'Reign': The highs and lows of season 1
Oh Reign, how I love thee. I mean, how could I not when it has been a season full of ridiculous sexcapades, a crazy (and often pantsless) king, a conniving queen, and a beautifully complicated teenage love story? I simply cannot get enough.
But now that the season has come to an end with a life-threatening birth, and an even more life-threatening plague, it’s time we look back on what worked for the show’s freshman season and what could use a bit of tweaking moving forward.
First things first, bring Julien back! And furthermore …
High: Royal politics: Whether Catherine was poisoning visitors, conspiring against Mary, or getting one of her “ladies” to sleep with men for information, the goings-on of the royal world were the foundation of the drama for this show. And boy were they fun. There’s something great about keeping things within the castle walls. The drama is automatically heightened just by the sheer proximity of friends, foes, lovers, and exes. Add in a country or two being at risk, and success is inevitable.
Low: Clarissa: The girl in the wall started off as an intriguing idea, and I liked the development that she was Catherine’s daughter, but the rest of it I could’ve done without. If I had my way, she would’ve stayed dead — speaking of, where is she? — and she probably never would’ve spoken. That voice was unbearable.
High: Sexcapades: If Reign knows anything, it’s that sex sells, and those steamy scenes have become a staple of the realm. Again, when everyone is kept inside those four walls, things can get a little heated.
Low: The Darkness: After all the build up to The Darkness, it ended up being an old guy who had “the gift of sight.” My reaction? “Eh.” I get that The Darkness was a lead-up to the plague, and that’s a huge threat to the castle, but I didn’t need all the hype around the physical Darkness character, especially if Bash was going to be able to kill him so easily. Plus, if I want to watch someone with sharp teeth, I’ll cue up one of my vampire shows.
High: Mary’s ladies: At first, I wasn’t sure how central Mary’s ladies would become to the show, but I really grew to love Greer, Kenna, and Lola. (R.I.P. other one). Mary’s ladies quickly became like main characters, and I found myself just as involved in their love lives as I was in Mary’s, hence my love of Julien. And Leith. And Kash, or whatever we’re calling them.
Low-turned-high: Love triangle: At first, I wasn’t feeling the Francis-Mary-Bash love triangle, mostly because it took me a while to believe Mary had even the smallest inclination toward Bash, but I commend the show for developing it a bit, but then powering through it, putting an end to it, and moving on to new relationships that revived me as a viewer.
High: Breakout Character: Henry: I loved Henry. Everything about him. I loved how inappropriate he was and how funny he was. And yes, I loved how absolutely crazy he was. Alan Van Sprang was a force to be reckoned with, and I cannot tell you how much I will miss his presence next season.
Low: Character Rehab: Nostradamus: What was the point of him, exactly? He was the doctor and sort of the psychic, and then they kind of told us his back story, and then he went hunting with Bash. In order for me to like this character, I need more. Or less. Either one works for me.
High: GIF of the season: As if you couldn’t guess what this was going to be.
Low(ish): Ratings reality: Reign consistently pulled in between 1 and 2 million viewers, which isn’t much in the grand scheme of things, but in The CW’s world, it was deserving of a second season.