To quote the greatest movie of our time, ‘the sh*t…hath hitteth the fan…eth’ (that’s 10 Things I Hate About You, for those of you too young to remember 1999 and Julia Stiles’ incomparable pouty face). His proxy wife dead, Condé goes on the run and accidentally raises in army, whose interests include being Protestant and chanting his name. Kenna takes us back to 2013 with a sexy dream sequence, then brings us bang up to date by having sexy sex with sexy General Renaude on her terms — and speaking of modern women, Greer makes a choice: will she be an Independent Woman, Part I, or finally marry Leith? In the penultimate episode of season two, Reign encourages us to think on our ‘ships…and then blows holes in every last one of them.
WTF #5: The Prince as the Pauper
Methinks Condé has no freaking idea how to be a fugitive from justice. Jason Bourne wouldn’t be caught dead with a dead fox around his neck, Louis!
Plus the red paint that’s going to be all over that fur when PETA catches up to him is going to make him stand out like a sore thumb. Somehow, even while lurking illegally around the countryside in yet another pair of criminal leather trousers, Condé still manages to sneak secret notes which say “meet me” to Mary under her husband’s nose…but more on that later.
Suitably miz that her honey will soon be headless, Mary pops down to Greer’s pop-up brothel for a cup of tea and a goss. Awesomely enough, Ann mentioned mantillas in her recap of last episode, and this week there’s a primo example on the head of our young queen!
That’s also a heck of a lot of bling and beads for someone whose cover was being some john’s widowed (and presumably non-Spanish) aunt. She and Condé must have read the same “How to Completely Suck at Disguising Yourself — With Pictures!” tutorial on Buzzfeed.
Mondé rendezvous in the woods, because their sex church is apparently no longer a thing. Mary has some srs bsns in mind, so ties back her hair, assumes another one of her Juicy Couture velour tracksuit-esque cloaks, and gives us the deets of her grand plan to — wait for it — dress Louis as a tanner, since no one would ever suspect a pauper of being a prince.
No, Mary, that idea has never crossed anybody’s mind. Ever.
Chaste kiss counter: one. Mary tells Condé she will always love him, but to get ugly and then get gone. It would be sad if this weren’t the twelfth time she’d said it.
So Condé bogs off and gets ugly, and then completely fails to get gone. I don’t know why I’m surprised he didn’t bother to stain his hands to resemble those of someone up to their eyes in corrosive substances all day, but brains really aren’t his strong suit. He’s swept down on by a bunch of green berets (I kid you not), and Kenna’s boyf-to-be, who’s been stopping every brunette with a beard (isn’t that, like, everyone? Bash, Narcisse, Julien-not-Julien…)
Anyhoo, clueless Condé is rescued from Renaude by Lord Akers.
Remember Lord Akers? No, me either, so I stuck an English flag over his face to remind us he’s Elizabeth envoy and a slightly crumbly badass. He informs Louis that Elizabeth (a less crumbly badass) wants to marry him for realsies…but only if he’s a king, and what does he need to do to be king?
Hire all the extras from Outlander and take the party to Francis *gulp*
There are very few costume changes this episode (in keeping with its fast pace, perhaps?) but Mary busts out the black, as she must always do, Reign or shine. It’s your classic 1950’s silhouette with a ginormous flouncy ballgown skirt tacked onto the bottom, plus some super contemporary sharp-edged jewelery (that choker has to be a hazard when you’re a queen and people genuinely want to kill you). Think Wednesday Addams on prom night.
I really don’t get Mary’s hair, though. She’s braided the back…and that’s it. She has three pigtails, then this de-volumised mess up in front.
Meh, my former lover trying to steal my crown would mess with my haircare routine too.
WTF #4: Cruel Intentions (Also, Actions)
I keep trying to be down with Catherina and Narcisse, but it’s just not taking. Luckily, they keep getting down with each other, so my scruples aren’t slowing the plot any.
In a Cersei Lannister-ish attempt to take out the competition, Catherine demands Narcisse prove himself loyal by doing something unforgivable to Lola. I consider it unforgivable that he got me all hopped up on his butterfly birthmark and bathtub fetish but didn’t follow through on-screen where I could watch, but Catherine has something different in mind.
So Lola’s just going about her business, counselling Kenna, wearing her usual maroon — nice black over-stitching this week, did the wardrobe department intern finally get their coffee orders right? — and wondering why all the noblemen (mostly brunettes with beards, in case you were wondering), are staring at her.
Narcisse has shared her nudes, and it is not okay.
In the sixteenth century, of course, being douchey was much harder. Not only did Narcisse have to sketch an explicit picture of Lola bathing by hand, he also had to hand out copies, get embroiled in a bet about whose mistress was most beautiful, and generally put in a lot more effort than douches these days. I’d say he’s hit unforgivable on the head.
Lola, quite rightly, covers every inch of flesh up to her eyeballs before tearing him a new one. I wonder if she and Mary have the same burgundy-loving cloak-maker?
Narcisse is all, “awww, you thought you saw good in me? That’s so sweet!” and he’s essentially Sebastian Valmont in this moment, because Lola did see the good in him, and saw right through him to boot. She knows there’s a game afoot, she just doesn’t know it’s Cathy’s foot.
I kept getting distracted in this scene by Narcisse’s sweet upholstery. Is that William Morris?
“Something unforgivable” out of the way, Catherine shakes her tail feathers, AKA trademark red and swirly beading (which doesn’t line up with the seams, by the way, and which makes me suspect this might be a recycled garment from another episode) at Narcisse, who’s having none. Is it just me, or is she looking younger? Again?!
He gives her a pep talk about how she’s not unloveable, even if her husband was a cheating cheater, but I can’t help but think this whole sitch with Lola is going to come back and bite Catherine in the ass, and not in the way she might like to be bitten in the ass.
