Title: Reign S2.E17 “Tempting Fate”
Released: 2015
Series:  Reign

Previously on Reign: Leith didn’t care what anyone says, he wants Greer. Bash believed some woman can heal people with a touch. Mary and Conde made plans to escape to Scotland together, but when Francis told her they could stay at court with his protection, she wasn’t ready to leave just yet. Conde met with Queen Elizabeth’s envoy. Nostradamus predicted that Francis’ marriage to Mary would lead to his death.

Aw, I miss Hipster Nostradamus! Now I’m all nostalgic for season one. Crazypants King Henry, barn dances, pear tarts. At least we still have Pastry Boy. Half-naked Pastry Boy! Enjoy.

The Intrigue

  • The agent Mary sent to plot safe passage for her while traveling to Scotland is promptly killed after a card game in Le Havre. Entertainment was so dangerous before television was invented. His killer searches his bag and finds letters from the Queen of Scotland.

  • Mary and Conde meet in the chapel (really? How discreet.) because she’s having trouble sneaking away from her maids. Mary is already tired of the lies and hiding and trying to conduct an affair under Francis’ nose. She’s ready to leave for Scotland. They’re just waiting to hear from her agent. .

  • Bash is packing for a trip and Kenna asks him to promise to be careful. He tells her that she no longer needs to worry about it, since that’s a wife’s duty. They are still married, but Bash is planning to have the rest of his things moved out to the guard’s quarters. He asks her to resist the urge to have their marriage annulled by anyone who talks her into it. He knows she’ll continue to meet men who want her, but believes she’ll be safer protected by his name. It’s fairly sweet, considering what a dunce Kenna can be.

  • Catherine sees Mary leaving the chapel looking flushed, and promptly sends one of her ladies to find out how often Mary has been praying in the chapel lately. See? The chapel is not exactly discreet.

  • Catherine and Mary notice that Francis is too distracted to pay any attention to a political briefing, so Catherine gives the excuse that the king needs to give the matter a thorough review. Mary receives a message and makes up an excuse to leave quickly. In typical Catherine fashion, she’s already uncovered Mary’s affair and tells Francis that it weakens him in the eyes of the world, and that there are nobles who would call for her head. Francis claims Mary has always been honest with him and denies that she’s been unfaithful and tells his mother that Mary’s recent trauma has earned her a break from Catherine’s petty allegations.

This is Catherine’s biting her tongue face. It doesn’t last for long.

  • Conde speaks with Queen Elizabeth’s envoy about a potential marriage, and the envoy says they leave in two days time so the queen can check him out. Conde tries to stall for time, but it’s non-negotiable.

  • Mary has received word that her agent was murdered and his possessions stolen – letters with her seal on them. She wants Conde to try to find out who killed him and see if they can continue to keep their plans a secret. Conde is well aware that if Francis found out what they were planning, they’d both be dead.

  • Narcisse wakes up in bed with Claude, although apparently, she wasn’t there when he fell asleep.She claims this technique usually works for her, but he’s still politely declining.

  • Greer and Leith return from enjoying the cozy domesticity of grocery shopping together. It’s adorable. He’s amazed at her resiliency. They’ve moved on to the bed when Sharlene busts in because she has a customer downstairs and nowhere to “ply her trade” because one of the other girls is using her room to do so already. Leith isn’t thrilled by how often they’re interrupted by Greer’s employees and wonders why she hasn’t grown tired of this yet. She’s saving to rent a townhouse, but until then, they’re stuck at the inn. Leith asks what if they got married? She reminds him again, that she’s already married. He thinks she could have the marriage annulled, by using their powerful friends to get the Vatican’s approval. But she begs him to leave it alone. She’s always loved his decency, but all she can offer is herself. He rightly agrees that it’s enough. It helps that he’s shirtless this entire time.

  • Conde speaks with the dead agent’s second in command, who believes the agent’s murder was deliberate and agrees to find out which country’s spies might have done the deed.

  • Francis finds Bash preparing to leave the castle, and advises against it, while Bash is spoiling for a fight. Bash tells him that losing a wife is a difficult thing, which Francis must know. But Francis denies Bash’s assumption that Conde must be attempting to move in on Mary now, claiming that Mary is smarter than that. Bash asks Francis to have a drink waiting for him when he returns.

  • Francis confronts Mary about how he’s already having to lie to his mother and brother because she’s been so indiscreet. He doesn’t know how long he can continue to cover for her, and he can’t control his mother’s appetite for vengeance.

  • Conde’s plan is that they leave for Scotland immediately, but Mary doesn’t know how since Catherine will have spies watching her every move now. He thinks he can use Elizabeth’s envoy to find safe passage for Mary to Scotland, but in admitting that contact, he has to confess to participating in meetings to arrange a marriage alliance. Shockingly, Mary is pretty pissed to find out the man she’s been planning to run away with was simultaneously arranging to marry the Queen of England. He wants to see her safe to Scotland, she no longer wants him to go with her.

Out in an open snowy clearing in broad daylight: also not discreet.

  • Bash appears to have gone off on a crusade across the countryside, saving women from abusive men. This gets him stabbed with a sword and left for dead in the woods. Then we see his bloody body being dragged away by someone. 

  • Mary confesses to Lola how Conde betrayed her, but Lola points out that Conde would make a terrible enemy of Elizabeth if he turned down her proposal. And for what? A married queen. Lola urges Mary to take her throne in Scotland, and to take Conde with her if he can help. I’ve missed Mary’s friendships with her ladies, but urging Mary to leave Francis, which would be treasonous, doesn’t quite seem like Lola’s style.

