Title: Reign S2.E09 “Acts of War”
Released: 2014
Series:  Reign

Previously on Reign: Catherine tried to find a husband for Claude. Greer confessed to Mary that Castleroy is a Protestant. Francis confessed to Bash that he killed their father and that Narcisse is blackmailing him. Some radical Protestants killed their minister to make him a martyr.

WHEW. It’s such a shame that nothing ever happens on this show.

The Intrigue

  • Francis is in the village doing damage control, handing out food and trying to get people hyped for the feast of St. Nicholas. The villagers are somewhat mistrustful, ever since they saw a priest hung in the town square.

  • Claude tries to get the juicy Narcisse gossip from Mary’s ladies, and is completely uninterested in hearing about how unsuitable he is for her. Especially, since she only intends to have a torrid affair with him, not marry him. Mary suggests to Francis that they match Claude up with Hot Cousin Louis. She thinks it would send a message of acceptance, to marry a royal to a Protestant. Francis thinks the nobles would revolt. Yet again, she’s disappointed in his catering to the nobles.

  • Bash has found Father Michael, the priest that Narcisse had been hiding, should he be needed to testify that Catherine and Mary tried to poison Henry. Now they just need to find Lord Montgomery, and Narcisse has nothing left to hold over Francis.

  • Francis tells Mary that he’s changed his mind and wants her to get Louis and Claude to agree to an engagement, and he’ll deal with the nobles. She warns him not to go back on his word to her again. She has about as much faith in Francis as I do.

  • Mary tries to talk Louis into marrying Claude, despite that fact that he knows she’s a terror. He agrees, because he always does what Mary wants. Claude is less enthused. I can only imagine it’s because she hasn’t seen Louis yet. She continues to insist that she doesn’t need a husband. She appears to be the only one unaware that princess = brood mare. Catherine interrupts with her objections. She worries Louis could make a claim on the throne, and she wants Claude to marry someone who will take her far, far, away. As do we all, Catherine.

  • Castleroy ambushes Greer with his Protestant friends, in hopes of converting her, which she is not wild about. But, she later tells him she thinks it would be best for them and his children, if they were united in faith. He’s overjoyed by her decision.

  • Claude and Louis take stock of each other. She pays particular attention to the fit of his breeches. Oh, like you haven’t? He proposes that if they marry and don’t suit, they can always just have an open marriage. She is suddenly interested in more than just his breeches.

  • Narcisse confronts Francis and his crazy eyes about Claude’s engagement. Francis calls Narcisse’s bluff on exposing Mary, and Narcisse backpedals. It’s revealed that Francis was just playing crazy for Narcisse’s benefit. Bash speaks for all of us, it was a little too convincing.

  • Narcisse goes to Claude’s chambers to scare her out of marrying Louis. He proposes that she elope with him instead, to save her life, and to piss off Francis. After some naughty groping, she agrees to think about it. Yet surprisingly, Francis is able to convince Claude to do her patriotic duty, and marry her hot cousin, instead of the creepy guy who’s old enough to be her father.

  • Narcisse sends his man to bring Lord Montgomery to the castle, to bring about Francis’ downfall. Bash and Francis follow him, so that Francis can kill the poor guy who’s already been paying for Francis’ actions for months. But Bash ends up doing it for him.

  • Mary tells Louis that, like him, her faith in Francis has been shaken, but she loves him. Then she goes on and on, about all the things a marriage should be built on, right before she announces to the castle that he’s marrying someone he doesn’t care about. He’s starting to looking pretty nauseated about the whole thing. Later that night, Louis packs his bags and hightails it out of the castle, giving a servant a note, to be given to Mary in the morning, once he’s gotten some distance from her. Seriously? Don’t agree to her plans if you’re going to be a crybaby about it later.

  • A group of rangry Protestants from the village find it shockingly easy to kill some guards, steal their uniforms, enter the castle, and walk straight into Mary’s chambers. They’re looking for Francis, who isn’t there, of course. Mary tries to talk them out of killing her, but the ringleader blames her and Francis for his minister son’s death, and he brutally rapes her. Mary escapes and Catherine finds her in the hall. She dismisses the guards and takes Mary into her chambers to find out what’s happened. She reminds Mary that she’s been through this herself, and that Mary will survive, and that Catherine will helps her erase all signs, so that no one will ever see her as a victim. She’ll only be the queen who survived an assassination attempt.

  • Castleroy’s Protestant friends bring them news of of the attack on the castle. Greer demands to know if the men were in on it, and Castleroy wants to know if his donations were used to fund the attack. One of the men eventually breaks and admits that he was under threats from the radicals. Greer is appalled that they funded an assassination attempt on the king.

  • Mary enters the throne room, regally put together. She takes the throne, with Catherine at her shoulder, in a gesture that I love. Mary announces to the court that the assassination attempt was a failure, the king and queen remain untouched, and the men will die for nothing. She’s shaken, but steely as hell.

  • Narcisse is relieved that the attack by Protestants will surely put an end to Claude and Louis’ engagement. He goes to Lola, and expresses some remorse that his pressure on Francis could in some way be responsible for all the chaos that is happening. And he confesses that he still thinks of her. You know, when he’s not asking Claude to elope with him.

  • Francis arrives back at the castle, relieved to find Mary alright. She tells him that she and Catherine lied to everyone, and tells him what really happened. He’s horrified and guilt-ridden, especially since she thinks he was smoothing over the engagement news at the Vatican, not that he was off killing people because of the blackmail he never told her about. She tells him to find the men who did this, and to kill them. Finally, something that Francis can probably manage.

History According to Reign

  • Apparently, back in the 1600’s, a villager could publicly accuse the king of having an innocent man killed without being immediately arrested for treason.

  • “I’m not sure it’s safe to let you in my chambers without a chaperone.” Hilariously, Claude is the first to be aware of that impropriety.

  • When Mary addresses the court, there are no more than 20 people in the throne room. The show’s budget is most revealing when it comes to crowd scenes and extras. In reality, there would have been thousands of people living at court.

Number of Times I Forgot I Wasn’t Watching Gossip Girl: 2

1. Claude prefers to wear all of her jewelry at once. Lily van der Woodsen would approve.

2. “I care about me, not France. That’s your job.” Self before country. Claude would make an excellent modern teenager.

This was an incredibly difficult hour of television. The performances, especially Adelaide Kane’s were outstanding. Despite the potential for bringing Mary and Catherine closer together, I can’t help but wish the show had not chosen to take the story in this direction. I definitely believe there is a need for this type of storyline, but this show, and its penchant for playing fast and loose with history, doesn’t seem like the place for it. As always, feel free to disagree with me in the comments.

Next week: Mary remains traumatized. Francis and his crazy eyes go about terrorizing the countryside.


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.