It's a nice day for a scandalous wedding

By Maggie Fremont
January 15, 2016 at 10:35 PM EST
Ben Mark Holzberg/The CW
S3 E9
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Well, our Mary has certainly backed herself into a corner this time, hasn’t she? The girl has always been willing to do whatever it takes to save Scotland, but marrying a severely impaired Spanish prince for his daddy’s money may be taking it a bit too far. That’s the thought that’s been keeping Mary Stuart awake at night.

Lucky for us, Mary’s tossing and turning means late night run-ins on the balcony with Gideon Blackburn. Is he there waiting for Mary as part of Elizabeth’s orders to make the Queen of Scots fall in love with him? Or is he, too, agonizing over the weight of selfish decisions? Maybe the guy’s just looking for the Little Dipper. Who is to say, really? Regardless of the reason, sexual tension has returned to France.

Tonight, Mary learns that the English Ambassador does not approve of Mary’s engagement because the Mary he knows won’t be happy in a marriage lacking love. Mary is offended, reminding Gideon that he doesn’t know anything about her, her great loss, or why she makes the choices she does. So, Gideon breaks her down with the one-two punch of first spilling his sad story about losing his wife in childbirth, and then asking her what “Spain” can do for her AS A WOMAN. She doesn’t respond by furiously making out with him, so I have to wonder, is Mary also impaired?

Okay, fine, I’ll give it to her in this situation. Mary, very astutely, is aware that Gideon’s been planted in court as a sort of royal cock block by her cousin Elizabeth, who does not want Scotland strengthened by a marriage alliance. Mary doesn’t believe a word that comes out of Gideon’s mouth, no matter how cute it is.

Since Gideon can’t talk Mary out of the marriage, he has to improvise a new plan to stop the Scottish-Spanish alliance. He barges in on Mary’s meeting with the Duke of Alba and announces that Queen Elizabeth is reconsidering a marriage to Don Carlos and her proposal will arrive shortly. He’s bluffing in order to stall, of course, but that’s a minor detail.

Gideon isn’t the only man in Mary’s life bluffing. Surprise! Don Carlos has been feeling like his old self again for a few days now, but has been hiding it with the “pretty Mary” act until he could figure out what happened to him. Thanks to a little courtyard whipping game, he does. Armed with the memory of his impalement adventure and the knowledge that Mary has been using him, The Beard is ready to get his, and he’s coming for Scotland.

The Duke announces that Spain will take Mary’s proposal over Elizabeth’s, if she grants Don Carlos the Crown Matrimonial. Mary gives us a lesson in Royal Vocabulary and explains that the Crown Matrimonial means if she were to die childless, Don Carlos would still be King of Scotland. It’s pretty much handing over the royal keys to another country and putting a big ol’ target on your back. Normally, this would be a huge deal, but, as Catherine reminds Mary, Don Carlos won’t be any kind of threat to her crown. Too bad she is so very wrong.

Mary arrives with her giant horse dog to tell Spain she will accept this new marriage addendum, if she and Don Carlos can be married tomorrow, in order to beat Elizabeth to the punch. Spain eagerly agrees. However, when horse dog licks Don Carlos’ “paralyzed” hand and Mary sees him move it, she immediately regrets everything she just said. Now it’s Mary’s turn for a little bluffing.

In need of “some good advice from a bad person,” Mary summons Gideon. The meeting is very clandestine and also very hot. When Mary tells Gideon her theory about Don Carlos lying, he actually seems concerned (you can never tell with this guy!), and will investigate.

Gideon’s news is not-so-great: The Spanish have secretly hired a group of mercenaries with top marks in Assassination. The plan is surely to kill Mary on their way back to Spain, so Don Carlos can reign over Scotland. Unfortunately, with no concrete evidence, Mary can’t just rescind her offer because, well, misogyny and all. She can, however, catch The Beard in his lie.

It’s wedding time! Mary beelines for the marriage contract, signs it, and then guides her betrothed to do the same, but Don Carlos stops. And then Don Carlos gets very, very mad. He is furious and wants to know where the Crown Matrimonial is—it’s missing from the document. In all his anger, he has revealed his healed condition to the entire room, just as Mary had hoped. Mary has outed Don Carlos as a liar looking to trick a queen into marriage and reveals his plans to have her killed, but I think most people are just impressed the guy basically survived a tree branch to the brain.

On the sidelines, Narcisse wants to make sure France doesn’t get any blowback from Spain since he had plans to use Don Carlos to get some extra coin for his country (and himself), still severely in debt. Catherine is having none of it. She’s feeling extra feisty after all that sex with her fire boy—sorry, newly promoted king’s guardsman—and does not hesitate to remind Narcisse that this is her house. She tells Don Carlos to take his sex horse and get out. The Beard is banished from French Court, people! Mary and Catherine high five with their eyes.

