Welcome back from hiatus, Royals! Anyone find a 16th-century sex apparatus under the tree this holiday season? Well, I guess you just weren’t on the naughty list. Though we as viewers may have enjoyed Mary and Catherine’s experience with the Spanish Prince’s favorite toy, the two ladies won’t be asking for another demonstration any time soon.
Lest you forget: The last time we were at French Court, the Prince of Spain was wandering around the castle with a piece of sex horse in his head, while Mary and Catherine were brainstorming ways not to be implicated in the inevitable scandal. As the old saying goes, nothing brings a woman and her daughter-in-law together quite like tag-teaming on some royal S&M – and the ladies are really a unified front in the face of multiple crises throughout the episode. You guys, they even hold hands at one point. Francis would be so proud!
Obviously, the first crisis they need to tackle is the whole “accidentally impaling the heir to the most powerful country in the world” thing. But the status of Don Carlos will have to wait. Just as Catherine is ironing out an alibi for her and Mary – they played chess all night and Catherine won, naturally – the newly minted regent, Narcisse, swings by to remind Catherine of that other scandal she’s involved in: those pesky accusations that Catherine poisoned Francis.
Narcisse informs Catherine that the evidence is stacking up against her; it’s pretty damning that right before his death, Francis had his mother imprisoned. Catherine points out that this imprisonment only further clears her name – how could she have poisoned her son if she was locked up?
That’s when Narcisse reveals just how low he’s willing to go in order to keep his power. Remember Rat Bath-gate? Lola believes it was Catherine who planted the rodent in her bath, and if she could threaten Lola while in jail, who’s to say she couldn’t also commit regicide? Catherine outs Narcisse as the real rat culprit in front of Mary, but Narcisse continues to deny it. The guy is such a good liar, he may actually believe he didn’t trick his wife into marrying him. You know who doesn’t believe him? Mary’s eyebrows. Those babies were so incredulous they almost went vertical. Regardless, with Lola’s testimony, Narcisse will only need a little more evidence to get Catherine tried by the high court in Paris.
Mary is obviously Team Catherine and agrees to have a chat with Lola about what Narcisse has been up to – but Mary makes it very clear to the Queen Mother that she’ll only go so far as to tell Lola about the rat and being manipulated into marriage, she crosses the line at dropping the bomb that Narcisse is also still sleeping with Catherine. Mary’s such a good friend!
Unfortunately, Lola refuses to accept that her husband could be so evil because Lola is blinded by love and Narcisse’s sweet new haircut. She testifies that Catherine had the means to do as she pleased while in prison. While doing so, however, Lola realizes she has no real proof and begins to reconsider Mary’s theory.
Before Mary can come up with a new plan for proving Catherine’s innocence, she’s saddled with yet another dire problem: There’s a barley shortage in Scotland and people are starving and English troops stole some barley and some Scots tried to take back the barley and those Scots are being held hostage. Pull it together, Scotland. Mary’s dealing with both regicide and a sex horse injury today, sister has no time for your barley problem!
Except of course she does, especially once she finds out that the hostages include Lola’s father and brothers – and Elizabeth will let them all go if Lola comes to live at English Court. Narcisse is swinging his weight around as both regent and husband here, and immediately wants to send in the Scots Guard, a Scottish military unit in service of France. Mary tells him to slow his roll. She doesn’t want to take Elizabeth’s bait, and would rather try for a diplomatic resolution. Oh, and also, the Scots Guard will always remain loyal to her since she’s, you know, THE QUEEN OF SCOTLAND.
Narcisse may have the title of most powerful man in France, but even he has to realize that Catherine and Mary won’t go down without a fight. Perhaps that’s why he’s being even more ruthless and desperate than usual. In order to finally get this regicide inquest tied up and Catherine’s fate handed over to the Parlement de Paris, Narcisse plays his trump card: Claude.
NEXT: Escapes! Engagements! Embalming!