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Reign S01E18: "No Exit"

Is it just me, or was the music for “No Exit” especially on-point this week? I could swear I heard an orchestral version of Lorde’s “Royals,” not to mention the martial drums when Mary and Frances really got into each other in the last scene. But I’m getting ahead of myself, we have a lot to discuss!




Firstly, the majority of our characters are now married. Bash and Kenna are developing this beautiful, honest connection that’s showcasing both Torrance Coombs and Caitlin Stasey’s ability to sketch in the subtle, finer areas of their characters. Frances and Mary are dealing with typical newlywed conflicts: racking servants to foil murder plots and casting out to sea to win Scotland’s affections before it breaks into full mutiny. Catherine finally unseated that wretched little Bean Queen from her place at Henry’s side. And finally, Lola is tugging on some troublesome loose threads that could unravel her entire marriage. And she just got hitched in this episode! Lola is off the market, and he’s totally cool about the baby, and they’re falling in love! But then he gave her a necklace and when she dropped it, one of the jewels shattered—and suddenly she had a lot of questions.



Considering his frequent inquiries about when her dowry was going to be deposited and the rather shady fact that two of his previous wealthy wives died in quick succession, Lola may have a Bluebeard on her hands. And every time she asks him something, he can pull the “Hey, I Don’t Ask About That Baby” card. Not that he would but... he could! Cozy! Luckily, Lord Julian was able to smooth everything over with a heaping helping of meaningless sweet talk that was about as coherent as a pile of Charlie Manson lyrics, telling her to shhhshhhshhh because their lives start now/ don’t look back, don’t ask how. Girl maybe get Aslan in for this, ask him to do a background check.



One of the rewards of a long, arduous marriage is clearly an intimate knowledge of your partner, and that is what Catherine was able to ultimately parlay into the end of the Bean Queen’s fart of a reign. After finding Henry (the truly game Alex Van Sprang) trussed up like a submissive roasted chicken, she cooked up a scheme that would press deeply ingrained psychological buttons in Henry’s fevered brain, with Kenna’s help and a “whole mess of sex”; certainly one of my favorite lines of all time. 



Kenna is clearly the Fronch Court Sexpert. She’s the Carrie Bradshaw of Fronce. She knows where things go (digits, turkey legs, et cetera). And while she no longer side-hoes on the down low, she can sidle up to a dominatrix and make her feel like her resume needs an update in thirty seconds flat, which is ostensibly what Catherine was counting on. Kenna barged in on the Bean Queen’s FIDM final and asked her about a variety of risqué sex practices, then asked her if she'd ever heard of the Uncomfortably Blasphemous Stance. Bean Queen was intrigued.








This led to the Bean Queen trussing Henry up in a crucifix-like position, which made him about as aroused as a foot rub from his grandmother, and then Catherine burst in on them with the bishop. THE BISHOP? Yes, the Bishop.





In a fit of repentant fervor, Henry cast the Bean Queen from him, and Kenna won a nice little estate for her and Bash, which Bash was super appreciative of. As I've already said, Bash and Kenna are slaying it in the slow-burn OTP game. His teeny tiny wedding ring is both fashion-forward and practical, and their continued efforts to make the best of an arguably not-so-bad situation has made their forced romance seriously compelling. We all know Bash is dedicated to putting his Lady first, and Kenna has had to play second fiddle for far too long. 

Meanwhile, Mary’s half brother James and his delicious Scottish accent came to court. 


He was intent on bringing her home because the Scottish people are sick of her French mom filling all the important Scottish government jobs with French people and making everybody speak French and hanging the French flag in front of the castle while the Scottish flag just hangs over the pony stable and no doughnuts anymore just crullers etc. The only way these mutinous Scots would be appeased was if the Queen who'd been born and raised and married in France traveled across the ocean to show everyone how Scottish she was! (She'd better double-fist her Irn-Bru.) Mary was like, “Let’s double-time it.” But Frances wanted her to hang out and negotiate with the Cardinal because the king is crazy like Cocoa Puffs right now. 





Mary was really trying to set some boundaries for Frances this week. Her country came first for her. He was trying to prove she came first with him, but he did so in the weirdest way possible: by ultimately locking her up in a tower. Of course, he did it because he knew a plot was afoot to murder her and the intended assassin was James’ own footman. Who he RACKED—which, not to tell tales out of school, but people usually didn’t leave the rack with the ability to walk. Anyway, when the rack failed to break his man, Frances turned to his old standby: showering an enemy with fabulous cash prizes. In an echo of his daring stakes at the gambling table to save Lola, Frances kept upping the price for the Scot’s info about who was trying to kill Mary.






See, but, after he delivered that information to Mary, he didn’t trust her judgement once she’d processed everything and basically responded, “Eh, still goin’.” She was down to ride out in the storm, make her way to Scotland, evade assassins, and come through on her equivalent of a 16th century Bangerz tour. But Frances wouldn’t let her because it wasn’t safe. Nevermind that she knew it wasn’t safe and wanted to do it anyway, or that she's evaded the deathly intentions of his own mother for going on several months now. Nevermind that nothing will ever be safe for her, as the Queen of Scotland. He took her autonomy away from her. His intentions may have been good, but you know what they say about good intentions (they pave the road to hell).

In a rousing sword scrimmage betwixt Frances and Bash, Frances admitted that, as a king, he couldn’t put Mary first, not truly. Bash was like “Hahaha, twist the knife more please if you possibly can, remind me that Mary didn’t choose me but I ultimately would've been better for her, hahahaha.”




But no one hurts right now the way Nostradamus hurts right now. He had to send Olivia off to either his cousin's or Trinidad or both. They were making bearskin-cot love, which is absolutely the worst time to break off a fledgling romance. However, he’d seen an image of her dead in the castle, so I’m sure she’ll be back. Oh, we haven’t seen the last of Olivia. She may have taken that coin purse, but she’s headed back Nosty’s way, mark my words. (When she runs out of coins, prolly.)






So, another complex and entertaining episode is behind us. Mad King Henry may be inching toward redemption. Kenna and Bash are making sweet sweet lemonade out of lemons. Lola may be in trouble. Mary and Frances are in over their heads. Everything is coming to a boil as we head into the homestretch of the season. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!?!


QUESTIONS:

... Do you trust James, or do you think he was in on it?

... Does Frances love Mary the girl, not Mary the Queen?

... Did you LOL at hearing “VALISE” shouted super angrily?

... Bash: Do you kind of wish he would run into Mary more, or are you Benna all the way?

... Lola’s hubby: wife-slaying poor dude?

... Did you laugh when Catherine said Olivia wouldn't want to be away form all the "comforts of court" because like what? You mean the crazy king and random murder?

... Who had the best dress of the episode?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 12/11/2014

Season 2 : Episode 10

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