The Vampire Diaries in comparison, we see that it works because the brothers love each other as well. Bash and Francis just worship Mary. Love triangles work, if they even work at all, because you root for one pair over the other. There should be something electric between the chemistry in at least one of the couples. There is none. Just some good acting in Adelaide Kane's performance that makes me believe Mary thinks she's in love with both of them. Make sense?
The only part of this love triangle that is truly brilliant is the consummation. Back in the day, royals wed and people watched them consummate the marriage to legitimize (according to film and TV -- though I think this is based on fact). So what does the show do? It plays on Henry's sick humor to order Bash watch Mary, the girl he was going to wed a few hours ago, and Francis, his pipsqueak of a half-brother, have sex. The only part of that love triangle I even liked was that sadistic trick. Francis even banishes Bash from being around Mary. There is no way it can continue, but if there's a will that won't way, it will way with Reign.
And the kicker to kick that nonsense? Nostradamus sees an extended version of the new prophecy of Francis dead after a year of marriage to Mary. But he keeps it to himself. Bash, banished and sent out of the castle, has an assassination attempt made against him. Who paid to kill Queen? The Queen or his brother?
Other Random Stuff
- Hi Greer, bye Greer. I hope you and Kitchen Boy are getting it on. I miss Kitchen Boy. He was the hottest guy on the show.
- Lola looks put out at Francis marrying Mary. Francis is that good in bed.
- Kenna arranges to seduce Henry by having him set her up with a nice suitor every week in exchange for nakedness. She'll sleep with both of them, of course. Her sexual awakening has her attuned to everyone who has gotten it on, including knowing Lola and Francis were together. Henry notes that Kenna has learned a lot in her time at court, but we still know next to nothing about her, so who knows.
- JK, the English queen is alive. It was all orchestrated by Mary's mom because everyone needs a little push to marry one brother over the other.
- Oh, and Clarissa is alive, lurking around to mess with Nostradamus, naturally.
Maybe I'm watching Reign completely wrong. Maybe I should just shut off my brain and just let it be. Except I can't. I'm watching this train wreck of a show and I enjoy it, but it's driving me to a whole other side of insanity.
What did you think of this week's Reign? Did you like this episode? Are you on any love triangle team? Do you miss Kitchen Boy? Do you think the characters and/or plot is weak? Do you love this show and want me to shut up? Sound off below.
Catch an all new Reign next Thursday at 8/8 central on CW.
Want to add Reign to your very own watch-list? Download BuddyTV Guide for free for your phone.