Guess who’s back, bitches: three BAMF Queens, the most plot twisty melodrama in TV history, and us, with these recaps! Can’t wait to dig into the historically-inspired scheming, the religious alliances and… j/k: we’re all here for the outfits, stabbings, double-double-crosses, strummy guitar music, and literally anything Cathy decides to do. Bring on the first episode of the (sob) final season…
WTF #5: Kinda shipping #MarJames not gonna lie
Things kick off with Mary beating the crap out of this hot dude with a huge sword (not a euphemism) while wearing a frilly top and curtain tapestry vest and we’re here like WELCOME BACK SHOW!!!
Now, a lot has happened since last time we watched this show so it took a minute to be like… who’s this dude? It’s no secret Reign has always had a surplus of scruffy hot white dudes so it takes us a sec to be like, riiiight, her brother.
But five seconds later, we were like oh riiiiight, her brother who always looks at her boobs who she has such inappropes sexual chemistry with.
Hey, boo, I see you. Lots of significant wine drinking this week, as though the show’s characters have finally caught up to the hellscape they live in and are dealing with it Cersei style.
Not Cersei style is Mary consistently shutting this bro down. Yes, she needs a husband for security et al, but she is not going to get with you, James, deal with it.
WTF #4: Yass Queen x 4
Because checking in with Scotland, England, and France is not quite enough, Reign throws on a Clarendon filter to bring us Spain!! Just we’re all sure we know where we are, 100% of the ladies here are wearing mantillas and fanning themselves like it’s the waiting room for a flamenco dancer audition.
Anyhoo, remember Don Carlos from the Great Sex Chair Near-Death Experience of 2016? So, he’s gone full bonkers, running around nude in Spain, fully obsessed with no one less than Queen Leeza, a.k.a. Catherine’s oldest daughter, a.k.a our newest obsession.
Leeza’s ready for some vacay and real talk, the costumers used up all their mantillas in this brief scene, so she hops the nearest… carriage? For a little R-and-R with her mother, who is of course CATHY!!!! Oh girl, we missed you so.
So while Scotland has its browns-and-woollens and England is all about reds and puff sleeves, Leeza represents Spain via this gilded palette. Cathy dons her most Spanish-ish ensemble to make her oldest feel at home, but pretty much right away Leeza takes control of everything because Actual Queen of Spain outranks Former Queen of France, even when that women is your mother, and also CATHY!!!
So Leeza is like, “First things first, I’m the realest and second, I get to sit first always and third, nobody is ever allowed to wear more jewels or pearls than me at any time at all ever, and also I’d like my name in the opening credits, cool?”
Cathy is like, “Oh, girl, have you forgotten who I am?”
Like just look at their postures here. Leeza is all playing the part of Queen with her posture and her jewels (and her glass of vino: DRANK)
While Cathy is just like, fully lounging, ultra chill, biding her time until she gets to murder someone.
The amount of glitter and glam Leeza is bringing to French court is a) appreciated but also b) clearly overcompensating. Which is to say that I am here for it, all of it but also this amount of thirst is making me crave a glass of wine for myself.
How sweet that even separated by the English Channel, Cathy and Mary are both rocking the same ruffled collar? Leeza may share DNA with this lady, but we all know she’s Mary’s spiritual Mom.
She is also, of course, also Claude’s Mom but we’ll get to that drama in a bit.
WTF #3: Oops Liz Did It Again
Part of what makes this show so fantastic is not just that it stars three literal Queens, but that each of them is a fully formed BAMF of a different style. Which is to say, Lizzie is back, along with Rachel Skarsten’s amazing face, and my life is suddenly complete.
We first see her all hey girl hey, making nice while wearing a sort of armored dress. No ruffled collars here, she is all biz these days. Girlfriend has her sights set on a dude named Darnley, who Mary also has her sights set on, sort of like a three-person The Bachelor scenario, but lethal.
This knockoff Jane Austen adaptation Mrs. Bennett is Darnley’s Mom, who is looking rad af in this overlaid lace filigree scenario. She’s like, “So great of you to invite me here, Liz, could I have another Pimms cup please and thank you?”
And Liz is like, “Bitch, I know you know I invited you and your useless son so you’ll get your Pimms when you show me the goods, i.e. your son who I need to either marry or kill.”
Ugh, her dress is even more stunning closer up. The bead detail? The epaulette-like shoulder embellishments? This Queen is NOT playing around and she also knows she is an AUTUMN and is WORKING. IT.
And then this dude shows up, like… heyyy, back from Scotland, totally not a spy for Mary, good to see you again, etc.
And Liz, in a v gorge statement necklace is like, “Could you please just remind me and all of us what went down at the end of last season vis-a-vis Lola being murdered because I only slightly remember?”
Lovinggg this tiara here with its heart motif, and again with the embellished shoulders on her gown. She’s also got the hair up, all business thing going on to compare with Mary’s softed braided looks. It’s Queen vs Queen both stylistically and militarily.
