On this episode of Reign, Mary and Francis must choose between helping France or Scotland while dealing with problems in their marriage.

I’d Die For My Country

It’s been almost a month since Francis locked Mary in a tower, according to a quick girl talk session after Mary and friends partake in a snowball fight. It feels like what men imagine girls’ pillow fights at sleepovers are like; it is that cheesy of a sequence. Remember when they just moped about when they would have their first kiss? I miss those days a bit (so does Greer). Now, everyone’s married, or pregnant, or betrothed. 

It’s Mary’s episode, finally. We forget — as well as Francis — that Mary is Mary, Queen of Scots, not Mary, Queen of France. Scotland’s important too! In fact, it is — gasp — in jeopardy. Mary de Guise, Mary’s mom, is holed up in a siege by Protestants. Mama needs backup. 

So Francis and Mary march to Francis’ mother, my beloved Catherine, for a little pow wow. Their news is mixed up though, because the French are pissed Mary will never be Queen of England and that Elizabeth will be queen once Mary Tudor croaks. If only they had a GoT‘s Melisandre to do Henry’s bidding! Mary Tudor be choking on some poison right about now! 

Instead of Stannis Baratheon, we have another royal crazy: Henry, who is still mad and a general kidney stone. I’m very over this storyline: it’s gone nowhere in six episodes. I’m more concerned with Henry’s really terrible English accent that becomes more terrible from time to time. Henry shakes with anger that he won’t have England and threatens Mary a bit.

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Mary isn’t bothered by threats, yet her lack of power at court worries her. She is not willing to manipulate and murder like Catherine, but also not willing to collapse under Henry and Francis’ pressure. Mary decides she needs some allies in her corner, so she looks to her uncle, The Duke of Guise, for help. He’s the general/soldier who steals recruits from his dead brothers’ soldiers to build his army. 

The one person who isn’t pleased with all of Mary’s aspirations is Francis. He doesn’t trust her family, respect her country, or really anything to do with Scotland. Remember girls: your partner should do all of these things and more. Of course Francis fights with Uncle Duke, who will help send troops to Scotland only if he becomes the King’s magistrate/right hand man. Francis will even come to Scotland to prove to Mary he cares about her mother and Scotland.

Yet, Francis is not good on his word, ever. Unsurprisingly, Francis and Henry have it out. Henry dismisses all of his generals, noticing his trousers are missing. This one-trick pony of Henry’s madness is getting really old. Fast. Scratch that, it’s officially a shriveled up corpse. Die storyline, die. Henry is taking the divine monarch thing literally by using chess pieces, but it is Francis who discovers if he uses two armies, he can save France. He strikes a deal with the Duke, who actually wants to be Francis’ magistrate because he sees that the King is unwell. 

Mary has no one on her side. The one person who is supposed to be her number one supporter is her husband Francis, but he consistently chooses France. The two are playing like school children instead of rulers. He infantilizes about her just like the men on the show do to the women. Francis is not different, just more dreamy. France is Francis’ mistress, the girl between them who Mary cannot compete against. So she asks him to stop making promises he can’t keep and come back to her as Francis leaves for war (in France). 

Yet, this tearful goodbye isn’t completely truthful. Because Mary is now choosing Scotland over Francis. Mary discovering her own gender politics in court is a good storyline for her. She is fierce, feminine and a lovely and loyal friend. But being royal has perhaps separated her from the other women who are subjected to men’s misogyny. She’s taking charge.

I love Mary again.

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Other Thoughts

Most of the other storylines paled in comparison to Mary’s, but we can brush up on everyone’s:

– Penelope claims to be preggers with Henry’s kid and even tried to get pregnant with some random kitchen kid. Catherine throws her in jail. “Don’t make friends with the rats. They bite.” Of course, Catherine knows Penelope is not pregnant, so she sends Penelope to become one of Catherine’s friends’ ladies in Italy. I don’t know why, but it tickles me pink that Catherine would do this for a petty servant girl. She must admire her tenacity and plotting.

– The most important storyline outside of Mary’s is Greer. Her Pops and sisters come to discuss dowry with Castlerock, who just wants Greer and wants to ignore the dowry. In fact, Castlerock is not dealing with Greer’s dad’s misogyny and gives his wife power. Castlerock is a saint on this show. It’s his incredible modernity that makes me suspicious. What can I say, I’m a cynic.

– Lola isn’t showing much, but isn’t she at least 4 months, probably 5 or 6 months pregnant? I’m confused with the timeline of this show.

– Bash is shirtless and the producers let him keep chest hair! Woah. Kenna wears 21st century lingerie. Is it budget issues? They can’t afford hot wax or believable underwear?

– Kenna wants things to progress to sex, but I think she forgets she used to have sex with HIS FATHER. Bash gets possessive and wants Kenna to forget everyone but him (mainly – his daddy). But really, it’s because he’s still not over Mary. After witnessing Mary and Francis make out, he immediately goes to Kenna, who also wants a connection during sex, or at least eye contact. Duh. Look at Bash’s eyes. 

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

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(Image courtesy of CW)

Emily E. Steck

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV