Reign "The Darkness" Review: Murder Hole?

By Lily Sparks

Mar 21, 2014

Reign S01E14: "The Darkness"

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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  • Cuttlefish Oct 31, 2014

    Is it terrible that I think Lola deserved the brick to the head that Clarissa got?

  • ElisaDiaz Mar 24, 2014

    I don't like this show, sorry. But I will watch it as long as Megan Follows is on it. What a delight that she became so central to every story. I'm sure that is not just a coincidence. What would this show be without her.

  • Franpop Mar 24, 2014

    Not a great episode. I was disappointed. Mary and Francis are a bit annoying. I think Bash deserves better. I find Mary's character no longer likeable. Hope this changes. The queen's character is still a highlight of every show.

  • SesseKitty Mar 24, 2014

    I only just now figured out a thing about the beast in the woods - probably someone brighter caught it earlier. Olivia spoke about how she was already tainted and chosen because of that (she left the others in peril in the castle). And now this "Katniss" (sorry, I forgot the real name) instead of accepting Bash's help, betrays him and basically offers him to the beast with the lamb. So she also made a selfish decision, putting someone else in peril, and she was taken.

    King's bloodlust grew rapidly, but so does everything in this show. And it's a good thing. I said last week that there will be more dead mistresses and there we had one in the first 5 minutes. The dude is going crazy, will be interesting to see what Catherine does about it.

    I also loved Peppercorn, what a sweet man. I hope we see him again. And I got the feelingt hat Greer's arranged spouse would indeed get mixed up with Lola (the poor chap) even before any marriage speculations thrown around here. Lola continues to be the silliest girl, I would have praised the lord for an opportunity like that (and I'm an atheist) and she's all "but he's gaaaayy" and continues to prance around the oblivious father-to-be.

    If this show was Pretty Little Liars, I'd bet my money that Lola is the A, and all this crap has actually been an ingenious plan to mess up Mary's happiness. Though if this show really was PLL, they'd have caught A by the 5th episode and introduced three other major plotlines by now.

  • pa-tan Mar 23, 2014

    Yes Lola is a problem, if Mary were more evil she would get rid of her like so fast.
    Nostradamus and Olivia's scene was kinda sweet and yes Olivia's hair disturbed me in so many levels it was sooo difficult to concentrate in her acting
    And Henry is now like a psycho mmm that was unexpected but hell he is a all powerful king in a country with bad hygienics and bad genes due to way too much interbreeding so I guess it makes sense?
    Francis is way too chill now so when he founds about everything he is going to get rabid
    Poor Bash wherever he goes he meets trouble. It was so much fun how excited he was about the murder hole... ok weird fun but fun nonetheless.

  • CKgirl Mar 23, 2014

    I think they may be going for porphyria (aka what was wrong with Mad King George) in Henry with the black urine thing - dark purple urine plus insanity is the hallmark of the disease. And I am sad to say, porphyria isn't sexy at all. Kenna get out while you still can girl!

  • sunnyday Mar 22, 2014

    Amazing review Lilly! Murder holes? Madness? This episode setup a lot of things for the end run of the season.

    A few things I loved in this episode:
    1) Catherine- We know she is the HBIC and now more then ever we see that. I loved that Kenna was forced to go to Catherine for help. I loved it even more that Catherine did help her and that Catherine still deeply cares about Henry. As to Henry, he is clearly rocking a case of Porphyria. Soon as he started ranting all I could hear in my head was the Browning poem.

    2)Francis. I am so glad he owned up to what happened with Lola. Generally he has been portrayed as a very honest character so I was NOT happy he was keeping that secret from Mary. I am glad that he not only owned up to it but took all the blame like a gentleman(though clearly it is on both him and Lola). Thank god he did that! I also loved that he cared about Lola finding happiness. To my mind, this isn't about feelings for lola beyond compassion and care. When they ran into each other in Paris, they confessed their loneliness and Francis knows how unhappy she is and wants her to be as happy as he is with Mary. I adored how he explained what happened and then mentioned it was over now that Mary was, "Mercifully, blessedly, thankfully his wife". After the despair of having his whole life and Mary taken away he is so so thankful to have everything back.

    3) Bash- another character that has been annoying me(well just last week). I was glad to see him showing off both his best and worst traits- his nobility(best), and rushing into things he doesn't understand(worst).
    4)Nostradamos' compassion- I like this arc with Olivia. Hell, I may even like Olivia now.

    Things that annoy me:
    1)Lola- That bitch needs to sit down. Mary is your Queen- you don't get to talk to her like that or refuse her requests. Mary should ship her off to Scotland.
    2) Mary- In keeping this secret from Francis, she continues to weaken their union. As I said before, it is not feelings for 3rd parties that can damage their love or marriage but the lack of trust between them. Trust was damaged when she ran away, destroyed when she took away his life and agency, burned to the ground when he slept with Lola, and I can't even imagine what this latest secret will do to it.

    I can't wait for next week.

  • CynthiaBell1 Mar 23, 2014

    I agree with you. All of the Francis haters will misconstrue what happened i this episode. Francis was showing compassion for someone that he was connected with. Remember he and Lola were somewhat friends before they slept together. If he hadn't said anything she Lola would have been subjected to living in a loveless marriage for the rest of her life.
    His actions did ot mena that he wants Lola. they showed that he is a human being with a heart.
    i loved the line he said to Mary..."I don't makemlive to you because I want a baby. I want a baby because I love you."
    Clearly he lives Mary and this secret will come between them. I actually don't like this storyline because it is soooo soap opery. Their is a secret right after a couple gets together one person will keep the secret even though they know it will be better to just trust your companion and tell him or her the truth, but they never do and the secret eventually comes out ruins the relationship which will allow the door to be open for someone else to walk in. classic soap opera.

    Now I am intrigued by the Henry storyline and the darkness in the woods. I can't wait to see where these to plots are going.

  • sunnyday Mar 24, 2014

    I don't think either francis or bash deserve hate. I really don't get it. They are very different men and they each represent very different things to Mary. And they both are deeply flawed.

    And again it is clear to me that Francis is just trying to help Lola which I am kind of glad about. I think even Lola deserves to be happy and I would hope that Francis is not the sort who could let lola unknowingly walk into a bad marriage. It would go against his character, who for all his faults, is always shown trying- trying to be a better son, a better friend, a better lover. He doesn't always manage it successfully but it is admirable.

  • ShahhidaMiah Mar 22, 2014

    OMG Nostradomas washing Oliva's hair lost it right there

  • Medieval_Madness Mar 22, 2014

    I didn't view this scene as hair washing. To me it seemed to be more of a baptism/exorcism performed by Nostradamus to expunge the Darkness from Olivia.

  • ShahhidaMiah Mar 22, 2014

    I meant Lily's interepretation of the scene.
    Lost it at that.
    She's quite funny

  • LeonieOnline Mar 22, 2014

    I found this episode to be a bit on the slow side. There wasn't much excitement, and there was a lot of talking instead of acting. I think Lola was out of line for claiming happiness, especially since she was foolish enough to throw away everything she had for a night with Francis. When Mary set her up with a Duke (he was a Duke, right?) and the fact that he was gay came to light, Lola was quick to back out of the deal. I am sorry, as much as I loved Lola at first, I think she's being ridiculous and extremely out of character for someone in that time. She should worry less about her own personal love life, and care more about the future of her child. I am sure that, if she would have wed the duke, they could have come to some sort of an arrangement? Isn't that how court worked way back that?

  • smile2live Mar 22, 2014

    There was a lot going on in this episode but my major complaint was there was far too much Lola. I'm getting sick of her talking back to Mary and her speech at the end where she claimed to be Mary's friend was just a joke. I would have at the very least shipped her back to Scotland by now.

    I felt really bad for Pepperpot, he was trying really hard to be a better date and not tie everything back to pepper during dinner conversation. That being said it was good to have Leith back even though he's gone again. I'm intrigued by Greer's new suitor/fiance and the odd combination of sexy Nostradamus and Olivia with her matted hair was interesting but it looks like next week will be the hunt for 'the darkness' which looks like a weirdo with claws or scissor hands perhaps

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