Listen up, royals: this episode was one of those episodes, and you know what I mean because it’s season 4, episode 8, and you know the drill by now. For the second time this season, so much madcap bonkers bananapants action is occurring that 5 WTFs could never suffice. So buckle up your Givenchy studded belts and fasten on your shiniest tiaras: it’s Reign time.
WTF #10: Woke Bae Gets Love Advice From The Vampire Charles
This show is reaching sort of Seventh Heaven levels of ensuring that every single cast member gets a plotline every week. Now that Leith’s gone, Claude is stuck in a marriage to Woke Bae, a man whose pure goodness is like the biggest WTF of all.
He’s a total gentleman here with his wifey, being like, “Um, so Leith wandered away weeks ago show-time, and you’re my wife so like… want to talk?”
Claude’s depression is more than apparent with her un-bouncy, limp curls and a bathrobe dress possibly borrowed from Cathy’s stockpile. No bows, no ruffles, NO PINK. Girl is in MOUR. NING.
Rather than pressure her, Woke Bae goes to her bonkers brother for love advice. I MEAN. Ten seconds ago Charles was LIVING IN A CAVE IN THE WOODS WHILE COVERED IN BLOOD but Woke Bae isn’t one to judge. If you want to go feral and go work on an organic Protestant farm, he’s down with that.
Woke Bae takes this to heart, constructing/buying/somehow getting a sort of nightlight that projects the stars on the ceiling in a time before electricity. Woke Bae: also a 16th century planetarium engineer, apparently.
Claude likes the gesture, but is still not ready to move on with him. Woke Bae gets it, though. He’s not going to pressure her; he’s just here to support her in her personal journey. I mean… are we sure Narcisse is sincerely his father? Or is he inevitably hiding literally bodies under the castle because nobody can possible be this pure.
WTF #9: Farmgirl Nicole Fits Right In
For a gal who literally just fell off the hay cart, smelling of manure, Nicole (now “Lady Nicole”) fits right in at court. We first spy her rocking a glam pompadour and a dress so glittery Claude may want to borrow it, while supporting her man:
I love how much she’s living for all of this. Girl had the busy kitchen staff especially make her an EDIBLE MARZIPAN CASTLE, from which she only vaguely nibbles.
And then she lolls around on this lounging chair like she’s Cathy Junior up in here. Truly, Nicole is all of us if we were given this dress, chair, marzipan castle, and vino. Live it up, girl.
Narcisse is like, “Soooo can you try and make Charles be not Protestant?” and she’s like, “I will for a price,” and he’s like, “Daaammnnn girl” and we’re just giving her windmill snaps over here.
Like, legit respect here for a farmgirl done good.
WTF #8: Charles’s Crisis of Faith
But “Lady” Nicole really does have her work cut out for her. She’s introduced Charles to the kind of tantric sexathons that are apparently part and parcel of being a Protestant, so obviously he’s reluctant to convert back to Catholicism even though he’s maybe causing a war. I mean, girl has skills, clearly.
While Nicole pragmatically suggests he fake re-converting, his new BFF Woke Bae is like, “But what is it about Protestantism that really appeals to you? No judgment.”
And Charles realizes it’s that when he’s Protestant, nobody can tell him what to do because he doesn’t have to answer to the Pope who — to a Catholic King in the 16th century is not just like some vague figurehead, but I think is like his mother’s actual brother or something. But Woke Bae is like, “Bro, I respect your journey, but bear in mind that there are leaders in Protestantism, too.”
This logic makes something misfire in his brain, and Charles — who has been behaving basically human all episode — has a full Norman Bates short circuit moment.
WTF #7: Harlequin Presents: The Queen and the Pirate
Meanwhile back in England, this blond dude with a ponytail and shirt unbuttoned to his navel shows up in town. He’s a pirate, arrested for stealing from the Spanish, and he thinks he can woo Liz with this vegetable fruit.
Liz isn’t here for his knockoff Chris Hemsworth cosplay, but is interested in the booty he’s brought over from the New World, including… even more veg. Apparently ruffage was really the way to a Queen’s heart, back in the day.
She is wholeheartedly immune to literally everything James Hawkins is selling here, but is intrigued enough by his tales of piracy that she decides then and there to go take over America for England.
This screencap basically speaks for itself. Rachel Skarsten is serving up top-notch #RachFace realness while modelling a necklace consisting of, I want to say, new age crystals?
So she’s over fighting with Mary and ready to take on the world. And I think we all know where this is going to lead, and it’s straight to the dude singing “You’ll Be Back” in Hamilton, two hundred years later.
WTF #6: de’Medicis FTW, Forever
Can’t not offer snaps to Cathy’s cousin/niece/something(?) who rolls into Scotland just in time to hear Darnley extremely rudely dissing Francis.
Anyway, she’s a badass bawse and is like, “I will choose to not murder you and every one of your descendants if you can get me a random piece of land, kthxbye.”
Put a pin in that: it comes back VERY SOON…
WTF #5: Harlequin Presents: The Queen and the Rogue
… Like right now! So, while Liz has less than zero romantic interest in her ponytailed, dimpled rogue, Mary can’t not get a little swept away by Bothwell, a man who has (just to recap):
Backing up just a sec: so, Mary heads out in a carriage with guards to scope out the land that Cathy’s cousin/whatever needs in order to still attend the wedding. Guess who’s on the land, flexing his muscles while fixing a fence like he’s Gaston??
