The Wary Wiles
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
Ay. It’s been a tough week and the latest episode of Reign did little to assuage that. The episode as a whole simply seems to be running around in circles, puncturing them and heading off into a decent direction for what seems like a mere moment before it all ends up going to hell in a handbasket. The season started off really strongly and it made me believe that the show had learned from its past silly mistakes and was moving into the big leagues. It was perhaps the definition of speaking too soon. Once Catherine’s madness began to take affect and the Mary-Conde romance took flight, the show fell off a cliff and has been virtually been stuck there as if unable and or unwilling to budge in any decent direction. Every episode now they seem to move towards killing the Mary and Conde romance and every week it somehow miraculously survives. At this point, even if something as stupid as Leith running over Conde and then accidentally falling off and getting impaled on a forest booby trap happened, I would be okay with it just to see those two exit my screens and never set foot on the show again.
The Mary and Conde love affair, which I have been noting in my reviews as something that is so close to just never happening again is, surprise, happening again. Conde had resigned himself to the simple reality that he was for all intents and purposes doomed and I was frankly totally okay with that occurring. Mary continues to insist that she will save him although for the love of Scotland I have no idea why. There’s absolutely nothing there, nothing, and the more the writers push this fiasco of a relationship on the audience the more insufferable it becomes. Such pathetic behavior is suited for teenagers, not the Queen of France and a Bourbon prince. Real responsibilities and the lives of millions are at stake here but no one seems to think about that because of love. Sure, if there was something legitimate there and the show hadn’t crafted this romance out of the horrific rape Mary endured, I wouldn’t mind it as much. But you could replace either individual in this relationship with a wooden board and the chemistry would have been equivalent. Adelaide Kane especially is trying her best to make something out of this relationship, but the writing simply isn’t there to support her.
The most frustrating aspect of this episode is the overwhelming usage of a man explaining to a woman how her feelings and mind really work. The first instance is the most logical and understandable, with Francis revealing his absolute frustration that Mary has put her entire rule in jeopardy because she did the exact opposite of what every ruler is supposed to do: she put the personal before the political. It’s an understandable outburst and one that in every semblance of honesty is actually quite logical. For one thing, when Francis out of all people is giving you tips on how to be a proper leader, you should already know that you’ve ****ed up big time. For another, considering how the show grounded Mary’s troubles within the fairly significant context that this young woman was crowned the queen of two nations and one as a child, all of a sudden going and centering her journey over a romance with a Spanish Bourbon Prince is a complete and utter disservice to her character. The plague, the Scottish crown in turmoil with her brother James, and the religious wars spreading all over Europe were actual quandaries. Conde is not. And now Elizabeth’s envoy has convinced Conde to use the Bourbon army to try and take Francis’s throne. One can only hope that this goes as terribly as expected and Mary just orders Conde’s execution or something and we can chalk this whole affair off as a grand mistake that just needs to be forgotten.
Four more instances of a man telling a women how she should feel arrive via Leith and Narcisse, twice each for the morons. Leith, who was actually becoming kind of sweet despite remaining as stupid as he ever was, is still after Greer settling down and becoming his wife. His persistence is less earnest than it is grating, like sharp French nails on a chalkboard and especially in this hour you want to enter the screen and sew his mouth shut. He gathers enough cash to secure an annulment but Greer isn’t having any of it. He says the two of them could survive on love, but considering how her life fell off Mt. Everest before she climbed back up and garnered something for herself, “love” simply isn’t enough for her and she lets him go. I wouldn’t celebrate just yet, because I perfectly expect him to show up next week anyway. His second lecture is to Princess Claude about “love”, whose heart is apparently broken and then inexplicably gives him almond earrings. Okay, whatever.
Narcisse is asked by Catherine to prove that she can trust him, so he circulates the sixteenth-century version of a nude picture that was inspired by Lola in a bathtub. Lola is rightfully furious, but Narcisse blames her instead because she made the mistake of trusting him. Wait, what? To round off the worst episode of Reign in a long time, Narcisse lectures Catherine that she didn’t ask him to prove that she can trust him, but that she wanted to prove that she was capable of being loved because of Henry’s numerous infidelities. It takes some really twisted logic to get there and even then you’re trying way too hard. After all, Catherine told him to do something unforgivable. He was the one that came up with the drawing idea. Catherine tells him not to flatter himself and she told him exactly what she wanted for a fairy logical reason. But Narcisse insists that she doesn’t know what she wants despite saying so repeatedly and so he has to explain her own feelings to her. You know, for her own good. It’s like beating your head against a brick wall. Catherine, can you poison him?
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+Megan Follows remains a gift.
+“But do you realize that every relationship you’ve had has been chosen for you.”
+“We are king and queen, chained together as surely as prisoners in a dungeon. And if we are not to suffer as prisoners do, we must make peace with each other. It’s our only chance of survival in this life without going mad with grief.”
+Mary and Greer’s espionage partnership holds some promise
-“I’ll save you.” No, please don’t.
-Why is Kenna sleeping with General Renaud all of a sudden?
-“You mean that you encouraged the love of a man below you in rank?” Ugh.
-“The likeness is impressive.”
Written By: Doris Egan & Daniel Sinclair
Directed By: Norma Bailey
Image Courtesy: With An Accent