This week on Reign
, Tomas turns out to be too good to be true and Mary and the boys need to get their Scooby Doo on in order to uncover a conspiracy. It's a fast-moving and action-packed hour, which ends with a return to status quo. The ending is also a hopeful sign pointing to Mary's position being secure enough to ditch the device of putting her wildly in danger every week.
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has no interest in being historically accurate, just entertaining, but some of the winks this week to actual history were at least pretty funny. They mention through Mary that all of Europe thinks Francis is a weak, sickly boy instead of the floppy-haired stud muffin he is in actuality.
And as the conspiracy plotline is buttoned up nicely at the end of the episode, the new English envoy to Portugal mentions how all this death and treachery will never make it into the history books. I see what you did there, Reign.
Hopefully now that Mary's position within the French Court is more assured, the show can spend some time further flushing out the side characters. Lola finally had a moderate amount of the spotlight again after being mostly shunted aside since the pilot. Greer and Kenna both continue their respective ill-advised love affairs, while other blonde girl is so nondescript her name entirely eludes me.
I understand this is a historical soap, but it would be nice if Mary's four besties had personalities outside of their love lives. At this point I can still only tell her ladies-in-waiting apart by their respective terrible tastes in men. Also there's one that wears a lot of braids in her hair for some reason, like she's about to go to Bonnaroo instead of a St. Michaelmas celebration.
Still the last two episodes have more than made up for a slight slump out of the gate. As the conspiracy around Tomas and his cruelty continued to unfurl, the show managed to actually drum up some real tension. Sure, no one really thought Mary was sailing off into the sunset to restart the show in Portugal, but the conflict allowed both Mary and Francis some nice character growth.
Almost immediately after sealing their proposal, Tomas suddenly turns into a straight up d-bag. It's like Mary got engaged to Prince Charming one day to wake up the next and find him putting on an Ed Hardy t-shirt. Mary is unimpressed by Tomas' attempts to show up Francis in public, and all her ladies-in-waiting start to get nervous that Tomas might actually be kind of a jerk.
This sends Mary right into the arms of Francis, whose bipolar affection seems to be having an upswing. They even get to do a little canoodling by the lake, where they demonstrate some serious chemistry with a steamy make out session. The one nice thing about the show is how easy and lived-in the chemistry is between Francis and Mary. You really do believe they've known each other for years.
Of course, Tomas is not excited about his little woman stealing off for some ye olde teenage necking in the woods. He gets his "whipping boy" Miguel to accompany him for a very special demonstration of how big a jerk he is for Mary and friends.
He puts Mary in her place, routinely calling her his property and telling her things are going to be different in Portugal. No more climbing trees or befriending helpful ghosts in the walls. Portugal is going to be all slapping people in the face, all the time.
Mary is certainly not happy about this turn of events, but since Scotland still needs Portugal's protection she has no choice but to marry the jerk. That is, unless it turns out he's a traitor in addition to being a huge tool.
Happy Michaelmas: Enjoy A Beheading!
The conspiracy which slowly unravels throughout the episode concerns how the French troops coming to Scotland's aid last week were discovered. Initial intelligence points to Simon, the English envoy, who is quickly taken into custody.
As long as Mary puts her name to the word of a local prostitute who pointed the finger at Simon, she'll be released from her engagement to Francis and free to marry Tomas. So Mary agrees, and it looks like it's curtains for poor Simon. Maybe he'll get to escape to the woods where he'll be strung up by forest creatures like the last person wrongly beheaded.
Of course, it turns out Tomas was the one who betrayed the French. Without a queen by his side, he had no hope of being declared legitimate. And with the French assisting Mary, there was no need for her to become engaged to him. So he arranged things so that Mary would have to rely on Portugal's troops.
Mary, Francis, and Bash all head off in opposite directions to find witnesses to this treachery. Bash, having nearly died a few days before, is handsome as ever but sweating several buckets worth as they fight to save Miguel. Tomas, irritated he was interrupted in the middle of hunting the most dangerous game, hits Bash in his giant gaping wound and he goes down like a sack of potatoes. Or something more French. Foie gras? Can you get a sack of that?
On his own, Francis fights Tomas and eventually kills him. Because he's a good person, this shakes him up somewhat. Not enough that they don't parade his corpse into the throne room in order to uncover the whole conspiracy just in time to save Simon.
Mary uses this whole mess of incompetence to get herself in the game arranging her own marriage to Francis, securing the troops and provisions she needs for Scotland. It's a pretty great scene when she bullies King Henri into giving her what she wants, and shows a steely side to Mary that Adelaide Kane always plays well.
It certainly makes Francis' heart go aflutter, as he declares her a "true queen" any king would kill for. Of course, Mary implicitly understands that Francis' default position is wishy-washy, so they're still Facebook status "it's complicated."
Elsewhere in the French Court...
-- Mary and Queen Catherine have a pretty great showdown about why Catherine hates her so much. More scenes of Megan Follows and Adelaide Kane going toe-to-toe would make this show about a thousand times more enjoyable.
-- Kenna is the only one not super psyched about following Mary wherever life takes her. She's pretty set on becoming mistress #2 for King Henri instead. And although Henri at first denies her, eventually he decides her open affections are the breath of fresh air he needs. Also he's horny and Mistress #1 is still out shopping or whatever, so why not? This is going to be the start of a beautiful love story, I can just tell.
-- Speaking of beautiful love stories that can only end badly. Greer has still got it bad for the baker boy. I can't remember his name, so I'm just going to call him Peeta. (Hunger Games references forever!) She mentions once again that she needs to marry well or her whole family will be playing the Hunger Games, because they will be poor and starving. Then she makes out with a peasant in plain view of everyone at their fancy dress up party.
-- Meanwhile Bash spends most of the episode dying and sweating and yet still being charming enough to hit on Lola. Being completely jaded and over death like any good 16th century hipster, Lola seems to be totally picking up what Bash is putting down.
-- Clarissa, the burlap sack monster who looks like Scarecrow from Batman Begins, once again helps Mary. But their bonding gets a little bit weird when we discover Clarissa likes to sleep under Mary's bed, like a friendly neighborhood boogey monster.
What did you think? Did you enjoy the episode? Are you totally feeling Mary and Francis' connection? Sound off in the comments!
Reign airs Thursdays at 9pm on The CW. (Image courtesy of The CW)