Well, if we didn’t know any better it sort of feels like this episode of Reign was made specifically for us to write this WTF recap about it. As befits a show nearing the end of the season, things are on FULL TILT in all three court. As per the new normal, all numbering is pointless at this point, we have no idea how many WTFs there even were, so let’s just dig in and see where we land mmkay? WARNING: this is LENGTHY because basically every. single. scene. was a bonkers WTF moment so this may or may not be a full synopsis of the episode. So pull up a chair, pull yourself a nice tall cup of your preferred DRANK and enjoy.
WTF #17: Mary gets ‘er done
So, last episode’s cliffhanger was Mary stomping into a room of Scots and taking charge of the scenario, planning to take back her castle post-Rizzio-stabbing. This week starts with… basically, her making good on that promise. The only unanticipated part of this is that she chose a tweed-and-plaid Warrior Queen ensemble and led the charge herself. But then again, like, of course she did.
I mean, this shot of Mary staring down the castle and all the traitors inside is like a calling card for this whole season. Mary, Queen of Badassness.
Not only does she storm the castle and string up the only remaining conspirator, but she personally kicks the box out from under him and looks him in the eye as he hangs. I mean, dude deserved it. He deserved worse, frankly because he was a) treasonous and b) gross and in league with GJK and also c) PERSONALLY STABBED DAVEY RIZZIO, THE PUREST SOUL THAT EVER LIVED.
This all wrapped up in the pre-credits sequence, like where can they go from here??? Well…
WTF #16: 2 months of silence
For three courts as action-packed as Scotland, France, and England have been, it’s interesting that basically nothing at all happened for two months. But there are plot points to get to, so here we all are, checking in on our various squads.
Mary’s been spending her time gestating her half-evil demon baby, while hunting down the rest of the conspirators, who are all hiding, as well they should be, because she will kill them all. GJK’s been off the radar, but strolls in, just as smirking and misogynistic as ever. When she’s like, “Girl, I know you set up that whole framing-me-for-adultery-then-stabbing-Rizzio scenario, don’t try to lie to me.”
Ugh, he slimes his way out of this somehow, some way, but you know Mary’s going to bring him down somehow. Also, her pregnancy gown wardrobe is ACES. This embellished empire waist situation is regal and terrifying and lovely all at once.
WTF #15: Cathy finds the softer side of Sears
It still slays me that between scheming and stomping around court, Cathy exclusively sits in this lounge-like manner on luxurious sofabeds. If anyone deserves to literally put their feet up, it’s her. But did she borrow this nightwear from Claude? Have we ever seen her in anything so soft and unstructured? With her hair down it’s like… is this Cathy’s heretofore unseen secret twin, Bathy? Which: HERE FOR A CATHY SECRET TWIN PLOTLINE.
WTF #14: “Secret” kisses
Apparently Nicole and Henri have spent the last two months hooking up, and their chemistry is real, and it’s spectacular. Their choice of locale for an illicit makeout sesh? Namely, in the middle of a crowded public square preparing to burst into “She’s a funny girl, that Belle!” as Emma Watson wanders through? Not the smartest, you two.
Nicole is such a contradiction, I love it. She’s an ambitious schemer (see: sexing her way into CHarles’s heart/French court, then sexing her way into Narcisse’s inner circle) but also falls in true love wayyyy too easily. She’s not using Henri, she luuurves him, which is really complicating things. Also? SUPER cute earrings. #foreshadowing
Yeah, so Henri can’t quite tell her he loves her, but we’ve already seen how easily Nicole can be manipulated by the dudes she’s sleeping with (see again, re: Narcisse) so: oh girl. Like you know Davey Rizzio could have straightened her out on all this but HE’S NO LONGER ON THE SHOW AND WE WILL NEVER GET OVER IT, so she’s really out here doing the best she can.
But ruh-roh! Who’s waiting to sing the second tenor line in “Belle” than Woke Bae!! Who catches these two hooking up.
Now, this is the same WB who was down for an open marriage with Claude and Leith, so I’m sure he’s not too judgmental about this. Like, if you’re going to be found out by anyone, he’s maybe your best option at this point.
WTF #13: Mary’s choice of romantic moment locale
Now, Mary and Lord Ponytail are still smoldering the castle down with their unresolved sexual tension and Princess Bride-level gorgeous fairy tale romance. But Mary pulls him into this corner for a romantic chat and like… I mean… we all remember this windowsill right?
As in, the place where Mary and Darnley conceived her current unborn possibly demon spawn?? Like three feet to the left of where LP is standing, gazing at her with… ughhhhh can’t look away when he flashes dem dimples…
This was a sweet moment for sure, but when I think of this windowsill, what’s going to come to mind is that time Darnley was like “DON’T YOU WANT TO FEEL ALIVE” and it was before we all knew he was Literally The Worst and Mary overcame her PTSD and mauled him? Which was what, like five episodes ago? #memories
WTF #12: Virgin Queen playing the field
So, again, in the last two months Liz has been sending Gideon on one diplomatic mission after another, as her Fiance, who is so in consequential I have both forgotten his name and can’t be bothered to give him a nickname, requested. And she and Whatshisface have been busy hanging out horseback riding and who cares because Liz is in her QUEEN PANTS again, and that’s always a highlight of all of our lives.
The passion between these two is basically nonexistent. But their embellished shoulder ensembles look nice together? If you can avoid looking at the actual gaping dark hole of absence of chemistry evidenced by this “kiss”.
And who else has been hanging around, apparently gaining more and more of Liz’s trust and friendship? Just Totally Not Evil Servant Girl Jane, that’s who!
She’s got a way too stylized hairdo for a servant and is also wearing a crown (???) which is like, I mean… how Liz doesn’t instantly realize this gal is up to no good is beyond me. Sort of like Nicole, Liz doesn’t have a good friend to turn to for advice (because: she had Lola executed), and so has glommed onto the worst possible confidante.
Anyway, Jane is like, “Gideon’s back in town!” and Liz is like, “Great, but also, are you responsible for this Hairspray level beehive hairdo, or is this like a safety thing like making a helmet out of hair for when I go horseback riding because I’m having MIXED FEELINGS ABOUT THIS VOLUME AT MY CROWN meanwhile you, Jane, have like a very intricate and cute braided scenario so like, what gives?”
WTF #11: Henri’s Renaissance Cross Fit regiment oh and also that thing with the earrings
It has been WAY. TOO. LONG. since this show has gifted us with a lengthy, gratuitous, wildly appreciated torso shot of one of their male actors. Did men in the Renaissance have like 16-pack abs like this? Hahaha that’s rhetorical because I know you aren’t reading this text anymore but saving the image below for your new wallpaper.
He thinks his boo, Nicole, is sleeping and slips over to her dresser to see how cute he’d look in her amazing earrings. And verdict? He looks SUPER CUTE. YOU DO YOU, HENRI.
Nicole wakes up and catches him, and is v cool about it, basically being like, “If you want to wear my earrings just ask first because I may have an outfit plan including them? But otherwise, YOU BE YOU, BABY!”
Henri is all flummoxed and is not ready to realize how Nicole is The Perfect Girlfriend-slash-Amazing-in-General, because she was just a Protestant gal living on a farm like what, three months ago? And now is not only hitting three hot men at French Court, but styling herself like whoa, and super chill about learning her new bae enjoys wearing womens outfits. PUT AN (EAR)RING ON IT, HENRI.
WTF #10: Renaissance Tinder
We’re not the first to make this joke, but that’s because it’s not really a joke, it’s literally what the show did. Charles sat on his throne as he was presented with images of prospective wives, and he literally swiped right on the ones he didn’t want. There is literally not any other way to describe this process.
Nice touch having Cathy there as an added scrutineer. And I have to say, his assesment of the women in the portraits were not incorrect. That one women did look really equine, but read her profile text Charles, don’t just judge based on images. Maybe you and she share a love of early 2000s emo music, for instance?
Ugh fine, it’s your choice. But when you run out of prospective partners in the tri-court area, don’t come whinging to us.
WTF #9: Darnley got to Darnley
Ughhhhhh this man. Last time we saw Darnley, a man whose own name sounds exactly like who he is and so requires no nickname, he was abandoning his pregnant wife in the woods after quasi-masterminding the brutal murder of Rizzio. And now, two months later, he’s… hanging out in some random pub, I guess.
Mary, who’s spent two months hunting him down, is all coiled fury wrapped in a very fairy tale-like velvet embellished cloak (with v cute fastener) like COME WITH ME PLZ RIGHT NOW
And blah de blah, Darnley says he’ll help them track down the other conspirators, and Mary believes him (???) and defends him (??????) and then when they go to the place Darnley said they’d find the others, it’s a smoldering ruin and all the men are dead. WHAT. A. COIN.CI.DENCE.
Basically, his past history of setting fire to buildings for his own good, and overall general horribleness finally catches up to him and Mary throws that stank ass in jail LIKE FINALLY.
