Mary and Gideon find an unexpected ally in their plan to thwart the Vatican
ALL CROPS: Reign - "Strange Bedfellows" -- Image Number: RE313a_0052.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Charlie Carrick as Robert Dudley and Rachel Skarsten as Queen Elizabeth I -- Photo:
Credit: Sven Frenzel/The CW
S3 E13
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Anyone else super pumped that this Vatican plot against both Elizabeth and Mary’s lives has been swiftly resolved? It was undoubtedly one of Reign‘s clumsier threats against our queens. It seemed so clunky and overly complicated that even the characters had to repeatedly explain what was going on to one another (and the audience). But it is no more! Now we can set our focus on much more important questions, like: When Mary returns to her throne in Scotland, exactly how much plaid will she be wearing? Inquiring minds want to know!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk attempted regicide.

Since Mary and Gideon have yet to alert Elizabeth of the Vatican’s plan to have her assassinated, Mary is still pretending to go along with her cousin’s succession scheme — to have Mary named Elizabeth’s successor as long as she marries Dudley. Wasting no time, Dudley is already in France and proposes to Mary. It’s très romantic, you guys. He tells Mary that she’s pretty decent at archery, reminds her that neither of them really have any option, and admits that they’ll probably never be in love, but their marriage could be “congenial.” Every little girl’s dream proposal!

Mary is calm about the betrothal not because she needs a new start, like Dudley, but because she knows it isn’t actually going to happen. She’s so sure that she and Gideon can stop this whole mess that she promptly says yes to Dudley and then heads back into the castle, removes her engagement ring, and hops into bed with Gideon. Mary is a boss. A badass boss.

Post-sexual relations, Mary, her flawless hair, and Gideon finalize their plan. The Vatican will want to install a Catholic king in place of Mary, and the most likely candidate is a distant cousin of both Mary and Elizabeth: Joseph Tudor. It just so happens that Joseph Tudor sought asylum in France when Elizabeth ascended to the throne. Mary also discovers that shady Archbishop Ridolfi has been borrowing royal carriages to run “holy errands.” This does not mean going to Target and spending less than $100. Mary realizes that Archbishop Shady has been in touch with Joseph Tudor all this time.

Gideon finds Joseph Tudor (as well as letters confirming his collusion with the Vatican), kidnaps him, and tosses him on a boat bound for England. He has all the evidence he needs to save both his queen and his queen, if you know what I’m saying. Unfortunately, Archbishop Shady won’t go down without a fight. A servant boy saw Gideon at Joseph’s home, and Gideon is tossed in the dungeon — but not before he can hide the documents proving the entire plot.

There is one person left at French Court who can help get the proper information to Elizabeth without endangering Mary: Robert Dudley. It is unfortunate, then, that Dudley and Gideon are, well, less than friends. Dudley’s hated Gideon since that time Gideon seduced Elizabeth. He also doesn’t take too kindly to Gideon brazenly sleeping with his fiancée. Gideon’s not much of a fan of Dudley, either, but he implores him to find the evidence he hid and bring Joseph Tudor to England. It rings a bit false that Dudley even has to think about it since his OTL Elizabeth is in danger, and as Gideon points out, exposing an assassination plot will surely absolve his sins over in England, but hey, Dudley’s never been the smartest dude at court.

Dudley comes around, though, and quickly finds himself back in front of Elizabeth. He hands over Joseph Tudor and the letters Gideon found, and Elizabeth reacts to the news in a very Elizabeth way: Since she can’t blame the Church outright, she’ll have Joseph Tudor drawn and quartered. She reams out her entire privy council for forcing her to name a successor and both rescinds her offer to Mary and vows to never name a successor again, and for good measure, she makes the entire council commend Dudley for the good work he’s done; he’ll be welcomed back at English Court, please and thank you.

On Mary and Gideon’s end, it’s a bit of a win-lose situation. Yes, Mary won’t be implicated in the plot at all, thus saving her from suffering Elizabeth’s wrath, and because she is no longer Liz’s successor, she does not have to marry Dudley. Both Mary and Gideon have freely admitted to actually caring about one another, and there’s been a lot of face stroking, so you know they mean it. But both understand they’ll never truly be able to be together — at least they can still “practice diplomacy” in the castle, right? Not really.

The Vatican still wants to punish someone for messing with their plans and calls for Catherine to hand over Gideon so that he can be tried and hanged. This makes very little sense because the Vatican is trying to keep its machinations hush-hush, but sure. Catherine, who is none-too-pleased that the Vatican is attempting to oust female monarchs, does Mary a self-serving solid and negotiates a prisoner swap with Elizabeth: She’ll return Gideon to England if Elizabeth returns one of Catherine’s generals. In the end, it is Dudley who convinces Elizabeth to accept: He informs her that Gideon was the one who uncovered the entire plot, and for bonus points, keeping Mary and Gideon both alive but separated will actually be more painful for Mary in the long run. And so to save his life, Mary bids farewell to the G-man and this too-much-talk-not-enough-action succession plot.

