Reign "Snakes in the Garden" Review: Age of Consent
I know it's a little early,
but I kind of want to give this show a friendship bracelet.
Friendship crownlet? It's like someone I want to know made this show
just for me. How did y'all like the arty new opening credits? How did
you like the establishing shot of the for-real, mortar-and-stone, no-CGI-thanks castle? How did you like the anachronistic music like in Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette? Reign's second episode was slightly
more restrained, but it raised the stakes and proved our girl is no
fool. Just very lonely. So lonely she is sweating a ghost. But let's
start at the beginning, with a crazy torture scene and a scuttling
Colin was not, after all, beheaded last week: Someone
painted a red X (the international sign for “execute tomorrow”; apparently 16th century French justice had no time for paperwork
or asking people their names) on the wrong prisoner's door, and our
spooky ghost/disfigured creature of shadows loosed Colin to try and
make his rapey way out of the keep. Thank you?
Of course, this was good news for Mary,
as she wanted to interrogate Colin about where he got his roofie
wine. Mary demanded the King and Queen find him and restrain
themselves from beheading him for at least 15 minutes so she could figure out who orchestrated the attempted assault on her last week.
Of course obviously this was Queen Catherine de'Medici, so she was
like, “Who knows what our guards will do? We certainly can't give
them orders” and the King was like, “I'll see what I can do.”
Score one for Mary! Mary also skillfully inserted herself into a
totally cool road trip out to meet Francis's brother's 7-year-old
fiancee Madeleine, part of Mary's continuing efforts to seduce Francis
against his will. Catherine de Medizzy was not pleased by the idea of
Mary and Francis sharing the 16th century version of
Combos and listening to hot jams on an unchaperoned trip, but she
needn't have worried as Mary apparently fell immediately asleep. Yes,
Mary is that girl on a road trip.
But see what gentlemen guys were before
Vine videos? Charles and Francis politely let her slumber and
complimented her body spray (Calgon Vanilla Cupcake), whereas guys
today if you fall asleep on a road trip will draw all manner of crude
runes on your cheeks then put shaving cream on your hand and make
that shit viral.
Mary's big wakeup call came when
instead of a pink, sparkly bridal ship at the harbor there was an
approaching English warship! Francis was about to send Mary flying on
a horse into the wilds (THE BLOOD FOREST!!) for her safety, but
luckily Bastian arrived and, like he does, made everything okay: He
explained that the English had just given the 7-year-old bride-to-be a
ride when her ship broke down. All was well. Not a hair on her head
or pearl on Madeleine's hat had been touched. Look at the hats! Gosh
The engagement party for the children
(HRRRK involuntary gag excuse me) was a chance for Mary to meet the
English envoy, Simon. Simon lost no time in body-shaming Mary (“You
are clearly of age”—new creepiest comment ever) and asking why
Francis hadn't set a date to marry her.
Francis, sensitively enough,
whisked Mary away to fake make out against a pillar. This was a big
moment for Francis as a protector, potential love interest, and
all-around savvy dude, he managed to look out for Mary and frustrate
an English envoy and whisper nose to nose with Mary. He would later
prove to be not so awesome, when she alluded to her suspicions that
his mother had forced Colin to try to assault her, and Francis
freaked out. It left her with no choice but to ask old Crazy Eyes to
do her a solid and get Colin first—even though it meant GOING INTO
THE BLOOD WOOD!!!
Also... am I alone in kind of giggling
at “the English” being constantly named as the big bad when
everyone is speaking with an English accent? It's sort of hard to
remember all the characters are basically French (or Scottish) and
all these breathy English accents whispering about how the English
want to just take everything... it's sort of folding my brain
in on itself like a taco. But that's nothing new.
Speaking of folding in on yourself
like a taco, Kenner and the King's super sexy little storyline got
both heated up and cooled down this episode, suggesting a long-term
arc: The King (his regular mistress is on vacation) approached Kenner
and asked if she'd like to bed down for realz, she answered later
that she had to focus on marrying rich dudes who would want a
virtuous wife, an explanation followed by the greatest segue ever:
“Do you see that man who can't take his eyes off me?” BWAAHHH!!!
Genius line. How quickly can I incorporate this into literally
everything I say? “Do you see that man who can't take his eyes off
me? No? He must have scuttled off. Anyway nice to meet you, I'm
Lily.” “Do you see that man who can't take his eyes off me? He
just made my Subway sandwich and is waiting for me to give him
five dollars for this footlong.”
The King pulled perhaps the greatest pimp move in French history by showing up at Kenner's door with the
rich guy in question and proving he could get them engaged in a
moment's notice regardless of whether she had been a freak in his
bed. Kenner was appropriately dressed for such a conversation in a
Guys these clothes!! They are so
technically inaccurate, but I would argue that they are technically
accurate in the sense of beauty and fashion they convey, transporting
us to a greater sense of empathy for the time? I don't care how I
have to rationalize it. It's like a moving Elle photo spread and I
want to look at it, thanks.
Mary's dress when she tried to chase
down a ghost was particularly beautiful. Also we can stop calling her
the ghost, Mary learned that her helpful guardian angel's name is Clarissa
and Mary REALLY wants them to hang out more. Not only did she basically
beg her to hang out in the middle of a fa-la-la garden party, she
went into the secret passage and started up a game of marbles.
Seriously though I love how Mary is not
afraid of Clarissa at all. She knows a friend when she sees one (not
often, apparently) and is completely okay with hanging out with a
ghost, no shame, no reticence. I've honestly never seen a character
so comfortable with a mysterious, possibly malevolent presence and
it's sort of refreshing and intoxicating. Also Clarissa helped Mary
figure out who'd poisoned her dress. Or rather not poisoned her
dress? Basically the English envoy Simon had STAGED a poisoned dress attack rather
than actually paying for the poisoned dress (pricy, and lots of cleanup
when the flesh bubbles all over the floor), and he started really digging
at Mary about how France was no safe haven for her, they were in
cahoots with the Queen to oust her and she should get on back to
Scotland. The show then took possibly its biggest historical liberty yet by making Mary assert that she had no desire to assume the English
throne. English historians all over the country started throwing
things at their TVs because the real deal Mary Queen of Scots was like
a full-time all-day English throne coveter, she wanted that English
throne like a fat kid wants cake. She spent the majority of her reign
jumping through hoops so Elizabeth I would consider naming her as
successor. Whatever, maybe Mary was just trying to throw him off.
Pretty sure this isn't meant to be a documentary y'all!
Meanwhile, in the heart of the Blood
Wood (shiver of joy) Bastian was doing what he does best: GETTING
RESULTS. Unfortunately the results were blood-soaked and upside-down. Nostradamus's pilot prophesy had already come
true! Blood on petals! It took Bastian a long time to get the body
down, apparently, by the time we saw him again dark had fallen and
Francis had shown up. They lost one point for referring to each other
as “Dear brothah!” but I'm still so impressed they kept
that out of the pilot I'll let that one slide. You get ONE, Reign,
you get ONE.
And immediately the show got even more
awesome as we noticed mysterious figures flitting around the Blood
Wood, shifting through the trees. Bastian, thinking fast, cut his
palm open and started talking witchcraft. WHAT WAS HAPPENING?!
Apparently Bastian knows things about the Blood Wood and its heretics
(pagans?!) and their crazy blood vows and how to deal with them. God
knows what crazy poems he had to recite and what body parts he had to
let blood from to get Mary's dog back last week. He translated the
witch language to Francis later as “Deep the roots dark the night
red the blood I will pay.” YUP. Somewhere, right now, Loreena
McKennitt is setting these words to a melody for an autoharp. TRUST.
However the terrifying PTSD-triggering
episode in the woods did make Francis take the threat to Mary more
seriously. Realizing her life was at risk, he went toe-to-toe with
Catherine de' Medici, proving he was no mama's boy by telling her
that if Mary died, he would be really, really, really mad. Take that, mom. No seriously though, Francis stood up to both his
parents in defense of Mary and clearly he's making her a priority—a
pivotal moment for him as a man coming into his own and a suggestion
that he completely wants to consent to a marriage with her like uh
Of course Catherine had arranged
for Colin to be bled to death in a tree, in addition to all her child
wedding preparations (sooo many Jordan almonds tied up in little
bags) AND being chastised by her son about her international
scheming? No wonder she was just bushed, but before she could lay
down, Catherine realized someone had painted the executioner's X on
her sheets and let out a whoop. Clarissa you cheeky little devil you.
So, slow progress this week: Francis and
Mary trust each other, Francis seems quite protective of Mary (even
after she pulled the risky “your mom or me” card), and instead of
ending the episode staring out into the middle distance over the
lake, Mary ended the episode staring out into the middle distance over the lake with Francis.
The preview for next week's episode looks
incredible. A rival proposes a new alliance? Another ball? Mary wears
a neck ruff? I think I'm sort of completely hooked on this show and I
intend to spend my weekend convincing people who haven't watched it
yet to do so. They will learn a little too much about my affinity for
side braids, but the real friends will be cool with it (and maybe even
look up crownlets on Etsy with me later.)
... Did you wish there were more Bastian scenes this week?
... Clarissa's deal: What is it?
... Opening credits: win-win-win or just okay?
... Did you notice Peaseblossom had somehow fit like eight more pigtails onto her scalp?
... How did Bastian know that witch talk? Is his mom (the King's mistress) a witch? Will she curse Kenner?
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