Reign recap: 'Uncharted Waters'
All is right with the world, Royals! At the very end of “Uncharted Waters,” Mary and Catherine ARE IN THE SAME ROOM. They are even hugging. Mary and Catherine, together again at last.
Okay, so actually nothing is right with the world. Especially over in Scotland. You guys, things are rough for the bride- and groom-to-be. Mary’s still not over that whole “Darnley lying about having an affair and ruining their chances at eternal happiness thing,” so she’s really sticking it to him these days. As their wedding draws closer, their relationship grows more fraught.
The latest example: Mary’s friend and EXTREMELY important Catholic ally Lucrezia de Medici (yes, she’s one of those Medicis) arrives from Florence only to hear Darnley throwing shade on her cousin Francis for his rumored “descended testicles.” Lucrezia is beyond offended (obviously, so is Mary) and threatens to leave. Is Mary more upset over Darnley messing with a Catholic ally or for making fun of her late husband? You decide.
Lucrezia tells Mary she’ll forget everything in return for some Scottish lands. You guys, now that I know I can ask for lands and money if someone says something offensive about me, have at it! No more crying in the shower for this girl! So once again, Mary finds herself traipsing around Scotland trying to broker a land deal with some nobleman in order to repair a relationship. And, once again, this mission leads her right into the path of one Lord Bothwell. Listen, I know Mary’s been going through suitors pretty quickly since losing Francis, but Bothwell has a ponytail and looks like he could build things out of the wood. Mary deserves this.
Finding Bothwell repairing a wall (SEE WHAT I MEAN?) on the very lands Mary needs is a surprise for our queen — she thought they belonged to someone else. Bothwell tells her he recently won the lands in a poker game, and he’ll consider selling to her, but he wants them both to go survey the grounds so he can ensure he really gets a good deal for selling this land. And off they go, on a two-person boat ride down a river, deep into the woods surrounding the estate. Because, sure, a queen has to 1) make in-person trade deals herself, and 2) go with a sassy noble on unattended water-based treks.
Anyway, the rest is a tale as old as time: Man and woman bicker and flirt in a rowboat, a flash flood forces man and woman to jump ship and man carries woman to safety, man has to undo woman’s soaking wet dress, man reveals he’s been sending woman creepy yet accurate anonymous letters about how scummy her fiancé is. That’s right, you guys: Bothwell is the Loyal Watchman! He promised Mary’s mother he’d protect Mary when she returned to Scotland, but he was banned from court when James became regent, so he’s had to keep his promise in creative ways. For instance, pretending to own lands that Mary wants in order to get alone time with her to try to persuade her to call off the wedding. You know, things like that.
Before Mary can yell at Bothwell about all the reasons she has to marry Darnley and how he should butt out of it, a weird man who looks like he is having the worst day of his life stumbles over and delivers a prophecy about Mary’s fate (I swear, I’m not making this up): She can either marry to have an heir or marry for love, but not both. If she does choose an heir, she’ll have a son who will rule both Scotland and England in peace. Now, before you think this is just any weird man stumbling around in the woods, after he relaxes a little bit, the guy tells Mary that a group of Druids recently saved his life and one passed along that message. With that, Mary knows this message came from Bash and it must be true. This whole storyline is ridiculous, but you guys: BASH!
Now Mary knows there is no choice but to marry Darnley. He can give her an heir, and that heir can bring peace to Scotland. This is more important than love. Mary’s made her mind up and all seems to be settling down at Scottish court — Bothwell even negotiates that pesky trade deal so that Mary can appease Lucrezia de Medici. See, guys? He’s still protecting her. How swoon-y.
Well, it’s all settling down until James alerts Mary that Darnley’s Keira is still secretly in town and Mary tells James to get rid of the broad. James heads into town to toss out Keira, but while doing so, there’s a skirmish. She ends up in the middle of a horse accident and slams her head on the ground. Keira dies later in Darnley’s arms, while Darnley informs Mary that she had it all wrong: Keira was still in town because she was ill, and Darnley had no idea about any of it. Now the love of his life is dead because of Mary’s mistake. How can he look at Mary and not hate her every single day for the rest of their lives? he asks.
So, yeah, Darnley’s taking it pretty hard. All Mary can do is weep alone in her room. Thankfully, she’s not alone for too long. Catherine swoops in, in town for the big wedding, and takes Mary in her arms. Mary can’t do this — she wants Catherine’s help to get out of this marriage. Let the scheming begin!
It’ll be tricky for Catherine to try to stop Mary and Darnley’s wedding though. Putting an end to a very powerful Catholic marriage is just the type of thing Catherine needs to avoid if she’s to keep Leesa and all of Spain off her back. Unfortunately, Charles isn’t backing off the Protestant conversion thing anytime soon.
Narcisse has paid off Nicole, as requested, so both he and Catherine hope she can convince the king that being openly Catholic is in his best interest. Though she is good in bed and has been promised a whole lot of money for her family, Nicole fails to get Charles to give up his new Protestant faith. He feels at peace now, and he fears returning to Catholicism would bring back all that “let me live in caves and eat raw squirrels” darkness that consumed him not too long ago. Nicole’s argument falls on deaf ears.
Surprisingly, one person does eventually get through to Charles: Luc. Claude, who still sleeps in a separate room from her husband, tells Luc how much she fears for her brother’s life. Luc goes to Charles under the pretenses of needing some help with winning over Claude (Charles’ advice does seem to work for Luc, though, as he and Claude begin to bond over the stars), and eventually the two guys get friendly during archery practice. Charles admits that under the Catholic faith, he feels a pressure from the Vatican that he wants to be free from. Luc reminds him that even as a Protestant, he’ll have people pressuring him in the same way. There’s no escaping that feeling for a king.
It’s the first time Charles even contemplates what’s being said to him. Catherine and Narcisse get word that Charles has met with Catholic nobles and believe they may be winning the cause — but they shouldn’t celebrate just yet. Later, Luc runs into Charles in the castle and he’s back to his old crazy emo-self. Hide your squirrels, guys.
Meanwhile, in England: Well, well, well. It seems we have yet another ponytailed flirt on our hands. Okay, so Elizabeth’s new acquaintance is a pirate — excuse me, “explorer” — who goes by the name Captain Hawkins (Max Lloyd-Jones). At least everyone can all agree he has really pissed off the Spanish. He’s stolen some gold and treasure and the like from their colony in New Spain, and King Philip wants Elizabeth to have him arrested and punished.
Easier said than done. Ponytail shows up with tomatoes and turkeys (or “large angry chickens” as Liz calls them) and tales of riches and power derived from the New World. Why can’t England be just as powerful as a Spain? Ponytail wants to know. Liz laughs off the idea at first, she has enough to deal with at home with Catholic threats from above (Mary) and below (Spain). But after a little drunken hang out in which Ponytail reveals his men were attacked by Spaniards and that’s why they stole from them, paired with an ill-timed threat from the Spanish Ambassador about England knowing its place, Elizabeth considers the idea of thinking beyond Europe. And so, she hands Ponytail a royal charter to go explore the New World in the name of England. This is all very exciting!
Outfit of the Week: Is there any competition for the gown Bothwell so seductively helps Mary out of? It is dripping in both gold brocade and sexual tension.