If you thought Catherine de Medici, lover of poisons, banisher of castle ghost children, and equine master chef, was going to stay locked up in prison for long, well, have you even seen Reign before? Of course Catherine was going to figure out a way to regain Francis’ trust — I just assumed it would be through some deliciously underhanded scheme, not through the rational (albeit last resort) thinking of Mary, Queen of Scots. For better or worse, these two ladies understand just how valuable the other can be in getting what they want.
So, how do we go from Mary threatening to have Catherine executed to her realization that Catherine is the only way to keep France and Scotland safe? Well, first, we can thank Prince Charles for being the worst.
Young Prince Charles is sure making it difficult for Mary to find a silver lining in their betrothal. When Mary brings up keeping the French-Scottish alliance strong, Charles immediately assumes she means making sweet, sweet heirs. Which, first: ew. And furthermore: NO. Thankfully, Mary doesn’t have to address the heir situation just yet, as Charles gets distracted by the arrival of an old friend, the Duke of Toulouse’s daughter, and big time party girl, Constance.
No matter! Mary has more pressing issues to deal with: Francis is getting worse, and all the time he’s spending away from court is arousing suspicion in the new English ambassador. Remember him? Elizabeth (who, frankly, I kind of missed) ordered Nicholas and his espionage skill set to get comfy in French court. Nick is peeved he hasn’t seen Francis yet. He’s getting ancy and Mary knows that’s not a good thing.
Before Mary can deal with Nicholas, she has another thorn in her side to tend to: Catherine. Catherine’s been relocated to the infirmary thanks to some self-inflicted wounds. I’m not just talking about the head-banging we saw last week — sister friend also bit out a chunk of her own cheek and left it on the prison floor. Say what you want about Catherine, but she’s committed to the cause.
After hearing of Catherine’s constant demands to see Francis, Mary goes to check on her mother-in-law, and, of course, very nicely remind her that Francis never wants to see her face again. Catherine has an equally sweet response, and tells her “vampire bitch” daughter-in-law that she is the cause of every single tragedy they’ve faced. Family is the best!
Mary barely has time to fill Francis in on Catherine’s antics, when CSI Bash busts in with news of a guest at court: King Antoine. I’ve been wondering when we’d get the scoop on Condé’s current situation (I was a fan, don’t hate)! For some reason, everyone agrees that it would be a great idea for Mary to deal with Antoine, you know, since she’s the one who betrayed his brother by going stab-town on his, I imagine, very taut abdomen region. But, she loved Louis once, so okay, WHY NOT?
Condé is being held by mercenaries, and to get him safely back to Navarre, Antoine needs his brother’s guaranteed safe passage through France. To get this from the crown, he’s willing to convert to Catholicism and credit it to Mary. It would be a big win. Mary counters: Louis can travel safely through France if Antoine renounces his claim to the French throne. Antoine blows a gasket, and despite Mary showing up with a sick coat game, the King of Navarre refuses to negotiate with the woman who “destroyed” his brother. Antoine will only talk to Francis.
So, they rally Francis from bed, put him in his finest furs, and the monarchs make their way downstairs to see Antoine. Just as Francis is reminiscing about the good ol’ days when he and Mary could accomplish anything together, he weakens and takes a big spill. We’ve all been there, Francis! Stairs are hard. They rush him back to his chambers.
NEXT: Lola’s big decision