This week we got our first real taste of what Reign will feel like with Mary out of France and real talk? Not sure how I feel about it. We were spoiled with so many seasons of literal couture gowns that spending an hour with the Q of S bedraggled post-shipwreck was a bit of a disappointment, at least sartorially speaking. But WTF-speaking, it was the usual cavalcade of bonkers plot twists: King Charles both sets up a badminton net in The Only Hallway In The Castle AND musters up the least-intimidating and least-useful squad of baby soldiers ever, Leith turns into the squad’s Ezra, Lola and Liz cement LolaBeth with a snowball fight oh yes and Bash is a wizard apparently. Just another week in France/Scotland/England.
WTF #5: Cathy Peaces Out
For the first time that I can recall, Cathy straight-up took a personal day this week. Girlfriend took one look at her son’s Totally Inconspicuous Hallway Badminton Game and hightailed it out of there. Which like, I’m right there with her, but also? Cathy is the heart and soul of this bonkers show and an episode without her was like Jane The Virgin without Rogelio. Empire without Cookie. Pretty Little Liars without Hanna (#SaveHanna). Like it looks like Reign and it’s still fun but… it’s also just missing that necessary je ne sais quoi.
I trust she spent some quality time in a bubble bath with some ridiculously expensive wine, penning her scandalous memoirs and trying one of those Korean sheet masks. Missed you, boo.
WTF #4: Careless Whispers
So, everyone’s new fav ship get closer than ever this week in a plotline that teerers ever so close to Frozen without directly ripping it off. We have the icy Queen:
Her plucky sidekick:
Aaaaand a new dude in town who is not-so-secretly an absolute dick. Welcome to the show, Prince of Denmark!
Things start off in a scene of unparalleled girlie silliness on par with season one’s ladies in waiting prom dress makeover party as Liz and Lola basically get mani/pedis and giggle about boys. See, I knew all Liz needed was a solid lady friend.
You can tell these two are in sync by their complementary yellow and green gowns. Usually Liz is in yellow and Lola’s FOREVER IN MAROON but they’d clearly celebrating #NationalBestFriendsDay in matching outfits I presume Liz had made specially for the occasion. I’m so delighted to see Lola in a different side of the color wheel I can’t even tell if this is cute or not. But I’m pretty sure it is. And look at those heart eyes she’s throwing in Liz’s direction. OTP you guys.
OMGEEE they even have specially color coordinated ladies doing their hair. This is some Taylor Swift level bestie squad preparation. So Liz, in her sumptuously gilded gown and mismatched blue drop earrings, is like, “OK so girl, this guy is coming to town and I have to play nice because we need him for trade and shizz? Be my wing woman? Apparently he’s got a cute friend.”
Sidenote: I also presume Lola took one look at her dress, said “Know what this needs? A huge maroon apron” and here we are.
But the Prince of Denmark arrives, hot friend in tow, and we begin an episode-long double date type scenario. It’s easy to tell who matches with who because we’ve got our gingers paired off and our brunettes paired off. God, even the men’s looks are color coordinated. Elizabeth must have sent a dress code beforehand. IMPORTANT FORESHADOW: this corridor they’re in is the never-before-discussed WHISPERING HALLWAY where it was designed such that what you whisper in one end can be clearly heard at the other end. I’m sure that won’t come up again later.
Lola’s second gown of the episode is also shockingly green, without even a hint of maroon. Is this s subtle way of showing she’s not fully #TeamLiz instead of #TeamMarySlashScotland?
Meanwhile Liz is all of us after having to spend hours along with this dude, throwing back English wine like it’s… well, frankly, French wine. And again with the green. This week is extraordinarily green, no?
And then WHO SAW THIS COMING?? Liz slips out of dinner to bitch about her unpleasant date but which corridor does she choose to do so in? OH NOES!
Oh yeah she did. Also: since when does Liz wear a Mary-esque Cabo braid? Is this some sort of long-lost cousin synchronicity? So yeah, Prince Ginger overhears them talking shit about him and things… do not end well. But we all saw Frozen, we knew where this “romance” was headed.
And then Liz has to break the news to her bestie that Mary’s ben shipwrecked and is probably dead and Lola says she’ll be Liz’s ride or die now, and it’s all very sad and they both look very beautiful.
