Welcome back to Reign, the show that probably has no idea what’s going on, but is determined to burn through whatever it is as quickly as possible! Last week, everybody hopped from Point B to about Point K. This week is no exception, as we either leap ahead with unseen plot points or tread water as hard as possible, with the added bonus that Greer, currently lacking a subplot and the only remaining unmarried handmaid, has given herself the subplot of being So Done:
The King’s got brain fever and is hitting on Kenna and being creepy and Kenna’s jealous of Lola’s wedding and Greer is just so, so done.
The wedding itself is pretty nice.
People came from four centuries to celebrate!
This dance (and I promise you, the dance scenes on this show are worth seeing even if you can’t stand the rest) is set to an eighth-grade orchestral arrangement of Lorde’s “Royals,” which made me laugh so hard I had to rewind the scene the first time just to make sure I caught it all.
I’m still surprised they married off 75% of the leading ladies in the first season; I look forward to the many awkward husband deaths that will allow them to remarry. (Also, the lady front right is wearing Millibraids Klepto’s lace shirt, which seems hilariously rude even for this crowd.)
Meanwhile, Mary’s half-brother comes to ask for her back in Scotland! This would be very historically interesting if they had ever spoken, or liked each other; it’s more believable, though no more accurate, that he might possibly be there to push her overboard and try to take the throne himself. It does, however, begin to accurately reflect Mary’s extremely historically accurate tendency to make godawful decisions. (When Francis tells her that her half-brother’s man at arms has admitted to being paid to kill Mary on the journey back and warns that James himself might be in on it, Mary’s response is, “I’ll ask him myself!” That sounds about right.)
I actually enjoy that their marriage has some relatively organic conflict, given that he’s trying to rule from the comfort of home and she’s trying to rule from France and is completely hamstrung by distance, Scottish unrest, and her utter inability to do anything remotely crafty despite having lived cheek-by-jowl with Catherine for heaven knows how long by now. NEVER ANNOUNCE YOUR INTENTIONS, MARY.
For instance, never announce your intentions to go back to Scotland on the Murderboat no matter what, lest your husband remember all those times you announced your intentions to leave or enter the castle through the Tunnels of Convenience and have you locked in the tower. (Her line during this: “Did you think I would slink out of my rooms like a rat in a passageway?” Uh, you have done it at least six other times, it is an extremely safe bet.)
However, watching Frances get the intel was illuminating for its suggestion that someone in the writers’ room is clinging to character continuity: Francis doesn’t bluster like Henry. He goes right for the torture chamber and plays mind games until the guy cracks, which is 100% Mom.
Speaking of Catherine, she finds out Nostradamus and Olivia are dating (apparently not a huge deal to anybody) and that he wants to leave town with her because she’s asking for a new start, which is a muuuuch bigger deal; Catherine immediately realizes this means Nostradamus had a vision.
Given the way most of his other visions are gone, this is probably just food poisoning, but he’s convinced it’s dire, and they’re heading out! He just wanted to let his buddy Catherine know.
Of all the characters who are new here, I did not expect Nostradamus to be one, and from her reaction, neither did Catherine.
Maybe you don’t understand how this entire dynamic has gone, old friend, but if you think you’re getting out of that pre-credit sequence for a recurring guest star, you have a surprise ahead of you.
Legit sad moment: He tells her, “This is not a betrayal, this is a friend saying goodbye,” in a tone that recognizes she is way past having the luxury of viewing the world as full of friends who just happen to leave. Oddly, he doesn’t follow this up by racing down to the gates and grabbing a waiting Olivia’s hand as they sprint for the docks and to safety before Catherine has a chance to do anything. She’d still call Poseidon or something, probably, but you DEFINITELY should not be telling her things like this and then casually packing for another few days, because she gave you advice about vipers, which you should absolutely realize is never an idle metaphor with Catherine:
(Great posing, you guys.)
And demonstrating why Olivia is getting literally shipped off for now, she doesn’t realize what was amiss until Nostradamus announces he’s not coming with her. “The viper came from Catherine!” she gasps at the docks. Nah, the French countryside is teeming with pythons, sweetie. Have a nice trip.
Penelope also makes her departure this week (also just for now, no one ever actually leaves on this show), which is just as well, because the King has taken to clearing the room at parties:
(Note that in front, Kenna’s giving some Ashes of Roses face, and in the back, Torrance Coombs is absolutely pretending he’s watching this over the heads of a vast and impenetrable crowd through which he will never reach Kenna in time. I respect it.)
Some Vatican visitors are in town, too, which makes Henry’s sexaholic brain fever even more embarrassing, to the point that when Catherine finds him trussed up in his room, vaguely hogtied and tethered to the bed (hilarious but not pictured because no thanks), all she can manage is this:
By episode’s end, she’s hired a fake bishop to literally put the fear of God in him, which works to get rid of Penelope, but Henry is still dealing with some badminton-playing ghost of the past, and Henry is NOT a sports fan.
(Also my feeling about all sports.)
We haven’t mentioned the Darkness in two episodes now, so I’m not sure if this sickness is meant to be connected; then again, we also haven’t seen Clarissa since she hired someone to hum near Nostradamus at Mary’s wedding (I love this show so much sometimes), so maybe Clarissa’s feeding him rhubarb leaves at night. Who knows any more.
But honestly, I’m not half as worried about Henry as I am about Lola, who has married a straight-up serial killer:
That’s some straight up second-Mrs.-de-Winter framing. (Reminder: two of his wives have already died, and he agreed to marry her pronto despite not being able to handle even a whiff of scandal with Greer, and he refuses to tell her about his past whatsoever. Just, yikes. Run.)
But you know who doesn’t even care any more because she’s so, so done with everybody’s marital problems, and also equally done with her bridesmaid-who-wants-to-wear-a-regular-bra dress and also equally done with screencaps taken of her when her scoffing starts to look like a sneeze?
Next week: I hope Greer just starts yanking the tablecloth out from under state dinners. If you’re gonna not care, REALLY don’t care.