It does seem like Francis spends ninety percent of the time avoiding king-ing (by avoiding his nobles for reasons of Lola’s baby, Narcisse or Mary), but now he has a legitimate reason: in the Hamlet/True Blood crossover we’ve all been waiting for, Francis’ life hangs in the balance because a magical nun brought Bash back from the dead. The imbalance must be redressed, but in the meantime Mary can try to steal an army, Catherine can try to steal it back, and Greer can steal Serena van der Woodsen’s cleavage rhombus. Condé does nothing but pout (and very prettily he does it too; still, I’m not surprised Elizabeth didn’t marry him. Apparently, she enjoyed throwing things at wimpy men).
WTF #5: Death Becomes Her
We first encounter Mary in the arms of her bearded lover, Nostradamus Bash Condé, in what appears to be yet another churchy love nest. It certainly just looks like a church with a bed in it, so we can but hope our good Catholic Queen Mary covered her virginal namesake’s eyes before getting down to business).
Lola turns up to tell Mary her husband’s brain might be sliding out through his ear, and it’s awkward, but it seems like it’s meant to be awkward because Lola’s not supposed to know Mary’s with Condé…except of course she does? Doesn’t everyone? It’s a secret?!
When having an assignation, layers are key. Owing to the Narnia-esque seasons in Reign (I blame you, Anna Popplewell), Mary opts for a righteous fur cloak for hers. That really ought to be all she’s wearing, considering a) how long it took women to get dressed in those days and b) she’s literally just finished being naked and adorable with her boo.
As creepy as it sounds, naked Mary is preferable to Mary with panniers. That’s genuinely the only word I can use to describe the shape of her skirt – panniers. I also have no idea what’s going on with that Statue of Liberty tiara, how it stays on, and what it’s doing in my recap.
Righteous side-eye from Her Maj, though.
Not to mention righteous scaredy-cat face. Mary has an epic moment where she verbally bitch slaps Narcisse this episode, and that’s it. The rest of the time, she’s panicking about Scottish Catholics being murdered, raising an army, hiring an army, going to Scotland, not going to Scotland, and Francis popping his clogs.
He doesn’t, of course, pop any kind of footwear, and comes back from the brink at Mary’s loving touch. Gee, I have never seen that trope used anywhere before. Ever.
Grief, fear and an itch only a Bourbon prince can scratch mean Mary does only make one major costume change, but it’s worth it: this Grecian/seventies/Lord of the Rings leftover gown has a beautiful drape, and it’s wonderful to see her in the light colours she wore in season one again. I can’t even object to the bling, because I’m kind of in lust with the way the motif on her belt is echoed in her necklace. The murder face is, once again, glorious.
Francis does send troops to Scotland, by the way, but only because it’s the right thing to do. He says he’ll never trust Mary again, which is fair enough. Never trust anyone trying to stop a mass murder, I say. They’re the really sucky ones.
WTF #4: The De Winchesters
Ah, I was wondering when there would be more shirtlessness. Welcome back, Bash.
Supposedly, Delphine can’t tell whether she used her hoodoo to bring someone back from the dead, or just her mad doctoring skills. There may be a price to pay, or there may not be. There may be a reason she was pretending to be a nun, or there may not be.
She may have been watching braid tutorials on YouTube, or she may not have.
All whole and sexy once again, Bash toddles back to The Village (there’s only one in all France, I guess), sees the man who tried to kill him get executed tout suite, and runs into a character who’s been absent for gosh knows how long and for gosh knows what reason.
His face says it all, really…
…CLARISSA IN THE HOUSE, Y’ALL.
Seriously, fellow YKYLF staffer Ann was so excited to have our bag-wearing friend back that she warned me in advance, sparking off an email chain where we agreed that we and you, wider internet community, are responsible for Clarissa’s reapperance. We know what we want: illegitimate children with bags over their heads who confuse the plot exponentially.
Delphine seems pretty chill about the whole thing. She also seems to own the same dress in, like, eight colours. What was the nun’s habit for again?
Knowing Francis is gravely ill, Bash decides that his brother must be paying the price for his definitely, maybe resurrection. The brilliant idea he has as a consequence is, of course, to kill Francis’ half-sister and his half-nothing, Clarissa. We just got her back, Bash. God.
According to Delphine, Bash ‘saved her from so much suffering in her future’. What, you’re psychic now too?! You couldn’t even tell if Francis was magically dying or plain old dying!
Clarissa’s face says it all, really (as does her back-and-forth with Bash about why killing her is the best thing ever, why didn’t anyone think of it before, oh well, a prophecy is a prophecy, and Toby Regbo needs a job after all).
[Editor’s Note: Given that Clarissa died in Delphine’s Magic Shack o’Resurrection, I’m not 100% sure she’s going to stay dead. How can they truly kill THE BEST CHARACTER ON THE SHOW?? #ClarissaLives]
Clarissa may have only died* this episode, but I think Bash’s soul died long ago. It’s probably something to do with sexy non-nuns patting him on the back for murder.
Remember when he was the fun brother? Remember when there was a fun brother?
WTF #3: Snow White and the Seven Personalities
Catherine’s ‘my son will be worm food’ look is very power dressy, all the way up to the fluted collar. All that black is perhaps a bit preemptive, but it never hurts to prepare for dark times and dark deeds with a pair of sleeves Morticia Addams would be proud of.
Mary’s plan to use half of France’s army to defend Scotland (ignoring the fact that Mary, QoS was the least Scottish person ever, having been born to a French mother and living her whole life in France) really gets on Catherine’s goat, and who should be ready and willing to assist her with said goat but Lord Narcisse! (Disney villain, bed buddy, available for parties).
I can’t tell whether it’s awful writing or whether he’s meant to have multiple personality disorder, but Narcisse’s sudden interest in Cathy when he was all about Sexy Bathtime Lola (TM) is deeply perplexing. Also, for a man with no influence, he’s very good at getting hold of, say, armies…was there any point to Francis’ throwdown with him in a barn? At all?
Elsewhere in the tangled web of storylines, Kenna’s coachman is shot by forces unknown, and she’s forced to search for Bash on foot. Why she’s sent into the deep dark woods where pagans, plague and actors with odd accents have been known to lurk, I refuse to speculate.
I also can’t say if an enormous furry headband even comes close to keeping your head warm, because to me, it’s a hat with a hole in it, which is a broken hat.
Kenna just so happens to run across – not pagans, not plague victims, not actors straight out of drama school – but Renaude, the general of Narcisse’s mercenary army. Funny, that.
She tries to steal a horse and calls everyone a whore. He finds this oddly charming.
Harry Met Sally rules state no man can meet a woman under any circumstances without falling a little bit in love with her, which of course the good general does with Kenna…
…right up until the point that he realises the King’s Deputy (still can’t take that job title seriously) is her husband as well as her quarry. He ought to have known better, as ladies of breeding don’t wear brocade curtains and broken hats out in the snow for just anyone.
Seriously, what season is it?!
Back at the castle, with Francis safely revived by Mary’s tears/Mary mentioning how nasty she finds his breathing again/Mary’s powers as the title character, Catherine feels safe to change. She opts for wintry blue and silver which, while it does smack of Frozen, suits her very nicely. The high collar is hinting at, if not true to, the period it’s supposed to be from.
I’m glad Mary managed to get her hands on the army, if only because I’m sure Catherine has a revenge outfit that would make Victoria Grayson herself spit blood.
WTF #2: Pimp My Princess
Leith’s new jobs include stopping Claude from knowing anything, including that her brother’s life essence may be seeping out through his ear, and making people offers they can’t refuse on behalf of the cardinal who might annul Greer’s marriage. Greer’s new job?
Cleavage and commitment phobia. I can totally see why she wants Leith to stop talking about marriage, though – talking while shirtless is so unnecessary.
Despite having no money for food five minutes before, Greer’s managed to rent a townhouse to class up her madam-ing. She hosts a party which, naturally, Claude crashes. She’s wearing her usual glitz and rose gold tones, as well as being bratty and awesome.
Greer’s taken a leaf out of Serena van der Woodsen’s book, and the cleavage rhombus is alive and well (as, apparently, is her haircare regime). I imagine the cash for all of the above fell through the huge plot hole of a noble lady running a brothel and My Fair Lady-ing a bunch of prostitutes, as well as being able to rent as the wife of a convicted traitor.
Leith, lovely boy that he is, hauls Claude off of the table and carries her away before she can slut shame any more of Greer’s customer. She hits on him because she thinks all the hookers know his name for rudey-dudey reasons, he fends her off, and they bond a little. Apparently, Claude is always choosing the wrong men.
Since ‘the wrong men’ include Narcisse, I agree.
After that, Kenna pops up in one of her glorious silk-screened, hand-painted, floaty-as-heck dresses to stick her foot in it by apologising to Claude for Francis almost dying (um…) It was the worst written bit of dialogue in a show which has featured some truly appalling dialogue, so I was very glad to have Kenna’s flower child accessories around to distract me.
‘Please save your rage for after I leave!’ *shudders*
WTF #1: THE DARKNESS
No, not the pagan what’s-his-face, nor the glam rock band, I’m afraid. I actually refer to Louis, Prince of Condé, whose expressions make my life. I call this one ‘snuggle time?’
‘But you just…’
Mary explains, quite calmly and rationally, that she can’t run away to Scotland, because she and Francis have whole blogs devoted to them at this point. She’s beautiful and infuriating in another fur cloak, except this one is definitely regal. Pink is practically red, and white fur is basically ermine, so it’s regal. I’ve decided. No backsies.
If I were Condé, I’d be confused too. Mary blows hot and cold more often than a Katy Perry song, giving Eskimo kisses right, left and centre as she does so.
Oh, and she also enjoys doting on the husband she loves, hates, has cheated on, doesn’t want to cheat on, has forgiven for her rape, appreciates for saving her country, and has been pretty much running away from for the past half a season.
Seriously, what the frick-frack?
In yet another super neglected trope, Condé knocks over a table. Boo.
He then smashes a window and stares menacingly out of it. Double boo.
Was it the leather doublet? Was it the leather trousers? Was it, perhaps, the lack of a leather undershirt? We may never know, but of one thing we can be sure: Mondé are on the skids. Tune in next time to discover if Mary picks up yet another bearded love interest, and which orifice Francis’ soul tries to escape its contract with the CW out of this time.
P.S. I’m pretty sure that if the real Mary had had to put up with half he shenanigans that go on in Reign, beheading would’ve been a blessed relief.