NEXT: Latin lessons have never been so sexy

Mary and Gideon meet on the balcony again—they have a spot, you guys—and Mary wonders if his warning about the mercenaries means his allegiance to Elizabeth isn’t as strong as he says. Gideon swears his motives were diplomatic, but Mary’s not convinced. To further soften the ambassador, she hands him a letter she intercepted from his daughter. Perhaps as a thank you, he offers her one last warning: the Protestant Reformation has taken over Scotland, and she may not be welcomed back there. Mary doesn’t want his pity. She also, for some unfathomable reason, still doesn’t want to mash faces with him…yet. That balcony hasn’t seen the last of these two!

There’s another couple having some face mashing issues as well: Claude and Leith. Claude’s being courted by an endless line of ridiculous suitors. Thankfully, Leith reminds Claude she needs to leave for her very important “Latin lesson.” You guys, Latin lesson is just a code—it’s not a Latin lesson at all. Instead, Leith has been teaching Claude both the art of self-defense and how to set up a storyline that seems random but will probably pay off at a later time.

Self-defense quickly turns into make out city, and Leith announces that he went down to the local 16th century pharmacy and bought the exact brand of condoms Claude likes, so now they can start doing it! When Claude balks, they both end up saying some things they don’t really mean: Leith insinuates that Claude’s slept around, and Claude reminds Leith of his lowly station in life.

It takes a heartfelt chat with Madam Greer to make Claude realize that the reason she’s hesitant to sleep with Leith is because she loves the guy, and she’s scared of what might happen if she loses him. Greer assures her the risk is worth it. Later, Claude finally admits that she couldn’t live without Latin—but duh, guys, “Latin” is code for Leith! It’s actually quite adorable, and no wonder they finally end up in bed together. The realm’s cutest couple are totally in love.

Unfortunately, Claude’s greatest fear is coming true: Narcisse needs money now that Spain is off the table, and his most convenient resource is marrying off the young princess. He’s lined up a nice, rich husband for Claude, and since he’s regent, there’s very little she can do about it. Wait till Catherine hears about this.

Claude’s half-brother-ex-lover Bash is feeling some heartbreak, too. Bash and Delphine receive a letter from the serial killer saying his little switcheroo with Delphine has healed him and he won’t be stealing any more hearts out of perfectly good bodies. Delphine believes this means the murder lust she feels is permanent, so once again she decides it’s best if she leaves. Bash can’t be too surprised though, since she does this every single week. Good riddance, D!

This time, however, Delphine’s wrong. We get our first glimpse of the elusive killer as he takes a knife to his girlfriend’s chest. Looks like we’re headed for another episode of CSI: Bash in the near future.

Meanwhile, in England: Elizabeth is pregnant! Now, before you start planning the Queen of England’s gender reveal party, remember that this is actually terrible news. Congratulations, Liz: You’re having a great burden to you and your loved ones! Daddy-to-be Dudley dances around the idea of abortion, but Elizabeth shoots him down: It’s a risky procedure, and a queen can’t knowingly put her life at risk. She believes their only option is to marry, however, this means they need to deal with The Amy Situation.

Unfortunately, The Amy Situation lends itself to three less-than-ideal options: murder, waiting for Amy to die, and divorce. They can’t murder Amy because they’d undoubtedly be Suspect One and Suspect Two. They can’t wait for her to die because the human gestation period only lasts for nine months, and Amy is a She-devil who could possibly live forever. Divorce would only land them both in a tornado of scandal that could prove life-threatening to Liz, Robert, and their child. Divorce it is!

Robert informs Amy of his plans and the Keeper of the Swans takes it really well. Or, you know, she has a complete meltdown. Amy may be an insane person, but she’s no dummy. She immediately catches on to the baby of it all and threatens to reveal the secret to all of England. But Robert can make threats too, and he decides the best way to deal with Amy is to keep her locked up in their home and eventually, an insane asylum.

Remember when I said Amy was no dummy? Amy also realizes that her murder is the best way to keep Robert and Elizabeth apart. So, ever the resourceful wife, Amy stages a struggle in her bedroom and then promptly hurls herself over the railing in the Dudley’s lovely two-story home, falling to her death. Well, she’s nothing if not determined.

Alas, it is game over for Operation Royal Shotgun Wedding. Elizabeth and Dudley know Amy purposefully framed Robert, and after Elizabeth receives another lecture from Sir William of the Wet Blanket (it’s his one job and he’s great at it!), she doesn’t even know if she can help Robert out of this mess; the scandal would be too damaging to the crown. We’re left with two questions: What of the baby? And who is to look after the swans?

Outfit of the Week: Though you may have been distracted by the giant horse dog Mary’s strolling about with these days, the Queen of Scots wore an insanely gorgeous rose embroidered coat this week. Honorable Mention: Elizabeth’s dress with the collar as she greets her people. There haven’t been nearly enough Elizabethan collars this season.

The Queens’ Corner of Harsh Lady Truths:

  • “Christophe, is there anywhere in the castle you have not spilled your seed?” – Real question the Queen Mother still has to ask her boyfriends
  • “You marry that prince and you’ll regret it forever.” – Gideon sees into Mary’s soul and it is so real it hurts
  • “Rot in hell, you and your Virgin Queen!” – Amy’s last words were the perfect parting gift

Episode Recaps


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