Who needs history class when you have Reign, the show which kicks up its heels and hundreds of years of convention and tweaks the noses of period drama fans everywhere? This week, Marie de Guise drops in to mourn the death of her silver fox brother and to order her daughter to get jiggy with it, Francis has man pain over all the beautiful women in his castle, the brothers Navarre have man pain over other men’s wives, and Bash has man pain and does something irrelevant with a nun I’ve already forgotten about — probably because his “King’s Deputy” plotline needs to go the way of ghost sex, AKA go. It’s four twenty for Lola and, as ever, here there be love triangles. Welcome to (weird capitalization) French Court!
WTF #5: Marie de “jeez, Mom, alright already!”
Back in the Renaissance, there were two kinds of head bitches in charge: your English HBICs, e.g. Anne Boleyn (got a guy to break up with the Pope for her when I can’t even get one to buy me a mocha), and your European HBICs, e.g. our beloved Catherine de Medici, and Marie de Guise.
Mary’s mama was famous for sitting giggling in her castle while men were being skewered trying to scale the walls. She’s also all about the brocade, and very nice it is too.
Marie quickly commands Mary to get it on with Francis and make an heir, just like the last time she guest starred. And, like the last time, she seems to favor nineties style updos, sparkly headbands, and dressing like Bellatrix Lestrange. Unsurprisingly, I’m a fan.
Even more unsurprisingly, Frary can’t go through with it, which apparently gives Elizabeth a leg up on them, because she’s not even trying to have an heir.
To cut a long story short, Marie’s swirling around in cinquante shades of grey because she’s dying of ye olde cancer. While that doesn’t explain the She’s All That era prom hair, it does mean that she won’t be swooping down on French Court like a badass bat any time soon.
Remember the awesome, anachronistic strapless thing she wore last time? Sigh.
WTF #4: Mary, Queen of Shockers
With the advent of her mother, now would be a good time to discuss how far Mary’s come sartorially…if she had made any changes to her wardrobe, that is. Does she think Mama de Guise won’t recognise her if she doesn’t wear black and gold and dress like Stevie Nicks?
Huge earrings, check. Seventies bodice, check. You could say,”‘at least it’s not another peasant blouse,” but she wears one later in the episode.
Mary most likely doesn’t confide in her mother about her feelings for Condé because Marie is a hardcore Frary shipper. That, or that high collar is choking her and she can’t say anything.
The gypsy princess/French theme continues in the nightgown Mary chooses for her ill-fated liaison with Francis. While Adelaide Kane would look charming in a burlap sack, Mary Stuart’s on a seduce and conceive mission — should she not at least flash a little flesh?
Let’s not forget, this is a show that constantly tries to persuade us that Agent Provocateur has an outlet near the castle.
Said ill-fated liaison leads Mary to yell at her mother that she is both a) a grown woman, and b) alone. Considering that Marie just brushed off the fact that she was raped and Mary is pulling off a) earrings that could take somebody’s eye out, and b) a Persian rug woven into a dress, I’m inclined to say “go girl” rather than “hmmm, isn’t that a Persian rug?”
I told you peasant blouses would be back!
The morning after giving her independent woman (“crown I’m rocking, I bought it”) speech to her mother, Mary is resplendent in red, including a red corset belt that Dita Von Teese would be proud of. She may be insisting on living a separate life to her admittedly whiny husband, but alone doesn’t have to mean lonely or drab or historically accurate.
WTF #3: Lolz with Lola!
Spoiler alert: Francis has agreed to marry off Lola’s baby to somebody else’s baby, and instead of giving the idea serious side-eye, Lola loves it.
It may look like she and her tulle skirt are giving the idea serious side-eye, but they’re not. They’re just nervous about showing her up in front of her future in-laws.
On her way to Antoine’s party, where she’s meant to meet these future in-laws, Lola falls foul of Marie de Guise, who’s jealous of Lola’s “one and done” womb. I’m jealous of the gorgeous fit of this raspberry-coloured dress, which has the nippiest waist I’ve ever seen.
Marie’s sharp tongue drives Lola to strong drink…
…and hilarity ensues as she waltzes around the part, talking about sparkling, soft things, calling babies ugly, and telling Francis what a good kisser he was that one time.
Oh, and she snogs Narcisse (SHE SNOGS NARCISSE, YOU GUYS!)
“Do I have to be the Anastasia to your Christian?” Lola asks, or something to that effect. He replies that no, sex with him doesn’t have to involve hanging from the ceiling or voyeur baths, but smiles affectionately at her and sends her off to bed rather than demonstrating (since she’s high off Marie’s opium and not ready for his jelly). It’s sweet, and touching, and Lolcisse FTW.
Except you know when Mary was all, “hie thee to another woman” to Francis? At first he made speeches about his heart being closed, but then Lola was stoned and adorable and pranced around in the snow, and he leaned out the window, and it was very Beauty and the Beast.
Wow, even Lola’s gloves have peplums! Maybe the peplums are making Francis think she’s Mary? That would explain a lot.
WTF #2: Kenna, Queen of Navarre (and Shockers)
As someone who recaps teen shows, would you like to know what my pet peeve is? Excepting the iconic Caitlin Stasey wearing scarily modern/ickily nasty animal prints?
The “it was for a bet, and now I love her” trope.
So Antoine’s been playing the long game, trying to get revenge on Bash for killing his brother. He asks Kenna to help him organize a party, vamooses the note asking Bash to meet her at said party, dazzles Kenna with couture, diamonds, and the number of Blair Waldorf’s hairdresser, and voila!
How Elsa from Frozen is this gown, though?
Bash shames Kenna for dancing with another man, Kenna shames Bash for shaming her for wanting expensive things (like, say, that gorgeous fur-edged cape) and I shame Torrance Coombs for not taking his shirt off recently enough to suit me.
But also, feminism. We’ll want pretty things if we want pretty things!
The storyline culminates in Antoine, whose wife is dying and hates him anyway, proposing to Kenna. I can’t blame him, since in her filmy crimson and gold, she’s both a knockout and near enough an Arabian princess (or at least, the Disney version, like Greer is a Disney princess madam). Is it wrong I kind of want her to say yes?
And for them to go to Burning Man together?
WTF #1: Outlander, basically.
Breathless, husky, and with jewellery game so strong that peasants want to fine her, Mary asks Condé to go to Scotland together. She doesn’t say so, but the implication is frolicking in the heather, frolicking in stone circles, frolicking over haggis and Louis frolicking in a kilt.
He’s totally up for it (no word on the kilt, unfortunately), until ANGST ALERT! Elizabeth, that redhaired vixen constantly forcing Mary to hae sex when she doesn’t want to and wear odd cloaks back in season one, has decided which sexy Protestant she wants to be her husband.
Condé gives great angst face, and I grind my teeth over the fact that this never happened. Oh sure, Elizabeth I, Queen of England, is absolutely going to settle for a second son with designer stubble. Abso-freaking-lutely, writers.