'Reign' recap: 'Forbidden'
The arrival of Mary's mother forces the queen to make a life-changing decision.
Just when you start to think that Reign is a love story about two young adults who are struggling to make marriage work—and all the other stuff going on as a result of their rule—we’re reminded that being royal sucks. Not only are you forced to marry at a young age and handle nobles, people trying to kill you, and so on, but “following your heart” is about as much of an option as wearing the whatever the 16th-century equivalent is to scrubs. And don’t even talk about being young and reckless and making mistakes because the entire country could crumble. After all, a one-night stand could literally cause a war. (And we think STDs are a problem.)
We start this week with the return of Marie de Guise, who has arrived in France to attend her brother’s funeral. After saying a few nice words, Marie thanks Catherine for keeping her brother’s treachery a secret before agreeing that his death was necessary because messing with royals is just not cool. So an upside to being royal? You get to kill anyone who looks at you sideways! (Or poisons a king, whichever comes first.)
Plus, you get to wear super fancy veils. And speaking of veils, Mary’s really working for Condé in this moment. As Antoine puts it, Condé has that “possessive look” in his eye that says he’s begun “turning her heart.” Okay, being a royal might be worth it just to get to talk like that.
Just kidding, I take it back, because Francis just informed Lola that he’s found his infant son’s wife. The kid can’t even walk yet and he’s engaged. As for Lola, she could not be more excited that her son is engaged to one of the most powerful families in Europe. The catch? They want to meet Lola before finalizing the agreement. And please don’t ask me to attempt to spell their family name.
From getting a gift to returning one, Kenna finds Antoine in order to return a ruby that she found in one of the strawberries he left her. So did she eat all of them? Because that’d be the most impressive thing she’s ever done, apart from not choking on that ruby.
Handing the ruby back to Antoine, she tells him to stop flirting with her. Of course, using his fancy, royal language, he promises to stop laying his heart so inconveniently at her feet.
After that’s settled, Antoine asks for Kenna’s help in planning a party for tomorrow, which he intends to celebrate the renewed friendship between France and Navarre. And considering that his wife is sick—way to sneak that in, buddy—he needs a woman to help him find a custom tile maker and other fun stuff. Kenna’s hesitant, but the thought of having 300,000 gold deniers—and something to do with her day other than wait around for Bash—wins her over. She’s officially Antoine’s mistress hostess.
So while Kenna plans a party, Mary is forced to talk to her mother, who really wants to know why her daughter isn’t knocked up yet. She’s heard that Francis no longer visits Mary’s chambers, which means one thing in her mind: Mary is failing her country. She then gives her daughter some herbal concoction that will make sex seem less like a “continual chore one comes to dread.” (Yeah, no thanks, royalty.) According to Marie, the herbs will put Mary in a more “expansive mood.” Now that’s just gross.
But that’s only the beginning of Marie’s speech. With Mary’s cousin Elizabeth still unmarried, people are worried about the instability that would follow if she were to die. Elizabeth’s subjects want an heir from their royal bloodline, and Mary can provide that. Marie then informs Mary that the Protestant Lords in Scotland want Mary gone. Basically, Mary is on the cusp of losing her country. As Marie puts it, “Either you or Elizabeth will rule Scotland and England. Make an heir and it will be you.”
Sounds simple, right? Well, that’s Mary’s approach when she first goes to Francis and tells him that it’s time to make an heir. Francis doesn’t think she’s ready for sex just yet, but they both agree to think on it.
NEXT: Bountiful wombs are the worst
Meanwhile, Bash is giving Kenna a similar message: He doesn’t think it’s a good idea for her to host a party with Antoine. But when he tells her that he has to ride off to a village where the Woman in White is scaring people, she makes her point: All she does is sit around and wait for him, and this is her opportunity to actually do something. Bash agrees, and the two of them plan to meet in their room and head over to the party together when the time comes.
But for now, Bash has to deal with the Woman in White in all of her raising-people-from-the-dead glory. After arriving in the village where she was last seen—and on what must be the coldest day of the year filming in Canada—Bash finds the woman who claims that the WIW (Woman in White) healed her son… by blinding her other son.
It doesn’t take Bash long to track down the woman—who’s fittingly wearing all white—at a convent. Her name is Delphine, and she informs Bash that she doesn’t know how to control her “gift.” Sometimes, when she heals someone, there are consequences. Sometimes there aren’t. And furthermore, when she touches someone, she knows their pain… and can see what pain is to come.
Bash, like an idiot, asks the woman who blinds people by touching their loved ones to TOUCH HIM. And when she does, she tells him that he’s going to lose someone very close to him very soon. So basically, she’s the new Nostradamus except less hairy and with less specific premonitions.
Back at the castle, Lola is on her way to the party when she runs into Marie de Guise, who’s busy putting some herb into her drink. Not surprisingly, Marie gives Lola an earful: She tells her that many families begged to have their daughter be one of Mary’s ladies and she chose Lola because she was nice and didn’t throw mud at Mary. (Let this be a lesson to all kids–royalty comes to those who don’t throw mud!) But when Lola swears she only spent one night with Francis, Marie utters my favorite line of the night: “Don’t flaunt your bountiful womb to me!” Ugh, I will NEVER get to say those words and until this moment, I never realized that I wanted to.
