I'm so sorry for getting behind with my REIGN recaps. I went to England for a week, and I forgot to set my DVR to tape "Left Behind" and then I was so jet-lagged when I got back that I totally forgot that there was a new episode before the holidays. In the meantime REIGN inexplicably won 'Best New Show' at the People's Choice Awards, which means that this show will probably be getting a second season. Truthfully, it was really hard to watch these two episodes. I get so frustrated with this show! It has moments where it's decent, but for the most part these episodes are execrable for different reasons.
The biggest problem that I have with this show is the lack of atmosphere. The French court should be teeming with people, the royals should have no privacy whatsoever. Instead, Mary and ladies wander around the halls of the palace in their nightgowns at all hours of the day and night. Where are Catherine's ladies-in-waiting, her flying squadron of women who seduced men and delivered tidbits of intel to her? Sort of a Renaissance MI-5. Mary and Francis, or Mary and Bash are constantly wandering off to have private conversations. Perhaps they could spend less money on costumes so that they could pay more extras.
Let's start with "Left Behind" shall we?
* Mary and Francis are still have the same old argument about their relationship. She's upset that he's sleeping with Olivia and that Catherine de Medici keeps throwing it in her face. He claims that he's only sleeping with Olivia to forget Mary. Whatever!
* Catherine congratulates Olivia on a job well done but Olivia bursts her bubble by telling her that Francis is in love with Mary.
* Diane de Poitiers tells her son Sebastian that she has been corresponding with various cardinals to see about having him legitimized. Bash is not thrilled with this development and tells her to lay off.
* The boring sub-plot continues of Greer hanging out with her kitchen boy boyfriend. Somehow Greer and kitchen boy are completely alone in the kitchen. Where are the servants people?
* Henry has ridden off to put down a minor rebellion in Lorraine taking most of the guards and nobles with him. Okay, this is one of the things that drives me crazy about this show. No King worth his salt would leave his wife and children with only minimal guards while he rides off to put down a rebellion. He would know that it would leave them vulnerable.
* An Italian Count arrives and Catherine greets him in their native language. It turns out that the Count is up to no good. See his son was taken hostage and held by the French. The Count bargained for his son's life, but after the child was released, he died from dysentery. The Count is distraught and out for revenge. His wife is dead, and he has no heir. He takes the palace and all its occupants prisoner.
This was an interesting plot, I have to admit. But again, it was too easy for the Count to take the palace. There should have been a fight and some bloodshed. Francis and Bash fighting side by side to protect the Queen and Mary. Instead Bash is hidden by guards along with his mother, while Francis is left to deal with the Count. Also, while I found it compelling that the Count would want revenge for his son's death, in reality the Count would have remarried as soon as it was feasible to sire another heir.
* Catherine offers Mary as a wife but Francis offers himself instead as a hostage.
* Mary consults Clarissa, who she thinks is a ghost, to figure out how they can sneak out of the palace using the underground tunnels. She then tells Catherine de Medici her plan. She and Catherine argue over who loves Francis more.
* The plan is that they will entertain the Count at dinner, and then after dinner they will all sneak out of the palace. Mary gives Olivia the instruction to open the door when Mary knocks on the door. However, Olivia decides that "All for One" is her new motto and she hightails it out of there leaving Mary and her women stranded.
* With the crisis behind them, Mary and Francis decide they don't want to be apart and they hop into the sack.
Historical Note: Catherine tells Mary and her ladies how she survived the overthrow of her family, particularly how As the siege dragged on, voices called for Catherine to be killed and exposed naked and chained to the city walls. Some even suggested that she be handed over to the troops to be used for their sexual gratification. This actually happened. Her uncle had to crown Charles V Holy Roman Emperor to get his help to lift the siege. She was 11 when her uncle, Pope Clement VII summoned her to Rome.
* Mary and Francis are basking in the after-glow after the consummation of their relationship. She worries that it's wrong that they have anticipated the marriage vows. Francis hopes that she is pregnant so that they can have a shot-gun wedding.
* Henry II and Kenna are having an awkward conversation. Kenna, who was roughed up by the Count's men, is not happy that Henry has been spending time with his other mistress Diane. Henry tells her that he will never give Diane up. I'm incensed that he seems to have no reaction to the fact that his family and his palace were taken hostage.
* News arrives that Queen Mary of England is on her deathbed. Henry decides that Mary will stake her claim to the English throne as soon as she's dead, and that she and Francis will marry. He makes some comment about England waging war against France for half a century. Umm, it was longer than that which is why it was called The Hundred Years war. And the war ended long before Henry or even his father Francis was born. Part of the reason why Henry VIII's sister was married off to Louis XII.
* Catherine is not happy at the news what with Nostradamus' prediction that marrying Mary will be the death of him. She wants to poison Mary but Nostradamus convinces her to just tell Mary about the prediction instead. Speaking of Nostradamus, where was he in the last episode? And why didn't he have a premonition about the Count?
* Mary and Francis talk about the whole England situation. Mary is one the fence about invading England. Francis tells her that they will secretly get married and then tell his father to stuff it.
* Kenna is mistaken for Diane de Poitiers and learns all about her plans for Bash. She runs to Catherine de Medici hoping for her help. Catherine goes to Diane and tells her to leave otherwise she'll tell Henry about her little plan, but before she does, maybe she could do Catherine a favor by poisoning Kenna on her way out the door.
* Mary learns about the prediction but at first she doesn't believe it. Also Nostradamus tells her that one of her ladies is going to die. The girls sit around talking about Nostradamus and his predictions for all of them. Aylee mentions that she was told that she would never go home again. Mary is confused.
*Diane tells Bash that Catherine knows about her plot and that they both need to get the hell out of Dodge for awhile.
* Mary's ladies are sitting around chatting. Aylee takes a sip of a drink meant for Kenna. She feels ill when she's pushed down the stairs by a girl in a burlap sack. Aylee dies of her injuries, meaning that one of Nostradamus' predictions has come to fruition. Mary now decides that she cannot marry Francis.
* Nostradamus scolds the girl in the burlap sack. He recognizes the poison used as one of his, not Catherine's (it turns out that Diane got rid of the poison that Catherine had wanted her to use on Kenna). Burlap sack girl says that she just wanted to help Mary out. Nostradamus calls her a monster and pulls the sack off. The camera cuts away before we get to see anything.
* Mary decides that she is going to flee the palace all by herself. She runs into Bash in the stable and they ride off together with Francis calling out plaintively.
Well that's it for the last two episodes of REIGN. There is a new episode this coming Thursday. Will Francis find out why Mary fled? Will Bash and Mary fall for each other. Does anyone care?