Well, our Mary has certainly backed herself into a corner this time, hasn’t she? The girl has always been willing to do whatever it takes to save Scotland, but marrying a severely impaired Spanish prince for his daddy’s money may be taking it a bit too far. That’s the thought that’s been keeping Mary Stuart awake at night.
Lucky for us, Mary’s tossing and turning means late night run-ins on the balcony with Gideon Blackburn. Is he there waiting for Mary as part of Elizabeth’s orders to make the Queen of Scots fall in love with him? Or is he, too, agonizing over the weight of selfish decisions? Maybe the guy’s just looking for the Little Dipper. Who is to say, really? Regardless of the reason, sexual tension has returned to France.
Tonight, Mary learns that the English Ambassador does not approve of Mary’s engagement because the Mary he knows won’t be happy in a marriage lacking love. Mary is offended, reminding Gideon that he doesn’t know anything about her, her great loss, or why she makes the choices she does. So, Gideon breaks her down with the one-two punch of first spilling his sad story about losing his wife in childbirth, and then asking her what “Spain” can do for her AS A WOMAN. She doesn’t respond by furiously making out with him, so I have to wonder, is Mary also impaired?
Okay, fine, I’ll give it to her in this situation. Mary, very astutely, is aware that Gideon’s been planted in court as a sort of royal cock block by her cousin Elizabeth, who does not want Scotland strengthened by a marriage alliance. Mary doesn’t believe a word that comes out of Gideon’s mouth, no matter how cute it is.
Since Gideon can’t talk Mary out of the marriage, he has to improvise a new plan to stop the Scottish-Spanish alliance. He barges in on Mary’s meeting with the Duke of Alba and announces that Queen Elizabeth is reconsidering a marriage to Don Carlos and her proposal will arrive shortly. He’s bluffing in order to stall, of course, but that’s a minor detail.
Gideon isn’t the only man in Mary’s life bluffing. Surprise! Don Carlos has been feeling like his old self again for a few days now, but has been hiding it with the “pretty Mary” act until he could figure out what happened to him. Thanks to a little courtyard whipping game, he does. Armed with the memory of his impalement adventure and the knowledge that Mary has been using him, The Beard is ready to get his, and he’s coming for Scotland.
The Duke announces that Spain will take Mary’s proposal over Elizabeth’s, if she grants Don Carlos the Crown Matrimonial. Mary gives us a lesson in Royal Vocabulary and explains that the Crown Matrimonial means if she were to die childless, Don Carlos would still be King of Scotland. It’s pretty much handing over the royal keys to another country and putting a big ol’ target on your back. Normally, this would be a huge deal, but, as Catherine reminds Mary, Don Carlos won’t be any kind of threat to her crown. Too bad she is so very wrong.
Mary arrives with her giant horse dog to tell Spain she will accept this new marriage addendum, if she and Don Carlos can be married tomorrow, in order to beat Elizabeth to the punch. Spain eagerly agrees. However, when horse dog licks Don Carlos’ “paralyzed” hand and Mary sees him move it, she immediately regrets everything she just said. Now it’s Mary’s turn for a little bluffing.
In need of “some good advice from a bad person,” Mary summons Gideon. The meeting is very clandestine and also very hot. When Mary tells Gideon her theory about Don Carlos lying, he actually seems concerned (you can never tell with this guy!), and will investigate.
Gideon’s news is not-so-great: The Spanish have secretly hired a group of mercenaries with top marks in Assassination. The plan is surely to kill Mary on their way back to Spain, so Don Carlos can reign over Scotland. Unfortunately, with no concrete evidence, Mary can’t just rescind her offer because, well, misogyny and all. She can, however, catch The Beard in his lie.
It’s wedding time! Mary beelines for the marriage contract, signs it, and then guides her betrothed to do the same, but Don Carlos stops. And then Don Carlos gets very, very mad. He is furious and wants to know where the Crown Matrimonial is—it’s missing from the document. In all his anger, he has revealed his healed condition to the entire room, just as Mary had hoped. Mary has outed Don Carlos as a liar looking to trick a queen into marriage and reveals his plans to have her killed, but I think most people are just impressed the guy basically survived a tree branch to the brain.
On the sidelines, Narcisse wants to make sure France doesn’t get any blowback from Spain since he had plans to use Don Carlos to get some extra coin for his country (and himself), still severely in debt. Catherine is having none of it. She’s feeling extra feisty after all that sex with her fire boy—sorry, newly promoted king’s guardsman—and does not hesitate to remind Narcisse that this is her house. She tells Don Carlos to take his sex horse and get out. The Beard is banished from French Court, people! Mary and Catherine high five with their eyes.
NEXT: Latin lessons have never been so sexy