'Reign' recap: 'Tasting Revenge'
So here’s the thing, Royals. I know that the last time we talked, I was hung up on how difficult it must have been to be a royal: Once you’re married, it’s very hard to get out of, and having an affair is the most complicated thing in the entire world. (Apart from, like, war.)
However, there is one upside to all of this—wisdom. I feel like this entire first hour back was nothing but people spreading wisdom—occasionally pausing to have sex—and then spreading some more wisdom. For a group of teen(ish) folk, these royals spend a lot of time thinking about life, love, politics, and whatever other philosophical stuff I should add here. Let’s get to it, shall we?
We begin with the arrival of some unnecessary count and countess, who are in town for a vintage wine tasting. With Kenna now finding her passion for party planning, she figures out the seating arrangements while Catherine states the obvious: All of the Lords are bringing their daughters in the hopes that Francis will pick a mistress. Heck, even Narcisse is getting in on the bid, bringing his niece Lady Emily. Apparently, she loves all the essential arts … including embroidery. I’m sorry, did he just make embroidery sound dirty? And how do we think Emily feels about baths?
Although Francis asks Narcisse do make it known that he doesn’t need a mistress, Catherine is doing her best to ensure that Lola’s interested. Spoiler: She’s not (right now).
From one king to another, Antoine meets with Condé to inform him that he has set up a meeting between Condé and Elizabeth’s envoy to start to work out the details of their arrangement. Of course, Condé couldn’t care less right now, so Antoine keeps himself busy by stalking Kenna instead. He begs her to come talk to him, but we’ll have to come back to these two, because…
…right now, we have to focus on the biggest affair currently underway—infidelity is so in right now. After Mary tells Francis that she feels like Condé is her only hope for being happy, he tries to convince her that it’s too dangerous. If they were caught, they’d lose their heads. And furthermore, any child she had would be presumed illegitimate. But Mary doesn’t care. She meets Condé in the wine cellar to try to work out the logistics of their escape.
She tells him that she’s hired an agent to gather intelligence for her about which nobles she can trust and which areas are not yet infiltrated by Elizabeth’s troops. However, her “How to Have an Affair” checklist still includes finding men, money, shops, and weapons… all without Francis noticing. Thankfully, her beau is super helpful, offering up safe passage to Scotland. And with that, Condé lets her know that yes, he wants to leave with her. #roadtrip
Back upstairs, Kenna refuses to talk to Bash because, quite frankly, she doesn’t see the point. Instead, she goes to Antoine’s quarters to ask why he’s chosen her as his target. And in my favorite line of the hour, he tells her, “It is not easy for most men to love you.” Is that a compliment?! But don’t worry, he rounds it out, telling her that she lacks shame, which makes her seem bold and “open to the pleasures that men want to give to you.” In other words, she’s totally down to experiment in the bedroom. She’s quite literally a lady in the streets but a freak in the sheets.
However, being bold also makes her “open to rivals”—did he just call her slutty?—which can make other men jealous. But not Antoine. He has no use for shame and he does not fear rivals. And he doesn’t want his kids to know shame either, so Kenna will be the perfect choice to help raise them. After Kenna admits that the idea of parenting is more interesting to her than the idea of Bash right now, Antoine kisses her. Direct quote from my notes: “OKAY, THAT’S A GOOD KISS.” It really, really was. But of course, she runs away because she’s cheating and whatnot.
With the tasting—which sadly has nothing to do with kissing—fast approaching, Condé and Mary make up excuses for their whereabouts—and Mary tells Francis he is really, really free to be with someone else—and ride off on horseback together. Hey, at least this time we didn’t have to watch Francis fall to his knees in agony, right?
Wait, is that the same waterfall she jumped over with Bash? Because that’s almost too specific a callback. Regardless, Mary and Condé make their way to meet with her agent, who says he needs two weeks to get everything set up for the trip. With that, Mary and Condé find themselves in what must be the biggest fire hazard in all of the 15th century. There are literally hundreds of candles in that little wooden hut. But Mary doesn’t care. She’s ready to move forward, and considering how safe she feels with Condé—no doubt because of his leather pants—she kisses him. Man, these Bourbons are doing well for themselves this episode, aren’t they?
At the castle, everyone is enjoying the tasting of a vintage wine that was bottled to celebrate Francis’ birth. So by vintage, they really only mean like 16 years old, but whatever. While Catherine comes clean to Lola—she wants her to date her son—Francis is pulled away by Narcisse’s niece, Emily, who claims she has a private message for him. And that message is her body. Taking Francis aside, Emily says all the right things to get Francis to strip off his crown, all his clothes, and sleep with her.
