This week on A Very Special Reign: Mary’s going to marry Bobby D until Gideon, who is suddenly Smurf-sized, stumbles into a Vatican conspiracy and winds up in the dungeon and she gets Cathy to agree to help but only if Liz will help Cathy defeat the maybe-paranormal red knights, one of whom maybe fathered a son who is maybe also Thor, who gets killed in a horse-by spear incident but then Bash catches the spear-thrower who is taken to the dungeon where he’s tortured by Cathy and Murder Slice, which leads to some toe-sucking under the sheets action. Also: Leith and Claude are the cutest, part infinity, as they help Greer catch a blackmailer who somehow found out about Pirate Baby. You got all that? Me neither. Let’s do this!
Council Member Watch 2K16
With Bash firmly ensconced in an actual plot (… and preparing to jump ship for Shondaland) there’s no need for a Bashwatch 2K16 update. And just as well because we have PRESSING URGENT BUSINESS. Namely, how did “Council Member” go from this last week:
To this, this week?
Here’s what we know about this guy. Last week, he had a tidy haircut and TWO FUNCTIONING EYES and was like, “Yo Liz, you have to choose a successor like, come on” and this week, after it turns out that naming a successor meant she got almost assassinated, he’s like, “Yes, ma’am. Whatever you say ma’am.” Either shit got REAL offscreen in Council Member’s life along the lines of Liz poured that human-disintegrating poison on his face OR the actor made a strong choice for his character and snuck the eyepatch onto set. Either way, my eagle eyes are poised and ready for new developments in this very important new plotline.
WTF #5: Not Without My Pirate Baby
Greer’s first mistake this week was continuing with the hair turban ‘do from last time. I don’t think she’s washed or brushed since then so now we have sort of a deflated Golden Retriever scenario which works neither for her, nor for the viewing audience. Her second mistake is to continue with her obviously terrible Lady Edith-inspired plan to adopt her baby to her sister while constantly lurking around and inevitably kidnapping the baby back.
When her sister (played by Cathy’s REAL LIFE DAUGHTER!!) is like, “Girl, someone knows about our secret baby plan and we’re being blackmailed so you need to pay up mmkay?” Greer throws coins at her without a second thought. Don’t you know what show you’re on? Nothing is ever that straightforward, especially when these two are acting like their every line of dialogue has the stage direction <shifty eyes>.
So to sort out the blackmail sitch, Greer enlists erstwhile kitchen boy-landlord-knight Leith, still playing the Kevin Costner role in a Renaissance remake of The Bodyguard. He’s all too happy to help out, mainly because he’s constantly happy now, because he’s bone zoning Claude on the reg.
(Brown cloak count: 1)
Anyway so Leith skips back to the castle to tell his boo all the news. Awesomely and unexpectedly, Claude doesn’t take the standard TV trope of being like “Why were you talking to your ex-GF? #JealousOrCrazy” but rather is like, “Greer’s having a pirate baby and being blackmailed! Let’s make like Renaissance Nancy Drew and solve this jolly adventure what ho!” She is LITERALLY the cutest thing on tv right now in her little pink cloak and furry gloves and constant beaming afterglow face.
So then! Leith and Claude head out undercover to suss out what the bro-in-law is up to. Claude fully commits to the role, adding a braid to her curls and donning her best bar wench ensemble and Cockney accent.
Once in the alehouse, she’s like, “I’m going to go over and investigate!” And Leith’s like “Claude no!”
And Claude’s like, “Claude YES!” and stomps over there with a Helena Bonham Carter in Sweeney Todd accent to be like, “Oi blokes! Want a pint of ale? Wots this paper? I can’t read because I’m a bar wench! Hey nonny nonny!”
Aaaand wouldn’t you know, that’s all it takes to immediately figure out that the blackmailer is BRO-IN-LAW and CATHY’S IRL DAUGHTER. Greer and her thousand fringed wrap is like, “Not cool guys” and her sister is basically like “MARCIA MARCIA MARCIA” and they peace out, leaving Greer the soon-to-be single mom of a pirate baby.
The French court’s answer to Castle and Beckett celebrate their first investigative success with some cute-as-a-button bone zone time. Hey Leith, missed seeing those pecs.
I’m sure it’s all smoooothhhh sailing for these two for now on, right? Don’t tell me to read about Claude’s fate on Wikipedia, I can’t bear it. Just let me snuggle up here comfy in my ship for the next five minutes before it all falls apart.
WTF #4: Bash v Thor: Civil War
It feels so weird to have a WTF just about Bash’s plotline because: Bash gets a plotline? What show this? . Even he’s like, “Really?” when he comes in to see Cathy vis-a-vis the red knight possibly-paranormal revenge vendetta situation.
Cathy’s like, “Thanks for stopping by but as you can see, I already have a Bash. Who are you again?”
Still, in what feels like the backdoor pilot for BASH: PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR, he heads out to talk to Cathy’s former flying squad in literally the retirement home for retired courtesans. Not unlike a brothel, but no dudes and everyone just plays canasta and drinks tea.
His informant here knows what’s up. You millennials think you invented chokers in the year 2016? Old Betsy here’s been rocking that lewk since 1500 for real.
Bash’s spidey senses immediately ping to a woman across the room who’s outdoing even bro-in-law in the <shifty eyes> department and he’s like, “So did you ever hook up with the red knights or whatever and have a son who may be avenging them, or something?” She puts up zero defence, copping to the whole thing instantly. Also: she believes the baby she had is the LITERAL DEVIL so make of that what you will.
Ten seconds later (investigating crimes is so EASY without google, I had no idea) Bash is confronting a guy I want to call either Blond Dothraki or Thor Meets Tarzan From Magic Mike. You’d think this dude could bench press Bash with his pinkie toe, but apparently he’s no match for Bash’s stealth pagan yurt-invading moves.
Again, no persuasion required to get Blond Dothraki to admit that yes, his father was basically Satan but also he doesn’t care to avenge the guy who abandoned him so whateverski. Oh, someone’s outside? Let’s go investigate!
Shot to the heart! Who’s to blame? Bash gives police work a bad name.
Bash channels his inner Hawkeye/Katniss to fully impale the spear-thrower as he’s riding away on his horse. Torrance Coombs has clearly used his plethorous amounts of off-screen time to perfect his archery. Nice form, T.
Ha ha, take that, red knights of mumblemumbleDarkness2.0whatmumble
WTF #3: L’il Gideon
How haven’t I noticed before that Gideon us like two feet shorter than every other actor on this show? Has the show suddenly run out of apple boxes? Because everyone was LOOMING over him this week. First Mary, post bone zone, looks down upon him as she slips back into her Snow White cosplay.
It’s actually a cute role reversal, as the dude pouts in bed being like “But when can you spend more time with meeeee?” and the gal’s like, “You know you’re very important to me. Now I have to run off and see my actual fiance.”
Oh right, because Robert Dudley’s in France now and Liz wants him to marry Mary, who is now her heir, which is all a pretty terrible idea. Did we know Robert Dudley is twelve feet tall? Or is Gideon four feet tall? Because this “showdown” is like Lord of the Rings level camera weirdness.
“Go back to the hobbit hole you came from and stop boning my soon-to-be wife of convenience, Frodo.”
Remember Gideon’s a master spy? Yeah, me neither, but he is! And once Mary tells him about this whole Vatican conspiracy blah blah he throws on his little tiny robe to go confront this dude Joseph Tudor.
JT is like, “Are you here to threaten me? Or are you just on the search for The One Ring because either way, I’m sorta busy trying to usurp the throne of England rn.” So Gideon, unable to bring the murder trunk along on this adventure, bonks Joseph with a club of some sort and drags him off onto a boat or something, it doesn’t really matter.
Oh but then it DOES matter! Gideon heads back to court where he’s confronted with who I’m pretty sure is the bad guy from Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, who’s all, “Did you bonk Joseph Tudor on the head, ickle hobbitses?”
Brown cloak count: 2
So now Gideon’s in jail which: whatever, honestly.
WTF #2: A Very Short Engagement
This is clearly Mary’s version of athleisure, as the last time we saw her in this full-length purple dealie she was watching Gideon swordfighting a punching bag. She’s now wearing it to strut her archery stuff (did she learn from Bash? Or did Bash learn from her? Hmm) in front of her latest fiance, Bobby D.
Wait, is Mary also incredible short? Or do Robert Dudley and the villain from Disney’s Hunchback just tower over literally everyone? Also: since when has Robert Dudley been hot af because I’m suddenly into this wife-quasi-murdering abusive d-bag. As is Mary, perhaps. She’s like “heyyy”
PS Mary is totally badass this week, sexing up one dude while planning to marry another like her name is Catherine de’Medici or something. She’s Snow White gone bad and I am here for it.
Oh but also she’s being possibly set up to usurp the throne from Liz, and then get murdered so another MAN can take over which upsets her so much she puts on this ensemb which is sort of like if Blac Chyna went to a Ren Faire. Plus: belt buckles as earrings.
She also keeps her hair down almost all the time this week, which is new. Usually she’s got a Khaleesi-meets-Kate-Middleton braidy half-updo OR the Angry Schoolmarm full updo. Is Gideon’s sweet sweet love bringing her back to her girlish roots?
Speaking of Angry Schoolmarm updos, Liz is still chillaxing with her new bestie, Lola, over unending games of chess. She got wind of the aging courtesan’s fashion statement and has pulled a T-Swift, bringing chokers over to the continent now, too.
Lola shows up in maroon to be like, “Blah blah I’m married to Narcisse in case you forgot” which I sort of did, so thanks, show.
I am into the way this show keeps French and English fashion so separate. Mary’s all all flowy lace and wrestler belts and Free People tunics refashioned into floor-length gowns, while Liz is all structured embroidery and no see-through sleeves ever to the point it’s like, does Rachel Skarsten have full sleeve tattoos they’re hiding?
Guess who’s back! Back again! Bobby’s back! Tell a friend! Yeah, so the whole Gideon in the dungeon/Joseph Tudor/assassination/Vatican thing needed a scapegoat and Gideon was it. Which means Robert returns to England, just in time to watch Liz rip into her council and vow to never ever, ever, ever name an heir and she will STAB MORE MEN’S EYES if they can’t handle it.
Sidenote: peep Council Member Eyepatch there on the far left. His coat has so much fur around the neck it’s like he’s wearing a feather boa. Color me INTRIGUED by this non-character.
So finally we learn why Reign cast such a tall dude, because he and Liz have really an ideal height difference to be shot together on camera. We see they’re totally back in step again both literally, in their foot patterns, as well as sartorially, as they both wear long impossibly gorgeous coat-like things.
Oh right, so Cathy writes to Liz asking for a prisoner exchange – some soldier dude Cathy wants back from England in exchange for Gideon from the French dungeon. Cathy doesn’t do this out of the goodness of her heart, obviously, She wants the general guy to help defeat the red knights, and also because Mary came to her dressed like an escapee from a Project Runway episode where they had to make a dress out of linens found in Cher’s summer home.
Season one throwback Cabo braid! This dress is so fabulously insane in so many ways. The lacey sort of net sleeves are gorgeous and would look great on an LBD. With this structured corset top though? What is even happening here?
Short story short: Liz agrees to the exchange, and Gideon heads back to England to be not executed. Mary pulls a Denzel with a single tear at his departure. It’s all very Nicholas Sparks movie-esque but in 1500s France instead of 21st century Georgia.
And apparently Mary is the size of a hobbit woman too because these two really are a good size pairing. Which is perhaps the strongest thing I can say in support of this rebound relaysh that nobody really ships.
Bye Felicia. I mean Gideon.
WTF #1: Stabbing Dudes, Sucking Toes
Soooo you know how Cathy’s under attack by some knights or something who may or may not be ghosts? She’s not too concerned. This dress is super fierce, and the cut and sheen of it looks like armor, in dress form which: appropriate at all times, but especially now.
I like this screencap because it shows how pretty her hair was for this look, all soft updo with a crown that looks almost like individual pearls just placed here and there. Also, because the look on her face is so obviously, “So I have to thwart yet another scheme to murder me? When will people learn that I ALWAYS WIN honestly come on I’m basically immortal at this point.”
Not so much into this next look. Cathy gets dressed an awful lot in these drapey stretch velour businesses and it is just NEVER going to do it for me. Add the half-updo with Downton Abbey size volume at the crown and she’s veering into like Sister Wife territory when real talk: you know Cathy would never share a guy like that.
Remember a few WTFs ago when Bash pierced the guy with the arrow? So he drags this red knight-adjacent dude to the dungeon where Cathy puts on her formal torture couture to stare him down. What to wear when slowly torturing a man to death? Love the soft updo again, and this sort of headband crown works nicely. Another bodice that’s part armor, so it’s like a hard and soft look I’m here for. Also: dark colors, smart in case of blood stains (RIP Don Carlos) (except not, he didn’t really die) (right? I sort of forget).
Murder Slice is also there, of course, and has brought his DEADEST OF EYES for the task. Between Cathy’s hyper-intensity and his half-dead gaping maw, we could have one borderline human individual.
The torturee is like, “I shall never confess” and Murder Slice goes all frat bro on him like, “Oh you wanna go? YOU WANNA GO?” despite the fact he wears this pashmina shawl 90% of the time which is perhaps the least terrifying garment known in the universe.
Of course he then kills the guy #sorrynotsorry and Cathy rolls her eyes like, “Oh, CHRISTOPHE” because he ALSO got a raging hard-on as he did so and this show is so weird like how did I forget?
Also: another Lord of the Rings shot that makes no attempt to hide the fact that Megan Follows is three apples high and Disney’s Hunchback villain is like Lebron James in here.
As the saying goes, “All roads must lead to Narcisse,” both because he’s a series regular and because Cathy can’t quit her scheming partner. She’s like, “OK, I know you weren’t the one who tried to frame me for poisoning Francis so you wanna partner up again to bring down this red knight sitch?” and I’m like, wasn’t he the one who framed her for poisoning Francis? Or was he the one who exposed her for poisoning Claude? In either case, I’m not sold on this ruffled neckline, it’s a bit too Council Member for my taste.
Narcisse, wearing approx. six sets of shoulderpads, is looking good this week. The makeup dept perhaps stopped troweling bacon grease all over his face because he’s 1000% less oily than usual. Or maybe it’s that Lola’s been gone so long, absence makes the heart blah blah.
After a hard day’s torturing, scheming, and poisoning, Cathy heads to bed in a nightie from the Crimson Peak collection along with yet another fur-trimmed robe. Surprise bedtime visitor! And no, not the tooth fairy.
Murder Slice is here to seduce you with his hollow-eyed Nicolas Cage impression.
When Cathy turns him down, he’s like, “Then I will sleep at the foot of your bed like the weirdo that I am” and she’s like, “… ok?” and then toe sucking turns to crawling under the covers turns to that particular sex act this show is really, really into and we end things not on a cliffhanger, but on Cathy’s o-face. Which is not entirely unlike how I look every Monday night when I get to watch this glorious, insane, one of a kind mess of a show.
Now if you’ll excuse me, both Cathy and I need a cigarette.