Reign recap: Clans
Mary makes it home, but it's not at all what she expects
“Welcome home, your majesty,” a druid healer says to Mary — and it is the only welcoming the queen gets as she spends her first few days back in her Scottish homeland. There’s no receiving line, no welcome back ball, no fanfare. There are, however, several threats to her life. Ah, home sweet home.
Mary and her crew of mercenaries have washed up on the shores of Scotland after a particularly nasty storm at sea. Mary’s left to watch in horror as a clan of Scots arrive at the shipwreck and immediately start killing the men on the beach. So, yeah, they aren’t really there to help. You know who is? Narcisse! Narcisse survived the wreck and advises Mary that they get as far away from the beach as possible. There’s only one problem: Mary still hasn’t found Bash yet. The girl’s not leaving without her Bash.
When she does finally spot him, a clansman has a sword aimed right over his chest. Before he can do anything, a group of druids arrive and scare the clansmen off. Scotland is weird, you guys.
Mary and Narcisse follow the druids as they take Bash back to their campgrounds. It becomes quite evident that Narcisse is not happy to be trapped in Scotland with his greatest foe. It becomes evident because that’s basically what Narcisse yells in Mary’s face. He only came so that he could rescue Lola, and now he’s stuck with Mary, a queen who clearly does not understand how precarious the situation in Scotland is. For good measure, he throws some shade over Mary losing Francis’ sword. It’s really no way to talk to a queen. Mary tells him to suck it up, and once they find Bash, they can go their separate ways.
Saving Bash might be a little more than a grab-and-go mission. Mary and Narcisse barge in on the druids performing a ritual over Bash’s body – but it’s not what you think. They’re trying to save the guy! It involves snakes and some gooey substance they rub all over his chest, but nonetheless, they are helping Bash, not hurting him.
Mary and Narcisse have some time to kill as they wait for Bash to recover, and they quickly spin a tale about being brother and sister, coming from France to marry Mary off. The druids buy it, or so it seems. They all have a little heart-to-heart where the druid healer tries to explain that they are a peaceful people who’ve been cast out from society. They mean no harm. The Wolvers — the clan Mary watched murder her soldiers — on the other hand, are brutal. Scotland as a nation is fractured and it would take a great leader to make it whole again. Wouldn’t ya know? He’s saying that directly to the woman who wants to attempt such a thing.
Narcisse has had enough of sitting around talking druid life, now that he knows Bash will survive, he’s leaving. Mary’s grown attached to the guy, though. He was right about her not understanding Scotland’s current predicament and she’s scared that she won’t survive here. Adelaide Kane is great in this episode and the quiet desperation she gives Mary is palpable. It’s not the biggest performance — she’s not sitting on a white horse delivering a rousing speech — but it’s effective. Narcisse reminds Mary that she always, annoyingly, rises to the occasion. She’ll be fine. It’s the nicest thing he’s ever said to her. With that, Narcisse is off to see if his wife will forgive him for having her bathe with rodents and also murdering people.
Bash is up and walking, and he and Mary prepare to make their journey toward Edinburgh. Unfortunately, as the nice healer — who figures out that Mary is, well, Mary — gives them a blessing before they leave, the Wolvers reappear and show no mercy. They take out the entire druid clan in just moments. Thanks to Bash’s quick thinking, he and Mary hide and pretend to be hostages the druids have taken. The Wolvers take their word and insist on escorting them to Edinburgh. Duncan, the man in charge, insists a little too hard for my liking; he’s eyeing up Mary in the creepiest of ways.
As the group heads out, Mary notices Duncan’s brooch, and she panics. The emblem on the brooch belongs to Clan McPhee — the same clan that ordered Mary’s murder and ended up killing Francis instead. Mary’s out for blood this time. She informs Bash — in a very loud conversation, let’s be honest — that they are going to make themselves valuable enough that Duncan will take them to see the clan leader, an evil dude by the name of Munro (John Barrowman!), and she can finally enact some revenge. Mary’s getting hers, you guys.
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Over in France, Charles is also having some issues with plans not going accordingly. Since the discovery of Catherine’s treachery in order to manipulate her way back into the regency, Charles and Claude are ready for their dear mother to suffer some consequences. Charles is his mother’s son, and he has a scheme to play out. Of course, we all know the scheme is going to fail, but it’s a scheme nonetheless.