WTF #3: An Officer and a Gentlewoman
Reign has been shamefully un-shameless of late. This show used to be famous for pretty boys slowly disappearing out of shot while pretty girls throw back their heads and — woah, it’s that time Kenna went all Divinyls in a corridor and King Henry got in on the action!
But wait, that’s not Henry!
Kenna wakes with a start to her cold bed and her perfectly flat-ironed hair. I’m not sure why her nightwear look is “virgin sacrifice,” but since Bash is celebrating not being dead by going hunting with his
“friend with a vagina,” Kenna gets a “free pass.”
Quotation marks for the win.
The morning after her smut-free smutty dream, who should Kenna run right into but General Renaude? She immediately informs him how sexy selfishness and ambition is, and I was too confused by the fact she was wearing this gorgeous fur-lined cloak and actually seemed to care what the weather was doing to pay much heed to their flirtation. Apparently, Renaude likes pleasing ladies…
…Kenna’s face says it all, really.
Being Kenna, she takes this as her cue to stroll around the castle in twenty-five pounds of jewellery and a polka dot dress. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sheerness and the slim but, but those silver sequins are way off base, as are Kenna’s OTT silver accessories. The colours just do not match.
Oooh, maybe all that naff detailing on this gown is hiding drugs, like that Gossip Girl episode where all the naff detailing on that jacket was hiding drugs! No? Oh well.
When it looks like Renaude might be getting ready to get married and drop her like she’s hot (she is), Kenna goes back to basics, appearing in his room in all the lovely shades of peach and ochre and all the delightful flower prints which surely make men think of springtime, and…you know…springtime things.
It does the trick.
I’m curious to know what’ll happen with these two. Kenna seemed to be into Bash like a train right up until she was into King Antoine like a train, and now General Renaude. We can only pray to the god of Catholics, Protestants and sexy Pagans alike this doesn’t end in another love square, Kennash versus Kenaude versus Bafriend-with-a-vagina.
WTF #2: The Princess, the Guard, His Girlfriend and Her Brothel
What leather is to Condé, rose tones are to Claude – by which I mean she wears nothing that isn’t pink, peach, frilly or ruffled to within an inch of its life. My bucket list now includes seeing Claude wear a bright colour, or a neutral, or any shade, really, that isn’t pink or peach.
That said, I adore the sheer amount of textures she manages to pack into one outfit. The mattress diamonds on her skirt are particularly impressive.
Leith is having none of Claude’s stomping and demands to be delivered into the arms of her soulmate (read: sex buddy). He’s looking rather fly himself. Gold suits him. I kind of feel like Francis should be wearing doublets like this — that dude is crying out for a pattern.
Accidentally-on-purpose, Leith manages to coordinate with his paramour, Greer. Ah, Greer. She was always the most interesting lady-in-waiting, and now she’s that to the power of ten. Admittedly, her hair looks like someone needed practice rawhide braiding and is in serious need of a deep condition, but still…
The chandelier earrings. The rich teal and madder hues. The peacock and flower patterning on her gown. The macarons. Madam? More like madamn.
Greer kind of sits around like the cool cucumber she is and waits for everyone else to come to her, but Claude decides to pop over and visit her sex buddy Leon (by which I mean fling her underwear at him while she’s still wearing them).
Correct me if I’m wrong, but this dude looks like if Francis and Bash had a baby.
Creepy or otherwise, this dude is a grade-A-hole. In a genuinely pitiable turn of events, Claude believes that her being back at court will mean they can be together, if only so she can have a life of her own and party hardy on her own terms. Baron Leon, quelle surprise, is only in town on a layover, looking for someone to lay over. Claude actually being shocked and saddened by this is something of a miracle — we get these wonderfully brief insights into her character, like when Catherine tried to poison her, and she becomes human for about five minutes…and then five minutes later, she’s back to being season one Kenna again.
In a rare show of kindness (after an ordinary show of meanness, demanding Leith break it off with Greer so everyone could be as miserable as her), Claude thrusts her diamond earrings at Leith in order for him to buy his annulment.
This happens, and I am so on board, it’s not even funny. These two are the cutest.
Unfortunately, Claude’s humanity is wasted on Greer, who doesn’t want to have her marriage to Peppercorn annulled and marry Leith when they could use the money to grow her business and become financially secure forever and ever. Leith gives her an ultimatum: marry him, or it’s over. Greer doesn’t even hesitate.
The problem is, I understand both sides of the argument. Greer pushed Leith away when she needed a marriage that would bring her money, and now she’s pushing him away because she wants more of it (and after meeting her dad, can we honestly be surprised she doesn’t want to rely on a man?) At the same time, Leith has been through a lot to be with her (and, at the same time as that, he’s only accepted her lifestyle as of the past month or so, and “accepted” is pushing it). Stop all the clocks, Greith shippers. I’m calling time on these two…for now.
WTF #1: Mashville
If you’ve been keeping up with these recaps, you might’ve noticed that we’ve all referred to Condé as a replacement Bash at some point. I mean, he’s hot, he has manly facial fur, he’s hot, he’s vaguely royal, he’s hot, and trying to get with Mary kind of sort of ruined his life.
Bash himself mentions it this episode, while Mary wails about how her love is too monstrous for anyone but a king to bear. Seriously? Boo hoo, Your Majesty. While it’s in character for the real Mary, Queen of Scots, who was as fond as flinging herself at men as the next person, Mary’s constant falling in love, whingeing about love and then pinging back to Francis as if said love had never happened means she’s the most unsympathetic sequinned sad sack ever.
LOOK AT YOUR LIFE, MARY. LOOK AT YOUR CHOICES.
(LOOK AT YOUR ANACHRONISTIC COSTUMING.)