WARNING: This review contains spoilers.
There’s a reason why I say that Reign is a collection of ‘missed chances‘. It’s a show that could have been ― well, not historical à la The White Queen, but better. Better than this constant swinging between good episodes and terrible episodes, really amazing moments and bad moments. Which is exactly what this fourth one, «The Price», was.
I liked this episode. I really did, it was well paced, it had important plot points, but there were certain moments within that were just a big NO. Not because they were useless ― you can’t have forty minutes of constant pikes of tension, that’s normal ― but because they were very terribly dramatically poorly written. And there’s no excuse for that.
Anyways. Let’s delve in, and of course we need to start with Mary and Francis. Mary and Francis, so beautiful, so in love, so badass together — and so so doomed. What can I say, although it does pain me, I like this whole feeling of greek tragedy that it’s hanging around our Frary these days. I know that there are lots and lots of criticism concerning the authors’ choice of actually having Francis die, but I fully support it — you can’t really twist History that much. The argument of «but Reign did plenty of ignoring of historical facts before» does not stand, because most of those were quite frankly horribly done. It’ll be sad for us to see Francis go (to see Toby go), but it’s how it’s supposed to be. What I can hope for the rest of the series is that Mary will grow stronger and maybe love again, yes, but never like with Francis. Which is exactly what the real Mary Stuart did, since she kept on writing and dedicating poems to François II years after he died.
So. In this episode we see our King and Queen dealing yet again with England’s threat over Scotland — Mary’s mother, Marie de Guise, has sent a for help and the French Crown answers with providing ships to secure a safe route for supplies. Francis and Mary again prove themselves the strong and united couple we’re used to see in this season, they orchestrate and plot and trick and win, it even looks like Francis is feeling better, but then — then he falls from his horse during a ride with Charles, and things spiral down from there. For a moment, it even looks like he’s dead. Mary’s devastated. So are we.
Thankfully, Charles took the matter in his own hands and went looking for Bash, who at his turn was looking for Delphine. The young Prince has heard of Delphine’s healing powers, and so he bring her back to court, asking her (forcing her) to heal Francis. Sure, Charles does it out of fear of not being ready to take the Crown (which is totally understandable), but everyone agrees, Mary offering her own life as compensation for bringing Francis back. There’s no need, since it’s Delphine the one who pays the price mentioned in the episode’s title — she dies as Francis draws his first breath again, and well. We got rid of her, thankfully, and even in a pretty nice way. I’m glad that in the end Bash’s galloping around France served something, but I’m honestly pretty scared to see what they’ll have him do now that Delphine is gone. Poor Viceroy.
I liked this first storyline well enough. Again, because it’s tragic, and I thrive breathing angst. Or maybe because it’s the only one who actually is aiming somewhere, and makes sense?
Because, well, it’s not like we’re gonna find much of that in the other two main plot points of the episode ― Lola and Narcisse dealing with Catherine and then Elizabeth.
As for the first one, I’m afraid even my Lorcisse fell into the sad pattern of couples losing their appeal after they’re canonized. I mean, they’re on honeymoon, Narcisse is tricking people out of their land, Lola complains and is afraid of Catherine, Catherine knows that it was Narcisse who put rats in Lola’s bathtub, and a general big mess is brewing at the horizon. What really angers me is that Lola and Narcisse had the potential, they did, like everything in Reign, but they are slowly losing it ― with Narcisse tricking Lola, most of all.
And with Lola being not that interesting of a character, I’ll say. The risk that Narcisse will be running back to scheming, plotting Catherine is very real, I feel, and to be completely honest I’m not completely sure I’d hate it. At least it’d put some spark back in a story that’s going really, really flat. Ugh, mixed feelings, mixed feelings.
And finally, Elizabeth. Elizabeth whom I’m still not liking. At all. I don’t like how they’re treating her, I don’t like the banality of her scenes (like the Spanish suitor? Who wanted proof that she was not a man? What), and her entourage. Dudley first of all ― last episode he was all like «Elizabeth you can’t keep me as a sex toy I have my dignity to uphold», and this episode, when Elizabeth finally considers that maybe it’s better to let him go, he’s all like «No I’ll love you forever I’ll never leave you», save changing his mind with his wife two scenes after. Dude, are you okay?
Not that I particularly care. I really couldn’t be less intrigued by what’s happening at English Court, not with Elizabeth and Dudley (whose romance pales in confront to Francis and Mary’s, but also every other romance ever), or with Elizabeth’s politics in general. The whole speech of «I’ll give them a queen so glorious and so magnificent» is all nice and good, but it’s not enough. By now I’m pretty sure I’ll start caring when Mary herself crosses the Channel.
What I generally feel like is that this season is rushed. They are rushing Francis’ death in order to rush Mary’s Scottish Arc in order to (probably) rush her final confrontation with Elizabeth. It shouldn’t surprise us, because to be completely honest they rushed the whole series so far (what with Bash’s love triangle and then Condé and all that jazz), but it’s a shame, because Reign still has some potential, it has all the elements to be a nice enjoyable show inspired by Queen Mary’s life ― if only the writers didn’t screw almost all its chances. What can I say. Let’s keep hoping for a better future. In the meantime, leave us your comments and ideas on the episode and enjoy the promo for next episode, “In A Clearing“!
- These lines were just plain evil and I don’t think I was ready for them and this is generally unacceptable.
- Men fight battles, but women wage war. Catherine and Claude would like to remind us of that.