Reign is back from winter break, after introducing a very serious rape subplot to its usual camp stew with very uneven effects. It chose to make its winter debut with an episode about Catherine poisoning her daughter while sexing the ghost of her husband, gay priests who orchestrated the branding of Proestants but agree to stop, Kenna solving a mystery, an orgy party, and a moment where Mary learns to touch men again courtesy of Lord Conde, just to solidify the love triangle.
I think Greer pretty much covers it.
If not, the face of literally anyone in this shot from the orgy would pretty much cover it.
Actually, though, despite some top face work from everyone, the MVP of this episode might have been Kenna (I KNOW), who somehow realizes Catherine is slowly poisoning Claude and gets involved to solve this caper and save Claude’s life. At first, this is priceless because Claude would literally rather die than talk to Kenna at all, ever:
But it gets even better when Claude drops the bomb on Kenna that Claude and Bash were LOVAHS, and Kenna confronts Bash with the ol’ “But of course not, because she’s your sister,” to which Bash replies “Half sister,” and Kenna gets a win.
Maybe the best part of this relationship is that this isn’t resolved; narratively, Bash’s confession that he’s the King’s pet killer is the first interesting thing that has happened in Bash and Kenna’s relationship literally ever, and if it means Kenna gets to make more faces like this, even I am up for a little more Kenna.
The priests are self-explanatory, except for the part where Bash frames an innocent man just to get the desired effect. And actually, it wasn’t bad as statecraft wheel-spinning goes – Francis is becoming so ruthless we’re going to be relieved when he dies, and I almost dig that – except that this is the first gay relationship we’ve ever seen on the show, and besides the Double Thorn Birds thing we’re dealing with and nobody touches, Bash ends up branding one of them, which is….awkward.
Let’s just skip to the orgy!
The swinger orgy is fully-clothed people making out behind flapping silk panels, and Leith and Greer trying to pretend they have anything to be sexually tense about, which seems like a serious slide downhill from the promise of whatever the makeup on the lady up top was promising, but it’s the CW, and their orgy imaginations get a low-PG-13 hard stop.
Hats off to this lady, though: when Conde told her his heart belonged to another, she was like, “Gotcha. So then what if I blindfold you and just pretend to be whoever that is?” This is not her first orgy.
This episode was definitely unbalanced, and not just because they tried to give us a very serious scene of Greer comforting Mary and telling her to let her heart sleep and not force her recovery, with orgy scenes on either side and some random Kenna for the three people who get excited about Kenna. Trying to handle four plots meant even less time than usual with Lola and Catherine, who usually do the heavy lifting vis-a-vis stinkeye. Lola still got some in, but it was about the baby and so it looks too fond to really have that “I cannot wait for aliens to invent tractor beams and get me the fuck out of here” feeling of her best stares.
The show gave a “twist” to Francis and Mary’s reunion by having her come across Lola and Francis sleeping in the bed with the baby between them, and I swear to god, if they try and actually shove these two together into that chemistry vortex they got last time, I’m going to be so mad. Two love triangles at once is TOO MUCH, show! Orgies or monogamy, I’m not here for this triangle bullshit!
Also not here for this triangle bullshit, I would assume: Bash, who used to be a character and now just appears when we need a plot point, and who must long for the days when he was nearly the King and got to talk to more people than just Francis and whoever he’s been assigned to punch. He has not even talked to Mary in what feels like eight episodes, and while I didn’t like that love triangle much either, this is just sad.
But naturally, Catherine steals the show. Whether poisoning her daughter, comforting her daughter about poisoning her as her ghost family stares at her, or being mean to Kenna just to get some spring back in her step, Megan Follows knows there are no small subplots; there are just people who haven’t yet mastered the art of making poison while heavy petting with their ghost husband.
Catherine: sexually ruining the undead since Day One.