WARNING: This review contains spoilers.
Welcome back, Royals! Welcome back to Reign’s 3×03, «Extreme Measures», which, I have to say, I found a way better episode than the first two. Could it be that we’re slowly improving? I don’t know if I’m that hopeful, but at least I really did enjoy this week’s story ― maybe because they left out Fail!Elizabeth?
So, what I really liked about «Extreme Measures» was that finally all the storylines seemed connected to one another, and actually went together towards a common end ― well, save for Bash, but that’s nothing new under the sun. Reign left us last week with a sort of balance ― Francis dying, Mary set to marry Charles, Catherine in prison. But this Friday all it took was the entrance of a new piece in the game, and the whole board changed ― Antoine of Bourbon, King of Navarre, Condé’s brother, trying to save Louis who is a prisoner in Chamonix. A foreign King, and most importantly one with a very strong claim on the throne of France. The whole plot of the episode somehow revolves around him and around decisions concerning the future of France ― in the end, Antoine signs away his blood claim on the throne in exchange for the French Crown’s help in saving Louis, but his presence got us some pretty great scenes that tasted very much like season one. Forty minutes that passed in a blink without dragging, exactly like it should be.
Let’s start with Francis, shall we? Now, I always appreciated Francis, he’s a great character, and certainly the most consistent one ― in the sense that he never changed his mind so drastically like Mary or Catherine did. He’s not my favorite, granted, Mary still holds that spot, but he’s a truly brilliant character, and he proved it once more in this episode. Francis II Valois is a dying king, suffering from an illness that probably causes him a great deal of physical pain, since he has troubles walking and even simply standing, and yet here he is, strong and ready to do anything for his kingdom, his wife and his brother. What Mary said to him is very, very true ― it was Francis’ love that always protected her and Scotland. Because Francis’ love is strong enough, has always been strong enough and it still is right now. Kudos to you, Francis, for being amazing.
In all this, Mary too found the kinging that I wished for her last week. She realized that marrying Charles wasn’t the best option, not for her and not for Scotland and not for France. She made a painful decision, the one of leaving French Court after Francis’ death and ― for now ― go to Spain to marry the Crown Prince. And here we have her, the strong Mary who knows what’s best for her, who is a Queen in every sense. Sure, she did make a couple of mistakes, the chiefest being restoring Catherine in her place, as future regent of Charles. I mean, Catherine is another one who knows what being a Queen means, but I’m afraid Mary didn’t really learn anything from her past history in the Court ― trusting Catherine with such a great power might not be the best idea she has ever had. Yes, Catherine is fierce when it comes to her children, and her main grudge was against Mary, which means that she’s still faithful to the Valois line, but it’s also clear that she wants power. When she sat on the King’s throne at the closing of the episode, well, I had shivers. It’s a twist that will surely complicate many lives, but at the same time I feel like shouting a BIG YES. Catherine is like Cersei Lannister in many aspects, for me. I kind of not like them both, but I love their characters, and always want them to have more and more screen time because they’re so interesting.
You know whose lives will also be complicated by Catherine? Lola and Narcisse’s. Lola and Narcisse who are finally married, despite all of Lola’s indecisions. In the end, what she really needed was her King’s approval, and when Francis gave Narcisse his blessing, well, it was done. Ring the bells. The wedding scene was quick but
beautiful, with no undesired interruptions but a threat ready to rise, since Catherine is back around. I’m sure that by now you’ve all figured out that I really love Lola and Narcisse ― they have great potential, and Narcisse is such a well-constructed character I really can’t get enough of him. This week we saw the light that Lola herself sees in him, when he helped Charles sort out a possible life and death situation with the young daughter of the Duke of Toulouse. Narcisse himself realized that he doesn’t need scheming and plotting to win, and that sometimes playing fair does get you what you want ― in his case, Francis’ gratitude and the ‘go fly’ with his wedding to Lola.
In the end, let’s talk about Claude and Leith. I’m loving Claude this season ― she’s still the frilly princess we saw last season, but she’s also matured, what with what happened with her mother and her older brother dying, and Leith. Leith is helping Claude find the adult inside herself, casting away the spoiled royal child. And it’s clear that Claude is warming to him, even if she still can’t say that she’s falling in love. And so is Leith, who is realizing it way faster than Claude and is scared, because like he said, he’s fallen for a woman nobler than him already, and it was painful. Claude is even a princess, not just a lady, and it could end badly. This is where I think there’s a difference ― Claude is headstrong enough not to care. Greer was never like that, Greer wanted something for herself and herself alone. Not that it’s a bad thing, it’s just the reason why their ship could never have sailed. Greer and Leith have been each other’s first love, but it’s time to move on, and I hope that this Cleith relationship really gets a chance.
And this closes this week’s review. I hope they keep on going down this road, that’s really really promising and could certainly raise season three way above season two ― which, in my opinion, wasn’t that great. What are your thoughts on «Extreme Measures»? Let us know, and for now, we leave you with the promo until next episode!
- In some ways it’s a good thing that Catherine is ready to take on the role as Regent, since Charles is ‘unexperienced‘ to say the least. I mean, stealing a vial of opium to have a great time with an important Duke’s young daughter? I hope he’ll grow a little bit more mature after what happened with Constance, and maybe start trusting Narcisse. He could be a good advisor to a young King, and maybe limit Catherine’s influence over him.
- Bash’s storyline is reaching levels of boredom unknown to mankind. Still, maybe next week we’ll see where his whole hunt for Delphine is aiming at, looking at the promo.
- Were they playing a violin version of Sam Smith’s ‘Stay With Me’ during Mary and Francis’ dance? Are they trying to murder us with feelings?
- These lines win at life: