Oh Reign, you saucy minx, giving us the camp we’ve been hoping for. I must confess, as a part time TV critic, I’m not often shocked by any of the plot lines I see on TV. Tonight, my friends, I was thoroughly surprised about Henry’s vigorous thrusting leading to the death of the Duchess of Bohemia. Henry’s bed chambers are now the most dangerous locale in France.
But I get ahead of myself; first we get a fresh look at Francis and Mary en route back to the castle from their honeymoon. Mary looks a little forlorn; perhaps because she’ll never get over the trauma of having the entire court watch her consummate her marriage? Francis asks her why she’s so sullen and she replies “somehow our love seems so fragile suddenly.” It has been two months since they’ve been away at court but Mary’s reticence to come back may mean that she’s not quite over the whole Bash business as well. Can we blame her? Have you seen Bash riding a horse?
The Archduke Ferdinand arrives at French court and takes notice of Kenna who puts the “frickin’ incredible” in frock wearing. King Henry spies the Archduke noticing Kenna and tells her later that Ferdinand wants a woman who is chaste so she must go along with the ruse that she still has her virtue. At this point I’m thinking, alright Henry, it’s nice that you’re doing Kenna a solid by continuing to try to find her a husband. But it takes a few scene before we find out Henry’s true intention – he was distracting Kenna so he could spend the evening with the Duchess. And oh what an evening it was. There was panting, bodice ripping, hungry faces and the greatest swordsmanship that King Henry has ever shown. The Duchess falls to her death from the karmic crime of too much carnal enjoyment. At least her short stint on the show was fun while it lasted?
Mary and Francis arrive back in court to the reception of all of her ladies. Mary tells the girls that she’s found nice men for them while she was away begging the question why was she on matchmaking duty when she needs to be in producing an heir mode? But of course this is a plot device to make Lola uncomfortable at the idea of Mary doing something nice for her to secure her future. Ding dong, that must be the pregnancy bell that I hear ringing. Lola gives a nervous glance at Francis who will never pick up on the “oh my god can’t you tell I’m pregnant” face. He’s a dude Lola, this will forever go over his head.
Meanwhile, Bash is roaming around the woods looking bashly. He runs into a female hunter who antagonizes him “what kind of fool can’t recognize a boar trap?” For one, I’m that fool. I have no idea what a boar trap looks like. They make a day of hunting and she introduces Bash to her brother. Then a woman comes crawling through the bushes and Bash recognizes that it’s Olivia. At this point we still don’t know the female hunters name because Bash isn’t gentleman enough to ask. The hunter sister and brother team notice that Olivia “has been fed on” and try to send her away. Bash isn’t having any of this because he’s a one man savior complex.
Back at the castle Mary is unpacking her presents and the girls come out wearing new gowns. Mary asks Lola why she isn’t wearing the gown to which she replies “it’s incredibly lovely but a bit snug.” She might as well wear a flashing sign that says “I GOT KNOCKED UP BY YOUR HUSBAND.” But Mary, who does not suspect anyone’s intentions, keeps on keeping on and tries to placate her new fatty friend Lola with some marzipan. Lola can barely choke down the marzipan because she has morning sickness and chai tea lattes at Starbucks hadn’t been invented yet. Mary makes an awkward comment about how her two month honeymoon wasn’t a long enough time to become pregnant yet. Is she unable to conceive because she’s suppressing her feelings for Bash? Why am I so emotionally invested in this show???
Kenna has picked up on the subtle hints and confronts Lola later about being pregnant. She congratulates Lola because there’s “no better way for a royal mistress to secure her place.” Kenna points out that Francis will be a loving father and that Lola’s position at court would be secured. Lola does not think her family in Scotland will see it the same way and presses Kenna to help her find out how to terminate her pregnancy. It doesn’t take Nostradamus to figure out this episode is going to end with Lola visiting a sketchy barn to end her pregnancy but not before someone comes to stop her.
Later Kenna tries to chat up the Archduke because he’s wealthy and could whisk her away to Bohemia for the rest of her life. The Archduke says he’s been pressured to find a wife. He tries to kiss Kenna on the cheek and she turns her head. Kenna hams up her purity “this is god’s vessel” as she explains she cannot touch him.
Bash enters Nostradamus’ office, carrying Olivia. They briefly argue about what the cause of evil is in the world. Bash thinks it’s some “dark, malignant power in the woods” but Nostradamus is convinced that humans are the most evil of them all. Then Nostradamus tells Bash that it’s not safe for him to stay at the castle which means obviously, that Bash will stay. Just listen to Nostradamus people; aren’t you paying him to keep you out of danger?
In Catherine’s chambers, she’s meddling with the love affairs of Francis and Mary. She tells Mary “now that we’re fast friends, I’d like to help you with something of the utmost importance, babies.” She hands Mary a stack of potions of which should be rubbed on herself and the Prince of France. If you’re not picking up on the subtext it’s going to be very VERY important that Mary gets herself pregnant in the coming episodes. Before Catherine is able to get too detailed in the lesson, King Henry barges in looking a little out of sorts. They shoo out Mary and Henry explains what happens with the Duchess in his chamber (it’s all very similar to Clue). He pleads with Catherine to help him get out of this jam, which is a nice relief from their constant bickering and trying to kill each other. Henry and Catherine are then seen cleaning up the blood of the Duchess and having a bit of trouble because neither of them has ever had to do housework. Once they clean the blood they stuff the Duchess in a carpet like Cleopatra and Catherine tells Henry to roll up the body “the way my chefs do stuffed pastry.” Catherine helps to craft a forged suicide note for the Duchess, because she is a Medici of many talents. She leaves it on the bed post where even the dumbest of servants can find it.
Mary goes back to her own chambers where she contemplates the various potions she might need to rub on Francis when Bash walks in. Yeah, he’s supposed to be in Spain but he’s come to warn Mary that it was Francis who tried to have him killed. Mary doesn’t want to believe her husband was capable of that but Bash presses her. He says “is it only pain we left behind, there was something more we had between us.” He’s still crushing her hard and is not too pleased with the outcome. He’s trying to use the “Francis tried to kill me” card to get her to change her mind and come back. Oh Bash, who amongst us hasn’t tried to do something crazy after a break up to convince our former paramour that they were wrong to let us go? He tells Mary “If you need me, put a light in your window and I’ll meet you in the woods where we first kissed.” Such a sentimentalist, that Bash. Mary does ask Francis about his intention to kill Bash and he doesn’t quite answer the question. He says “the more important question is will you take me at my word?” An interesting question coming from a man who spent with a night with one of her best friends.
And because there wasn’t enough blood already in this episode, a priest comes looking through Nostradamus’ cabinet and overhears the whimpering of Olivia. He bends down to exorcise her demons and she grabs his cross and kills him. And if you were keeping a “supernatural experiences” count for Reign, we can now cross off the “possessed by the devil” box.
Meanwhile, Kenna is on a hunt for a husband and passionately kisses the Archduke. He asks her why she is so skilled in kissing and she blames it on beginner’s luck. Then the Archduke’s sister is seen falling outside of the window. So now the death of the Duchess is out in the open. Catherine is able to use the death of the priest to convince the Archduke that his sister had a passionate love affair and had taken her life from the shame. The Archduke, seeing that this might cause a scandal proposes that they “just say she drowned accidentally in the river” which is a death much more dignified than the truth. Henry, so enraptured with Catherine’s ability to connive and scheme tries to take her back to his bed chambers. Catherine, who isn’t easily seduced by a man who had recently tried to kill her, isn’t amused.
Then we cut to the inevitable scene of Lola hallucinating on a bed as she prepares herself to terminate her pregnancy. Bash and Mary had been riding in the woods to save her. Mary walks in and offers all of the trite phrases Lola doesn’t want to hear about how she’ll be there for her no matter what. Then Lola confesses that yep, she was doing more than trading court stories with Francis while they were away. Mary asks “is that my husband’s child?” as the weight of reality breaks her spirit. Lola asks Mary to keep her secret because she’s not sure what she wants to do with the child yet. Bash, not wanting to miss an opportunity to disparage his brother Francis tries to woo Mary back again. She tells him “there’s nothing for you here” and tells him to go away. Bash runs immediately to the huntress and takes her up on an offer to stay for the night.
Then the episode closes with all of our favorite characters staring out into the distance, thinking their great thoughts and feeling their great feelings.
-If you’re going to write a letter about taking your own life, King Henry would prefer you include a note about how lovely it is to visit France.
-The CW should just keep stock footage of Bash riding a horse in the woods for future episodes.
-Whenever a character brought up Bohemia I heard “La Vie Boheme” from Rent in my head.
-Production costs aside; we were all robbed of the chance to see Mary and Francis honeymooning in Paris and the Loire Valley.
-King Henry points out that it’s a good thing that blood stains can look like spilled wine.
-When Nostradamus tells Catherine that someone killed the priest with his own cross she remarks “that’s awful, but not now.”
-Olivia tells Nostradamus that the darkness is going to take them all, plague anyone?
-Um, anyone going to address the fact that it appears that humans are feeding on each other in the woods?
-Kenna’s white gown was my favorite this week.
[Photo: Sven Frenzel/The CW -- © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved]