Reign 2.16: “Tasting Revenge” Review

For the First Time In Forever…

A Television Review by Akash Singh

NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!

Tasting Revenge is a romance-driven episode of Reign and while that normally is enough to make me roll my eyes faster than a fastidious wheel, it works decently enough despite there being not a shred of chemistry between Mary and Condé. The actors give it their best, but their romance is so dull that not even their most passionate kiss can spice up their romance. As if made to air on Valentine’s Day weekend, the episode gives romantic twangs to everyone, saving plenty of heartbreak in its final moments before pulling an admittedly awesome twist. There’s, above everything else, an assurance throughout this episode that the writers are sort of done with their odd experiments in going around various plot points that simply don’t make sense because they’re in love with the very concept of shock value. The various threads and characters largely connect (with one glaring, admittedly sweet, exception) through the Bourbon brothers of Navarre and that certainly buoys the final scene. It’s not as if that final punch of Condé consorting with Elizabeth’s advisors necessarily lands because it’s been built up well (because it certainly hans’t), but it lands because it’s a breath of surprise that builds momentum.

The episode begins with a fairly awkward ceremony where a plethora of nobles parade their daughters around in the hopes of making them the king’s mistress and currying favor with the court. Narcisse brings his niece around to grasp Francis’s favor and because it’s Narcisse, the entire endeavor instantly became about a million times slimier than it already was. At least for a moment it worked, with her finding her way into Francis’s pants by using the excuse of a “private message”. But more importantly this episode miraculously found a way to make Francis not only relevant, but remotely likable once again. First it was his conversation with Mary where he logically makes it quite clear that if she and Condé were ever discovered together, then the entirety of the nobility would clamor for their heads and he would have no option but to oblige lest his entire rule collapses into the dust along with his lineage. Feeling more isolated than ever before, he naturally gravitates before Lola, who proves as per usual that she is one of the smartest characters on the entire show by explicitly making it clear to him as to what Mary truly needs – the courage to love again. For that to happen, for at least the moment Francis needs to let her go. But that, as she makes it explicitly clear, is certainly not an invitation for him to get involved with her. She, like him, still loves Mary and for Francis to give up on his wife at this stage would be a mistake.

The third major storyline this week revolved around Antoine, who for one isn’t a major supporter of the whole “love affair with Scotland” thing now that the potentiality of the English throne is in play. Love him or hate him, but when he’s specially getting across the point of geopolitical maneuvering costing Condé his life, he has a point. Scorning Elizabeth and England would yield an absolutely zero guarantee of garnering Scotland in the process. Mary is never going to logically leave Francis and if she does indeed become closer to him, where does that leave Condé? Certainly not in a good position. But for all of his talk, Antoine isn’t exactly what one would call prudent by any measure. His attempts to woo Kenna stall when she invites his royal wife to court in a brilliant move, whose serious illness happens to be being pregnant. That romantic liaison between the King of Navarre and the first historically recorded event planner in French history (I mean the latter with absolute endearment) comes to a crashing halt, but not before Antoine ruins things on his way out. Kenna wants a better life than what Bash has given her and she shouldn’t have to be apologetic about it. She comes clean about honestly wanting to accept Antoine’s proposal and frankly one can’t blame her, with how Bash has been treating her as of late. Screw all of this romance. I just want Mary and her ladies-in-waiting kicking ass and taking names. Come on Reign, I know you can do it.

Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:

+“Our estrangement has become obvious.”

+“Just when I was starting to like you…”

+“It worked for the Boleyn girls.” Megan Follows, you are a gift.

+I want Lola to have her own Dear Abby-style column

+“Fetch me something. I don’t care what it is, but from far away.”

+“I have no shame and I have no use for rivals.”

+The meat and potatoes quip was absolutely hilarious

+Greer and Leith’s little sojourn where he discovers that she has become a madam but  the two still love each other was really sweet.

+Lord Caslteroy imprisoned forever

+Gorgeous ride through the snow

+“I don’t trust you!”

+“You didn’t invite her, I did.”

+“They’re rulers. This is the price they pay.” For a moment I thought that Kenna was now on Game of Thrones, which would be awesome.

+“You’re right, so often as you are.”

-The writing for Bash especially has been hideous

*As odd as it may seem with all of the material I cover, I somehow find the time to be a novel writer with deadlines, do political work, and be a college student at the same time. Since finals are arriving next week, all of my reviews for the next few days (The Good Wife, The Mindy Project, The Flash, The Americans, and Reign) will be published the following Friday. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, folks!

Great

8.5/10

Title: Tasting Revenge

Written By: P. K. Simonds & Drew Lindo

Directed By: Lee Rose

Image Courtesy: The CW @ YouTube

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