This week on Reign,
there's another obstacle in the way of Francis and Mary's relationship, the pagans are calling from inside the castle, and Mary and Bash finally get cozy.
That's right, five episodes in and the show has finally gone full love triangle. Watch your back Francis, because Bash is honing in on your lady with his rugged good looks, charm, and comparatively healthy relationship with his mother.
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If former installments of the show were about Mary suffering from conflict from without, this week the conflict is from within her own ranks. Her ladies-in-waiting are kicking up a fuss and her husband-to-be is looking less charming and romantic by the day.
The episodes with evil Tomas
gave the show the action kick it needed heading out of the gate after a crazy pilot and a so-so second outing. Now that Mary's position in the French court is more entrenched, the show is finally starting to take time to build up the world our characters will be inhabiting. This means expanding and developing the characters we've already gotten to know, while introducing us to some of the characters who have been hanging out in the background.
Francis, who we knew was no saint before Mary showed up in town, gets a more developed backstory thanks to his former dalliance with Olivia. It was easy to forget we'd see Francis fooling around with some of the girls at court in the pilot, but in Olivia we have a reminder that Francis was certainly no angel. The previous episodes highlighted his conflicted yet new-found devotion to his fiancee, but this week he once again seems all too wishy-washy about committing to his marriage.
Queen Versus Queen
Queen Catherine might be diabolical, but it can never be said that she doesn't understand her easily distracted son. What the show has done nicely is make Catherine both a mustache-twirling villain (the scene with Aylee and the bird was hilariously melodramatic) and a surprisingly emphatic figure.
Sometimes you really do believe that Catherine used to like Mary and perhaps she still does, but her son's safety will always come first. Just like Mary in episodes past when she considered marrying Tomas for her country, Catherine is an iron-willed woman willing to circumvent her feelings if it means doing what she thinks is right. But that doesn't mean she doesn't have feelings at all, and her conversation about King Henri re-gifting her necklace to Kenna was a nice moment of guarded humanity.
Both Adelaide Kane and Megan Follows are really the forces to watch on this show, and whenever their characters cross paths and trade barbs it's a scene worth paying attention to. I understand why the show holds back on their confrontations, but I still wish we had more scenes of the two going toe-to-toe. Perhaps now that Mary is onto Catherine's sneaky ways, I'll get my wish.
Some Character Development for Aylee
Here's how little I remember Aylee: I had to look her name up because I had been mentally calling her "hipster braids." The show has been slowly fleshing out all four of Mary's ladies-in-waiting, but the emphasis of late has been on scandalous Kenna and star-crossed Greer. We remember Lola because of her big role in the pilot and also because she once cavorted around Narnia. Hipster Braids, or Aylee, has unfortunately been more or less a non-presence on the show thus far.
This week looked to give her some character development, but then potentially undid what little we knew with the twist at the end. So Aylee is apparently a ye olde Winona Ryder, stealing things for no apparent reason whatsoever. This gives Queen Catherine leverage on Aylee to threaten her into sharing Mary's letters home to her mother in Scotland.
Except the final moments of the show reveal Aylee telling Mary, "I'm in." Which seems to imply the whole thing was a plot cooked up by Mary to keep tabs on Queen Catherine's various and sundry evil plots. I suppose Queen Catherine doesn't leave the burn book her and Nostradamus use just lying around.
So basically Hipster Braids still only has one defining character trait and it might not even be real.
Olivia Comes To Town
The episode opens with Olivia nearly being killed in the pagan woods by pagans who like to do pagan things like sacrifice people in the woods and throw themselves off buildings. Because they're pagans! I think the show might be abusing the word pagan at this point. At least mix it up with heretic.
Olivia is hilariously the only person with a French accent in all of France, which is extremely confusing. Listen, I'm not one to harp on this show for historical inaccuracy
. But the show obviously picked the English accent as their accent of choice, even though this show is seemingly occurring in France, where people speak French.
So you can't just bring in a person with a French accent, because then it gets confusing. Like, why does Olivia have a French accent but the King of France doesn't? Either everyone has a French accent or no one does. Reign can't be as wishy-washy as Francis.
