Previously on Reign: Francis tells prisoner Narcisse that he’ll be doing anything he’s told. King Antoine expects Conde’s loyalty. Mary asked Lola to offer herself as a potential match for Conde. He’s not thrilled. Mary tells Francis she needs more time.
Hey guys, it’s party time! I will never stop being delighted by this show’s need to invent something new to celebrate, every single week. Can you imagine if Hallmark had been around then?
- The first bloom is spotted in the snowy courtyard, generating lots of excitement, especially from Kenna, who is looking forward to new dresses and parties to enliven the “dismal winter.” Has there been some dearth of parties that we were unaware of?
- Francis proposes that he and Mary get away to an abandoned chateau in the Loire Valley, away from the bad memories their castle holds. She has qualms. Girl… me too. You know that place needs a ton of renovations.
- A woman paying her respects in a village cemetery, decorated with fake looking snow, notices what appears to be a dug up grave that looks to have been broken out of, not into. And someone or something is creeping in the forest. Yikes.
- King Antoine comes for a visit, to solidify trade agreements/check up on Conde, or for some sucking up to the King of France. He also asks for funds to take care of the French Protestant refugees that have fled France for Navarre. Francis says he’ll consider it. (That’s always a ‘no’.)
- Lola explains to Conde that the Winter’s Ease feast and ball are held at the sight of the first bloom, to celebrate – not the end of winter (which he points out, it’s totally still winter), but the promise of the end. Apparently, Conde hasn’t been around court long enough to realize they will use any excuse to celebrate. He asks to be her escort.
- Antoine hits on Kenna within .30 seconds of arriving at the castle. Conde advises against that folly. Antoine doesn’t think Conde gets to be high and mighty about being into married women. With foreboding, Antoine thinks he recognizes Bash from somewhere. He realizes that it must be from the Italian Wars, and that Bash was the one who knifed their brother in the back. This doesn’t really sound like Bash’s style. And Conde would like some proof, before they go around accusing the king’s brother.
- Mary thinks they can afford to give Navarre a little money. Catherine vehemently disagrees, though no one asked her. She and Francis believe the Bourbons have always been trying to further their claim on the throne, since Francis was a sick child.
- Privately, Francis confronts Catherine about Clarissa still being alive. WHAT. Then he starts bleeding down his face, and we realize Catherine is having a real mother of a hallucination. People come running into the room at her screams, and now everyone knows the level of crazypants she has reached, although she believes her vision to be evidence of the truth of Nostradamus’ prophecy.
- The physician asks Catherine about sores on her mouth and hands, and then whether her husband slept around. UH OH. Catherine is predictably worried for her legacy, and begs Francis “Say that I died of consumption, helping the orphans!”
- Kenna brings Bash all his favorite foods AND beer, but he’s still rebuffing her. She apologizes again, for doing something, when she barely knew him, that was about protecting her own neck. He finally admits that maybe there are dark things in his past, too. But then he starts on about ghosts and stuff again, and Kenna calls him on the weird pagan nonsense his family saddled him with.
- Francis wants Narcisse to gather some intel on Navarre and whether they actually need the money Antoine has asked for. Narcisse quickly deduces that maybe this is about Conde, and jealousy, and that this could be fixed if Conde simply had an accident. Such an efficient guy, that Narcisse. YOU STAY AWAY FROM HOT COUSIN LOUIS.
- Antoine asks Kenna for a tour of the castle, She turns him down due to his questionable reputation, but he manages to flatter her into changing her mind. Sigh, Kenna.
- Narcisse tells Lola he’s heard that she’s seeing Conde. “The man is so boring and predictable, I can hardly believe it’s true.” He figures correctly, that she’s been made to do so. He suggests that after the ball, she ride with him to the hot springs, in her warmest stockings, which he’ll then remove. Winter themed flirting is kind of weird, right? He warns Lola that it’s a mistake to assume he won’t make it back on top.
- Oh, horrors. The physician is trying every syphilis treatment he’s ever heard of, and lets out a bunch of birds to peck at Catherine’s feet, to drain out the bile. It’s gross, and painful. Claude could not be more delighted.
- Mary thanks Francis for his efforts to make her happy, not just the new chateau, but sleeping on the divan night after night, until she’s comfortable. She tells him that he can sleep – just sleep – in her bed.
- Now that Narcisse is out of the dungeons, Claude says she’d like him to tutor her – in the bedchamber – in case there was any doubt, and in matters of court intrigue. It’s all just as subtle as it sounds.
- Mary has awful flashbacks from the sound of a man’s breath next to her in bed. Francis tells her it’s a nightmare, one that’s over now. She allows him to hold her. Aw, poor Frary.
- Bash goes to investigate the case of the dude who dug out of his grave. The village lady tells him she’s heard similar stories from other places. Yet again, Bash is chasing weird paranormal stuff. He finds a dirty Greek guy in the woods that night, who tells him that he woke in a grave. Bash tells him Nostradamus says these things can happen. (Snort.) But the Greek guy says he was pulled from his grave, by a woman dressed in white.
- Conde makes conversation with Lola, doing an admirable job of pretending that the Winter’s Ease ball looks any different than any other party of the week at the castle. Lola observes to Conde that Mary, dancing with Francis, looks happier than she’s seen in a while. Conde is a terrible date and doesn’t ask Lola to dance. Then he goes to check in on why Antoine is still hovering around Kenna. Antoine compares her to a sweet Arabian horse. I gag. He thinks Louis is too protective of his court friends, and cruelly reminds him of his brother’s death, and his family duty.
- Narcisse drags Francis and Mary from the ball to tell them that Navarre is poor and does need help with their Protestant refugees, but that the help has already been offered by England. Rumors are that English troops will arrive to assist in Navarre. Mary and Francis lose their shizz over the idea of English troops being that close to France’s border.
- Later, Lola spots Narcisse making out with Claude in an alcove, and is pretty pissy about it. She fumes to Kenna, telling her that Narcisse is unpredictable and she now values predictability.
- Mary wants Conde to spy on his brother. Considering what a “loyal subject” he’s been, he doesn’t appreciate it. “It you don’t reciprocate my feelings, very well, then don’t take advantage of them.” BURN. Conde is angry enough to seek out Lola and ask her to dance. She’s angry enough to readily accept. Sadly, it’s nothing like the angry dancing in Footloose.
- Claude and Narcisse, and their icky age difference, are getting hot and sweaty in her chamber, when she brings up the mood-killer: pregnancy. Then she tells him that she’s open to being lovers in all the ways, except the one that could leave her knocked-up, and him with with a way to marry into royalty. Apparently, that’s a dealbreaker for Narcisse?
- Francis confronts Antoine about Navarre’s real need for assistance – with a whole lot of intimidating guards at the ready. Antoine admits that England offered the help, in exchange for some strategic positioning. It all comes down to Queen Elizabeth seeing Mary as a threat.
- While Bash is in the woods with the Greek guy, they end up chased by villagers with torches. Were they all out of pitchforks? The villagers set upon and kill the Greek guy out of fear.
- The physician now has Catherine in a “mercury oven”, which looks like giant barrel, getting a super uncomfortable steam. Pretty sure they’re just trolling her at this point. They all leave her alone, calling for something to drink. Narcisse hears and comes to her aid, letting her know that Claude has already informed the entire castle of Catherine’s embarrassing issue. While discussing her symptoms, Narcisse grows suspicious. “Is it possible that you don’t have syphilis, but have been poisoned?” It’s Catherine, so it’s probably both. Narcisse figures out that it’s from something she’s touched, like the bible that Catherine took from Mad King Henry’s room, and now it’s driving her mad, too. Her chemistry knowledge (Oh Catherine, never change.) proves him correct.
- When Bash comes back to the castle, he has to talk a drunken Antoine down from a drunken scene in the courtyard. Although, it’s really just a ruse to find out how much Bash knows about the geography of Italy. Apparently, it’s enough for Antoine to decide that Bash was definitely the one who killed his and Conde’s brother.
- Kenna is disappointed that Bash didn’t make it back in time for the ball. He takes a very roundabout way of telling her that he can’t live without her. Oh good! It would be nice if one couple on this show liked each other.
- Mary wonders what they can do to convince Elizabeth that she’s not a threat to her. Dying would probably do it. Francis says there is no way, and they’re back to Mary feeling tormented and unsafe. She tells him that she wants him to be free. He doesn’t want that. “How could you send me to another?” “Because I love you, and one of us should be happy.”
History According to Reign
- Francis and Mary talk a lot about “getting away”. It wouldn’t have been unusual at the time, for monarchs to move the entire court to whatever estate they wanted, even if it wasn’t theirs.
- Catherine and Francis refer to him having been sickly as a boy. Historically, Francis II was fragile, physically and psychologically, all his life. It seems certain that his frail health led to his early death.
- Due to its sexually transmitted nature, syphilis was socially stigmatizing at the time. It doesn’t seem the least bit plausible that any physician would dare to diagnose a member of royalty with it.
- Catherine, in response to Claude cheerfully inquiring if she’s dying. “You sound so hopeful! I suppose I deserve that.” This family…
- “Lovely to see you skulking about the castle again.”
- They mention him twice this week! Wherefore art thou, Hipster Nostradamus?
- Why on Earth do we trust Narcisse’s intel, when he has absolutely nothing left to lose?
Next week: Catherine announces that she was poisoned. (Too bad Nostradamus isn’t there to explain the notion of karma.) Bash has found evidence against Conde. Francis says that if someone has plotted against them, he’ll be beheaded.