WARNING: This review contains spoilers
Let’s make things clear ― yes, Reign is trashy. Not Scream Queens-level of trash, but still. It’s a teen drama trying to be a period drama and somehow kind of failing in both departments, because it has some pretty high moments that are way too good for your average teen drama, and then an incredibly ridiculous historic fall.
Like Elizabeth, but we’ll get there. And yes, I do love Reign very much, despite all its flaws, and I’m very very glad that it started again. But sometimes too much is too much, which is why I still feel like I need to criticize some things ― sure, not everything. So let’s head off into 3×01, «Three Queens, Two Tigers»
Well, let’s kick off with the most anticipated character of the season ― by the producers, at least, it’s not like I really care about her that much ― Elizabeth Tudor, Queen of England. And all her court with her, including Robert Dudley and Francis Walsingham, respectively her lover and her advisor. Am I allowed to say that the only spot-on thing about her was her hair, or would that be criticizing too much for a show like Reign? I mean, I get it, I just wrote it, it’s not a period drama like The White Queen, but for Heaven’s sake, we’re talking about Elizabeth I. A little bit of historic accuracy would be appreciated, and instead of showing us the strong, fierce queen that we expected ― a queen that could antagonize with the equal strong, fierce Mary ― we’ve gotten this spoiled child who is way too swayed by Walsingham and Catherine. Now, her advisor I could understand, but Catherine? A foreigner, a Catholic, a former queen of a rival country with no real political importance? And the head of one of the mightiest kingdoms in Renaissance Europe lets herself be controlled by that? It’s kind of pathetic, and it immediately cut in half any interest I could have had for her. I hope she’ll get back on her feet in the next episodes, really bloom into Gloriana ― and dump Dudley as soon as possible, because this love story is already dragging and we’re only one episode in.
On the other side of the Channel, Mary and Francis are full on #FraryLove, and for like three seconds I was actually happy for my beloved OTP. They were back to being the loving, badass, adult and sane relationship we were used to in that Golden Age known as «before Condé came in like a wrecking ball». Of course, all this happiness couldn’t last for more than two scenes, because «mai una gioia», never a joy, like we Italian fangirls say. Francis dropped the bomb immediately, telling Mary that he’s dying, that he’ll be gone soon, and that she’ll be alone. Hey, it had to happen sooner of later, they can’t twist History that much. Sure, I’d prefer not, but it’ll bring about Mary’s Scottish Arc, at least.
I also really liked the writing decision of telling Mary immediately in the first episode. There have been enough secrets between these two, and at least they get the chance to work together, without any double plays and more secrets and plotting and blackmailing. All of which have led to love triangles in the proviso two seasons, and to be honest I’d pick Frary drama over a love triangle any day.
And in fact, despite their impending doom, the royals of France work together to find a solution to answer Elizabeth’s threat to Mary’s nobles in Scotland ― they hire a corsair,
because apparently every hip show needs its own eyeliner-wearing pirate nowadays. This corsair sets his eyes on Greer, Greer likes him, they make out, the corsair leaves and I still have to understand if he played her or if she played him. Anyways, I’d like for him to make another appearance, since it’s clear that this Greer and Leith thing has no future. He could actually be a good match for Greer, if written and developed properly.
What it’s also interesting is Charles, Francis’ younger brother and future King of France, who is currently the object of interest of not one, but two monarchs. Elizabeth would like an engagement with him, following Catherine’s advice, and Francis has recalled him back to court to learn the ways of ruling, since he’ll soon step onto the throne ― not that Charles knows. Again, if written properly, he could be an interesting character.
Then there’s Narcisse, who might be a backstabbing blackmailer but is charming as hell, and the only one doing actually sensible thing in the whole French court. The one thing he doesn’t seem able to manage is swaying Lola. Not that Lola is a super easy person to convince, since one day she’s in love with him, then no, then she wants him, then she’s afraid of him, then he saves her life, then Francis forbids them to be together ― kind of not a nice move there, since Narcisse literally saved his only son last season ― and has generally very mixed feelings. Lola, please. Try not to destroy the only decent character left in Reign alongside Mary, thanks.
Also, kudos to Narcisse for pulling a Frank Delfino and not giving in to a half-naked Lola in his bathtub ― because he wants everything, love and passion and marriage and kids and I’m basically melting at his feet like Lola should. I have really high hopes for my Lorcisse, so writers, don’t ruin them like you ruined Bash.
And speaking of Bash, well ― there’s not really much to say. He plummeted down from being one of the saga’s three main characters to being given this ridiculous plots that are so out of place it’s almost sad to see him go about his business of chasing Delphine and being tied to her by magic and all that jazz. I mean, magic did make an appearance in Reign before, but it always felt out of place, because it’s so uncertain ― is it actually a magical show? No? It’s never clarified, and so Bash seems like the only idiot running around chasing witches while everybody else is busy in doing actual serious stuff. Or am I the only one feeling like this?
All and all, it was a nice first episode, where Mary shone like always (maybe this is the reason Elizabeth feels so vapid? Because she’d outshine Mary?) and we had establishments for some potentially nice storylines. Let’s hope they don’t mess it up, and for now leave your comments below, tell us what you thought of this season premiere!
― Francis who is sick and dying and decides that sailing is a really great idea. With barely a shirt on and all that wind that surely must have done wonders for his health. Amore di mamma, maybe wear a scarf, at least?
― Kenna and Claude and Leith are apparently M.I.A., but again, it’s just episode one, maybe they’ll return in the following ones.
― I still don’t know how to define the whole scene in the mill with the «monk» and fake!Catherine.
― Just as I don’t know what to say on Catherine being stuck in the cage with the tiger.
― Why is Nostradamus back? Is he gone again? Why do characters have these random appearances that no one really understands?