Ladies, this calls for ice cream, not ice!

  • Narcisse goes to tell Catherine about Claude’s uninvited visits to his bed, and that she does it to annoy Catherine. He thinks it’s because she can tell he and Catherine have grown closer. She tells him that it doesn’t matter to her who he beds, and she doesn’t want to hear about it. But she doesn’t like it when he hints that he’ll just go ahead and sleep with her daughter then.

  • Mary meets Conde in secret again, claiming it’s not a reconciliation. But she does want to use his connection to the English envoy to get her safely to Scotland. He says he loves her, and wants to prove his loyalty, but wants to be sure she knows what she’s asking of him. Pretty sure she doesn’t really care.

  • Catherine summons Leith and tells him he’s been promoted to personal bodyguard to Princess Claude. He tries to make excuses for why he might not be suitable, but Catherine ignores them. She wants him to be at her side and keep her occupied at all times. Claude is very spirited and passionate and Leith is to be the “safe receptacle for all that energy.” She wants someone who’s attractive enough to keep Claude’s attention, but smart enough to realize his place. Claude approves.

  • Leith petitions Francis for an annulment for Greer. Francis tries to dissuade him from tying his future to someone labeled a traitor. Francis tells him that every favor from the Vatican comes with a price. Despite Leith’s confession of loving Greer and wanting his future with her, Francis urges Leith to let her go. Boo, Francis.

  • Mary has Elizabeth’s envoy arrested in the village. She confronts him in the dungeon over his secret visit to her country and his taking meetings with known Protestants and accuses him of participating in a religious revolt. She expects full confessions from him by the morning, or she’s sending his head in a basket to Elizabeth. Conde wonders if the envoy bought the charade, but Mary was not bluffing.

  • So Conde goes and frees the envoy from the dungeon. The envoy doesn’t want to board a ship for England, since they’ll surely all be searched by French troops. But Conde was going to send him home via Scotland. The envoy then helpfully tells Conde which Scottish ports are controlled by Protestant sympathizers, and which aren’t. Which seems to have been the whole purpose of this plot.

  • Leith goes to see a cardinal about an annulment for Greer, and witnesses the cardinal turning down an indulgence request a man has made for his dead son, because the man didn’t bring enough money. The cardinal isn’t very interested in Leith’s problem, since it’s obvious he can’t pay, but his ears perk up when he hears that Leith is tight with Francis. This cannot end well for our Pastry Boy.

  • It turns out that the man who killed Mary’s agent in Le Havre used to be the commander of Narcisse’s army, because evil is contagious. He secretly meets with Narcisse to pass along the letters he stole from the dead agent. Narcisse takes the information straight to Catherine. Narcisse is disappointed that Catherine doesn’t intend to use the information to destroy Mary, but to stop her. She’s grown fond of Mary and approves of how she’s persevered and grown stronger. She wants Francis to stop Mary from leaving.

  • Bash was dragged to Delphine, the woman who can heal with her touch. She tells him death is coming for him. He begs her to help him, and she reminds him there’s always a price (paid by someone else). The pain is too much and he screams that he wants to live. So, something terrible is going to happen to someone. Eh, I’m cool with that.

  • The dead agent’s second in command brings the missing letters to Mary and Conde with a story about them being found in the possession of a dead highwayman, unopened. Mary thinks her plan remains secret and is ready to head to Scotland. Conde would still like to know whether he’s going with her. He says she can trust him, but she won’t do that unless he makes a choice between her or Elizabeth. He chooses her, of course. And she tells him she can give him her heart.

  • Catherine goes to tell Francis about Mary and Conde’s plan. Catherine said she suspected Mary of infidelity, but this is treason. Francis looks devastated and ill. As Catherine is urgently telling him how he must stop Mary, for both their sakes, Francis collapses on the floor.

  • Narcisse goes to Catherine who’s freaking out about Francis dying. Narcisse says it’s just an ear infection, but Catherine is remembering Nostradamus’ vision. Catherine is panicking that she can’t lose Francis, that her other sons are too young to rule, and that she’s not ready to be regent while she’s hated by everyone, and alone. Narcisse tells her she’s not alone. And she gives in to that sexy bastard.

  • While Mary and Conde finally consummate their affair, poor Francis lies on his deathbed with a bleeding ear. Eek.

History According to Reign

  • Sickly young King Francis really did die of a burst ear drum. How long do you think he’ll linger in Reign time?

  • Queen Mary never made it back to Scotland until after Francis died. My guess is that she didn’t do it with his Bourbon cousin.

Final Thoughts

  • “You knew what you were getting into, and I won’t apologize for it.” . I may have stood up and applauded Greer.

  • Why do they keep making the poor actors do scenes out in the freezing snow? The Queen of Scotland can barely be understood when she has a stuffy nose.

  • “You are a necessary evil whose orbit I can’t seem to escape.” Nice try Catherine, but even I can’t deny Narcisse’s sexy intensity.

  • “Claude isn’t very sporty.” Catherine’s delivery was everything.

Next week April 16: As Francis appears to be on his deathbed, Catherine accuses Mary of killing Francis by breaking his heart. I have doubts about that medical diagnosis. Conde tells Mary that with Francis down, Mary is the king. Mary promptly uses that power to threaten Narcisse.


Kandis (she/her) is a proud member of the Austin FYA book club chapter who loves vampires, romance novels, live tweeting CW shows, and Jonah Griggs. She’s not like a regular mom. She’s a cool mom.