Mary pulls Bash into her revenge plot, while Catherine faces off with the Red Knights
Credit: Sven Frenzel/The CW
S3 E17
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As Reign continues to expand its universe, our favorite characters are spread across Europe. As much as I’m already craving a Mary-Catherine interaction, I’m admittedly very intrigued by Scotland. Sure, there’s room for additional plaid, but overall, the setup of Scottish court and the people who fill it has added some new flavor to the show as it barrels toward the season 3 finale. Mary has a whole new set of obstacles to overcome, new haters to face, and probably an entirely new wardrobe to show off. Scotland is going to be fun, you guys.

But, Reign has never been about just one queen, so let’s check in and see how each of our three fierce female monarchs is faring by themselves.

Scotland: Mary and Bash — also known as Pauline and Pierre — have begun to put their plan to get Duncan and the rest of their Clan McPhee captors to take them to Munro, who, as you may recall, is their ruthless leader and the man who ordered the hit on Mary that ended up causing Francis’ death. Mary’s not a big fan. And while she’s happy to hear Duncan buys the idea that “Pierre” would like to ransom his own sister in order to get some sweet cash from her very rich fiancé, Bash is worried. If they’re brought to Munro, it means they’ll be surrounded by Scots whose defining characteristic is that they hate Mary Stuart. Bash is pretty adept with a crossbow and all, but taking on an entire Scottish clan? Even Bash understands he has limits. Well, too bad for poor Bash — Duncan is taking his pair of French nobles directly to Munro; he needs approval before he can take up Pierre on his offer.

Welcome to the Land of Clan McPhee! Sure, it’s cold, wet, and all of its inhabitants are inflicted with resting bitch face, but these people sure know how to party! Upon arrival, Mary and Bash are immediately taken to meet the infamous Munro. He seems like a decent enough dude — he invites the pair to stay for a big celebration, offers Mary clean clothes, and even has an actual Scottish accent. Very impressive for these parts! His true colors show quickly, though: He pulls Bash aside, has his sword confiscated, and informs him that he’s sent a scout to verify their story. If they discover there’s no rich fiancé waiting to marry “Pauline,” there will be consequences.

Before we get into those, there’s another Stuart in town we should discuss. Meet James, Mary’s brother! He’s regent of Scotland while his sister is away, rocks fur coats like nobody’s business, and has made some questionable decisions when it comes to advisers, by which I mainly mean president of the He-man Woman Hater’s Club, John Knox. Knox gets word that Mary survived the shipwreck and needs help, but instead of alerting James, he informs the regent that his sister is dead and it’s time to go into crisis mode. Since James is Mary’s half-sibling, he has no real claim to the throne. The next person in line is Lord Darnley, who is Catholic, so naturally Knox detests him. Knox does his best to manipulate James — who, at this point seems very sweet — into dissolving the monarchy entirely and instating a Protestant government ruled by nobles just like Knox. What a great guy, this John Knox!

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John Knox is actually more terrible than Munro, which is saying something. Back at the McPhee party, Munro and Mary share a dance and the two proceed to flirt with one another, which is especially entertaining since we know they each have ulterior motives. Mary’s invited back into Munro’s chambers to take a look at the treasures Clan McPhee found in the shipwreck, and she’s excited about it — she’ll be alone with Munro and finally able to get revenge for Francis’ death. It’s perfect! Once again, Bash is hesitant. He doesn’t like the idea of Mary being alone with the dangerous guy. Little does Bash know, Mary tuned him out hours ago. She tells him to be a dear and make a diversion so they can leave as soon as she finishes her business here.

NEXT: Mary and Munro quit playing games

You guys, if you’re ever in the market for a diversion, definitely give Bash a call. The dude goes straight to lighting things on fire, and for good measure, drowns Duncan in a nearby trough, lest he be discovered. Bash means business. It’s a good thing, too, because Mary’s going to need a quick getaway.

Back in Munro’s room, the two keep the flirting game going a little longer. Munro gifts Mary a giant necklace, and it’s then that Mary spots the sword Francis made for her, thought to be lost. As the two discuss the sword, it becomes more and more evident Munro knows exactly who Mary is. The jig is up, girl. He knows she is Mary, Queen of Scots, and he is not impressed. He lays into her for being a tyrant, for betraying Scotland, but most importantly, for betraying his family. Even Munro has a sob story, people. Back in the day, his father, a Scottish noble, was named a traitor by the crown — which in theory was Mary, but at the time, Mary’s mother was actually the regent, and we all know what she was like. Mary is enraged to discover that Munro’s hatred for her, the hatred that ended Francis’ life, stems from a grudge that Mary had nothing to do with. And then Mary stabs Munro once in the neck with her giant necklace and once in the gut with Francis’ sword. Scotland has really brought out a new side of our queen, huh?

