Being a prince has its benefits, what with all the money, the whole living-in-a-castle thing, and the fact that everyone pretty much does whatever they’re told. But it also comes with a lot of responsibility, particularly when there’s a war brewing and your father, the king, has quite literally lost his mind. Welcome to Francis’ world.
In tonight’s Reign, Francis is returning from battle a victor, but what he’s greeted with isn’t exactly a welcome home party. “When he returns, King Henry’s still mental,” Toby Regbo said. “There’s a couple of public things that he does. Beforehand, what King Henry had done had been hidden behind closed doors, it had been shielded from the public eye, and now he does a couple of things that are so crazy that it starts to make Francis wonder what the best course of action is.”
And having just “proved himself as a man,” according to Regbo, Francis is returning home with a new sense of confidence. “He feels confident to come back and assume some of the responsibility that his father has left lurking around,” Regbo said. “I think his goal is to pull another Mary and put him in the tower, hopefully, and just keep him locked up somehow.”
Then again, locking people in the tower is a signature Henry move. So is Francis becoming more like his father in his rise to power? “I think that the element of his father that’s coming through isn’t necessarily the madness. I think King Henry is a ruthless leader. I don’t think it’s that.” he said. “I think it’s a responsibility. Ultimately, when you have to deal with a whole country, priorities change. I think he’s got a good head on his shoulders and his priorities are in the right place, even though sometimes, from the relationship standpoint, which is always an important part of CW shows, sometimes that suffers.”
So will Francis and Mary’s relationship suffer? According to Regbo, their most immediate concern is keeping Henry hidden and “trying to maneuver around him without him doing something too erratic and crazy.” Although, he will say that this season has been about Francis and Mary’s journey from children to young adults, and even “she did some pretty ruthless stuff in the last episode.” The bad news? “They’re always f—ing arguing,” he added.
But one thing they won’t be arguing about is Lola’s baby, because by season’s end, it doesn’t look like Francis will find out that he’s the father. “In my head I imagine – this hasn’t happened, we haven’t shot [it] – I imagine when the baby’s born, Lola will try and cover it up and keep me out of the loop, and it will just be born with my hair, my exact hair and I’ll immediately know,” he said with a laugh. “I guess if that baby was to be born, and I found out about it, it would be like Sebastian, he would be in Sebastian’s position. He would be a bastard child. But Mary doesn’t seem to be able to bare children at the minute so maybe we could pretend that it was hers, but this is all speculation. None of it’s happened yet.”
In general, it’s safe to say that the Francis-Mary-Bash love triangle is on the back burner for the rest of the season. “The show seems to have shifted into different focus. The love triangle aspect of it doesn’t seem to be a focal point anymore, but you never know,” Regbo said. “Francis’ interests can waver. Who knows what’s going to happen? But at the minute, it seems to be on the back burner. Bash and Kenna seem to be happy, but things never last, especially on TV. No one’s happy for long.”
But when romance fails you, you can always turn to bromance, and after Leith saved Francis’ life on the battlefield last week, Regbo promises we’ll see more of their friendship. When asked if we are getting a full-blown bromance, he responded, “Yeah, you probably are. When someone saves you, you don’t forget it and I think he meant it when he said it’s good to be the friend of a prince, the next future king. I think it will work out in Leith’s favor.”
So Leith will return to the castle! But will he want to be there? Let’s not forget that the castle is currently threatened by The Darkness, not to mention Henry. “Maybe The Darkness is just sort of like that guy in the Wizard of Oz that you open up a room and he’s [a] tiny weak old man,” Regbo joked.
Regardless, The Darkness isn’t where Francis is focusing his attention. “I think [the biggest threat is] probably Henry. When you’ve got a mad King of a country, it’s like George Bush. When you’ve got that person who’s actually mental running a country and thinking he has the will of God, you’re asking for trouble. Is it crazy that George Bush, ex-President of America, now paints pictures of dogs? Tiny little nice pictures of dogs after all the suffering that he caused? That’s crazy that he’s doing that!”
Will King Henry get crazier than painting tiny pictures of dogs? Find out when Reign airs tonight at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.