Reign "The Darkness" Review: Murder Hole?
King Henry is a sex psycho! That’s a bold choice, kids, to turn a charismatic lead into Ted Bundy in a poet’s blouse. It’s not without historical precedent. King Henry VIII’s sense of entitlement pulled the Tudor court into a vortex of judicial murder with the ruthless efficiency of a garbage disposal. Fronch King Henry is having headaches and “passing black water” (a.k.a. black urine, yeesh not good bro), thus suggesting some foul influence may be upon him, the kind of foul influence that causes him to be turned on by Kenna sexing strangers in front of him and choking the light out of a young woman’s eye. Poor Kenna, she just wanted to be sex-positive in a 16th century world, but apparently in Fronce the slippery slope of masturbation starts with some innocent public finger blasting and ends with waking up tied to a dead woman in a crazy man’s bed!
Naturally Kenna did what anyone would do: begged Catherine to solve all her problems. Henry responded with several pretty insane, raving-mad boasts about how he was the king and dead girls were his dirty laundry. How is Henry SO cavalier about Catherine when she’s known worldwide as the Julia Child of venom? The countdown has now begun to Catherine supplying Kenna with poison lube or straight-up clobbering Henry with a flagon and dragging him to Nostradamus.
Not that Nostradamus even has time to purge the monarchy of madness right now. This week, his one-bed hospital/mental ward was fully occupied with Olivia, who had basically gone through Blair Witch Project + Silence of the Lambs. We saw a lot of Olivia’s ordeal in a misty series of gorgeously composed flashback shots, and thank goodness, because when the actual actress was onscreen I could not focus on anything that was happening except that damn hair.
My gracious! The evil was all through her because the Darkness was living in her hair. Down at the roots and teased up in the ends. After Olivia had rested and imbibed many, many sips of Nostradamus’s famous kombucha she was strong enough that he could take her out to a hot spring and wash her hair, curing her of natty, crusty evil by restoring shine, luster and bounce to her tresses.
Without the salon-quality haircare of Nostradamus, the Everdeen family was doomed. Katniss was about to say goodbye to Bash when she found blood on their hovel doorjamb and realized they’d been CHOSEN (by the Darkness; not the band, the Pagan Entity). Katniss was all, “Look mister, we don’t deal with imaginary problems like you nobles fighting over titles. We deal with REAL problems: an invisible monster who lives in the woods. This is the real world, Bash, this is what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real!” But if she was trying to scare him off, then she does not understand the depth of his bloodlust. To Bash, the thought of a Pagan Blood Cult descending on the house was Christmas and his birthday and Bastille Day at once. He was like, “OMG LET’S BUILD A MURDER HOLE!” I have never seen a young man so excited about wholesale slaughter.
Hilariously, the pagan family was just pissed that he was undermining the melodrama of their fatalism. They were like “Yes yes we all know what a murder hole is [???!?!?!?!?!!?], but this is our lifestyle, 'kay? One of us is going to be swept away by an invisible presence to which we are irrevocably bound. Don't sit there and judge our unwilling ritualistic sacrifice, judgey-pants!” but Bash wasn't hearing it—it was too good an opportunity to pass up! He was finally going to get a chance to let his Blood Lust loose! To disprove oppressive dogmas! To slice and dice the bad guys, yes, as soon as... he finished... that... kombuuuuuchhhaaaaa...
Bash’s initiative got him super drugged by the Wiccan family, who then settled in for a long night of kneeling prostrate on the floor while Hagrid came in and decided which one he wanted to presumably swallow whole. Bash did ultimately get a chance to kill someone, because his hollering made Katniss pop open her eyes, see the Darkness, and get taken! We hardly knew you, Katniss. But all kidding aside, this was a super chilling scene as well as a beautifully filmed and directed one. All those willing victims just kneeling there, waiting for it to be over, egads. It felt like a great moment from a good horror movie.
Those of you who missed Leith, you are going to be missing him even more: Pepperpot is packing him off to Spain, but in a good way? After Pepperpot’s disastrous date in which he managed to somehow set himself on fire, Leith’s quick thinking and rudimentary fire-safety skills won him a one-way ticket out of the servant class! He’s going to be a spice merchant in Spain! Maybe he’ll come back and marry Greer? Who knows. Personally I would have gone for Pepperpot.
Okay, now let's sink our teeth into the meat of the episode: the Lola Scandal. Mary finally grew a backbone this episode and told Lola she was fed up lying to protect her (thoughtless) aggrandized servant; Lola is three months pregnant and needs to get married FAST so another guy can realistically claim her baby. Will that guy be Lola’s Truest of True Loves? Probably not boo, but since your first choice was a contract rapist maybe you should let Mary take the reigns on this one anyway. Of course, Lola was like, "Noooooo I need a chance at the dreeeam don't worry I'm not Diaaane I won't leverage my baby into a position of power since youu can't get pregnant whyyyy would I doooo that ewwww no not me."
Lola may talk big now about wanting to be her own woman and find her own true love story but girl, what love story begins, “I was pregnant with another man's secret baby so I married you and told you it was yours”? I must have fallen asleep for that scene in The Notebook! And Mary, she may SAY she doesn’t want your life/your man now, but wait until the hormones hit or she sees the baby and it looks like Francis and suddenly she realizes what a dope position Future Monarch’s Baby Maker is, historically. LOLA STOP LYING YOU WANT THAT LIFE. But Mary, Lola shouted you down in the pilot after her boyfriend tried to rape you; you really think she’s going to be chill about raising a secret lil’ royal all the way to her grave?
It's more in character that Mary kindly backpedaled on demanding that Lola be wed before she could become Francis’s de facto Maitresse en Titre, but I really wanted her to totally lose patience with Lola. Lord knows *I* have—in Mary’s position I would've shipped Lola back to Scotland already. The idea of the two of them “finding their friendship again” or being confidantes when Lola is about to have Mary’s husband’s baby would be almost impossible to countenance in our time, never mind the very real political threat that kind of thing would've posed in the 16th century. The fit that Mary threw at Lola was completely necessary to ground the character, as was her agony at Francis’s concern about Lola’s dating life—which, really, what was THAT about? Duuuude no.
Also, let’s think about our Fronch Prince, because this is his life and baby too! And he was so heartbreakingly honest and straightforward with Mary. It's clearly killing her to deceive him, and she shouldn't have to. Surely Francis can do the mental math and figure out who the father of Lola's baby is, especially if she marries this late in the game. And if he can’t, doesn’t he have a right to know? I’m deliciously troubled about this. What do you think?
... Is Mary deceiving Francis by concealing Lola’s pregnancy?
... Is Francis messed up for admitting he had feelings about Lola or just keeping it real?
... How would you solve a problem like Lola?
... Is Bash responsible for the taking of Katniss?
... King Henry gone psycho: Will this put an end to your spicy King Henry fantasies, or is there truly no escaping Alex Van Sprang’s charisma? Can he be cured or IS THE SICKNESS INSIIIDE?!
... Leith: gone for good or back to buy Greer’s hand?
... What'd you think of "The Darkness"?
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