But seriously, this bodice is fab:
Gideon is like, “I will prove Lola wasn’t behind the assassination attempt and also I will help Narcisse care for Baby John and other things to validate my still being on the show.”
tl;dr it all culminates in lovely Renee, Lola’s nanny, being killed via bow-and-arrow snipers and Gideon bringing Baby John back to the palace and Liz tearing up:
While John, who has gone through more in his like two years of life than most of us will in two decades, is basically over it, all of it.
Things wrap up with Darnley finally showing his scruffy hot white dude face at Liz’s court and the show more or less queues up a badass guitar lick for his strut in.
I want someone to look at me the way Liz looks at the man she knows she can use to destroy her cousin. Just pure, unadulterated, villainous adoration.
WTF #2: Mommie Dearest
Backtracking a little, so Claude still doesn’t know about the whole Leith-getting-stabbed from last season’s finale and thinks he’s just sort of gone missing. In the interim, this scruffy hot white dude is like, “I was also on the finale last year, remember? And you maybe have to marry me and also we have a romantic history together?”
Claude’s looking lovely as ever in her trademark pink sequinned palette, again making a style statement to illustrate she’s in a wildly different place than any other woman on this show. For starters, she’s only been married once, but that got annulled, and she’s also happy because she thinks Leith is coming back and she can marry her true love.
This is of course, not true. She quickly learns that not only is Leith dead but also her thirsty older sister is making her marry this velvet-suited dude. Claude is like no mas, Leeza, and Leeza is like, darling I may live in Spain but I obviously don’t speak Spanish.
Really digging the inner-arm embellishments on this gown.
So, Claude plays a little Renaissance Nancy Drew and learns that not only is Leith totally dead but also Velvet Ruffled Collar up there and his fam were responsible. She reveals this to Cathy who is like, “Darling, let’s murder him.”
And readers, they did.
It’s still super sad and Claude’s emo Belle from Beauty and the Beast thing is heartbreaking, but at least Cathy’s stopped trying to murder her and is now helping her dispose of terrible fiances so like… could be worse?
WTF #1: The North Remembers
Meanwhile, guess who’s visiting Scotland! Can you guess from the carefully pinned and yet utterly shapeless bouffant?
Welcome back Greer! Missed you, boo!
She’s in town for Lola’s funeral and also because Mary needs a female friend in her life. Mary’s like, “How’s your husband, Pepper Pot, and the pirate baby you gestated all last year in secret?” and Greer’s like, “They’re fine, whatever, I guess. But how are YOU?”
Mary is doing legit pretty great, actually. She’s in black, her power color; she’s going with her laurel wreath crown that makes her look ready to invade Rome on horseback (#foreshadow, sort of).
Just when you thought we could all relax for a minute and like mourn Lola’s unjustified decapitation: this is still Reign. And if you were wondering why the lingering close-ups on the communion wine it’s because that wine is roofied, cuz!
Mary stumbles out of the funeral, sort of dizzy, and — still forgetting what show we’re watching — we were like, “Oh, girl, she’s totes pregz with Gideon’s baby!”
But yeah no, it’s the communion wine roofies.
She wakes up in North Scotland which is, I guess, an area inhabitated by these sort of Outlander type people. And their King or whatever is like, “You’re here to marry our son with the delicate constitution and heart condition!” and Mary is like, “The f**k I am!”
Smash cut to that evening, when she’s put on the really pretty sort of Guinevere gown they want her to wear for her wedding. How is she going to do up the laces in the back without a lady in waiting?? OH JUST WAIT.
So poor George, her husband-to-be, comes in and she’s like oh hey, can you do up this really complicated back part of this dress for me thankeee
And while he’s tightening the laces, she’s just super cazh like, “So have you ever been with a Queen before? Sexually? My tastes are… very… singular…”
And he passes out because even he knows he’s not ready for this jelly. Mary makes one of her customary escapes, this time accessorized with the axe she uses to murder her guard, steals a horse, and takes off. Does her white dress get dirty? What do you think?
She catches up with James in the woods and he’s like, “So I was totally just about to rescue you but since you’re here and in a white dress anyway…” and she’s like, “For the last time I am not going to marry you James.”
In fact, she gives a stirring speech to Clan Gordon and gets James to behead their King mostly just to remind everyone who’s boss. (Hint: the gal with the crown)
Later, she finally gets to put on her own dress and it’s this drop dead 70s-inspired couture glamor that I wish we got to see more of. It’s the first time she really melded her own French style with the brown palette apparently everyone has to wear in Scotland. She’s like, “Bitch, I am going to marry Darnley and destroy Elizabeth and that is that, get off me.”
Oooooh the sleeves are lovely here, too.
Even when she’s going full warrior Queen, she’s got an element of softness to her outfits that Liz never brings. Not that one is better than the other; just a quick shorthand to tell them apart. Liz is all head; Mary is all heart, but trying hard to be more pragmatic.
And for sure, she wraps up the episode with a kickass speech about how she’s going to take over the world, basically.
Here. For. This.