Anyway, he’s like, “Hmmm I might consider selling this land, which I totally own by the way, but first let me take you on a long walk/boat ride/swim all about the countryside. Interested?”
Girlfriend needs the land like, in a bad way, so she’s like, “Ugh, fine, but I refuse to enjoy myself. Walking through tall grass just happens to be one of my main hobbies, so, let’s do this.”
And then Bothwell is like, “Oh, didn’t I mention that this land includes a river and a rowboat with only room for two? Gideon told me you’re into this sort of The Notebook recreation so…”
He spends his time dropping “subtle” “hints” that maybe marrying Darnley is not the best of ideas, but she’s like I have literally no choice so like: nice try and it’s all banter, banter, banter, flirt, flirt, flirt, until…
They take the next step in this Nicholas Sparks Historical Novel plotline, the unavoidable “Oh no your dress is so wet, let me help you take it off. For HEALTH reasons, not SEXYTIMES reasons.”
And in case you were wondering, rest assured inside her gorgeous (and easily removable) gown is this fully gorgeous corset and petticoat ensemble. The wonder here is mostly that her hair and makeup are still so on point, even post-“flood”. That’s why they call her Queen.
WTF #4: Bash’s “return”
So anyway, it turns out that Bothwell is:
- the Loyal Watchman sending her secret warning letters all season
- a dude who promised Mary’s mother he’d keep an eye on her
- ready to Make Scotland Great Again
Mary’s only just starting to take this in when… this dude appears.
He’s like, “Hey girl hey, just stopping by to deliver you a message from a Druid I met who has eyes like sea glass and who would totally be here himself, but he’s just really busy on the astral plane or whatever.”
Mary’s like, “You had me at sea glass eyes!” because who else could Forest Vagrant mean but our beloved BASH!!!!!
Anyway, his prophecy is basically that Mary can marry for either love or an heir, and if she chooses an heir, it will be a son who will rule England and Scotland. And Mary’s gone through enough prophecy-related murders to know that this has to be the truth. So her constant inner pendulum falls for keeps on the Marry Darnley I Guess side.
Ergo, she heads back to her castle to tell James that basically, a forest vagrant who communes with sea glass-eyed Druids told her to marry Darnley, so that’s just what she’s going to do.
WTF #3: Keira 0; Horse 1
Anyway, James — who clearly still wants to marry her and who is slowly unravelling in front of our eyes — tattles on Darnley to her, spilling the beans that Keira’s still in town and Darnley has been creeping off somewhere. Mary’s like, “Ugh, this is the last thing I have time for! Get rid of her in a non-murder way, xoxo thanks.”
Which, to be fair, James does attempt to do… but try telling that to the DEATH HORSE.
So like, Keira’s more than a little dead. And sidenote? Darnley was not hooking up with her, so it’s just tragedy all around, p much.
Because guess what Darnley was sneaking off to do? No, really guess. Did you guess, “helping custom-design ruby earrings as a gift for Mary”? Because, that’s what. Yes, really.
So next week’s possible wedding will truly be the most grim affair this side of Game of Thrones. Because real talk: these two still have to get married. It’s… not the greatest situation.
WTF #2: Mary’s New Entourage
So here’s the thing: Mary, like Buffy Summers, works best when she’s surrounded by a squad. Ideally, a girl squad (and most ideally, a squad including Ms Cathy de’Medici). Here in Scotland, she’s got her Only Lady Left Standing, Lady “Pirate Baby Mamma/Former Teen Brothel Owner” Greer, who is amazing, but not about to help Mary with her political issues. And enter…. Bothwell?
Mary does tell a friend, i.e. her brother James, who is of course the one who banned Bothwell from court in the first place. So this is the sort of alliance that is… not, really. It’s like when on Survivor when they merge tribes and everyone pretends it’s a blank slate, but then they backstab everyone at the earliest possible moment.
So, James and Bothwell share an intense moment of foreshadowing, just getting these shots in place for when they’re needed in a few weeks for “Previously on Reign” when they inevitably start trying to murder and/or bone each other.
Things are not great, Bob, for the Q of S right now.
WTF #1: That it took this long for Cathy to get Mary’s Sad Bat Signal
So Cathy, of course, was already planning to head to Scotland for her de’Medici family reunion-slash-Mary’s wedding to The Worst Man In Europe. It’s just another on her usual laundry list of things to do:
But her plans got suddenly more urgent the worse Mary’s situation got. I mean, of course she’s dealing with Charles’s whole conversion thing, and Leeza’s power moves, but we all know the heart of this show is her relaysh with Mary and some part of her — perhaps the bit that’s off on the astral plane, with the Druid with eyes like sea glass — knows she’s needed elsewhere.
And just when Mary’s reached peak melting down, the enormity of her no-win situation really hitting her, who walks through the door but…
Mama Bear is here. And maybe for the first time since Mary’s been in Scotland, her life may be slightly less terrible. FOR NOW…