Reign: Three Queens Recap (2×06)
Synopsis: A pair of false royals cause trouble in the countryside for Mary and Catherine, while Lola tries to secure her own fortune independent of French Court. Lord Narcisse continues to woo Lola, and the English/French political tension plot thickens.
Reign split off into two storylines this week: one inside the castle and one outside.
The storyline inside the castle revolves partially around romantic intrigue and partially around the powerlessness of being an unwed Lady in court. Outside the castle, the story is mostly political, focusing on the tensions between France’s peasants and its royal family, and the political tensions between man and wife when man and wife are also king and queen.
Both plotlines are extremely well done this week- Catherine gets to play conniving, spoiled, hilarious, calculated, and compassionate at turns, and Megan Follows as an actress is impeccable. She’s so much fun to watch, especially because the show has both the writing and the acting talent it needs to succeed consistently. Queen Catherine as a character is so multi-faceted and complex – I never know what to expect from her in any given situation, and I love the unpredictability.
It’s hard not to let Catherine steal a scene partially because she is so interesting to watch, but Adelaide Kane also holds her own as Mary this week across from Follows in her character’s usual quiet, magnetic way.
Anyway, all fangirling over the actresses aside- inside the castle, we find that Lola’s family has learned about her bastard child with King Francis and has disowned her.
Lola’s understandably upset, because she’s been cut off both emotionally and financially from her parents and now she has to rely upon Francis’ goodwill for both her and her son.
Kenna counsels Lola, advising her to procure her own funds just in case France should be overthrown and the usurper threatens her son’s life and causes them to flee French Court.
Lola negotiates with her late husband’s banker to try and get her dowry returned to her. Unfortunately, because women cannot inherit money or property, her funds reverted back to the male head of her husband’s household. The banker gets angry at Lola for implying he is mishandling the funds, and plans to send her dowry to her husband’s father the day after they talk.
After her negotiation fails, Lord Narcisse hears about Lola’s situation and offers her a deal. He’ll help get her dowry back if she agrees to have tea with him.
She reluctantly accepts.
Here, we find that Lord Narcisse is the master of the double entendre. He does the whole romantic, ‘I’ll stand behind you and teach you how to shoot an arrow/a gun/pool’ thing which always makes me melt, and the sexual tension is so thick you can tell that it’s just not the arrow that’s getting knocked. (Yeah, I have a problem.)
Anyway, after a few great lines (“the beginning is often promising; the trick is to keep it that way”), Narcisse decides to push his luck a bit further. He’ll negotiate with the banker if Lola lets him watch from the balcony while she takes a bath late that evening.
“Woah dude, red flag.” – Is what my head should be saying, because that’s a degree of manipulative perviness that is not okay at this point in their flirtation.
Somehow, the actor makes that proposition less creepy (or maybe the music editors did) and more flirtatious than it actually is, or I just have some serious intimacy issues, but either way, it leaves Lola with a choice. Give in to Narcisse, compromise herself, and secure her freedom, or continue as Francis’ dependent.
She chooses option C and pays off one of her maids to bathe in front of Narcisse (no worries, the maid knew what was going to happen) and instead meets peeping-Tom Narcisse on the balcony at night while the maid undresses.
The two flirt a bit more, Narcisse tells Lola he already negotiated her dowry, and the two part ways after a longing hand-touch. I squealed.
This week in political intrigue, Mary leaves with Catherine to go to a neighboring city. Catherine wants to go to maintain her political power in the countryside, while Mary wants to find a fertility specialist after Francis lied to her last week about his disappointment in her infertility.
Unfortunately for Mary, Catherine lied about their destination- and unfortunately for both of them, their carriage gets raided by bandits along the way. The two slip out unnoticed to a nearby village, they both play ladies’ maids for their keep, and a few moments of hilarity ensue.
More importantly, however, the two also bond. Catherine tells Mary that she’s not being superior when she gives her advice, but rather that she’s been there before and she knows how to navigate a political marriage. She recommended that Mary keep her own secrets and her own work because she won’t be able to depend on her husband for her own emotional security.
It’s a great moment between the two, and at the end of the episode, Catherine tells Francis he needs to get his shit together and fix things with Mary, so you know she doesn’t want their marriage to turn into her marriage with Henry.
It turns out a false king and queen have been running amok and causing ill-will among the French peasants. They’ve been collecting money from poor farmers and burning their homes if they don’t have enough.
Mary and Catherine eventually foil the orchestrator of the plot, one of their own guardsmen who had been hired by Queen Elizabeth to stir up civil unrest in France.
Afterward, with the false queen and king dead (though the queen was innocent collateral damage), Francis rescues Catherine and Mary. He also admits to lying to Mary about his disappointment in her infertility, but still refuses to tell her about killing his father.