Reign "Long Live the King" Review: I Found a Whistle

By Lily Sparks

May 09, 2014

Reign S01E21: "Long Live the King"

It is that very special time of year at Valois Court where everyone is wearing fur. Fur on capes, in Kenna’s case fur under capes—this literally hot look made me do a double take:

Despite what looked like freezing cold weather, the Court opened this second-to-last episode of Reign's first season with a round of huzzahs for Frances, returning triumphant after taking back Calais from the English usurpers! Frances made a beeline for bedtime with Mary, but since nothing makes a mad king crave war more than a victory, Henry decided there was no time like the present to announce his intentions of invading England and claiming the throne—which had just cooled off after the death of Mary Tudor—for Mary Stuart. Obvs Mary was like “Wh-wh-what?!”

Mary basically just wants a couple days to sleep in. Just a few late mornings snuggling with Frances after his grueling campaign and several months apart, instead setting out on crusade that will make her the target of the world's most formidable navy. Is that so much to ask?! Yes, apparently. Uncle de Guise confronted Mary with her “Congratulations on your promotion!” letter to Elizabeth, and I was like, “Bitch, are you serious? The only reason they keep you around here is to threaten England.” Which, you know, I could have told Mary as much. No need to go running up to high-five England on its cool new queen when the country spent the last decade trying to force an engagement on you via burning down Edinburgh. Be a little coy! Be a little above it all. You reach out to high-five them, they will leave you hanging.

Meanwhile Bash had found an adorable boy and an earsplitting whistle in the Blood Wood, where he continued to search for the beast or man called the Darkness. He and Nostradamus tried to get some information out of the boy by yelling things at him louder and louder, and Kenna was like, “Are you kidding me?!” and totally channeled Jessica Chastain in Tree of Life, gently cuddling the youngster and offering her sympathy. Love you, Kenna.

Bash will keep up his efforts to plumb the Dark Woods’ secrets with Nostradamus at his side next week, while Kenna and adorable pagan urchin Pascal wait for Bash to return home. Yes, Kenna is like sort of adopting Pascal, but wait until Pascal tells her he witnessed Bash killing a man in the Blood Wood! Possibly in the form of a highly lyrical poem!

Meanwhile Lola learned that her beloved hubs Lord Julien was not Lord Julien at all! Like a protean Mr. Ripley, her husband—real name Remy—had been a personal secretary to Lord Julien, who died in a fire while abroad from his native Hungary. Remy was mistaken for Lord Julien by magistrates and just kind of rolled with it, enjoying the care packages from Lord Julien’s folks and using his name at court to get to Lola’s dowry. What a good old-fashioned rogue! But with the actual Lord Julien’s uncle paying them a call, Remy had to convince Lola to play along with his con in front of the guest, Fronch farce style.

They almost got away with it, too, until the uncle noticed that Remy was wearing Lord Julien’s signet ring, which was like the 16th-century equivalent of casually signing into someone else’s smartphone. Uncle wanted some answers and he wanted them now! Luckily after a brief scuffle he managed to impale the top of his spine on the handy spike over the fireplace. 

To cover up the murder, they decided to burn the whole house down before the servants got back, pretend it was an accident where everyone died, and then Lola could live out her days as a respectable widow. With a baby who looks like the most famous guy in the land. LOL.

Once Catherine found out that King Henry was arranging a full-scale attack on England by the end of the week, she was like, “I’m done. Let’s kill him.” She didn’t want to involve Frances in the plot, but told Mary that “as queens” they could save thousands of lives by making the executive decision to take a rambling maniac out of play. It was actually a good call; King Henry needed to be as gracefully toppled as possible, despite Frances’s efforts to chat him back to sanity.

Mary and Catherine decided to poison King Henry’s communion wafers, but then Frances was like, “He had a lucid moment doooon’t kiiiiill hiiiim!” and so they backpedaled on their plan. And yet a hired mercenary tried to kill him anyway! Wh-wh-what?! That’s right, blame that guy de Guise, who had warned Henry that a plot to take his life was afoot and wanted to seem all Miss Cleo about it by hiring a mercenary to try and kill him. Henry handily dispatched the mercenary with a few crushing skull-thwacks, and Catherine was like, “Well, shit. We missed our window.” And Frances was FURIOUS at Mary for colluding with Catherine, despite it being easily the best part of the episode.

See the thing is, as much as Frances claims that even royals must take risks for those they love, he’s confusing the people he loves with the people Mary loves. Nobody BUT him loves King Henry right now, and on top of that, I don’t remember seeing him raise a finger to help save Mary’s mother when murder was a certainty. In fact, he actively prevented Mary from taking the risk of racing to her mother’s side during her time of need. I know his dad told him that hilarious story about the time he went to hug his dad when his dad was being released from being a Spanish hostage but his dad ran right past him and the Spanish dudes kidnapped him and beat him for three years; you can feel close to someone after sharing a hearty chuckle at such an image. But he really should've just let Mary and Catherine wreak the trouble they were born to wreak, because now King Henry’s madness is focusing on Frances, and he’s decided to kill Frances and wed Mary. And honestly with the fantastic dress Mary was wearing this episode, who can blame him?

Next week's season finale promises a few threads: Nostradamus and Bash being all buddy-buddy against the darkness, Lola pregnant as heck and probably giving birth, Greer and Leith hopefully crossing paths, and Frances learning just how warped his dad is. And obviously, beautiful gowns, many of them. 


... Should Lola have found a way to stay with Remy, or was there no way to trust him?

... Pascal’s poetry recital: cute or super creepy?

... Mary and Catherine as international assassins for hire: Would you watch that spin-off?

... Lay down your predictions for the finale!

... A whistle?!

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  • melissasantamaria96 May 17, 2015

    I'm surprised that Lily didn't mention the delicious SQUELCH of Henry pulling the tricking assassin's TOOTH OUT OF HIS FIST after that brutal beating.

  • longmayshereign Feb 18, 2015

    I still don't understand why Lord Julian a.k.a Remy decided to cancel his engagement with Greer for not wanting any "scandal" around his wife when he was planning on stealing her dowry and skipping town..

  • Rileyyy May 12, 2014

    OK how much time is supposed to have passed since Francis was away? Months? Because there is still snow on the ground since The Wedding! This is beyond ridiculous now! How many months of winter are we supposed to think there are in France with all these time jumps the writers keep throwing in there?! Maybe they should stop filming in Canada next season.

  • pa-tan May 12, 2014

    ... Remy was there for filler let's be real Lola's baby is there to bring troubleeee

    ... Pascal’s poetry recital super creepy
    ... Mary and Catherine as international assassins for hire: Would you watch that spin-off? OMG I would watch that spin off in a heartbeat!
    ... Ok... so Henry will end up dead while Nostradamus has a huge vision of Fancis death and Lola will spend like ten minutes of the episode screaming and the child would be a boy, and Greer will cheat on Castleroy the nicest Lord ever and Kenna well she will foun out that dear Bash is a pagan murderer.

    ... Soo the darkness inspires fear with a whistle? really?
    ... Loved Marys dress couldn't take my eyes of it.

  • Rileyyy May 12, 2014

    Lol of course, Lola's baby will bring trouble! I had a feeling things wouldn't go too smoothly and Francis would find out in the finale probably. Didn't expect Julien/Remy to be out of the picture though.

  • CynthiaBell1 May 11, 2014

    Best part of the episode was Francis coming home to Mary.

  • Auntie_Daph83 May 10, 2014

    P.S. Forgot to thank Lily, I can count on you to make me laugh so hard I have tears; your spoofs enhance rather than deride, so cool.

  • Auntie_Daph83 May 10, 2014

    For some reason I think Henry's death will be one of the things there will be least license taken with. They teased us with Bash and Mary, but Francis and Mary marry (that was hard to type), with Bash at consummation as a dramatic addition. They tease us with the prospect of Henry getting offed by pragmatic insiders but there's a joust in the preview. Maybe the Wiki death of infection from jousting wounds will get helped along by Catherine and her special ointments. It would be very sad as she has truly loved Henry and she will miss him as much as we fans will even though we all know he has to die. Catherine has been very unselfish in plotting H's demise as being Mom is much less fun than being queen. But I am sure she will make the transition in a way that delights the audience!
    Makes sense to start season 2 with Francis as new king.
    There are quite a few possible cliffhangers - Bash/Kenna could be in great peril from the Darkness or Pascal, drama re Lola's delivery (does the Darkness like babies?), I expected Leith's return this week so if they've left it for the finale it's probably pretty juicy. I don't know what would make a cliffhanger for Mary and Francis as Henry's death will have such a huge impact in and of itself. And where's Clarissa? Maybe a cliffhanger will be everyone suspecting everyone else of doctoring Henry's wounds. I can hardly wait except that after it the season will be over.

  • MichelleHood24 May 10, 2014

    That kid was creepy and I have a bad bad feeling in the pit of my stomach he's sent bash to his doom. What a fantastic episode Mary and Catherine should be best friends and start a assassination agency :) I swear Francis has double standards how can he be angry at Mary for lying to him when he has locked her in a tower, hijacked her army meant to save her mother, he needs to take a beat. Ok Henry my crazy wakadoddle king you are nuts and need to go to sleep, kill Francis and marry Mary ha hah good luck with that.

  • squeakie_pig May 10, 2014

    Over the past few weeks I've been suffering from Once Upon A Time withdrawal symptoms. Waiting in suspense for the next episode was torture. So I decided to do something about it... my plan was to slowly wean myself off it by finding a new show that I would enjoy watching and that would make the long wait for next week and then next season more bearable.

    I discovered Reign.

    Obviously it was a stupid plan to begin with. Typical addict, I just replaced one fix with another and have binge watched all of season 1 in the past 10 days.

    Lily, love your reviews as always. Can't tell you how pleased I was to find that you also did this one as well as Once. Your reviews make the world a happier place, and that is awesome

  • CynthiaBell1 May 11, 2014

    You picked an excellent show to binge on. Reign is one of the best new shows this year.

  • Rileyyy May 12, 2014

    I agree! I stumbled across the pilot and thought I'd give it a shot and it's the only must-see show I actually watch live!

  • abdulay31 May 10, 2014

    This episode was fantastic with amazing storylines. Mary & the queen colluding shows they have much in common with their scheme to kill the king reminiscent of two partners solving a problem, Francis still shows his naivety to be able to act when necessary as must kings do.

    I am enjoying Henry's paranoia leading to the finale as it will finally force Francis to act with his life on the line.

    Predictions for the Finale
    Francis to kill the king
    Lola's baby secret to be discovered by the Queen or Francis
    Bash to be captured by the darkness
    Leith to Reunite with Greer

  • sunnyday May 11, 2014

    I also think Francis will be the one to kill the king thus slaughtering his "innocence" especially with all the spare Francis talk we heard this week.

    Bash will kill the Darkness when it threatens Kenna and it will stir the darkness inside of him

    Lola's baby will be in jeopardy prompting Mary to tell Francis the truth

    Leith will come back with his new station and Greer will be tempted but will still choose Peppercorn

  • Rileyyy May 12, 2014

    I agree about Francis killing the King (as I predicted further down) during the jousting tournament. While he's had to kill before, it's not the same as killing your own father and the King of France. I thought the episode title referred to that as well.

    I have a sneaky suspicion that Mary may end up pregnant as well and eventually miscarry, maybe not by the finale though. *Spoiler* IRL she was supposed to have started wearing maternity dresses and then stopped but nothing was ever confirmed.

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