We’re now five episodes into the final season of The Best Show On TV ™ which, you’d think means they’d be sort of working towards some sort of climax without time for extraneous new plotlines but AU CONTRAIRE. This isn’t The Vampire Diaries or whatever, this is Reign, and whether it’s the first episode of the first season or the twentieth episode of the seventeenth season, they did not come to play. So much is happening between France and Scotland there wasn’t even time to check in on England and we’re a little worried — is Liz OK? Is Gideon still on the show, guys? But basically, as the title says, it’s time for the HIGHLAND GAMES so dig in for some Brave-adjacent kilt hijinks!!!
WTF #5: … A sad lack of Brave-adjacent kilt hijincks
If you are unfamiliar with The Highland Games, which were always televised when I was a kid growing up in Nova Scotia, it’s like the Olympics but for badass Scottish dudes in kilts who do a variety of events mostly involving the long-distance throwing of very heavy objects. However, all we really get of the Games is Mary and James taking a stroll around while dudes in kilts (YES) are setting up… mostly lots of flags and tents.
Mary looks amazing this week, not that she doesn’t always, but I think she may have finally found a good in-between look combining her French glam with Scottish woollens. Usually Reign reserves green for Liz, but as she’s not on this week, Mary gets the benefit. The sleeve trim does give a sort of shirt-over-shirt feel, but who cares when her jewels and hair are so on point?
Also plotwise, she’s like, “So James, FYI, I got this mysterious note from someone who may or may not be my long-lost under-the-bed sort-of-ghost friend, Clarissa, and she knew Darnley was trouble when he walked in.”
All right, j/k, Mary hasn’t yet figured out the notes are from CLARISSA, she’s just like, “Is this a PLL crossover or what?” and James is like, “… you haven’t even commented on my new pendant.”
Later, Mary announces her engagement to Darnley in front of a bunch of Scottish dudebros, and it goes perhaps even worse than you might have thought, mostly because they fully hate each other.
Then, partly because Darnley’s father was I guess a notorious traitor but mostly he’s just got a face you want to slap, this one Scottish dude puts down his bagpipes long enough to challenge him to some fisticuffs.
And Darnley is like, “HELL YEAH!” and Mary is like, “Um can I talk to you for a minute in private please?”
Darnley insists he’s really good at boxing and this will all go fine, but this is the same dude who lit a house on fire just to save a baby so Mary and James are not super into it. THEN, Dudebro’s manservant comes down with a slight case of the poisons and he’s like, “DARNLEY OCH YE TRAITOR!” and Darnley’s like, “COME AT ME BRO!” and it’s… not going great because I forgot to say, Dudebro is basically The Rock of his time and has never been defeated, ever.
The fight begins and after we got over our Queen Margot flashbacks, it proceeds like everyone knew it would: Dudebro bashing the hell out of Darnley and his luxurious hair.
But blah blah, Darnley didn’t actually poison the other guy and it turns out that Dudebro was also playing dirty tricks, so Mary sneaks some heavy gold coins into Darnley’s hand and he’s able to deliver a knockout punch.
Just when it seems like maybe these two are making tentative steps toward some sort of happy middle ground, Darnley overdoes it yet again with yet another Tom Cruise-esque publicity stunt, sweeping Mary into a super dramatic public kiss.
Which was all a fun plot and Darnley is most definitely intriguing and unpredictable but with a few more caber tosses and a bit less COME AT ME BRO I’d bump this up from a 7/10 to 10/10.
WTF #4: “Her name is Karen”
If you follow us on Twitter (which, if you don’t, what are you waiting for??? Ya girls at –> @ykylfashion), you’ll know we were a bit obsessed with Pepperpot and Greer’s plotline this week. So, Pepperpot (former Protestant spy/political prisoner/father of a ginger woman who died of plague/Lord of a pepper plantation) finally arrives in Scotland with Rose, The Pirate Baby, and he’s serving up shifty-eyes from moment one. Greer’s like, “Hey, boo!” and he’s like, “NOTHING TO SEE HERE! I’M NOT HIDING ANYTHING!”
Because this episode is going full Seventh Heaven in the sense of, every character gets their own plotline even though there are about 25 main cast members, their relationship disintegrates in just two scenes. That one above… and then one of our favourite Reign scenes of all time, like definitely Top 10.
Greer is like, “Pepperpot, why are you being so distant? Like, I know we were only married for 30 seconds before you went to jail and then I became a political refugee and then the most successful teen brothel owner of all time, then gave birth to a Pirate Baby, but like… I feel something’s changed.”
And Pepperpot utters the instant classic line:
HER. NAME. IS. KAREN.
KAREN! HER NAME. IS. KAREN.
It takes Green a moment to compose herself. How! Could! This! Happen! She only married a man she hardly knew and vaguely liked, amicably separated from him for months and maybe years, left him with her illegitimate pirate bay… only to be left for someone NAMED KAREN???? KAREN???
Pepperpot tries to break it to her gently.
Greer has always had practically superhuman levels of empathy/maturity and, given that I don’t know if she actually knows Pepperpot’s real name and mostly just cares about her pirate baby these days, is basically like, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Godspeed, Pepperpot and Karen, you sly minx.
WTF #3: 1, 2, 3 / Not only you and me
As we all remember, last week’s big cliffhanger is that Leith! Is! Totally Not Dead! But Claude! Is Already Married To Narcisse Jr.!
