This week’s party du jour is “Winter’s Ease” which celebrates the return of spring (except Lola says it’s not the real return of spring, just the idea of the return of spring?) and characters we haven’t seen in a few episodes. His Hotness the King of Navarre is back, Narcisse pops through the snow like a daisy, Nostradamus’ name is tossed about, and even Clarissa merits a mention! Also, ghost sex with dead King Henry has left Catherine with an STI, real life sex eludes Claude, and rumour has it Bash murdered a fictional person (and how can you tell he’s fictional? Anachronistic name, people. Anachronistic name…)

 

WTF #5: I Get Knocked Up (But I Get Down Again)

I’ve never found dressing like a poodle a turn on, but this is apparently Claude at her most alluring. The picture below in particular illustrates my problem with the fact Claude believed she could seduce Narcisse with a diamond-encrusted  bow in her hair and lace up to here.

Conversely, Lola was starkers in a bath and still managed to keep her dignity. You go, Lola.

 

That lady has been flouncing around in the snow in a skirt we’ve totally seen before. I previously claimed this skirt was Renaissance-adjacent, but it really isn’t. Wearing a tiara every day and having hair with the volume of a heavy metal concert are similarly inaccurate, but this is Reign, so I can only advise Lola to invest in some new clothes ASAP.

Isn’t her baby the Baron of Something? Help a mother out, son.

 

Anyway, serial skirt wearer or not, Narcisse is into that. By which I mean, when that turns him down for a sexy trip to the hot springs, he decides to be into Claude. By which I mean, until she starts giving him a stern talking to about contraception.

 

Such edicts are understandable, given her dress is basically a giant prophylactic/re-purposed curtain, complete with a hot pink bustle. Poor Narcisse would’ve had to hack through those swathes of fabric with a machete before he even considered the tighter-than-tight, made-for-TV-fairytale-movie bodice that tops off this awful ballgown.

 

Basically, Claude’s not getting any, and neither is Lola, and it’s because they’re wearing clothes which are either a) ugly, or b) I’ve recapped before. Where did all the public consummations and filmy nightgowns go? Why is Lola dressing like a soccer mom at the fanciest of cheese and wine parties?

Oh, hey Kenna. You’ve re-purposed a curtain too, I see. Lovely.

 

WTF #4: Parting is Such Sweet Syphilis

Yep, you heard it here first: Catherine de’ Medici has a sexually transmitted disease, which explains the magical guest appearances by Alan van Sprang and her fantasising about Francis’ eyeballs falling out.

She even goes so far as to mention the prophecy saying her firstborn would die. Since we know Francis died in real life anyway, nobody cares.

 

Anyhoo, Cathy undergoes ye olde mystical treatments for syphilis so we can laugh at her having the bile sucked out of her feet by birds, and the fact she wears the same brocade gown all episode long and lets her poodle-like daughter giggle at her.

 

Okay, Reign, you’ve really lost it now. This is not how a mercury bath…and you don’t just…and most of these treatments weren’t…oh, thank God, Cathy hasn’t got the syph. With the help of Narcisse, fresh from not doing Claude (plus the immortal power of chemistry), she discovers both she and Henry were driven mad by a poisoned Bible.

Religion = dangerous. WE GET IT, SHOW.

 

WTF #3: It’s a G-G-G-G-Ghost! (Yes, Another One!)

In brief (because I didn’t understand this storyline at all), a man appears to have crawled out of the grave in the picture below and be terrorising people in the nearby villages.

 

But when Bash, the King’s Deputy, bastard brother and hotter alter-ego, goes to sort isht out, he only finds a Greek man who was buried accidentally and helped out of the grave by a lady in white. Who was she? Why is he Greek? If he is Greek, why does he have an accent which suggests he grew up in the West Country, England?

I doubt we’re going to find the answers to any of these questions anytime soon, since Aristo gets arrow-ed by superstitious townies…unless Resurrectionists are the new sexy Pagans?

 

In a vain attempt to try and draw the threads of a seriously bizarre plot together, Bash realises he doesn’t want to shoot Kenna just because she’s a bit of a slutty ghost. That seems to make them happy, which I’m glad about, because the poor girl is going to catch hypothermia any minute.

There’s snow thick on the ground outside, and Kenna’s dressed in strapless and crochet like my Catholic mother’s worst nightmare. 

 

WTF #2: Vivat Frary

Guess who’s back in their signature black and gold, taking names, wearing gypsy hoops and scheming to rule the world like it’s 1558 again? Frary, that’s who! (Question: who coordinates their clothes? Their servants? Their respective HBIC mothers? All this black and gold can’t just be a coincidence).

I have to say, Mary’s rocking that Serena van der Woodsen-esque cleavage rhombus.

 

Anyway, Frary are working their way back together, episode by excruciating episode, culminating in Mary asking Francis to sleep beside her in bed. As we know, she can’t stand the sound of a man breathing close beside her after her rape (funny, she never seems to mind when Condé does it), and Francis’ admittedly creepy exhalations bring on a panic attack…

…which he then soothes her out of by touching her. That’s really not how PTSD works, but okay. Also, for a king, Francis wears really grubby nightshirts, but o-gosh-darn-kay.

 

Unlike the Ice Festival, Frary do come into their own at Winter’s Ease. Adelaide looks radiant in this lavender coloured gown, and the puffed upper sleeves give it a really Disney princess feel. You know what else is awesome? Another updo! That’s two updos in two weeks, and it really gives Mary a chance to show off the tennis rackets swinging from her ear lobes.

 

But even after the matching, the breathing, the hugging, and the dancing, Mary still insists Francis needs to find a lover and leave her to her overly ornate dressing gowns.

Can I suggest Claude? She’s desperate, and it worked for the Borgias…

 

WTF #1: Never Say Navarre

One has to wonder if Torrance Coombs has been negotiating his contract, and I’ll tell you why — King Sexpot of Navarre turns up at French Court, asking for money to fund all the French Protestant refugees who’ve pitched up in Navarre. Unbeknownst to non-audience members, he also has a vendetta against whoever killed his brother, Marcus.

Except, you know, Antoine of Navarre didn’t have a brother called Marcus, let alone one who was killed by Sebastian de Poitiers in a villa in Italy. One nonsensical Bash-based storyline per episode is quite enough, thank you very much.

 

Other than wearing a lot of red, never taking his crown off and being gorgeous, Antoine doesn’t really do anything. He does reveal he’s in talks with the English about billeting an army in Navarre, but only after Narcisse has already told Frary. Boredom, 1, Suspense, 0.

Elizabeth I is, understandably, getting jumpy about the way Francis keeps accidentally murdering people and his blackmail-based hatred of Protestants. According to Mr Navarre 1536, Elizabeth is building a spy network loyal only to her; Mary wonders whether she’ll have to look over her shoulder for the rest of her life.

 

All I’m saying is, there’s one woman I wouldn’t mind seeing with a queenly updo…