Marie then shows Lola the whole picture of how she’s hurt Mary, how she’s made her seem deficient, disposable as a queen. And if Mary does get disposed of, Marie is coming for Lola. Lola’s reaction? Taking a big old gulp of Marie’s drink. This should be fun. Where’s Narcisse?
So while Lola makes her way to the party, Kenna realizes that she got so caught up in planning that she didn’t give herself enough time to run home and change. Now the party’s started and she’s stuck. Thankfully, Antoine has plenty of dresses for her to pick from—because royalty—and he promises to send a message to Bash to meet Kenna here. Of course, he doesn’t send the message because, well, royalty.
With the party starting, Mary and Francis meet in her chambers—and make sure their meeting is witnessed—to try and conceive a child. They make it so far as to kiss on the bed before Mary tenses and Francis puts an end to things. Then, things go from bad to worse, because without the kisses to keep their mouths busy, Mary lets it slip that she has feelings for Condé. “Did you come to me because you’re afraid you’ll go to him or because you want to secure your rule in Scotland before you do?” Francis asks. Mary then decides honesty is her best bet, replying with, “Both.” She tells him that too much has passed between them, but instead of agreeing, Francis forbids her to see Condé.
Meanwhile, Condé is enjoying himself at the party, where Lola is very relaxed, and Kenna is having a Cinderella moment—more Disney references!—as she walks down the stairs in her sparkling blue dress, only to have Antoine meet her at the bottom. Although, I’d hardly call him a prince charming.
And I’m willing to bet Bash agrees with me when he shows up furious at Kenna for ditching him, only to find out that Antoine never sent along the message. But Bash blames Kenna for putting herself in a position to be tricked. Clearly, she wants more than she has … and Antoine is ready to give it to her. By episode’s end, he has informed her that his wife is dying and that he’d like to marry her. Now the question is: Life as a queen or a life staring into Bash’s eyes?
NEXT: Condé has a choice to make
After things with Mary, Francis decides to attend the party, where he runs into a very handsy Lola as she insults the baby her son is supposed to marry. But in all fairness, would you want your son to marry into a family where unibrows are still a thing? I’m with Lola on this one.
Rushing her outside, Francis arranges for a carriage to take Lola home, allowing her just enough time to tell him that he’s a marvelous kisser. And then, by the time she gets back, she finds Narcisse. In a very Fifty Shades of Grey-esque moment, Lola asks if sex with Narcisse could be simple and not scary. She then bites his lip and tells him she’s ready to find out, but surprisingly, Narcisse isn’t into sleeping with overly intoxicated women. Instead, he sends her to her room. Okay, maybe this is my favorite line of the night: “He didn’t even offer me a bath, and he always offers a bath.” #truth
From the drugged to the drugger—is that a word?—Mary goes to Marie to tell her mother that there will be no heir for a while, maybe ever. She tells her mother about her rape, but all Marie seems to care about is whether she could be pregnant with her attacker’s child. Feeling utterly alone, Mary goes outside to get some air when Condé arrives, back from the party. Apparently the entire castle knew that Mary and Francis were going to have sex tonight—yep, royalty sucks—and when Francis showed up at the party, Condé knew something was wrong. She tells him that Francis knows of their feelings. And yes, she cares for him. But all the feelings will have to wait, because when Condé mentions Lola drinking Marie’s drink and getting drugged, Mary heads back for round three with her mom.
Spoiler: Marie is dying. And the reason she’s been so awful to Mary is that she’s worried she’s going to leave her daughter to an uncertain future and she hates that she can’t protect her. “Fight for yourself, your country, your throne,” she tells her daughter. “Have an heir. Be unassailable.” Mary then tells her mother that she doesn’t have to worry about her. She promises that no one will take her country. “Since I was a babe, I have been a queen. I know how to keep my life, my crown, and I will.” Yep, Mary’s back.
The twist? Mary’s new attitude involves a plan to move back to Scotland permanently… and she invites Condé to come with her, where they can build a new life together. Okay, I’ve really enjoyed the slow simmer of their flirtation, but building a life feels like a jump, right? Also, does this feel like her road trip with Bash last year? Mary’s always running away with dark-haired men (and then returning to her favorite blond).
Speaking of Francis, he’s busy talking to his mother about how everything’s falling apart when she—the Sarabi to his Simba—tells him that he should entertain the possibility of finding someone new at court. She wants him to find joy, and right now, it looks like Lola could be the answer to his problems. (I have to say, I never thought I’d see the day when Simba and Scar were into the same woman.)
But wait, there’s another twist! Antoine informs Condé that Elizabeth has invited Condé to court her. She wants to see if he’ll be her king and rule England and France along with her. So basically, poor Condé now has to make the decision that multiple countries are debating: Mary or Elizabeth.
Before we go, an update from The Lady and the Tramp: Greer has now become a full-on pimp for multiple women, whom she sends to fancy parties in order to get the business of rich men. In other words, she’s definitely no longer too good for Leith.
And that ends this hour of “what it would be like to be a royal.” Any questions?
King Henry’s ranking: Henry can’t keep his eyes off of all this drama. Politics are fascinating, aren’t they? (Okay, maybe not as fascinating as other things.)