Thanks to Bash’s diversion, he and Mary are able to take off as soon as she comes stumbling out of Munro’s room, covered in his blood. And then, in a rather thrilling montage, the two are galloping off to Edinburgh. Just in time, too, since James, John Knox, and the privy council are, at that very moment, voting on whether to dissolve the monarchy. A slower horse and Mary might not have had any crown to race home to. Thankfully, Mary has impeccable timing, and just as James seems ready to admit that ending the monarchy is inevitable, Mary bursts through the doors, still covered in blood, ready to reclaim her throne. It. Is. Awesome.

England: Believing Mary to be dead, Elizabeth has plans for Scotland. With the help of Lola, her new BFF, Liz wants to take the Scottish throne for herself. Otherwise, she warns Lola that Scotland will fall to Lord Darnley, who, as it turns out, also has a claim to the English throne — which means he is a threat to Liz, or the crown will fall to the likes of John Knox, who, as we all know, is The Actual Worst.

Even though the throne would be vacant, it would be no easy feat for Elizabeth to go in and rule over a Catholic country, so she asks for Lola’s help. Lola’s father is high-ranking and the Catholic nobles in Scotland would follow him, were he to support Elizabeth’s rule. Since Lola is all about girl power and still grieving the supposed death of her friend, she agrees to help the English queen.

Lola may want to pump the brakes on her mission to turn Scotland in favor of Elizabeth, because as we all know, Mary is alive. Lola soon learns this fact, too, from none other than…Narcisse! That’s right, Narcisse somehow managed to get into England, find a priest outfit (long story!), and sneak into the English castle, all within a few days’ time. He informs Lola he wants his wife back, that all the power in the world means nothing without her. Lola has no time for this. She does, however, have time to hear about Mary surviving the shipwreck. It’s good and bad news: Good because Mary is alive, bad because she aided Elizabeth in her attempt to take Scotland. She thinks that once Elizabeth hears of Mary’s survival, she’ll back off. Narcisse and every single person watching are all like, “Aw, that’s so cute you would think that.”

NEXT: Lola seriously rethinks her pen pal status with Mary

As you guessed, Liz continues with her plan for the Scottish throne even after learning that Mary is in Scotland. Elizabeth tells Lola this news could simply be a trick by John Knox, trying to keep her at bay. Regardless of the reasoning, Lola knows she can’t stay in England anymore. She takes Narcisse up on his offer to escape and the reunited husband and wife make plans to sneak out of the castle while Elizabeth is away. Before Lola can make her exit, however, she receives a letter, written in Mary’s code, giving Lola a mission to carry out before leaving England: She must kill Queen Elizabeth. Oh, Lola, please don’t fall for this.

France: Catherine is attempting to do a little damage control, since her son’s plan to bring down the Red Knights completely backfired and he ended up kidnapped. While Charles is being carted around by his friend-turned-betrayer Thierry, his father, and the rest of the Red Knights, Catherine has called all the French nobles to court to help in locating the missing king. Most of the nobles seem ready and eager to help, but there is one potential thorn in Catherine’s side: Martel de Guise. Martel hails from one of the richest families in France, and he’s here in his father’s stead, since his father was mysteriously murdered years ago. It’s obvious Catherine had something to do with that, but it’s still fun to watch her try to play innocent.

Catherine is so spooked by seeing Martel that she gives Claude a stern warning to steer clear; the man, and his family, are always up to no good. Of course, a stern warning from her mother only pushes Claude to pay Martel a visit that much faster. Wouldn’t ya know? Claude and Martel have a history — er, dalliance — and Martel is still very much interested in the princess. Claude insists she isn’t, but somehow I don’t see us getting rid of Martel without an unfortunate love triangle.

Meanwhile, Catherine gets the long-awaited ransom note from the Red Knights. She’s to appear in a specified clearing alone to be executed for her crimes. Then, and only then, will they release Charles. But Catherine’s not going down without a fight. The regent of France has a plan and it involves careful costuming. How exciting!

Catherine, clad in a great coat and ass-kicking leather leggings, heads out into the foggy clearing. She wants to know where her son is (she’s unaware that after watching his father be killed for standing up to the Red Knights, Thierry helped Charles escape), but all the Red Knights attack. That’s when Catherine’s plan kicks in to action. As the Red Knights ride across the clearing toward her, some of the men begin to turn on each other. It’s the King’s Guard, including Leith, in disguise as Red Knights! They defeat Catherine’s would-be murderers and leave one member of the group wounded, but alive, in order to get some answers. Unfortunately, he’s a little hesitant to talk. Well, that’s not going to work for Catherine. She wants her son back and she’ll do whatever it takes to find him. Hey, Red Knight dude, I’d talk if I were you.

The Queens’ Corner of Harsh Lady Truths:

“I am Mary, Queen of Scots, and I have come for my throne.” —Enough said.

Outfit of the Week: Though I appreciate the symmetry of Mary once again donning a bloodied gown, this time due to getting revenge for Francis, Catherine wearing leather leggings will win out every time.

Episode Recaps

A sexy, historical fiction CW take on the lives of Mary, Queen of Scots and her royal court.
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