NEXT: Charles calls out the Red Knights
Charles has decided that the best course of action is to have the privy council declare him “of age” and allow him to take his true place as king. In order to do so, he’ll have to prove himself as a leader. He’s going to take down the Red Knights on his own.
Well, okay, not totally on his own. He enlists some friends as spies of his own — the Phantom Brigade — and wants any and all information on the Red Knights that they can muster. On looks alone, I have zero faith in these boys. It’s like the Bad News Bears up in French Court. One of the guys, Felix, does come up with some good intel: The Red Knights are hoarding weapons in Orsay. He talks it over with Claude who reminds him (and us) that the last time he was in Orsay, the villagers pelted his carriage with food after Narcisse imposed a tariff on them. But Claude has an idea that serves both their needs: Send Leith with Charles. He’ll keep the king safe, and once they’re discovered to be the two people who brought down the Red Knights, Leith will undoubtedly be moved up in station enough for the two lovebirds to get their marriage on.
In theory, it’s a great idea, but as mentioned before — there’s no way this plan is working. Charles and Leith do in fact go to Orsay and find weapons hidden. They make a valiant effort to come back and blow up said weapons storage in order to draw the Red Knights out, but, alas, they were doomed to fail from the start. One of Charles’ spies, Thierry, was working with the Red Knights the entire time. Et tu, Thierry? He alerted the Red Knights to Charles’ plan and the weapons were moved — so now, it looks like Charles was simply burning down the villagers food supply as retribution for not paying the tariff. Thierry leads Charles off into a trap and he’s taken by the Red Knights, while Leith is left to defend himself against the villagers. To say this plan failed is an understatement.
Meanwhile, in England: Queen Elizabeth is receiving Prince Magnus of Denmark! Not surprisingly, he’s the worst. All these royal dudes seem to be terrible — no one is good enough for our queens! Magnus spends most of his time bragging about Denmark and hating on England, which is a great way to woo someone, especially the Queen of England, into marriage. Don’t sweat it though, Elizabeth wants no parts of marrying Magnus, she only wants him to think she’s interested. Really, she’s after Denmark’s oxen. Denmark has excellent oxen.
So Elizabeth, being a dutiful queen, puts up with his obnoxiousness and tries to impress him with her father’s famous Whisper Gallery, brings snow in so that Magnus can play his favorite winter game, and even has Lola flirt with Magnus’ right-hand man to keep him happy (not like it’s a punishment for Lola, the dude is handsome). But allowing the prince to pelt Elizabeth with snowballs doesn’t make him any more tolerable. At one point, Liz gets so fed up that she storms off and Lola follows. She begins to rage about his awfulness, and even suggests invading his precious Denmark. Apparently, Liz doesn’t know about Chekhov’s gun. We sat through that entire set up of the Whisper Gallery so that Liz’s outburst could be heard by Magnus. The guy is not enthused. He wants to leave immediately, and those oxen he was ready to send to England are off the table.
Thankfully, Liz’s new BFF steps in. Lola takes the blame for the blasphemy against Denmark. The prince is beside himself and administers the worst punishment he can think of: He bans Lola from Denmark. THE HORROR.
The show of camaraderie makes Liz grateful, but also suspicious. She knows Lola must be trying to suss out a way to help Mary. It’s the only thing that makes sense to Liz. Lola does a nice job denying it, but when Liz gets word of the arrival of a ship from France full of mercenaries that just so happened to sail the North Sea during the week when the English ships weren’t there, she knows Lola had something to do with it. A calm Elizabeth is a frightening Elizabeth. She doesn’t get mad at Lola, in fact, she’s impressed with her loyalty to Mary. She could use a friend that loyal. And what with Mary presumed dead — Elizabeth really twists that knife — Lola could use Elizabeth, too. She offers her an invitation to stay in England as her subject, not hostage. Wait till Narcisse hears about this!
The Queens’ Corner of Harsh Lady Truths:
“Time and again you have shown an uncanny ability to emerge from adversity unscathed and on top. You did it in France, much to my great annoyance, and you will do it here.” Narcisse’s best pep talks always involve insults. It’s just how he rolls.
“We’re going to stick to our cover story, they’ll bring us to Munro, and I will rip his heart out as he did mine.” Tell Munro Mary’s coming, and hell’s coming with her.
Outfit of the Week: Elizabeth gets nailed in the face with a snowball courtesy of the Danish prince, and she still looks great. That winter coat has magical powers.