Previously on Reign: Castleroy is a secret Protestant. Narcisse is into Lola and blackmailing Francis over Henry’s murder. Francis won’t tell Mary about it.
Despite all the usual drama, this episode was missing something for me. I think I’ve been spoiled by madcap queen hijinks. At least we have a new princess to stir up some trouble.
- Princess Claude arrives at court, flashing footmen, swigging whisky, and by all appearances, wearing a corset as a top. This could either be really fun, or really tiresome.
- Mary is still pissy about Francis keeping secrets and bowing to corrupt nobles. Even more so when Narcisse arrives claiming that he and the other nobles want Francis to command that everyone publicly pledge their Catholicism to the king. It’s not really a request.
- Greer is back from her honeymoon and injured after having been attacked and robbed, due to Castleroy not taking mass. Mary warns of Narcisse’s oath taking crusade. Greer is terrified and Mary promises to try to keep Francis from signing the edict.
- Bash updates Francis on Narcisse’s activities, but doesn’t know why he’s doing so. Francis doesn’t want him asking questions. But Bash won’t let it go until Francis confesses that he’s the one who killed Henry, and Narcisse is blackmailing him. Francis is desperate that Mary not be told for her own protection. Bash promises to help him, up to and including killing Narcisse.
- Mary presses Francis about Narcisse. She promises to be by his side if he stands up to the nobles. He wants to make the decision himself, in effect, pushing her away again.
- Mary seeks out Hot Cousin Louis, while he’s entertaining someone’s wife in his bed, as per ushe. “Unfortunately, my husband isn’t giving me what I want, so I’ve come to you instead.” If Louis had a nickel for every time he’s heard that one. Mary wants Louis to help her find one noble who will declare his Protestant faith publicly to help turn the tide.
- Kenna has a gift for Claude, but Bash warns her that Claude never really liked other girls. Kenna wonders if maybe Claude has changed, like she has. Which they laugh over, because of course Kenna hasn’t changed. Kenna and Bash being generally adorable is my new favorite show.
Let's just pretend like this dress never happened.
- Catherine has a found a cipher, which she shows to Francis. Since it’s a spy’s tool, anyone found with one would have to be executed as a traitor. Francis is all “lemme borrow that for just a sec.”
- The creepy plague twin ghosts are back to haunt Catherine. “Sisters share.” Ugh, never sleeping again. She’s interrupted by a maid who’s been watching Claude. The princess is in bed with a priest. But Catherine has no time for this nonsense today.
- Francis questions Lola about her relationship with Narcisse. He wants her to make an excuse to visit him and to hide an envelope (with the cipher in it) while there. He doesn’t command her to do it, but it’s so crappy of him to ask such a dangerous thing of the mother of his child.
- Claude gives Catherine a guilt trip about all the events she’s missed while she was away, so Catherine relents and let her stay. But she wants no more of her bad behavior.
- While Lola is at Narcisse’s house, his bath fetish comes up again. She’ll bathe, if he’ll draw the bath. He likes it when she’s commanding. She hides the envelope behind a painting when he leaves the room. Poor Lola looks terrified once she’s in the bath tub. He tells her that he enjoys the vulnerability of it. He alludes to all kinds of Fifty Shades things that she’ll learn about him if they decide to take this further.
- At a party that evening, Claude asks Francis how Bash and Kenna got together. “It’s a very romantic story, actually. Father threatened to kill them both if they didn’t marry.” They share a laugh about that old scamp, Henry. Claude is catty about Kenna’s social-climbing ways, but Frances tells her not to try to come between Bash and Kenna.
- Catherine warns Mary about not trusting Hot Cousin Louis because of his royal blood. The Bourbon cousins have made play for the throne before.
- Narcisse tells Lola about Henry’s murder and that he’s blackmailing Francis. He wants her to trust him, instead of Francis, since he’s the one who told her the truth. See, he's an honest blackmailer.
- Mary, with Louis, tries to convince a scared noble to declare his Protestantism publicly. Louis admires her daring and fierceness. Then they watch the fireworks alone together.
Totally normal thing to do with your husband’s hot cousin.
- Francis gets all twitchy about whether or not Lola planted the envelope at Narcisse’s house. She claims she didn’t have time, while also calling him out on using her.
- Narcisse arrives at court with all the nobles to publicly ask Francis to sign the edict. It looks like Mary’s noble is going to chicken out, so Louis steps up. He lies and declares that he’s a Protestant and makes a lovely speech, asking Francis to stand on the right side of history. This emboldens three other nobles to step forward as well. Francis admires the bravery and uses it as an excuse to spend time thinking/stalling on the edict. Mary is grateful for Louis’ bold move. He makes it clear that he did it for her. He’s super hot and intense about it. For now, Mary pretends to be immune. Francis promises Mary that he won't sign the edict, though it may cost him.
- Bash found Narcisse’s actor/nanny, already dead. Francis wants to call Narcisse’s bluff, so he aks Bash to be ready to move Mary out of the country if necessary.
- Kenna is pouty that Claude is ignoring her invitations and overtures. Bash tells her that it’s obviously just jealousy, because Kenna is the most beautiful girl at court. See? Cutest.
- Claude finds Bash alone and wants to reminisce about their old play dates. Which apparently took place in FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC. Bash claims it never would have happened if she hadn’t convinced him that Henry wasn’t his father. Oh, but still, so much yuck.
Just what this crazy family needs, a Cathy Dollanganger.
- Narcisse is still pushing the edict at Francis, so Francis calls him on his bluff. Then Narcisse pulls out his ace. He has a priest who will swear that Catherine and Mary tried to poison Henry at mass before the joust. They’d all be beheaded, and Narcisse wonders what will happen to Francis’ poor brother and son then. I’m not sure Francis is up to this game.
- Catherine follows the creepy ghost girls into Claude’s chamber. Apparently, they’re the ghosts of her twin babies that died in infancy, and now they feel threatened by Claude’s presence, enough to yank her hair and wake her up. Catherine is so freaked that she says Claude has to leave court immediately.
- Lola wants to know what Narcisse wants with her. As she’s telling him that since he’s Francis’s enemy, nothing can happen between them, he kisses her. She’s pretty into it, before she pulls away and slaps him. “Do not seek to take before I give.” And THAT is why he’s into you, Lola.
- Mary checks on Greer and finds out that Francis signed the edict. She goes to confront Francis, but of course he tells more lies and makes more excuses. She’s so over it with him. She calls him a coward and he suggests that she should leave him and go back to Scotland. They both cry alone.
History According to Reign:
Mary goes to Louis’ chambers like that ain’t no insane scandal waiting to happen.
Francis’ authoritarian stance on Protestantism is historically accurate. The blackmailing aspect is likely fiction, but it does help to make Francis a more sympathetic religious persecutor.
Number of Times I Forgot I Wasn’t Watching Gossip Girl: 3
1. Claude greets everyone with backhanded compliments that the entire Upper East Side would envy. This is OG mean girl.
2. Then Claude shows up to her party wearing an improbably fuschia strapless prom dress, just in case we didn’t grasp that she’s the bad girl.
3. “On behalf of France, I’d like to apologize for the plague, famine, and religious violence.” The proper response when life interferes with fun and parties.
Mary may have given up on her husband, but not on France. Shockingly, the religious violence escalates. And Bash gets shot with an arrow?!
I have CONCERNS. Join me in the comments where we can give Francis some unsolicited life advice.