Now, if you're not familiar with Reign, be advised there are spoilers ahead. And if you know anything about Mary, Queen of Scots, be advised that you can't go into watching this show expecting perfect historical accuracy. It does a better job than most people give it credit for, but there are still a lot of liberties taken. You'll enjoy it a lot more if you just treat it as a medieval soap opera. And if you don't know the real history at all, you'll probably be happier staying in ignorance. Unless you're a major fan of Elizabeth I--then by all means, go read up on the history.
Anyway, season 2 opens with Francis bravely riding out into the countryside to be with Mary's lady-in-waiting Lola, who's about to give birth to his bastard. I'm going to come right out and say it now: in the Francis vs. Bash debate, I'm firmly on Team Francis. I like Bash well enough, but despite him being the roguish bastard, I actually think Francis has a darker streak. (I thought it was EPIC when he pulled off his helmet in last season's finale, revealing he was the one who'd killed his dad in the tournament!). Also, I'm still traumatized by Torrance Coombs' portrayal of Thomas Culpepper on The Tudors. If you've watched that show, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
So, Francis gets to Lola, and surprise! She's already had the baby, which tells me two things: 1. They have a lot of other stuff they need to cram into this episode, and 2. The writers are NOT messing around. Mary's life would have been mildly inconvenienced with a bastard princess around, but by making it a boy, the writers have just messed up her life x 1000. I also like that the writers do away with any lingering feelings between Francis and Lola--which should reassure a lot of you. (By the way, you guys can't hate on Lola unless you hate Francis too. They were both involved in making this mess, and really, it was the result of Mary's convoluted marrying-Bash plan). There's no Frola/Frary love triangle in the making, and it's made abundantly clear that the issue at stake is whether or not Francis will claim (and control) Lola's child. More on that later.
Back at the castle, Mary and Catherine are holding a press conference about the plague. (The producers had hinted someone we know dies from the plague in this episode, and my money's on one of the Castleroys). Man, am I happy to see Catherine. Megan Follows OWNS that role. She steals every scene she's in, and I adore her. Plus, I'm pretty sure the accent she uses for this role is the same one she used to use when Anne of Green Gables did dramatic readings or plays. So sometimes I like to pretend this show is all just one elaborate production that Anne and Diana are putting on.
But wait! Who's that dashing fellow beside the two queens? Why, it's Nostradamus, who has apparently decided to shave for season 2. He must have realized there were some hot, eligible CW women around and that he needed to up his game--not that he seemed to be doing that badly before.
Really, the most extraordinary thing about this scene for me, though, is that the entire Greer/Castleroy/Leith/Yvette love mess is revealed with a few glances across the room! That was my second favorite plot twist of last season, so I was at least hoping for an awkward family dinner: "Hey, Dad and future stepmom, I want you to meet this guy I'm seeing..."
Last but not least, we check in with Bash and Kenna. I totally forgot about that kid they were taking care of. I assumed Pascal got returned to some distant pagan relatives. Bash is taking charge and trying to get his family out of there, but Kenna gets thwarted by a plaguey servant who calls her a whore, which I don't like at all! You can say what you want about Kenna, but she was in a bad situation last season. It's not easy being a woman in the 16th century, and when a king or any powerful man casts his eye on you, you can't just go complain to HR. She made the best of what she had, and I think it worked out since she and Bash are kind of perfect for each other in their misfitness. Their wedding was one of my favorite scenes last season. Anyway, Kenna yields Pascal, and we know this isn't going to end well.
Back in the throne room, Mary and Catherine are holding court and sparring with each other. A new guy named Narcisse shows up and wants permission to kill someone in exchange for food for the court. Pragmatic Catherine has no problem with this, but Mary's morals won't allow her to condone it. There are certain parts of Mary's history (who she marries, where she rules) that the show can't change, but one thing they've taken control of nicely is this ongoing conflict as her character develops. Can she hold to her principles and still be an effective ruler? That remains to be seen.
Out in the country Lola and Francis are slowly making their way back to the castle. Lola looks pretty good for having just given birth. Maybe I would've too if I'd been able to wear something like this instead of yoga pants and a T-shirt:
Along the way, they run into Narcisse and also a guy named Conde, who is fully up to the CW's levels of attractiveness. Based on the dreamy music playing when they meet, I secretly think Conde'll be back as a love interest for Lola--once he gets his own affairs straightened out. For now, Francis is going to use Conde's ship to send Lola and the baby away, which will probably relieve some of you. But something tells me it won't be that easy...
Back at the castle, Kenna and Pascal have been locked in a room to prevent plague spreading! Pascal dies from the plague, which is sad and handled gracefully by the writers by mostly focusing on Kenna as it happens. I guess I was wrong, and it's not going to be one of the Castleroys. Bash, now on the hunt for Kenna, has his own run-ins with the plague, and then he sees a ghostly figure coming toward him in the hall! Is it King Henry's brother, back from the dead? No, it's a plague-victim, who tells Bash he's neither dead nor infected. What does that mean? Can Bash see dead people now? Does he have supernatural powers? Cuz that's a plot twist I'm totally on board with. We never find out because Bash soon finds Kenna, and while her being locked in a room for most of the episode is kind of a meh plot, their reunion is so sweet that I find myself smiling. I love those misfit kids.
Cut to the throne room, and Narcisse is back, which boggles the mind since Francis and Lola aren't. Nostradamus has also come and gone, which makes me wonder just how slow Francis and Lola are going. Nostradamus and Mary have made Catherine think she has the plague to get her out of the way--which I don't like AT ALL. No one one-ups my girl! In a touching bedside scene, we get the hint that Catherine is fully aware of how power compromised her morals over the years. It's like her and Mary are kindred spirits after all! But Mary's intentions prove to be in vain: Narcisse has already killed the guy he wanted--by poisoning a whole room full of people! That includes Yvette Castleroy, which baffles my writer's mind because I thought for sure that love rhombus was going to play out for a while. That had the potential for a lot of drama, so I'm not sure what they have planned for Greer now, aside from the obvious Leith vs. Castleroy conflict. Seriously, this bugs me. It bugs Mary too, and she has Narcisse thrown in the dungeon--but methinks we haven't seen the last of him.
Finally, back on the long road, Francis holds his son for the first time and has a really touching moment when he realizes he wants the baby in his life after all. It's also kind of a dark moment, though, as Lola sees her freedom slipping away from her. Remember when I said it wasn't easy being a woman in the 16th century? Here's more proof, and Francis's ominous line about how the baby will be whatever he says it is tells you exactly why Lola is concerned. Mary's going to love it when this trio shows back up.
And speaking of our queen...we close on her sitting on the throne, with an empty throne beside her. At first, I think that's symbolic of Catherine's absence (I'm still ticked off they tricked her), then I realize it's meant to mark Francis's absence. Don't worry, Mary. I'm sure he'll be back next episode. Surely they can't STILL be traveling?
And that's it! Phew, that was a lot. From a storytelling point of view, I can say they did exactly what I'd expect in an opening chapter, tying up the last cliffhanger and prepping us for what's to come. I expect the real crazy to start in coming episodes, particularly when Francis and Lola get back and Narcisse gets out of prison. As for Greer's plotline...that still has me scratching my head why they got rid of Yvette so quickly.
Important Summary Stuff
Best Catherine quote: "Welcome to the real France."
Mary's, of course:
Although, this blue one we briefly see Greer in is quite nice too:
Thanks for reading my longggg post! I'm hoping to have some news about a couple local appearances for you the next time I blog.