Reign benefits and suffers from a selective memory. It chooses what it likes about history and what it doesn’t. It takes creative liberties to a new threshold, creating an unpredictable atmosphere. Who would have guessed Bash would have been named ‘king-to-be’ for a short while? Of course, the problem with its selective memory is that selective memory includes storylines. I had hoped Reign had long forgotten the Darkness storyline, but alas. It’s back. Yay.

One of the other problems of picking and choosing history is what is chosen. Or maybe what hasn’t been. There are a LOT of missing things I wished we could see. Mary taking power and control while Francis is gone. Catherine at court. Too much time passes in between episodes — Francis has come back, Mary Tudor is dead (according to King Henry), Kenna and Bash are close now. All this stuff happened since last week and we didn’t get to see it. 

And we’re stuck with the Darkness subplot. 

Another odd retread? Mary’s love-hate relationship with power. What happened to Mary’s innocence we thought was killed? This week, Mary’s stuck on being a wife in love when she was so spurned about Francis and her country’s fate. The time in between episodes is hindering characterization/motivation/any-other-ation. 

It makes me wonder what the hell is going to happen in next week’s episode.

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Long Kill The King

Francis and Mary have a reunion bang after Francis returns from war. It’s romantic and lovely. Mary asks for support in relinquishing her ‘claims’ to England. Francis stares blankly.

Mary sent a letter to her cousin, offering to forfeit her claim to the English crown for the greater good. But the greater good seems to consist of making Francis and Scotland happy. It’s such an odd contrast from the Mary of late, the one who wants power and is willing to get her hands dirty.

Mary last week was hoping to take back power, or at least use her limited power to save Scotland. All of Mary’s power comes from what she might do in the future. Mary doesn’t want power. She wants to be the good wife; she’s thinking about herself and not her country. 

It’s Catherine who says, “I can’t think about myself. We need to think about queens.” And it’s such wonderful advice. Catherine, who uses the staff to sleep around for information, thinks about others before herself. Always. Mary may have learned to kill, a ruthlessness last week. But she’s still stuck trying to save the ones she loves instead of the greater good. Aka Mary=Elena Gilbert.

So Mary tries to think of the greater good by getting rid of a mad king. Catherine, Mary and Francis roundtable about Henry’s mental health. Catherine and Mary are pro-assassination, Francis wants to stick it through and reach through to Henry. 

Subtly is not Reign’s strong suit. Catherine and Mary? They are the strong suits. So it’s especially wonderful as Mary and Catherine plot to kill the King of France by killing him at his private communion. It’s also shot caper-style so I was expecting some Mission Impossible antics. Color me disappointed when that didn’t happen. 

Sons must sacrifice for their fathers. Henry (along with his brother) was held captive in Spain for his father’s release. Francis is fighting for his father, but the plan is intervened. By another assassin. Sent by Uncle Duke of Guise. Guise wants to place himself in win-win situations. If the king’s dead, he’s Francis’ right hand. If he proves there was assassination attempt, he is The King’s close trustee. 

More importantly, there is a messy role reversal for Francis and Mary. Mary puts nation over love, for once, and is scolded. Francis, who has always been nation over love, wants to save his father and scolds her for not doing the same. It’s this kind of hypocrisy that could make Francis a great character, but it falls flat. It just feels inconsistent. Francis flip-flops on his family like this show flip-flops on everything else. 

Of course, all of Francis’ trust and love that Henry will come through is hilarious in hindsight, given that we see Henry concoct a plan to kill his son to wed his son’s widow. So there’s that.

The Dark Subplots

Did I ever mention I hate the Darkness subplot? I will explain: it is just another forgotten storyline pushed in whenever Bash needs to do something. Like, I want this storyline and Clarissa to go away forever. But the show likes it. So I will summarize, briefly with these thoughts:

– Bash explores the woods, finds a mute, Pagan little kid, Pascal, with a whistle. Rescues the kid, who connects with Kenna of all people. Nostradamus is there also.

– Speaking of, I think I like Kenna now? She’s simmered down a bit, but is still a selfish fool? She still wants her little fairytale with a king or a king’s bastard but thinks Bash has a hero-complex. He does indeed.

– Kenna convinces Bash to move to a cabin in the woods or something (Kenna would be bored out of her mind after two minutes) and bring Pascal with. Pascal confides that his father was murdered and Kenna notes that bad men get what they deserve. Except, this murderer/bad man is Bash. So that complicates stuff. 

Like, that’s all I took out of it. Is the Darkness a monster, human, torturer? Is it secretly Clarissa’s half twin? I don’t know. I don’t care. I just want the storyline to be finished this season.

In other dark subplot news, Lola, according to my math, should have had that kid like two weeks ago. Luckily, she also understands that she is gonna pop out a kid who may have light hair like her baby-daddy and not her passing daddy-to-be Julian.

Speaking of, Julian’s uncle visits him. But guess what? It isn’t Julian. Or, Lola’s husband is not Julian at all. He’s an impostor. He comes immediately clean to Lola — Remy, as he calls himself. Remy was Julian’s secretary before he died. He robbed the dead man and stole his life. (I also would have done this, so I can’t judge him too harshly). Julian’s uncle figures out there has been a misdeed, and with a struggle and the strength of a pregnant woman, Lola kills the uncle. 

I also wish Lola’s storyline about the pregnancy would end. Like two weeks ago.

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Other Thoughts

– Greer gets a quick scene and then it is done. I would both love to be that actress because quick work week but no scenes. See you and Leith next week!

– Nostradamus is still sad over Olivia, obviously.

– Next week is the season finale. I had predicted in early season 1 that the season 1 finale would be the death of Henry (which historically, according to Wikipedia, happens in a jousting accident). I’m not sure that’s the case for Reign but I’m intensely curious as to how next week will resolve.

Thanks for reading. What did you think of tonight’s Reign? are you curious about how it is still winter but months have passed? Are you over Mary’s flip-flop character drop? Who’s your favorite Reign couple? Am I the only one less than happy with the Darkness subplot? Sound off below.  

Watch the Reign season finale next Thursday at 9pm on the CW.

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(Image courtesy of CW)

Emily E. Steck

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV