YES. THIS SHOW. YES. MORE PLEASE. So here’s the thing: last week’s episode was fun and good because the Reign baseline is already really great. But Cathy took a personal day so we were all sitting around like, “is that all there is?” But this week explained how the new Three Queens approach has to work and that is: two queens feature, one queen heads to the spa. Liz appeared only long enough to make approximately seventeen #rachfaces then slid off to make room for the OGs. And what a week Matherine had! Both were literally slaying like it’s season one and the Neopolitans are up in here. I can’t even write any more intro there’s too much amazingness to get into so let’s do this!!
WTF #5: Three new models from the Reign male co-star clone factory
With the whole cast shifting around Game of Thrones style (sidenote: are you reading our GoT style series because get on it y’all) it’s time for some new characters. And Reign being Reign, that unfortch means a new pile of innocuously bland-faced white dudes. What do you get when you take one part Christophe, one part Robert Dudley, and one part Conde? This dude.
So his name is Martel (?) and he’s a relative of Condé and his Sex King brother and like so many other day players, has a SEXY HISTORY with Claude. She stomps in wearing her usual pink sparkley girlie thing all, “You had better step off, I’ve got a new man now and he treats me better than Rob K does Blac Chyna.”
And Martel is like, “There hasn’t been a love triangle on this show in literally episodes so, I feel confident your feelings will change in fairly short order.”
And Claude’s like, “Dammit, Renaissance Chuck Bass, I think you may just be right.”
EDIT: As one of you eagle-eyed readers pointed out, Martel is not actually related to Condé, but rather he’s the son of Mary’s Uncle, the Duke of Guise, a dude who was killed in season 2 for reasons relating to the poisoning of King Henry’s Bible that made him go crazy. Of course it turns out he didn’t actually do the Bible poisoning (that was Condé’s brother/Kenna’s babydaddy Antoine), but Antoine worked with Narcisse to frame him. And then I think Antoine killed him? Or maybe Cathy did? In my defense, I think we are all now fully aware of our inability to differentiate different white dudes and that plotline just included like ALL OF THE WHITE DUDES.
EDIT: ok so Antoine is, in fact, not Kenna’s babydaddy as noted above. It’s some dude named Renaude (?) who I legit don’t remember being in this show st all? Thanks, eagle eyes readers, with your encyclopedic knowledge of all this show’s stable of white dudes.
New dude #2 is Zachary Quinto Crossed With Henry Cavill, aka Mary’s half-brother/regent James. I’m extremely, almost excessively happy that he has short dark hair and prominent brows because I’m pretty sure I’ll always be able to recognize him, even in different costumes. Snaps to the casting dept for picking a guy who legit looks like he could be related to Adelaide Kane.
Aaaaaand then there’s this guy, essentially the Scottish Renaissance Reddit comments section, the long-spoken-about John Knox. His main focus in life appears to be ensuring women are never in positions of power, so surprise! He doesn’t want Mary to take over and, since it’s Reign, will obviously take this to a murdery place. I look forward to seeing Mary (with her long-distance surrogate mom Cathy) utterly destroy this guy.
WTF #4: Charles (not) in charge
Remember Charles’s worst plan ever last week with the baby soldiers and designated adult Leith? So he’s still kidnapped by the Red Knights. His skin as pale as snow and lips as red as blood, mixed with this terrified expression, reminded me of something. If only I could think of it…
There are like fifteen distinct plotlines this week so there’s not lots of time to dedicate to a beautiful boy in his prison cell. Basically he’s like, “Not!Harry Styles, my friend! Do please let me go!”
And Not!Harry is like, “No! Of course not! I’m with the bad guys now so deal with it!”
Ten seconds later: “OK yeah they just killed my Dad in front of me. Still wanna escape?”
WTF #3: Bizarre Love Triangle
So Lolabeth are still utterly devoted to one another, despite Liz having taken sudden hairstyle inspo from Yeoman Rand on the original Star Trek. Girl: no. And Lola in her misery, goes to the one friend who will never leave her: maroon dresses.
Wearing her best facsimile of a concerned friend, she’s like, “Lola, I’m terribly sorry your BFF/Queen is totally dead. But can I ask you a favor? Basically I need the Catholics to support me taking over Scotland so can you get your wealthy fam to make like Paul Ryan and get me the endorsement? Huh? Bestie?”
Lola, to her credit, is like, “Let me just to pray on this quickly.” And then an instant classic thing happens. Father Narcisse! Yes! He’s made his way from Scotland to Liz’s palace and not just to the palace, INSIDE of the palace, and not just inside but IN LOLA’S ROOM and not just in Lola’s room IN LOLA’S ROOM DRESSED LIKE A PRIEST!!! He’s like, “it’s one of those plotlines where I love you again so, u up?”
Lola throws him one of her classic head tilts, indicating it’s one of those episodes where she’s super smart. Rather than running to her estranged hubs in a passionate embrace, she’s like, “Yeah, that’s great but I’m busy dealing with some other isht right now so can we put a pin in this for now?”
And Narcisse is like, “Mary’s totally alive! But you can’t tell Liz you heard from me! Let’s concoct an overly complex scheme involving letters and codes and your heretofore never seen nanny, Renee!”
So Lola heads down for her daily chess match with Liz, all, “Oh hey I am not hiding a secret of any kind why are you looking at me like that everything’s cool.”
So then a messenger comes in like, “We just got a message through letters and schemes etc. but tl;dr Mary’s totally not dead!” And Lola, with the world’s worst poker face, is like, “WHAT?? MARY’S ALIVE? THIS IS NEWS OF WHICH I WAS NOT PREVIOUSLY AWARE! So Liz, I guess you don’t need to take over Scotland and don’t need my family’s endorsement anymore, right?”
And Liz is like, “Um, yeah no. Still taking over Scotland. And? #rachface”
Reminded that the Queen of England is – surprise! – still not a fan of the Queen of Scotland, Lola takes up Narcisse on his offer of rescue and decides to split this popsicle stand. En route to run off, she gets another coded letter from Renee. And Lola, brain having fallen out like always happens when Narcisse is around, doesn’t even consider this is a forgery or a trap and reads it aloud: “You have to kill Queen Elizabeth.”
Then she basically looks at the camera like she’s on The Office, all, “can you believe this plot twist??”
WTF #2: Tiger Mother
CATHY!!!!!!! Never leave us again. I almost feel like she took last week off just so Charles could realize how helpless he truly is without her. So she’s stomping around in basically a camo print bathrobe/gown when she runs into New Dude #1 (“Martel”) who is like, “I’m here to investigate the mysterious circumstances of my father’s death” and Cathy’s like, “I clearly murdered him but won’t tell you that because where’s the fun in that?”
Sidenote: do we know who Martel’s father is? Was this someone we actually witnessed Cathy murdering? Or do we just assume anyone who dies in French court is 99% probably someone who Cathy killed for only the best of reasons.
EDIT: see more above re: who tf is Nartel’s Dad and who killed him. I’ve forgotten already.
Even Claude’s like, “How many people have you murdered, honestly??” And Cathy’s like, “I don’t keep count, come on.”
So then, due to the lack of supporting players left in France, Cathy’s left to team up with Leith (!!!) to defeat the Red Knights and rescue Snow White.
Some real talk on Leith: after he and Greer broke up the first time, I was confounded to see his name keep popping up in the credits. But despite the ruthlessness with which this show rips through courtiers, he’s still here which speaks well to his character’s ability to go from Kitchen Boy to Landowning Lord to Knight to Token Adult to Cathy’s Stooge. I’m happy to have him around, don’t get me wrong, but it’s fascinating he continues to be on this show when we’ve lost so many others day players.
Here for you, boo.
So, Team #CathLeith hatch a plan to dress up a bunch of the King’s Guards as Red Knights, somehow working this week when last week it turns out all the dudes Leith thought were decent were actually working for the RKs but don’t think too hard about it ok? Because Cathy goes Full Boudica and it. is. glorious.
Also Leith gets to wear a different costume for the first time in like two seasons, which you know Jonathan Keltz was super psyched about.
They obviously decimate the Red Knights like you knew Cathy would when she finally turned her full attention to that goal. But Charles is nowhere to be seen, having already run off with Not!Harry. Cathy is not impressed with this development and screams to the heavens…
… then gets to torturing some truth out of one of the nearly dead RKs. Is Cathy wearing leather leggings? OF COURSE SHE IS. Because this episode? Is perfection.
WTF #1: Bloody Mary
Bash and Mary, still posing amazingly as Pierre and Pauline: siblings/peasants, continue on their quest to find Munro aka dude who killed Francis.
It’s really no prob getting to Francis Killer HQ, and when there Mary’s like, “I am now going to murder Munro.”
And Bash is like, “Maybe not when he’s surrounded by a zillion badass Scottish bodyguards with swords?”
Oh and Munro happens to be played by JOHN “CAPTAIN JACK” BARROWMAN. JOHN. BARROWMAN. ON. REIGN. This is happening. Hold onto your sporrans it’s going to be incredible. He’s sexy as hell, which is the Barrowman way, and having the time of his life talking in an accent that teeters between Groundskeeper Willie and Gwyneth Paltrow Acting British and nobody cares, because: John Barrowman.
So there’s a hootenanny because of course there is, and Barrowman eyes up “Pauline” and is like, “Och aye bonnie lassie fancy a wee dance w’ me?”
And Mary, in a new dress I have no idea where she got it, is like, “Oh yes. Let’s dance. TO THE DEATH.”
OK now hold onto your tits because this next sequence is one of the finest things I have ever seen on the glorious medium known as TV. She goes back to Barrowman’s room and he’s like, “Och aye lassie, this verrra pointy necklace looks good on your white neeeck.”
Then plot twist! He knows she’s Queen Mary. But plot twist again! She knew that he knew! “Why did you want to kill me??” she demands. “Because I was mad at your mother for reasons!” he replies.
And then she STABS HIM IN THE NECK WITH THE POINTY NECKLACE HE JUST GAVE HER
“You ripped my heart out! Now I am going to RIP YOUR HEART OUT TOO!!! AHHHHHH!”
So then she fully shish kabobs him with the sword Francis gave her! Now he’s double-dead! You guys! Cathy would be so proud to see this.
And then she struts outside, where Bash has been busy making a diversion by effectively burning down the entire village and is like, “Get in loser, we’re going shopping. FOR THE CROWN OF SCOTLAND!”
And Bash is like, “Oookayy…?”
Their overnight horse ride to the palace is intercut with some shenanigans in the Scottish palace, as New Dude #3 is convincing New Dude #2 and the council to vote to put an end to monarchy altogether. Similar to on The Bachelor, they each cast their vote in an extreeeeemeleeey slow process of raising their hands. One. After. Another.
And James is like, “Could this literally take any longer? And could I literally be any hotter in this BAMF fur ensemble?”
And John Knox is like, “All women have cooties! Boys rule girls drool!”
And juuust when the final vote is about to be cast BAM! Who comes barreling through the door but Pauline and her devoted manservant, Pierre. She’s like, “Hey nonny nonny, miss me, bitches?”
Oh and she’s still covered with Barrowman’s blood, increasing the impact of her oh so dramatic entrance. She’s the legit Vampire Queen of Scotland at the moment, yet another reason no one should think of messing with her.
And James is like, “Thank God, I can finally stop being regent and also? I always wanted a sister! Yay!”
And JK is like, “I am going to ever so much enjoy destroying her. PS girls are gross.”
And Mary, standing there resplendent in the blood of her enemy, is like, “You poor boys have no idea what I’ve got in store for you.”
Fasten your seatbelts, next week’s finale is going to be a bumpy ride.