After all these weeks of wondering where Olivia and her bear fur Snuggie disappeared to when she went into a secret passageway, was misdirected by Clarissa, and never came out the other side, now we know: Olivia spent all that time in hell. For two months, she was apparently crawling around a snowy Blood Wood being chewed on by a Wiccan entity, without any kind of hair conditioning, and then she was mistaken for a boar! (Clearly, Clarissa shipped Frary.) Now Olivia is strapped Exorcist-style to Nostradamus’s healing cot after killing a priest with his own crucifix, a priest who was then falsely slut-shamed posthumously by Catherine and Henry! Guys, "Dirty Laundry" was nuts!
I thoroughly approve of how fast everything moved this episode. After the series milestone that was last week's "The Consummation," I fully expected the plot to take a breather, but "Dirty Laundry" carried some highly anticipated revelations: In quick succession, we learned that Lola was expecting Francis’s baby (thanks to sexpert Kenna). And Mary took one hard look at Lola’s face, did a little mental math, and figured out the paternity of the child without having to be told, which I loved. I loved that we saw Adelaide Kane make an entire mental and emotional turn via facial expressions, and I love that Mary is the rare protagonist who is good-hearted without being naive.
While the episode did deal with some intensely heavy themes, there was a lively Fronch farce as comic relief: Catherine and Henry covering up the death of the ArchDuchess of Bohemia! OMG, if those delightful redheaded girls in The Parent Trap had seen Reign’s "Dirty Laundry," they would have realized the most effective way to rekindle a married couple’s romance is to drop a body. WHO WANTS TO WRITE THIS SCREENPLAY WITH ME? Call Lindsay, I think she’ll be down for The Parent Trap 2: No Escape.
Y’all know I’m a sucker for Catherine any way I can get her, but her MVP moment scouring blood off the floor and throwing shade on Henry while they co-wrote a suicide note was genuinely wonderful. Their relationship is very troubled (a.k.a. Henry got very close to cutting her head off, her lunatic love child has been killing members of their court willy nilly), but they are building a bridge to get over it. Although for sheer awkward humor it was hard to top Catherine gifting Mary with a vast array of lubes.
Aside from the lighthearted storyline with the king and queen of France joking about a murdered priest’s indiscretions prompting a suicide, this episode actually got into abortion! I appreciated that Reign WENT THERE Degrassi-style, and that Mary was so absolutely nonjudgmental about Lola’s decision to end the pregnancy (“We all get desperate at times... I don’t want her to feel embarrassed or shamed”). But of course, once we saw the Hills Have Eyes torture scissors laid out in the "baby casting-off barn" and heard Lola being offered a strap of leather to chaw on for the pain, the simple fact of the era’s lack of hygiene turned a discussion about a woman’s right to choose into, “Girl get off of that straw pile before you get every kind of infection known to that time and place all up and throughout in your unmentionables.”
Lola being Lola, even after Mary had navigated the Blood Wood to come and offer her help in a time of crisis (after Lola had deceived Mary about carrying her husband’s baby), she got all mad at Mary and insisted she keep this rather huge, problematic secret from Francis, which: Lola, is it really your place to tell Mary how to handle this first giant hurdle in her marriage? Not ethically, but, like being her subject/servant and all? I laughed out loud when Mary was like, “You’re supposed to be my friend, not to mention my lady...“ It’s like, nice try. Yeah, maybe DON'T mention that, actually, because these girls stopped doing their Lady in Waiting duties halfway through the pilot. And frankly they are NOT your friends. You killed your only friend with a rock because you had to, Mary, heavy is the head that wears the side-braid etc. Still the way Kenna reacted when she found out Lola was pregnant (she was like “High five! #TeamRoyalMistresses!”) was so malicious toward Mary that I almost didn’t like her for half a second.
It's simply impossible not to like Kenna. She’s the Samantha! I never even watched a whole episode of Sex in the City, I just rented The Mannequin on VHS from the library a bunch of times (I am 87) and even I can tell that Kenna is the Samantha. That’s why it was supposed to be so hilarious that Kenna was acting the virginal, inexperienced girl to curry the favor of the Archduke of Bohemia—because as we all know she is Queen of the Giddyup Goodtimes and can't make it through a royal banquet without doing her turkey leg party trick for the entire Fronch court's enjoyment. Her "sweet n' innocent" plotline thoroughly chilled me, because it brought to mind the high school fascination with "being a virgin/who is a virgin y’all/who has 'taken' whose virginity tho" which is such a big, hot-in-the-face topic in high school, and I just want to make a small PSA to all you impressionable young teens out there:
Any guy whose interest in you increases or decreases based on you being a virgin is not someone you should be in a relationship with, ever. Guys who compulsively collect V-cards do not see women as fully human, and there is a 100 percent probability they are terrible at sex anyway.
You know who was the worst at sex in this episode? Henry, for throwing a woman out a window halfway through a torrid lovemaking scene. This was nuts!
And then he almost did it again to Kenna!? What was this psycho move? It deeply upset me.
Finally, the most interesting storyline in "Dirty Laundry" was Bash showing up in Mary’s bedchamber (Francis pearl clutch!) after four months living a feral life out in the woods and openly threatening Francis. After warning Mary that Francis was out to destroy him because Francis is the hardcorest Frary shipper, Bash told Mary to put a light in her window if she ever needed to talk and they would meet at the place where they first kissed. And like, Bash, she has 52 candles a-blazin’ in her 16 windows at all times but that is a really sweet thing to say.
Then later Bash told Mary he wanted to stay to protect her and that he’d hate her if he could but he can't and I said “OH NO AM I SHIPPING BASH AND MARY NOW?! I THINK I AM SHIPPING BASH AND MARY NOW!” but I swear I’m just going to try and fight it so I can stay objective because you really never know with this bunch. One minute Bash is a perfect gentleman, the next minute he’s headbutting someone off a cliff. One minute Francis is impregnating a Lady in Waiting, the next he is sacrificing his throne and country so Mary doesn’t worry so much. They have their pros and cons these two. I do think Mary behaved irreproachably, telling Francis everything as it unfolded and discouraging Bash from feeling anything toward her. Let no one accuse Mary of stringing anyone along, she’s a loyal royal to be sure. But what Mary doesn’t want, Katniss is happy to make a play for.
It’s about time Bash received something other than unrelenting rejection—like the embrace of the MOCKINGJAY?! Although these 17th century Fronch girls mabye need to work some subtlety into their game. What was her pickup line again, “Why don’t you stay for dinner? For the night? For ME!?” DANG girl! You better pray someone from the Capital sends you a water bottle, because you need to control the thirst!
However, after the Lola revelation and with Zombie Olivia back in the castle, it’s very clear that Mary’s honeymoon is over.
... Should Mary keep Lola's pregnancy a secret from Francis?
... Is Henry getting slightly murderous toward Kenna, or what was that all about?
... Was Mary contemplating Francis and Lola in the last shot, or was she laying very still so his mom’s Fertility Vapo Rub would settle in?
... Did you LOL about the Royals not knowing what soap was?
... Mannequin or Mannequin 2: On the Move? Explain your answer in the comments.
... Wait, Francis DID order the hit on Bash, right? Or is that revisionist history on my part?
... Do you respect Olivia for surviving at all in the Blood Wood for so long, or is it the sign of a truly basic ho to get demonically possessed?
AIRED ON 5/15/2014
Season 1 : Episode 22