We open this time with the morning after for the newly minted Monsieur and Madame Narcisse Jr., whose post-coital enthusiasm is not so different from Mary and Darnley’s engagement announcement enthusiasm.
Narcisse Sr. has enough happiness to go around, though, because he’s finally tied his family tree to that of the royal family, which is suddenly after a few seasons very important to him. But mostly we appreciated the deja vu of that time Cathy barged in on Mary and Francis’s wedding night. Parents back then were just really hype on their kids consummating.
And so it looked like Narcisse Jr. was just pretending to be a woke bae last week in order to get Claude to choose him over the nunnery, but this week seems to indicate that, despite his genetics, this guy is actually… a woke bae. When he learns Leith is not only Totally Not Dead but also in the palace, he doesn’t pause before letting his wife know the new.
And Claude, wearing an outfit she literally just said was a gift from Narcisse Sr. (which: creepy but also: good taste, sir) TAKES OFF RUNNING.
The lovers embrace, giving us all Princess Bride feels.
Aaaaaand then we all remember what a pain in the butt Leith can be. Claude’s like, “Hooray! We can finally be together! Happy ever after the end! Woo!”
And Leith is like, “Well… but aren’t you married?”
Seriously, on this show? Marriage is like the easiest hurdle to get past if you want to be with someone. Anyway, Woke Bae is like, “Welp, I guess we’ll just annul our marriage so you can be with your one true love,”
But of course Narcisse Sr. is not about to give up a familiar connection to the royal fam, so annulment is a no go. So, the thruple head to Claude’s bedroom for a meeting of the minds.
Hahahaha I was joking with that caption, but Woke Bae 100% and I am not making this up, proposes that they agree upon an open marriage where Claude is technically his wife but she can also sleep with Leith. Is this the first time a polyamorous relationship has been discussed on a CW show? This is certainly not where I expected Leith’s return-from-the-dead plotline to bring us, but I should know by now to never try and predict what these genius writers will do next.
Perhaps the biggest WTF here is Leith being his same-old spoilsport whiny self. He lost Greer because he couldn’t get over his preconceptions for what a relationship means, and now he’s willing to give up a pretty sweet deal to be with the woman he loves just because she’ll also be with another guy? I highly doubt he’s going to find a better offer than this. Leith: being 1/3 of a thruple on Reign for the rest of the final season is maybe the greatest thing to ever happen to you. Get over yourself.
WTF #2: Charles is still a mess, part 1
I’m into the way this show now starts with sort of Law & Order cold opens where kids are innocently picnicking, only to fall into — maybe — a death trap set by Charles The Tiny Vampire King.
So, the poor little kid above gets killed by either a) Charles or b) a bear. Basically all of France assumes it’s the fault of the strung-out teen who likes to wander around the woods covered in blood. Cathy and Narcisse team up for yet another parental-adjacent intervention, trying to explain to the young King why maybe it’s best that at least he should wipe off his chin after drinking blood.
Charles, in his ruffled blouse and greasy hair, is looking more and more like the lead singer of My Chemical Romance, and responds mainly through his now trademark vacant-eyed stare. Cathy interprets this as agreement, and makes plans for him to make a public speech
Turns out it really was a bear who attacked that poor kid from earlier on, and the photo op here is Charles (blood-free) speaking to a crowd of villagers, next to the carcass of the bear. What could go wrong?? Well, in this instance, it’s that the villagers could throw a bucket of blood at his head.
This was obviously gross but also awesome, especially the lumbering way Charles ran off afterwards, like Frankenstein’s Monster. But also? Like, he’s the King. This is a time and a place where — as we’ve seen on the show, this season — even saying something mean about your monarch could lead to your execution. So basically, hope this prank was worth it to the crowd of villagers who were probably all killed right after.
WTF #1: Meanwhile in a cave in the North woods…
Finally, finally finallyfinallyfinally, we learn Charles’s deep dark secret, which is also revealed literally in the deep dark. Turns out he’s been hiding out in this cave in the woods, and will only see Cathy. I mean: fair. After a public humiliation like that, she’s the only person I would call who would be able to both comfort me and also help me plan the utter destruction of the people who did this to me.
ALSO? This is after last week’s backhand smack scenario, which Cathy apparently has forgiven??? Like, how deep is this woman’s patience with her useless son? After working hard to get him to be a person again, she heads solo into the woods to help him out. MOTHER. OF. THE. YEAR. AND ALSO EVERY. YEAR.
So what’s his secret? Is he a serial killer/drug addict/vampire/cannibal/human hunter/self-harmer? Or is he just… kinda messed up from last season’s kidnapping scenario? The answer is, disappointingly, but also appropriately, that last one.
He’s like, “One bad thing happened to me once and now I’m ruined forever!” and Cathy somehow manages to not be like, “Charles: you are a character on the television program Reign. If you can’t handle near-death on at least a weekly basis, I don’t know what you’re doing here.”
Charles freaks out, yet again, and runs off into the woods without a lantern but with his same feral animal dash. Cathy, wearing a long skirt and probably fancy shoes, trips and falls in the woods — ending yet another episode literally flat on her face. CHARLES. Look at your life, look at your choices. Your mother is Cathy and even after you treated her utterly cruelly she’s still not given up on you. Maybe take the help she’s offering instead of lumbering off into the woods which are full of bears and you are still covered in blood?
Truly, perhaps the biggest WTF of all here is: how could Cathy’s son be so useless? He is made of half Cathy’s DNA and half Henry’s DNA so like… CHARLES. PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER.