Reign "Left Behind" Review: Get Out the Mace!

By Lily Sparks

Dec 06, 2013

Reign S01E07: "Left Behind"

“Left Behind” was a super-sexy, rampantly rape-y episode, but if you managed to survive it without crushing your pearls to dust you probably noticed Megan Follows is truly at the top of her game. Like, get out a shopping cart and go around to the Emmy voters and the Golden Globers and just get those awards together, because Follows, a.k.a. Catherine DeMedizzy, won them all last night. She volleyed so quickly between a sinister villain and fragile maternal figure and rallying archangel, and I bought all of it thanks to her commitment. Well done Your Majesty!! She is just on fire right now, reminding me of the stellar turn Madeleine Stowe did as Victoria Grayson in Revenge Season 1. Just bitchy and emotional and sympathetic and then sociopathic. I’s wonderful. Tell your friends.

But maybe you were distracted from Follows' performance by the looming threat of rape?! My good dear Lord, but the threat of rape hung over this episode like a soupy Scottish fog over the Stirling moors! I get very squeamish about rape scenes no matter how veiled, so if you’re like me, let me just say this before we start talking: thankfully no rape actually happened!  Phew. But the French Court, which we’ve already deduced has the same level of security as a Taco Bell bathroom when the manager takes lunch early to smoke meth in his car, was TAKEN OVER by an angry Italian Count and his legions of swashbuckling henchmen! And then Mary and her ladies were invited to a late night dinner, and it was just so terribly Mysteries of Udolpho.

The episode opened with Catherine taunting Mary that Francis wouldn’t just hook up with any old ho, he would only bed a woman he loved and therefore loved Olivia, which is a tit bit more than a mom should know about her son. But then we found out from Olivia that at the moment of the completion of his passion (giggle) Francis had called out Mary’s name!

Yowza! Can I just say this is the most creative and weirdly effective device I’ve ever heard of exonerating a male character for cheating on a romantic interest? It’s like that question about a tree falling in a forest/does it make a sound: if your almost-boyfriend has sex with another girl, but then he screams your name in her face erstwhile, is it even cheating? Like, he was presumably fantasizing about you the whole time!? Can I call a Worldwide Council of Women to officially legislate on this? Speaking of worldwide female issues, shout out to Reign passing the Bechdel test for 7 out of 7 episodes! The Bechdel test, for those of you who don’t know, essentially means two main female characters talk about something other than a guy in a tv show or movie. And yes, female disfigured faux-ghosts count. But I’m getting ahead of myself!

In a stunning lack of foresight, every able-bodied man in the castle except for Francis, Bash, and Kitchen Lad Leith left for 16th Century Boy Scout Jamboree/Lazer Tag right before an Italian Count came to visit and unpacked a full Louis Vuitton Fall Season of mental baggage: last year the French stole his son, ransomed the son for a small fortune, and then his son died on the way home after the money had been spent. And then his wife died. And then he spent the last three weeks camping in the woods waiting for King Henry to leave, which would put anybody in a tetchy mood. Basically it didn’t take Nostradamus to see that the Count was about to hold the castle and the 14 people in it for ransom as retribution for the loss of his son.

Since we’ve brought him up, this was a lot of egg on the face for so-called seer Nostradamus: you see everything but this?! The whole castle’s lives being endangered? I don’t know man, I don’t know. Catherine had a great solution for the Count’s problems: kidnap Mary, take her away, marry her maybe. Just take her and go. Should they maybe box her up in a large chest with some gift wrap?  However Francis courageously offered to leave with the Count in Mary’s place as the ransomed party, essentially trading his life for hers. If you were still mad at Francis for sexing Olivia this is where all that anger may have gone out the window. Just truly a ton of redemption for Francis this episode. 

Meanwhile, Bash’s mom was telling him about the new fad of bastard royal sons becoming legitimate Princes via Papal legate and he was having NONE of it. Whether this was a genuine loyalty to lil’ bro Francis, or a fear that conspiracy would land both him and his mother on the literal chopping block, or just a super-mature rejection of noblesse oblige, that was what Bash was doing all episode: restraining himself. 

While Catherine and Francis struggled to figure out which royal person to offer the count, Mary was already thinking outside the box, barging into her bestie Clarissa’s living room (a dark dripping stone hallway) and asking her to help with a rescue mission. Obviously Clarissa totally came through. Honestly, Clarissa and Mary are becoming my OTP on this show.

Mary and Catherine also joined forces to brainstorm up a scheme on how to get everyone out of the castle in another brilliant moment of bitches setting aside issues to get shit done, but then made the critical mistake of having Olivia be the lynchpin of their plan. Mary asked Olivia to stand behind a panel that concealed a secret passage and open it first for Francis and the two little Princes and then herself and her many braid-y ladies. Olivia was like “Do I really have to open the panel for you though? It will involve moving my arm out of this delicious Bear Fur Snuggie and really, haven’t I been through enough?”

Even Mary’s waiting ladies were loathe to play their part in the scheme. Lola, showing her general sense of decorum, started screeching at Her Royal Majesty the Queen of France that French court was full of back-stabbing ne’er-do-wells and at least the men holding them captive had the honesty to threaten them openly. In response Megan Follows unleashed on us a scene of such poignancy and fervor that her agent better have gone out and bought her a bottle of champagne. Describing her own besieged upbringing and triumphant rescue from a captured castle by a Pope Himself, Catherine rallied the girls and told them she would be their bodyguard, she would be their long lost pal, she would call them betty they could call her al etc. Essentially she promised she would get them all out of the Evil Italian dinner party hymens intact, except  of course for Kenna whose maidenhead was now nothing more than a troublesome stain Leith had treated the week before.

Speaking of kitchen staff, how adorable were Greer and Leith? Omelet flipping? A plainclothes date hiking up to the hot springs? I kind of thought Greer looked even more gorgeous in her Cinderella get-up than in her lacy gowns. (Good thing one in exactly her size was just lying around? Sure it was.) And just the moment I thought Francis’ determination to put himself at the mercy of the Count to protect Mary was the most romantic gesture I’d see all episode, Leith did something even more profoundly generous: when Greer hit an Italian ruffian upside the head with a cast-iron skillet, Leith slit his throat so she wouldn’t feel responsible for killing someone. Two things about this: I don’t know that I’ve seen this device before, and it was both gory and seriously touching. I like that the show continues to emphasize murder never being okay and always being this horrible burden to the people that commit it. Also I love that the moments Francis seems most attracted to Mary is when she displays powerful leadership.

So the game was afoot: the Scottish ladies and Catherine would entertain the Italians with a trunk of gold coins and their best knock-knock jokes while the French royals fled, then Mary and her ladies would follow when the moment allowed. And keep in mind all of this cloak and dagger scheming was contingent on: the trail-blazing skills of a ghost and the loyalty of a hussy. 

How heart-wringing was it that Francis instructed his brothers not to look when he killed a guard? How painterly were the scenes where the royals were escaping and Catherine and the Italians were feasting? Mary pulled a very smooth move with her old “Yikes GTG need to slip out of this corset routine” but, as all of us kind of already knew, Olivia was NOT at the panel to help her escape from the castle. Olivia and her Bear Fur Snuggie were too busy looking after Numero Uno and I think were shortly thereafter eaten by Clarissa. 

When Mary returned to the room looking glum, Catherine saw a wrench had been thrown in the works and decided no time like the present to convince the Italians to rape all the Scots and their Queen.

I was openly screaming at my television, but we would realize later she was frantically stalling for time until her poison worked it’s effect. EVEN SO: this choice kind of totally turned around Catherine’s brief shining moment as a maternal figure to the Braidies. I mean, was it really necessary to prod the guys into accosting Mary and her waiting besties for the remaining 3 minutes before the poison kicked in? She couldn’t think of a quick shadow puppet routine? She couldn’t while away a few moments with a quick rendition of “Is You or Is You Ain’t My Baby” to confuse them?

Luckily before things got any more emotionally disturbing or sexually explicit, the poison kicked in. Catherine de Medici had poisoned the trunk of gold she’d offered the men! Poisoned gold, diabolical! Since the Italian Count had not grabbed a handful, Mary stabbed him with a fork before he could lunge at Catherine!

So Mary managed to be suave, soft, seductive and also stab this guy with a protean fork. I love it. And then Francis ran in and all the girls were okay, and once Kenna had been taken to the infirmary (aka Nostradamus getting high in the basement and a cot) Mary very sensitively deduced Catherine’s tale of miraculously surviving her own seige during childhood had been fabricated as part of a pep talk. Catherine had actually survived some seriously dark stuff. Does this make it more problematic that she put the girls at risk the way she did? As she confessed herself, she had no guarantee the poison would work. Still, if we’re going to agree Catherine is officially the worst, the dove-tailing fact is that Megan Follows is the best, and how awesome are characters who live in that duality.

The super sexy, love-makin’ heart-shakin’ thaaaang that went down this episode though was that Mary and Francis celebrated being alive by deciding to go go go al the way-ay-ay. Nevermind the intricacies of their royal persons being inextricably bound to matters of state: it was time for celebratory boots to knock. Were you dumb founded? Were you overjoyed? Did Mary forgive Francis too easily? Or would anyone who’d been through such a life-threatening ordeal act the same way? 

Hasten ye with yon ponderings.


... Frances calling out Mary’s name during giddyup times with Olivia: makes everything okay or nope nope nope?

... Catherine: love her, hate her, hate that you love her, or love hating her?

... Bash legitimized: without consulting Wikapedia, do you think it will happen?

... Would Lola have been tarred and feathered in the actual 1600s for constantly giving lip to her betters?

... Leith: Would you give up a fortune to flip omelets with him?

... What do you think happened to Olivia? Will we see her again?

... What did you think of "Left Behind"?

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  • LightMelody Dec 09, 2013

    A great episode. It certainly helped me get over Francis's treatment towards Mary. I love Catherine! This show keeps getting better and better.

  • Sakura_Kissu Dec 08, 2013

    Finally 5 minutes to speak my mind about this great episode.

    First of all what a delight for my ears (I love it when people talk French with an's a totally turn on for me) and I heard Dauphin several times, and a lovely fait accompli....thanks to that I was so well disposed towards this episode :P...especially when I learnt Henri II was on the road of la Lorraine (told you Kenna he is mine he even visits the place I live)

    The last week break was after all for me a good for a bad in the sense that it left me time to watch french tv...and I ran into a nice tv show called "Les jupons de l'histoire" (the skirts of history) an historian tv-show about great woman of History and it was Catherine de Medicis !!! (and a rerun of Diane de Poitiers), I can say I had my dose of Reign in a way.
    And believe it or not I learnt so many things, I didn't know that Catherine was well know for her poison has been told that she used to offer poisonned lipsticks to woman she disliked....(awesome woman !).
    The show was filmed at Blois's Castle and they showed the letter that Kenna wanted to be removed, they were everywhere in Catherine 's bedroom cause actually it is a D and H and 2 C interwined ! (just for that I was happy to ran into this tv-show)

    Once again they remind me of the fact that Diane was in fact 20 years older than Henri....but it wouldn't have been the same and the non existing Bash would have been so much older than François if it was the case.

    I was happy that Marie & François processing their love, but still it's not so chocking I can toally admitt the gap in Diane's age and the creation of a bastard, but they can't change history that much and make the 2 not marry each other.
    Still will they continue the show à la Tudors when he will be dead ? Ang go on with Marie's 2 others husbands or just make us believe they will live happily ever after??

    My other question is simple: where did Nostradamus go?
    It's been 2 or 3 episodes without him, my guess is that he saw the invaders coming in his "flash" and took the day/week/month off

    ... Frances calling out Mary’s name during giddyup times with Olivia: makes everything okay or nope nope nope?
    Nope Nope Nope....He was so wrong and wouldn't admit it, he is such a future King !
    ... Catherine: love her, hate her, hate that you love her, or love hating her?
    I love her I can't say I love hating her she isn't Peter Pan, she was a loving mother, she does all the worst just for her son.
    That's probably one the reason I ll never have a child cause I would also do the worst & it's not like that our society works
    ... Bash legitimized: without consulting Wikapedia, do you think it will happen?
    Never but they'll probably try for a few episodes, they still have to find plots to elaborate.
    ... Would Lola have been tarred and feathered in the actual 1600s for constantly giving lip to her betters?
    Sorry my english isn't good enough to understand this sentence
    ... Leith: Would you give up a fortune to flip omelets with him?
    Too young for me but I truly wish him the best with the lovely blond I don't remember the name cause he is considerate and kind and kinda hot for his age
    ... What do you think happened to Olivia? Will we see her again?
    Clarissa lost her in the dark we will meet her skeleton or corpse in the next episode.
    ... What did you think of "Left Behind"?
    Great mid-season finale!

  • katikool Dec 08, 2013

    Oh my god, how I loved this episode!! I think we can agree that Reign is Game of Thrones Jr. but with better braids. It's definitely a wash in the Hot Bastards department, though. If only every episode could include castle siege and royal kidnappings *sigh*.

    Moving on. I see definite beheadings in Olivia's and Bash's mom's futures, provided Olivia's fur wrap didn't eat her in the tunnels. I expect Diana will keep pushing her magical bastard legitimizing agenda til Catherine pushes back. Oooo and the heathen stuff, it's gonna be so good! And whereTF was Nostradamus? Lily's probably right, gettin' so hiiiigh in the basement, just jammin' out on some pan flutes. What a useless seer.

    The rapey stuff. Not good or pleasant to watch, but probably historically accurate? I don't know, I got all my historical knowledge from Game of Thrones. But all this obsession with virtue never leads anywhere good. I suddenly like Catherine quite a bit more, despite her "have at 'em!" approach to killing the last couple minutes. Just like I started liking Cersei more once we start understanding her motivations. GoT references abound today, it seems.

    I don't really care about Francis' indiscretions. His and Mary's betrothal is more of a business arrangement than a loving commitment to one another, or at least it was until they got down to bidness. If he were to revert to dickery now, I'd be pissed. Anyways, CANNOT WAIT til next week!! Will Nostradamus venture out of his drug den to procure some medieval Funyuns? We shall see!

  • SagaNylund Dec 08, 2013

    What a fantastic episode of this insane historical drama! Loved it! It was really thrilling how they built up the tension during the dinner scene when all the servants were leaving. Ugh Olivia, you are the worst. Leaving Mary (and her ladies) to that fate when she treated you with respect despite of your history with Francis? I wonder what Clarissa did to her though ...

    1. Francis calling out Mary's name: nah ... If Francis didn't want to be with Olivia, then why did he? Douchebag. He still has some explaining to do.
    2. Catherine is kinda ... awesome. Yes, she has been horrible towards Mary, but she is probably messed up since her childhood.
    3. Bash: i have no idea of what is going to happen to him, but I like him the way he is now.
    4. Yes. I don't think she would deserve it, but she would.
    5. Oh yes! Leith is so cute, and Greer is a fool if she doesn't marry him.
    6. Olivia's head will soon be hanging on a wall somewhere, kinda like the stag head a few weeks ago.
    7. Great episode! My only wish was that Mary shouldn't have forgiven Francis so easily.

  • ZekkJedi Dec 07, 2013

    Ugh, I still really do love this show, but wow can they please just stop with all the attempted rape! Please!
    I guess I've found my one and only complaint about the show.
    No matter how it's portrayed it will always be appalling and just a horrible way to try to "shock viewers" this show is better than that, or at least it should be!
    the worst part of it is honestly the way it's framed, it's so frakking disturbing!
    if anyone else watched GoT here, compare the scenes in this show to say Sansa's horrifying attack that the hound saved her from, and see if you can spot the difference, or the Biker ep in Banshee (or to open up the most painful thing for most Buffy fans, myself included, that Spike scene b4 he resolves to get a soul), in those other cases the camera focused on the actress's face to let them act and show how scared they were (and the cinematography could add to the franticness of their actions).
    from what I've seen The Worst way to frame such scenes is by essentially focusing on and "showing off" the positioning of the bodies of the monster in question and their intended victim!
    it makes it all the more jarring when we see Francis and Mary on the bed.
    really? in the same position to start? REALLY? WTF is wrong with their director?!! at least they were side-by-side b4 the shot ended.
    I just...ugh.

  • aprilpwang Dec 07, 2013

    After every show I want to rewatch Anne of Green Gables, where can I find it?

    I'm so torn between Francis and Bash- usually in a triangle theres a clear winner for me, but not in this show and that makes me love it all that much more!

    How is it Clarissa is always with earshot when Mary beseeches for her help. Aren't the tunnels supposed to be vast?

    Screw Olivia, Francis likes his women with fire in their bellies. Mary reminds me of Scarlett O'Hara with all her gumption.

  • dofuscato Dec 07, 2013

    Lily! Where are your Wonderland review for this week??

  • LilyRoRoSparks Dec 08, 2013

    Hi! We skipped this week! But I think I'll be covering the finale? Stay tuned!

  • dofuscato Dec 08, 2013

    Oh that is too bad i love your reviews. Ok let us hope you do it next week then atleast.

  • Chocolatier Dec 07, 2013

    Far out this episode was good. I'm always amazed at how stunning Mary always looks even in a hostage situation. I actually love the relationship between Catherine and Mary, god she can be such a bitch! I never know whether to trust her or not and when she was telling that story I didn't know if it was true. Honestly, she could have stalled in a better way so thoughtless to immediately just offer up the girls and poor Kenna was just getting beaten up!! Such a rough scene. The poison gold was genius though, excellent plan. Olivia is a little whiney biatch who deserved to get eaten by Clarissa, what a selfish hussy! Lovingggg Francis and Mary, personally I think it was a bit early for them to start sexin' but whatever at least they're together <3 so much love for them.

    Also Diane needs to stop being so thoughtless an start thinking about more than just herself and Bash. Bash is honourable and amazing, staying loyal to his brother and trying to stop listening to his treasonous mother. Seriously, she risked everyone's lives for this. Treasonous heretic!!

    Ummm get more guards France seriously, you don't need to send your entire army to tell some villages to start behaving better and don't just leave the old guards behind, so foolish.

    Amazing episode though, this show seriously just continues to out-do itself. Cannot wait for more!

  • LilyRoRoSparks Dec 08, 2013

    Poison gold was completely genius. I also love that Catherine and Mary seem to openly respect each other? They are at cross purposes but the mutual respect is kind of amazing. Sometimes I think this show has a not-so-secret agenda of championing female solidarity and I'm all about it.

  • RebeccaVeight Dec 09, 2013

    I think the show has a clear agenda of not only female solidarity but showing that women are really the powerful sex

  • RebeccaVeight Dec 07, 2013

    Quick shadow puppet routine?!! Hilarious, would love to see that. I was wondering why nobody worried about where Bash was? Okay so maybe they thought he went with the king, Diane bribed the guard to take care of him, then where was she in the episode?

    Speaking of Diana, first I think she's still pagan, & the talk of legitimacy shows us now the purpose of Portuguese prince "Teo" that it's possible. I don't look at Wikipedia to see what happened, I think there will be a lot of tension about Bash not being a bastard anymore, but I don't think he will go after the throne.

    Agree Nostradamus didn't predict the Count's plan, so Queen Katherine wake up, he's not that great of a soothsayer after all. Greer & Kitchen boy are super cute. Also Katherine when the dark stuff happened to her she was 8! *shudder*

    And Olivia, I think the pagans also use the tunnels & she was sacrificed.

    - Frances calling out Mary's name. Hhahahaha Olivia serves you right
    - Catherine, love to hate her, but this episode gave us some insight on the reason she is so tough
    - All Mary's ladies would of been tarred & feathered from first episode for sassing their Queen & never doing their job
    - I would totally flip omelets with Leith
    - This episode just ROCKED.

  • sunnyday Dec 08, 2013

    Teo's legitimacy was possible because the king of Portugal had no other living sons. All he had was a very young grandson presumably through a daughter, a child too young to rule.

    It is different in Henry's case because he has three living sons directly descended from him and his marriage, who could inherit the throne. That's why Diane tried to have Francis and his little brothers killed because that was the best way to get Bash in line for the throne. The pope would be likely to declare him legitimate in those circumstances.

    Now if he was to be declared legitimate, it would be at the cost of Henry's marriage with Catherine. That marriage would have to be declared illegitimate, making Francis, his sister, and two little brothers bastards instead of Bash.

    What is truly compelling is that the show has shown us grounds for that. Not Bash's legitimacy per say that is still sketchy as hell but the invalidation of Catherine and Henry's marriage. Catherine was raped as a teen before she was rescued- she wasn't pure before marriage. Henry has grounds to invalidate their marriage on those grounds alone if he ever found out. Now that Mary knows this secret I wondering it it will become more widely known at some point.

  • RebeccaVeight Dec 09, 2013

    I would not thing that Mary would spill the secret, but great point

  • LilyRoRoSparks Dec 08, 2013

    DAAAAAANG!! I hadn't even thought of that!! Yowza...although (correct me if I'm wrong) I think the marriage would still technically be valid- marriages didn't REQUIRE the female be a virgin, as widows/sexually active women could be married legitimately- virginity was just obviously highly desirable at the time & made the woman much much much more "marketable." The big argument over chastity in this period was Henry VIII vs. Katherine of Aragon, but their debate over whether or not she was a virgin when they married was about about incest (as she was first married to his brother) than physical purity, if she'd just had random sex with some guy and then married King Henry he would have still been bound by his marriage vows, as his argument was that by marrying his brother's wife had gone against religious law, not that she was sexually active on their marriage- although obviously any question of Francis' paternity would threaten the succession, so if he was born within 9 months of Catherine's attack he could be illegitimized, but Catherine's marriage would be unaffected (though if he chose to the King could put her aside/send her to a nunnery etc.)

  • SesseKitty Dec 07, 2013

    Awesome stuff, even though there was too much Francis and too little Bash. Francis is still a douche and I don't like they way he jumps into a kiss like an eager squirrel or something.

    Megan Follows is amazing and I just have to say to the Catherine question: "yes, yes, yes and yes!" Very complex character that you love and love to hate.

    I hope that Bash doesn't pursue this legitimization thing since it's too likely that Catherine will get his head chopped off if he went there. I prefer him very much alive.

    Lola should be tarred and feathered today.

    I like the peasant love story too, this show has everything.

    I hope Clarissa did eat Olivia's face. Was nice to have Clarissa back, even though she wasn't really back.

  • RebeccaVeight Dec 09, 2013

    Eager squirrel? Hhaahahhaha I love Francis but that was hilarious

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