Olivia and her confusing French accent used to spend quality time with Francis, which apparently made her former marriage offer null and void. Francis feels bad about this and so does Mary, because as a ye olde feminist she recognizes it's unfair that only women's reputations matter.
At first, Francis is way too busy mooning over Mary to think about Olivia. "Mary I'm just a boy, asking a girl to make out with him in plain view of everyone in the castle." Soon, however, a combination of Olivia's availability and Mary's jealousy cause him to snap at her and start considering Olivia's mistress offer.
As usual, Mary and Francis' Facebook relationship status remains "it's complicated."
Mary Finds Comfort With Bash
What makes Mary such a likable character is that she does hilarious things like get totally crunked at harvest festivals. After drinking all the alcohol in the room and having a fight with Francis where she channels the future spirit of Aretha Franklin to ask for just a little respect, she flounces off into the fields. There she sees Bash and the two begin to get even more wasted.
"Oh me? Yeah I've had one fig all day and my corset is cutting off at least 50 percent of my air supply, making me a bit loopy. So of course I want to shotgun your whole flask, thanks so much for asking!"
While Mary is complaining about Francis, Bash is mentally writing her love letters and staring longingly into her eyes. He tells her Francis is crazy to look elsewhere when he has a stone cold fox like Mary waiting to marry him. Wasted and literally slurring her words, Mary goes in for the kiss.
Since this is a soap opera in period attire, this is obviously the exact moment Francis shows up to apologize for being a tool. The whole scene is straight out of the Gossip Girl playbook, except because it's the 16th century everything happens at a party outdoors instead of at a trendy loft in Manhattan.
The love triangle in Reign is certainly no surprise; it's there in all the promotional posters after all. But it's smart of the show to play a slow simmer in the relationship between Mary and Bash. After all, even historically inaccurate soaps aren't going to pretend that Mary Queen of Scots would show up at the French Court and immediately start hooking up with the resident bastard about town.
While Mary and Francis' relationship has more history and is therefore more well defined at this stage, the show really needs to develop her bond with Bash for their connection to make sense. At the very least they seem to have the chemistry to justify the love triangle, which is good news.
Elsewhere At The French Court...
-- It's Bash versus the pagans, round two! Since Bash tried to save the carriage driver from his sacrificial fate, the pagans want him to choose someone else to sacrifice in his place. If Bash doesn't choose, the pagans are going to choose for him. After relaying this message, the resident palace pagan jumps to his death for literally no apparent reason. "Those pagans, everything they do is so dramatic and flamboyant!" Bash says. "It just makes me want to set myself on fire."
-- Lola, the sole voice of reason in the Greek chorus of idiots that make up Mary's retinue, tells Mary to steer clear of Bash because he's clearly into her. Mary mentally files that information away for when she might need a little sexual healing latter.
-- Keena gets super saucy with Mary when she gently tries to remind her that being royal mistress isn't the glamorous post she thinks it is. Kenna tells Mary that because King Henri is breaking up with Diana (I'm so sure) she's now royal mistress. This means she only has to listen to Henri, not Mary. Then Kenna drops the mic and walks away, leaving Mary to just roll her eyes and wonder if Kenna is ever going to wear anything that doesn't look like it came out of the Renaissance Fair section of Urban Outfitters.
-- Speaking of poor romantic decisions, Greer decides to take the theme of regrets as an excuse to hook up with Peeta the pastry boy. Because YOLO I guess? There's just no way this could backfire.
-- Speaking of YOLO, everyone in the French Court writes their regrets on a piece of paper and then sends it trailing on a boat out into the lake. They just did YOLO differently back then. It does, however, seem like prime blackmail material. I'm sure Queen Catherine or Clarissa the friendly neighborhood burlap monster waded into the lake to read all of those later.
What did you think of the episode? Are you still rooting for Francis and Mary? What will Bash do about the pagans? And what's Mary's plan to deal with Queen Catherine? Sound off in the comments!
Reign airs Thursdays at 9pm on The CW. (Image courtesy of The CW)