NEXT: Royal Improv 101

In happier news, Claude and Leith are back and still the cutest couple in all the realm. After Greer, her sister, and brother-in-law, Thomas (remember: They are going to raise Greer’s baby as their own, Thomas is kind of a d-bag), are anonymously blackmailed for money in order for silence about the secret baby transaction, Greer enlists Leith to follow her brother-in-law as he pays off the blackmailer and figure out who is behind the whole thing. Leith divulges this info to Claude (“Greer is having a pirate baby?!”), who, instead of getting upset that Leith is doing his ex a big favor, gets upset that Leith didn’t even ask if Claude would want to come along.

Leith and Claude head into town and follow Thomas – and Greer’s gold – to a local pub. When Thomas’ meeting looks a little too comfortable for an extortion handoff, Claude investigates further. She puts her royal theater training to good use and dons her best “beer wench meets Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins” impression to get a better look at what’s actually going on. Turns out there is no blackmailer — Thomas was using the money to purchase a chateau in Switzerland. Greer’s sister spills everything: She knew Greer would never fully hand the baby over, so after it was born, they were going to hightail it to Switzerland. They want to be parents, not babysitters.

It’s not great for Greer, who dismisses them and now has to figure out how to have this baby on her own and live with the scandal, yadda, yadda, yadda — but it is great for Claude and Leith! This little adventure brought them closer together. Claude wants to apply their successful teamwork to Leith’s mission to rise in station. She’ll use her name to open some doors for him, and he’ll get to work. I’m sure nothing will go wrong with this plan and they’ll end up happily ever after!

Claude isn’t the only member of the Valois family getting his investigation on: Now that everyone thinks the Case of the Castle Serial Killer is closed, CSI Bash is fully committed to solving the Red Knights mystery. To do so, he must figure out who is behind the threat.

First stop: A high-end brothel full of courtesans the original Red Knights used to visit. Bash wants to know if any of the Red Knights, who took vows of celibacy, accidentally fathered a child who could now be seeking revenge. There is one such child — but the courtesan admits that once she heard her child’s father was a devil-worshipper, she gave birth and left that child out in woods. She wasn’t raising Satan’s spawn! Also, happy belated Mother’s Day everyone!

Bash, apparently very adept at investigating these days, quickly finds this orphaned child, who is no longer a child, but a giant, Thor-like man who spends his days fighting for money, gladiator-style. French Thor isn’t involved in the Red Knights, but he was recently visited by those men looking to recruit him to avenge his father. Just as he is giving Bash some deets on the men, one of them (he had been following Bash, I assume) rides up and puts an arrow through French Thor’s chest. French Thor, we hardly knew ye!

Luckily, Bash captures the man and hands him over to Catherine. Catherine is going to torture the information out of the man, and she’s going to do so with the help of Christophe. Hey, if you happen to have a blood-thirsty psychopath hanging around, you may as well put him to good use. Christophe does his worst, but the only information the man will give up is that the Red Knights’ plan isn’t to destroy Catherine — it’s to destroy the entire Valois line. And then he plunges himself into Christophe’s knife.

Catherine is upset with her torturer, partly because she needed the man alive and partly because she found it disturbing just how, um, turned on Christophe seemed to get during the entire process. She just can’t seem to shake this guy, who now has decided that he will sleep at the foot of Catherine’s bed every night. Except, Christophe can’t just sleep there — he is so drawn to Catherine that he begins sucking on her toes. That’s right, Queen Mother, Regent of France, Catherine de Medici is having her toes sucked by a serial killer. Alas, stranger things have happened on Reign.

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The Queens’ Corner of Harsh Lady Truths:

“A favor for your ex versus Paris with me? Your lover? Your princess lover?” —Claude is seriously confused by Leith’s choices.

“I sent him to French Court to woo Mary. He’s more of a male prostitute than a master of diplomacy.” —We always knew Elizabeth was matter-of-fact, but this might take the cake.

“Have you ever been to England, Archbishop Ridolfi? Everything’s damp; the food’s wretched. Trust me when I say, he will be in his own hell.” —Is Catherine de Medici the real reason the Brits hate the French?

“From where I sit, which is on the French throne as its regent, I see the Vatican pushing around female monarchs, and I don’t appreciate it one bit.” —Work, Catherine, WORK.

Outfit of the Week: Catherine is helping sisters do it for themselves this week, so it’s only fair to bestow her with OOTW. The gold and black gown she wears while dressing down Archbishop Ridolfi has everything: sparkles, lacy ruffles, and the perfect neckline for outing a man’s blatant misogyny.

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