Also in a horizontal position is Mary and Condé. The two only kiss passionately, but Mary seems to enjoy herself enough. Francis, on the other hand, is miserable after his time with Emily. Emily’s thought? “You are talented.” Yeah, he gets it from his father, no doubt.
NEXT: Someone’s a bastard. Okay, lots of people are bastards.
At the tasting, Bash shows up in blue to match his eyes—clearly bringing his A-game—and asks his wife to dance. He apologizes and asks Kenna to go to Paris with him. He’s ready to be the husband that makes her happy again. And that’s a good thing considering that, when Kenna secretly invited Antoine’s wife to the tasting, she realized that she’s not so much dying as she is pregnant. Well, he still claims she’s ill, but he also admits that he wanted revenge on Bash for killing his brother, so we can’t exactly trust him. But Antoine doesn’t leave her without a bit of wisdom: Her marriage is already over; she just doesn’t know it yet.
However, Antoine’s pregnant wife isn’t his only lie. When Mary and Condé return from their seven minutes in heaven, they’re seen by a woman in the woods. As it turns out, Antoine had them followed. His latest threat: End the affair or he’ll tell Francis and they’ll both die for it. With that, Mary puts a pause on their big runaway plan.
Here’s the thing about court though: Lola’s wisdom > Antoine’s schemes. When Lola runs into Francis and calls him out on his night with Narcisse’s niece—which character in Lion King world would his cousin be?—she tells him that he simply needs to let Mary be with Condé. As the king, he can squash any rumors and attempt to protect them. She tells him to let Mary do what she thinks she needs to do to heal. And Francis finally sees the light.
Yes, currently he’s looking at a fire, but you know what I mean. Francis tells Mary that she and Condé can be together in the castle. He will do what he can to protect him, but they cannot get caught. He cannot stand to see her in pain any longer, so if this is the best path to her healing, he won’t stand in her way. (Suddenly, I’d rather watch him fall to his knees again than watch him endure this agony. No, I take it back. Don’t make me.)
Outside, Condé—in a glorious black-and-gold outfit—says goodbye to Antoine with a punch to the face after his brother calls Mary “fickle and foolish.” (It’s not a pretty punch, but on the upside, it doesn’t do any serious damage to Antoine’s beautiful face.) Antoine tries to persuade his brother to meet with Elizabeth’s envoy and control his own future, as opposed to having a future controlled by the “changeable heart of a woman.” Is that more wisdom, or should I be insulted?
With that, Antoine leaves—hopefully not forever!—but not before he sneaks Kenna’s invitation to his wife into Bash’s hands. Kenna is then forced to tell Bash of Antoine’s proposal and the fact that she was ready to say yes because she wants a life that Bash can never give her. You can probably guess what happens next: Bash leaves.
And as Bash exits, Condé enters, to find Mary has some good news. She tells him about Francis’ offer, but he’s not quick to trust Francis. He thinks this whole thing is a trick, but when Mary tells Condé that she loves him, he promises that he trusts her. The twist? She shouldn’t trust him. Next we see him, he’s meeting with Elizabeth’s envoy. Another direct quote from my notes: “That bastard!”
As for Francis, he tells Lola that he only feels safe with her at this point, but Lola isn’t ready to cross that line. They both love Mary and she warns Francis that when Mary finds the strength to truly love again, he might find that he’s not as free from her as he thinks. Again, wisdom.
Finally, this week in The Lady and the Tramp: Greer has become a full madam at this point. She’s running a Whore Club, and the first rule of Whore Club is “Try not to refer to your body as meat and potates.” So I guess I can’t join. (Kidding.)
But when Leith finds Greer, she tries to hide her new profession as he informs her that Castleroy will live… but he’ll be in prison for the rest of his life. So her future is shot. I’m sorry, but wasn’t it already?!
Of course, it doesn’t take long for Leith to figure out that Greer is dealing in prostitutes these days, but he doesn’t care. He loves Greer, frizzy hair and whores and all. He tells her that he doesn’t care what she does or what other people say. “I want you,” he tells her. And so they begin the long process of removing their many layers of clothing so that they can have sex on a tiny bed. I know it sounds a little gross, because it was, but also, Greer and Leith!!
So that’s that. It was an hour filled with wisdom, sex, betrayal, and one shot of an adorable baby. What more could you ask for? (Besides happiness, of course.)
King Henry’s ranking: Henry, too, loves moments of reflection (especially while wearing fur).