Reign boss previews a finale return and taking the show to England next year
Another season of Reign is about to come to an end as the battle between Mary and Elizabeth heats up, pinning Condé against Francis, and even allowing Catherine to get in on the action … but maybe on Team Elizabeth. Much like everything in the French court, it’s complicated.
We spoke with showrunner Laurie McCarthy about the season’s final hour and what next season will hold:
Mary is on Team France. Last week, fans watched as Mary went to Condé and told him that she was expecting his child. But the good news for Frary fans is that regardless of whether the pregnancy is a lie, Mary is still playing for Team France. “We looked at the story less as Mary needed redemption, and more just to really kind of see her cleverness and see her defend the man she loves, the man who has protected her so many times—but also the nation that is really her adopted home. She takes her role as Queen of France very seriously. And regardless of any feelings she has for Condé, he’s a revolutionary, he’s a usurper,” McCarthy said.
Queen Elizabeth is a bit like Mary, and a bit more like Catherine. “[Elizabeth is] going to share some of the traits of Mary and some of the traits of Catherine. Because, like those women, she’s feeling very much alone in a man’s world,” McCarthy said. “They live in a patriarchy still. And she’s the ruler of England and she’s feeling threatened. And like Catherine, she thinks the end justifies the means. She is, beyond even Catherine in some ways, a survivalist.”
Kenna’s got a secret. “She has something up her sleeve,” McCarthy said. “The show’s really about women struggling to survive in a man’s world, and the safest thing to do if you were a woman at this time is to align yourself with a powerful man. She wanted Bash to be that guy, and he is not that comfortable with power. He doesn’t like it, he think it’s often abused and he doesn’t quite see the benefits of it that she has seen. So she moved on. She aligned herself with this guy, General Renaude—and that, as you can imagine, has taken a disastrous turn, given the fact that he became a traitor to the realm. Now she’s going to have to deal with the fallout of that in a way that’s going to bring her closer to Bash, but in a complicated way.”
And Bash’s new relationship will have some serious consequences. It’s one thing to let the Woman in White touch you, and it’s another thing entirely to kiss her. Bash is going to learn that very soon. “Something awful is going to happen,” McCarthy said. “That relationship is going to go up in flames in a really spectuclar and creepy way. And we won’t have seen the last of her.”
Leith and Greer are in the past … and Leith and Claude are in the future? “I think [Greer] was his first love,” McCarthy said of Leith. “And she was his first love, and what she’s found that she loves more than love, I think, is the feeling of security and independence and strength. She really felt like she needed to choose something that could never be taken away in her mind, which is an income. She really feels like that is what gives you freedom in this world and that the freedom is more important than anything. She still lives in an age where if she marries Leith she becomes his property, and even though she loves him and adores him, he does not approve of what she’s doing to make a living. And I think that that’s a stumbling block they couldn’t get around. So I think what we’ll come to see is a different kind of relationship that begins to form between Leith and Princess Claude.”
As for Greer, expect her to find her way “back into the fold of Mary,” according to McCarthy.
Mary and Francis are finding their way back to each other. “They’ve been drifting closer to each other for the last handful of episodes,” McCarthy said. “Mary’s feelings for Condé became less kind of love and more loyalty. I think she feels like she turned to him at a moment when she needed somebody. She did it as a way to not feel the feelings that she was having for Francis, which were so mixed with regret and remorse and pain of the experiences that she endured this year. So I think that they’ve been drifting closer to each other for some time now, and you’ll see them come together in a way that’s very dramatic and heartbreaking.”
This finale will answer questions left over from season 1. “I feel like so many plot points that were set up even in the beginning of Season 1 really pay off at the end of this season,” McCarthy said. “We’ve been traveling this journey with Mary and Francis, and what the future might hold for them, and that is going to really pay off at the end of this season. Mary’s had this journey with this group of girlfriends, her ladies, and they’ve all been trying to navigate not just court but adulthood. And I think we really kind of land them all in very different place at the end of this season.”
Another tease: “We’ll see an old friend who we haven’t seen for a long time,” McCarthy said.
Lola and Narcisse … sitting in a tree? “There’s just something undeniable between the two of them,” she said. “[I like] that he’s a power player, and that she brings out the best in him. And unfortunately he’s involved with Catherine, who happens to be [Lola’s] son’s grandmother. But events will kind of bring them together as well. We’ll see a twist at the end of the finale that will be surprising and I think fulfilling for that duo as well.”
Next season? We’re going to England! “The show’s got a certain amount of elasticity to it,” McCarthy said. “It’s called Reign, and it can track any number of people’s reigns. So what I like about it is that [Elizabeth’s] been a character on our show, it feels like, almost since the beginning. And we’ve kind of painted this picture of her as somebody kind of lying in wait and a competitor of Mary’s, but also a threat to her. I’ve been really excited to meet her. And what she also allows us is the ability to go to another court, which is what we’re going to do in season 3. We’ll see the court of England, we’ll see the Elizabethan court and see the people who surround her. So that’s what I’m excited about; that allows the show to have even more scope.”
Reign airs tonight at 9 p.m. on The CW.