And you know he’ll be in there for a good long time, unless for some bonkers reason Mary reconsiders her actions, but what sort of thing could make her do that? #foreshadow
WTF #8: Virgin Queen plays the field, part two
So, two months of international travel has Gideon “Still on the show, guys” Blackburn looking a little worse for wear. And, fair enough, like we all get nasty colds after spending a few hours on an airplane, imagine this poor guy having to live with scurvy-laden sailors across the oceans for days on end.
Liz serves up classic #RachFace at his very obvious physical symptoms of long-term seasickness, while looking lovely in a pearl color story, surrounded as always by objects that match her outfit perfectly. Basically, she’s still marrying Whoshispants but is keen to keep Gideon on as her side piece, despite his sweating sickness. Inadvisable, but true love blah blah.
So Gid strolls over to Liz’s boudoir for their scheduled one on one time in the Fantasy Suite, only to find Bachelor #2 literally sitting outside? Like, guarding her door like a creepy creeper who creeps? He greets Gideon in the time honored manner:
So, seeing that Liz is not only marrying Whatever but also sleeping with him, Gideon decides to call it a day and break up with her.
Liz storms into his boudoir, in an extremely lovely green and gold nightgown/robe situation, her hair glorious and long, and reacts to his news with another classic #RachFace.
So that’s the end of that. OR IS IT. No spoiler, but where Gideon’s concerned, you know the story literally never ends.
WTF #7: Woke Bae, Fix My Life
So! Remember a million plotlines ago, Woke Bae witnessed Nicole and Henri making out in the middle of a crowded street? He alerts Cathy to this, and is sent to bring his trademark down-home honesty and personality dripping with sincerity to give Henri a talking-to.
Henri is totally cazh about agreeing, like no big thing, Nicole’s just one of many side pieces, he’ll end things. Such is the magic of Woke Bae’s always-sensible advice.
OR IS IT?? Henri heads over to break the news to Nicole, who is looking 10000% adorable in a side-swept ‘do and ruffley blouse/lace-up top situation. And right away, Henri falters because she’s SO. PERFECT.
How perfect? She sensitively discusses his love of wearing women’s clothes, gets him to admit why he likes to do it, and it’s like the most respectful discussion of this topic I can ever remember seeing on any TV show, ever. Is there nothing this show can’t do???
So then, things heat up when Nicole gifts him with a pair of earrings all for himself.
Henri is INTO THIS, confesses he loves her, and they GET. IT. ON. with 10x more passion than ever before.
Post-coital, Nicole somehow arranges her hair into an entirely different ‘do, her usual fauxhawk thing, and is still straightening out her clothes when she runs into Fake Boyfriend #1 in the royal hallway.
She’s like, “So, I’m totally not sleeping with anyone else, but also I know you have to get married, and if that means we have to break up, I will somehow survive, no hard feelings.”
Charles channels his early fourth season emo eyes at this news, basically gazing at her while singing Fall Out Boy lyrics in his brain.
So Charles and Nicole are dunzo. OR ARE THEY.
WTF #6: Virgin Queen Takes A King. Wait, What?
So, Liz thought hard about what she wants in life, and what she wants is to secretly marry her true love, who is Gideon. She promposes this in the most gorgeous manner possible, her hair and gown set off by the light of this stained glass window, like, how can Gideon possibly say anything but OMG YES.
And so they get secret married in a sort of hippie way with wrapping fabric around their hands, literally tying the knot. This was…. not at all where I expected this plotline to wind up.
OR IS THERE MORE TO COME?
WTF #5: Of course there’s more to come
Perhaps the locale of their honeymoon portends the marriage to come. Namely, they are very far apart, surrounded by death, and sadness. Also, spoiler, their entire married life does take place in this specific field.
So they’re just walking and whatever, when suddenly Gideon stumbles. Sidenote: Liz’s braided style here is #PinterestGoals.
And Gideon’s symptoms suddenly exacerbate.
What could be happening???? Is he getting ill with the same thing that killed his daughter? Some sort of plague thing? If only they weren’t totally on their own without anybody else around. Things are not looking good, but come on, Gideon’s lasted this long, of course he’ll stay on the show. That’s his whole shtick.
But NO! He LITERALLY DIES!
And with him, so too dies our longest-lasting ongoing joke. Oh Gideon, you stayed on the show way longer than anyone ever expected. And you will always be #StillOnTheShowGuys in all of our hearts. Seriously, we’re more than a little sad about this. His death was more Francis-dying-of-ear-infection than Francis-dying-bravely-defending-Mary-in-the-woods, which is always a bummer.
So guess who’s the first responder?
Totally Not Evil Servant Girl Jane! What! A! Coincidence!
She explains to Liz that it’s not a good look for a Queen to be found alone in a field with a dead guy who is widely known to be her lover, so they both scoot off and now Liz is minus one fiance and one husband and, most likely, en route to her famous future as the Virgin Queen.
Honestly, we’re shook here. It looks like TNESJ, who we know is literate and working for somebody off-site, was the one who killed Gideon. But who was she working for, and why? Will we find out this week, or later? STAY TUNED.
WTF #4: Tonight in the most shocking final rose ceremony ever
So, although Woke Bae has been busy giving sage advice to everyone within earshot and also respecting Claude’s boundaries and being mystifyingly excellent, it’s starting to take a toll on him. He straight-up asks Charles for an annnulment of his marriage to Claude, explaining some blah blah about love and it’s all really too bad because he deserves so much better.
Claude only hears the blah blah love part, which gets him reconsidering which of his Tinder matches he’s going to pick in front of a live studio audience.
And so, like so many people who misunderstand the great advice they’ve been given, Charles takes this opportunity to announce his true feelings to everybody.
Cathy, dressed in red and gold in anticipation of Charles picking someone from Spain, is like, why did I let anyone else talk to him???
Charles always agrees with the last person he listened to, and in this case, it was not Cathy, and when people don’t listen to Cathy everything goes to Hell so like, fasten your seatbelts y’all.
Yes, that’s basically what he says. As much as he thinks he loves Nicole, he literally doesn’t know her last name. Which leaves her room to be like, maybe he meant a different Nicole, maybe? No?
But of course he meant her, and so she comes to stand by her man, looking gorge in this embellished gown, but also looking mostly sick to her stomach.
CHEERS TO THE “HAPPY” “COUPLE”!!
WTF #3: Narcisse = Christian Grey x John Wick
Remember earlier this episode Narcisse was like please let me kill GJK for you and Mary was like hard pass? Because Narcisse does. He’s got GJK strung up in this butcher shop situation, like the number of hanging heavy chains and hooks just lends to the overall feeling of terror. And somehow, the sunlight shining in makes it even creepier, somehow. This is gonna be good.
Narcisse is like, “Hey girl, remember when you spearheaded the scheme that let to my wife, Lola, being beheaded in front of me? BECAUSE I DO.”
It’s just so satisfying to have GJK, a man whose preening and smirking has really been so insufferable all season long, strung up like this, weakly begging for mercy. Even he knows Narcisse is the John Wick of the Renaissance, and there’s really no escape from this.
Did not see this whole thing coming? Mainly because we’d forgotten GJK was involved in the Lola scenario, but of course he was, he’s behind literally everything terrible that happened to anyone at all this season. And of course Narcisse wasn’t going to get over it in a hurry, even with the sweet sweet love of Cathy. This would only have been better if Cathy had been involved in the torture itself, you know she’s got some great poisons that would extend GJK’s misery.
WTF #2: It’s a Knox in a Box
At this point, we literally tweeted out “we’ve seen the bride and the body, but where’s the titular box?” and 0 seconds later, Narcisse entered Mary’s throne room carrying… a box.
Mary, looking lovely in a mock neck paisley empire waist dress that looks so much prettier than any of those words just made it sounds, knows this is not going anywhere good.
Finally, he’s like, “INSIDE THE BOX IS GJK’S TESTICLES THAT I CUT OFF!!!! YOU LIKE IT???”
She does not.
He also explains that it was he, Narcisse, who poisoned Gideon to death, because Liz loves Gideon and Liz was the one who ordered Lola’s execution. NARCISSE KILLED GIDEON!!
All of these revelations make Mary instantly re-think her approach to literally everything, up to and including her own plans for vengeance and how she will deal with Darnley moving forward. GJK’s final gross act on this show was to make Mary doubt her own badassness, which is just so horrible and perfect, because anything he (or any of his dismembered body parts) does is THE WORST.
So she’s like, “Let’s let Darnley out of jail.”
But her mind is set. Darnley is free! OR IS HE. (Spoiler: he is. At least, physically)
WTF #1: Darnley goes full Bates Motel
Freed from the dungeon, Darnley heads home to see his mother, Ma Darnley, who we haven’t seen since that time she was owned by Cathy in a room filled with string. Hey, girl! You raised a monster! Congrats!
Yes, basically Darnley explains that every shitty thing he’s ever done was because Keira, his dead on-again/off-again GF (last seen being run over by the #DEATHHORSE) told him to. From beyond the grave? Or she’s secretly alive, a la Phantom of the Opera? Either way, Darnley is… not doing great, Bob.