If last week’s premiere focused on how Mary handled the news of Francis’ imminent death, the latest installment of Reign is all about expanding that circle of trust: It’s time to deliver the news to the rest of the family.
Francis has been thinking about the best way to protect both his country and his wife after he dies, and reaches one conclusion: Mary needs to marry Prince Charles. As one can imagine, Mary is not thrilled. After knowing True Love with Francis, Mary can’t imagine entering into a marriage solely for political reasons. But, as Mary has proven time and again, she’s a tough broad and understands how to play the royalty game; she’ll do it.
Now that Francis and Mary are a united front, they gather the rest of the family to fill them in on Francis’ fate. Each member of the family reacts differently to the news of their brother’s death, but not one of them hugs Francis. Let’s find out how the members of the House Valois start to prepare for the impending transition of power.
Charles and Catherine: Upon hearing that he’ll soon be the King of France, Charles reacts as one would imagine a young teenager would, and makes it all about himself. Charles is petrified. He rides himself pretty hard for not taking his King Classes seriously. Although the Dauphin slept through the majority of Tithing 101: Making Peasants Pay For It, it becomes very obvious that he received full marks in Benefits of Kinging 312: Being a Jerk is Totally Cool Because, Hey, You Can Behead People Now.
When he learns of Francis’ matchmaking plans, Charles looks at Mary like she’s some decrepit, disgusting hag, and he can’t imagine ever having to marry someone so old (I’m not exaggerating! Okay, maybe a little). Francis and Mary explain that by having Charles marry a queen, they’ll circumvent the need for a regent to rule until Charles comes of age. Charles has a top-notch hissy fit, demands to see Catherine, and storms out, yelling, “I don’t want to get married, and I don’t have to!” Which begs the question: Did the Reign writers tap my phone?
Francis wants to keep a tight lid on the details of Catherine’s arrest. If her treason is discovered, nobles will call for her head. Mary thinks Francis is crazy for letting Catherine live, but he’s dying, so she’ll do him a solid. What they can agree on, however, is that it may be dangerous to let Charles meet with Catherine — unless they can control the situation.
Francis gives Mommy Dearest the bad news, and then allows Charles to meet with her. Catherine advises Charles to humor Francis by agreeing to the marriage. When Charles is king he can do as he pleases. It’s a somber moment as they both realize that when this happens, Francis will be dead. Not one to linger on the emotional, Catherine swiftly moves into her first lesson for the soon-to-be king: finance! She gives Charles explicit directions to contact a Lord Germain and request a “full reckoning of the realm’s accounts.” She explains this will impress the noble, but we all know that with the French throne vulnerable, the Queen Mother couldn’t care less about balancing the royal checkbook.
Turns out, the phrase Catherine had Charles send to Germain is code for the go-ahead to bust into Navarre and exterminate the entire Bourbon line — babies and all. Francis and Mary, of course, have been spying on Catherine and are able to stop the assassination plot. They invite Charles down to the village to make sure he sees what his mother is capable of. The kid is incensed that his own mother would have allowed the blood of children on his hands. Catherine defends her actions; the Bourbons are a real succession threat. She reminds Charles and Mary (Francis is off resting) who was behind the latest attempt at a coup. In case you didn’t realize, Mary: That’s called shade.
Catherine’s plan has backfired, and Charles agrees to wed Mary. I guess she isn’t such an old lady shrew after all! Mary swings by Catherine’s cell to rub it in her face that another one of Catherine’s sons will be her husband, and she casually mentions that although Francis won’t have his mother executed for treason, Mary may have better luck convincing Charles. Catherine demands an audience with Francis, and when this request is denied she begins slamming her head against the door in an attempt to injure herself. Oh, Catherine, such the drama queen!
Claude: Princess Claude, like her younger brother, is mainly concerned with how Francis’ death will affect her current lifestyle. After the family meeting, Claude huffs around her bed chamber in search of her prized zibellino blanket (that’s Italian for sable, peasants). When Leith, still her assigned guard, informs her that the blanket is on a coach headed toward Paris, she demands he go after it. But now that Catherine is in prison, Leith knows he doesn’t have to bend to every whim of the entitled princess; he’ll sit this one out, thanks. But, Leith, you know this isn’t just about a blanket, right? MEN.
Later, Leith overhears Claude pleading with Prince Charles to keep Francis’ promise of allowing Claude to marry whom she’d like once Charles becomes king. Charles, yet to learn his first kingly lesson at the hands of Catherine, is still being the worst. His sister will marry whomever he commands.
Leith feels for Claude. He discovers that the blanket she’s obsessing over was a gift from King Henry. She’s lost her father’s protection, and now she’ll lose her brother’s. She’s scared. Leith can’t do much in the way of helping her escape a political marriage, but he can sit with her until she falls asleep (BE STILL MY HEART). Make out already, you two! YOUR RECAPPER COMMANDS IT.
Next: Detective Bash is back on the case