So, as longtime readers of these recaps know (**waves to longtime readers**), we usually describe each episode of Reign in terms of the Top 5 WTF moments. These are sometimes in order of WTF-ery, with the wildest plot moments in the #1 spot. Sometimes, the WTF-ery is all equal, so they’re listed in chronological order. And sometimes the level of bonkers plot twists is so high we expand to 10 moments — this week was sort if everything, at once so many bananas moments but also not quite enough for 10. So for the first time, as a tribute to this episodes particularly nutso-slash-standard plot line, we present the Top 8 WTF moments, in no particular order…..
WTF #8: #RizziosHair
Props must be given to Davey Rizzio, the single best thing to happen to Mary since she got to Scotland, and I’m including Bothwell in that, because Davey wants for nothing but some sweet music, fine wine, and to have a good time. Fittingly, things kick off with Davey kicking it with an orchestra (?) he is now in charge of (??) like the Pharrell of the 16th century.
Then, like the best of best friends, when Mary pops her head in, he drops literally everything to see if she’s OK. Or maybe he just wants to get a closer look at these earrings, which are GOR.GEOUS.
And now comes the time we get to talk about Mary’s dress. It is spectacular, and never have brown and bronze (???) looked so eleganza. And of course she has the perfect arm candy in Davey, who sashays around in those boots and leather pants like Freddie Mercury, who he is maybe an ancestor of? Who knows.
Ughghhhhh between this gown and Liz’s upcoming feather scenario and Nicole’s gilded white, it was a great week for fashion. Even in the darkest of times, these women express themselves through their clothes and it’s always so beautiful to see.
Ahem, so speaking of beautiful things, Davey’s mission this week is Operation: Distraction, in which he keeps Darnley busy by pretending like Lord D has any control over the music for his upcoming coronation. And I’m sorry but it is a tragedy this episode was already so full we couldn’t watch those two hanging out because that would have been AMAZING.
Anyway, Mary and Davey meet up later for a nighttime bitch sesh with Greer and it’s just the cutest squad ever.
Seriously, Davey posing there with his wine, in his studded vest and… am I seeing a studded fly on his trousers? Is just everything to me right now. His ray of sunshine is just what this show needs and let’s just hope that similar to how James’s Wikipedia entry didn’t directly correspond with what happened this week, maybe Davey will get a similar escape? #SaveRizziosHair
WTF #7: Nicole x Narcisse
Speaking of Charles, his GF and muse Nicole is still earning her place at court, keeping him tamed and happy with her sexy Protestant ways. And she’s happy to help out, since it means she gets to hang out around the palace and drink champagne all day, while wearing a super glam white prom dress sort of thing.
But, here’s the thing: Charles, it turns out, was just her way to get there. When Narcisse suggests that she retire with Charles to the countryside and let Henri take over as King, she reacts by revealing that she’s in love with Narcisse now.
I’m sorry, like record scratch. What in the what now? I mean, obviously it makes sense for her to fall for Narcisse: he’s glorious and we all remember how he starred in that sex diary that time. So Nicole: congratulations for having eyes and a sex drive. But also: girl, you know better than this.
When Narcisse is like, “Um girl, no,” she is… annoyed.
In their usual Catherine/Sebastian Dangerous Liaisons/Cruel Intentions style, Cathy instructs Narcisse to seduce and destroy Nicole, or at least to pretend like he loves her, so she can keep working for them vis-a-vis Charles.
Ever the loyal co-conspirator, and always down to hook up, Narcisse heads over to Nicole’s to play act like he has a human soul left at all, let alone is capable of love.
He even brings up Lola (#RIP Lola) as the reason for keeping his distance from this whip-smart younger woman with curly brown hair. Nicole, for her part, has never looked more gorgeous but COME ON, GIRL, HE IS PLAYING YOU LIKE A VIOLIN WHO JUST GOT HERE FROM THE FARM AND SEEMS TO KNOW WHAT SHE’S DOING BUT DOES NOT!!
And then: this.
Nobody is shipping this, except for maybe Nicole, which: girl, wake up. If Davey was here, he could be her get a grip friend but in the meantime, can’t anyone from her squad get her to look at her life, look at her choices?
WTF #6: Liz x Gideon
OK. So. I guess after Liz hooked up with Gideon last week, they are now a regular FWB situation which: I guess? But it’s not just late-night “u up” thing, it’s apparently now become a sexytimes in her massive hot tub like room sort of thing.
Too bad Lola’s dead (#RIP Lola) because vThs were kind of her thing and she’d have loved this sweet set up. Liz has enough candles to shoot a Celine Dion/Meatloaf music video, like, did they even have pillar candles back in the day?
Anywat, so Gideon appears already mostly submerged in the water, and God bless for that, because out loud I think I screamed GIDEON LEAVE YOUR SHIRT ON so that’s where I am vis-a-vis this particular ship.
Elizabeth fronts like Gideon is suddenly the one true love of her life, but y’all, I’m not sure if Rachel Skarsten is buying this plot twist.
Anyway, this whole bathtub sequence is really a preamble for a thankfully much more clothed sequence, where Liz is playing the Bachelorette and Gideon is… Chris Harrison? And she is wearing the most amazing FEATHER SHOULDERED GOWN and eventually invites one of the suitors for one-on-one time outside.
But none of these dudes with bad teeth can hold up to her new standards for romantic love, Gideon. Their non-stop sexytimes continue with tea, because: England.
Queens can bed lovers but not until a nice cup of Earl Grey has been enjoyed.
And then plot twist! She… wants to get pregnant with Gideon’s baby… because… that would prove to get gross suitors that she’s actually fertile or… something?
And I’m not sure what happened in the next scene because Liz blended in so perfectly with the room decor I couldn’t see her.
But basically she and Gideon are sort of OK now? I guess? But he’s clearly learned his lesson back from when he tried to get Mary to run off with him (literally just a few episodes ago, like, this guy moves on quickly) and doesn’t even try to dampen Liz’s rampant ambition.
But spoiler for any Liz x Gideon shippers out there (which… are there any of you out there? **waves**) she became known as The Virgin Queen for a reason and that reason is that she never married or had a baby. Gideon needs some real talk time with Davey too, I think.
WTF #5: Charles x Protestants
So, something or other happened with some Protestants and/or Catholics in a church where one group held the other for ransom: idk. The point is, Charles is growing more and more confident as King, and Nicole’s his muse, and Cathy and Narcisse are the proud parent and sort-of-stepparent.
So then something something, Charles got to show off his political might, and in saving some babies, now everybody cheers for him, instead of throwing pig’s blood at him. Success!
Charles is happy, France is happy, everything’s great, right?
Right, because turns out, Cathy’s Plan B just strolled into town and he’s not super into the idea of playing second fiddle to his brother…
WTF #4: The Other, Other Valois Boy
It’s really quite stunning how, in this mad rush to the final few episodes, more and more Amazing Characters (Davey, Nicole) keep flinging themselves onto this show, sort of like an amazing concert that keeps bringing on last minute guests the closer it gets to ending. And Henri may just be another awesome last minute addition, like, his facial hair alone is FASCINATING.
Since Cathy has basically an unlimited amount of kids stored across the continent, with Charles still doing his Protestant Thing, she calls for his understudy: Henri. Remember Henri? To recap, in the season three finale, a.k.a. less than one season ago, he looked like this (with Cathy, for size reference):
Surprise! Much like Charles himself, Henri has been a victim of RSAS. Haven’t heard of it? Well, it stands for…
Like, Henri has lapped the glow-up and Longbottoming for something much more extreme. And real talk: dude looks an awful lot like Francis’s brother, right? But like Charles’s younger brother… not so much.
It takes Cathy a moment to realize who this dude is, but who can say no to this face:
By episode’s end, Henri was posing on the French throne like a tourist at a Game of Thrones theme park so he’s not just here for the eye candy: he’s here to cause chaos. Sidenote: now that we’ve got Henri and Cathy and Charles all in place, all that’s missing for a full Queen Margot Jr. situation is like a twelve year old Marg to show up and we’re all set.
WTF #3: Greer x James x Emily
So in another tea sequence, which I guess they also drink in Scotland, but probably like Orange Pekoe instead of Earl Grey, Mary takes some time out of her busy schedule of Being Queen to check in with her only (female) friend left alive, Greer “Never Forget She Is A Former Teen Brothel Entrepreneur And Mother Of A Pirate Baby” Lastname.
Now, because it bears repeating, Mary’s dress here is GORGEOUS (it’s the same one from with Davey earlier). We’re also very glad to see Greer is regularly combing out her weave (unlike during the Teen Brothel Entrepreneur Beehive Days), and this is all very lovely and sweet.
And Greer’s issue is that awkward thing where she likes Mary’s brother, which is always tricky between pals, especially when Mary can’t be like, “He’s only seducing Emily because I made him in a seduce and destroy type thing, because I am Cathy’s protegee after all, so you have my blessing to date him once that’s all sorted.”
And later James is like, “Just trust me, we can be together in a bit,” because he also can’t talk about what’s happening re: Emily, but then he’s just like, “I’m on a CW show so screw it! Literally. Let’s make out in the hallway.”