WTF #3: #RachFace
When I read the part of the episode summary that mentioned “Elizabeth jeopardizes her standing with an unbearable new suitor” I thought to myself: was this plotline conceived entirely to allow Rachel Skarsten to debut new and innovative #RachFaces? Um, yes, pretty much. Her face was extra-elasticky and I think she strengthened at least three new muscles with these new faces:
WTF #2: Sexy Pagans 2.0
Oh boy. OK. So, Mary and Narcisse and Bash all wash up on a Scottish beach not entirely unlike the opening of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. And prepare yourselves, as our usually couture-clad leading lady spends the entire episode in this same beat-up coat dress like it’s Game of Thrones or something. (Sidenote: have you been following our new series about the fashion of Game of Thrones? Because: get on that, you guys)
So she first pairs up with Narcisse, who’s a pretty great person for her to be with drama-wise because they both hate each other for very good reasons (mainly dealing with them both being responsible for the deaths of people who matter greatly to the other). And? Damn but Craig Parker looks good covered in wet sand.
Bash is there too, but passed out. Poor bae.
So Mary and Narcisse amazingly decide to pretend they’re brother and much-younger sister named Pierre and Pauline and Bash is their servant. I believe it’s at around this time that they learn about the existence of a Scottish clan of people who are half-man/half-wolf, or at least whose name means “half-man/half-wolf”, but real talk: I want some shapeshifters up in here ASAP. Also? This is like a screenshot of Outlander meets Wuthering Heights, a made for TV movie I would happily watch.
Bash is being tended to in, frankly, probably the best way possible for a half-pagan like him, by a redheaded shaman and some snakes. Hey, Bash’s glistening abs. Long time no ogle.
I’m very into this new Druid character, not just because his braided hairdo would challenge Daenerys Targaryen for complexity. The actor carries himself with a noble gravitas that makes me want him to pop up on Outlander as like, Jamie’s long-lost uncle or something.
Mary, finding herself surrounded by Sexy Druids like it’s season one all over again AND still unable to brush her hair or change into some Marchesa is like WHAT IS MY LIFE R I CANNOT EVEN
And so Narcisse peaces out to go and track down Lola, because it’s the time of the year when he’s her One True Love (not to be confused by the part of the year when he treats her like shit and bone zones Cathy). This leaves the newly-healed Bash as her new traveling companion which is still fun, but not as snarky as when she’s with Narcisse. Oh, and they get kidnapped:
And then they escape. Whoaaa looking good, you two. Not unlike whats-his-thing in Mean Girls, Bash looks way hotter with his hair brushed back. Mary… really needs a shower anytime now.
Oh and then some other clans attack the Druid clan and kills them all, and a dying man looks at Bash and in his best Hagrid voice is basically like, “Yer a wizard, Bash” and Bash gazes off into the middle distance as though to say, Shondaland, take me now.
And now Mary and Bash are heading off to face down the dude who arranged for Francis’s death a thousand years ago, which is the first time all episode that Mary lets out a genuine smile.
Mary is SO Cathy’s protege, nothing cheers her up like a good vengeance murder plan about to go down.
WTF #1: Toy Soldiers
Pretty sure this is the first time Charles has earned the distinction of leading us into the #1 WTF but my god, that boy king does not know what he’s doing like, at all at all. First, he and Claude continue to pitch a fit about the knowledge that Cathy’s basically a supervillain (I mean that in the best possible way like, Loki sort of thing). These two keep up the week’s retrained quasi-historical approach to costuming with the trims and the layers and the adorable little teen royals whose cheeks you just want to squish.
Charles determines that he needs to wrest the regency from Cathy. And how best to do that? Why by single-handedly capturing the Red Knights and thus impressing his council. And how best to do that? Well step one is to set up a badminton game in The Only Hallway In The Entire Castle. Oh, so pretty. So very bad at scheming.
As his co-conspirators he chooses a Nickelodeon level gang of teens with the reasoning, “We’re all so young, nobody will ever think we’re up to something! Quick, let’s play more badminton!”
Note: in keeping with this episode’s theme of everyone in green outfits and every other actor having red hair, we meet Charles’s Ron Weasley, my new fav character who I hope stays on the show forever.
Now, because nobody’s old enough to drive they need a token adult. Charles asks his sister if she knows of anyone, and she’s like, “Well, there is the only other actor I ever have any scenes with” and just like that, Leith becomes to Ezra of this gang of Renaissance Boy Little Liars. Leith: look at your life, look at your choices. You’re scheming with your girlfriend’s tween younger brother which may make you feel younger than ever, but is actually possibly the stupidest thing you’ve ever done. Charles: you should always be suspicious of anyone over age 25 who wants to hang out with a teenager. Basically, shame on you both but also? So cute together. So very very cute.
Needless to say, Charles’s plan backfires spectacularly as surprise!! One of his tween friends is the son of a guy who’s in with the Red Knights (or something?) and he winds up like this:
Charles: your mother is CATHY. She would be SO DISAPPOINTED IN THIS SUB-PAR LEVEL SCHEMING. Has she taught you nothing??