Because wars may be raging and betrayal is around every corner and people are dying constantly from the plague, so let’s just live while we’re still young, amirite?
Buuuut then of course there’s Emily, last seen wandering around the castle in stolen clothes after being kicked out by her husband, the worst man ever on this show, Gross John Knox (GJK). But surprise! GJK took her back! And she’s doing terribly.
Still, Mary needs the scoop on GJK’s plans so she sends James (???) to go and try and seduce and destroy the woman he’s already destroyed. James is like, “Okay? Like that’ll never work, but OK.”
So Emily is like, “Here’s some secret intel that I am 100% not just telling you because I hate you and want to destroy you and it’s this: HAMILTON IS GOING TO KILL MARY.”
James, for zero reasons, believes Emily’s obvious lie and runs back to tattle to Mary. Which… well… let’s take a look at this whole Hamilton situation first, mmkay?
WTF #2: Hamilton x Darnley
So, this dude fully strolls into court, strikes a pose, and is like:
Mary is not buying what he’s selling, but she needs the Hamiltons on her side. Thing is, the Darnleys and the Hamiltons are like the Montagues and Capulets of Olde Scotland, minus the romance, which is why Davey was keeping Darnley busy all this time. If these two dudes see each other, the dick-measuring contest would be so full of ego the world would implode.
Of course, Darnley smells a Hamilton and deduces that his well-eyebrowed nemesis is on the scene. Mary is like, cool your roll, and Darnley is like, “BUT I WANNA FIGHT” and Mary is like, “As the episode title says: BE A BETTER MAN.”
Darnley’s doing his best, but then not-Alexander Hamilton pays him a visit in his boudoir, thirsty for some fisticuffs.
But Darnley, who’s having an on-week for actually respecting Mary, balls up his fists but keeps them at his side. He’s trying to be a better man! He can do this!
But Darnley manages his temper, breaking only a bottle of whiskey (nooooo!) and not Not-Alexander’s face. But Not-Alexander is not done with his work as an agent of chaos. Ugh, Hamiltons, am I right?
WTF #1: Mary x James
Now, it’s no secret that James clearly wants to marry his sister and be King, like, it’s basically canon by this point, right? And even if you don’t believe that, then the show’s clearly set up he’s ride or die for Mary, and she has in him one man (other than Davey) who actually wants to help her and not just use her.
So, when James shows up at Mary’s bitch sesh to reveal the fact that Hamilton is planning to kill her, of course she believes him.
So she charges out, still in a hand-me-down Cathy fancy housecoat, with their soldiers and crossbows to take that bitch Hamilton down. But Hamilton’s there, with his own militia!
But James reveals he’s basically a ninja, stabbing and swinging his sword all over the place. Now, I wish we could have seen Mary whip out a fork or something to help out, but I respect that she’s the Queen and needs to look out for herself. Basically, James single-handedly kills everybody, leaving the hallway like the end of that Daredevil scene in the jail with Punisher.
And juuuust as he lays there dying, Not-Alexander Hamilton throws out one final screw you to everybody, revealing that GJK tricked him too, and it was all a way to frame Mary for the deaths of the Hamiltons. Basically, congratulations, she and James played themselves.
But!! James is like, “What if I say it was all my idea and not yours, and you kick me out of Scotland?” and Mary’s like, “That’s basically our only option so, #ShrugEmoji.” But first!!! She puts on this amazing keyhole dress and reads Emily Knox, sending her back to her Handmaid’s Tale of a home because that’s worse than any prison. But come on: this Queenly look is AMAZING.
But then it’s time for the #SadEmoji because she has to pretend to kick James of Scotland by actually kicking him out of Scotland, and neither of them want to, but they know they have to, and it’s just like… tears all around.
So he peaces out, and Greer — Greer! WYD!!! — is like, “How dare you save your own monarchy by kicking my crush out of the country??”
Like, come on. You know Davey Rizzio would never be this selfish. But also, girl, you kissed him what, once? There are plenty more fish in the sea.
Anyway, the latest threat to her throne done away with, Mary breaks the news to Darnley that she’s pregnant with their baby, and then they have his coronation. And we don’t hear it, but I’m sure Davey’s music accompaniment was amazing and there was a fabulous Davey-planned party afterwards. But kind of the point here is, they look terrifying but also like they hate each other, both of which points are Very Accurate.
So, for once, we aren’t ending on a cliffhanger at all because they’re married and pregnant and her crown is secure. But sort of every minute of her life is a cliffhanger, really, so just because it’s calm now doesn’t mean everything’s great — given this show’s track record, you know it’s much more likely to be the calm before the storm of amazing bonkers plot twists that will comprise the final episodes of this season.