Reign: Coronation Recap (2×03)
Summary: Mary and Francis deal with the political fallout from last week’s confrontation with Narcisse and the other French lords. A collection of royals and ambassadors arrive for the coronation, and Mary negotiates a trade of Protestant prisoners in exchange for German grain. Meanwhile, Bash investigates claims of noble misconduct and the ghost of King Henry continues to haunt Francis.
Reign is a brilliant CW show for a multitude of reasons. The set design is incredibly intricate and immersive, the costuming is nothing short of stunning, and the portrayal of strong female character leaves nothing to be desired.
However, it’s no secret that Reign takes a good deal of artistic liberties with the historical accuracy of its source material. A routine plot device is magic, for goodness’ sake. But the show succeeds because it subscribes to a plausible version of historical events, and it captures the intellectual political intrigue of life at court while providing the window dressings of wish fulfillment in its set design and costuming.
This week, we focus primarily on the political intrigue.
France is starving, and after the conflict with Lord Narcisse, Mary and Francis can’t find someone to supply their kingdom with grain. Francis tries to solve the problem by buying grain from a recently titled nobleman, only to be foiled by the dastardly Narcisse.
Bash is taking his title as the King’s Hand (or Adviser or whatever he is) very seriously. He’s investigating claims of noblemen murdering French landowners under the cover of the plague. This week, he’s investigating Lord Barnard.
Meanwhile, Lady Barnard is bribing (wooing) a naïve Kenna with promises of a French chateau after their home burnt in the post-plague fires. After Kenna figures out Lady Barnard’s ulterior motives, she rejects the bribe- but not before Lady Barnard threatens Bash’s life.
Kenna is having none of this, so she destroys the evidence against Lord Barnard, much to Bash’s frustration. Either way, Bash and Kenna live to be exceptionally attractive another day!
Back in the grain politics realm, Mary thinks she’s solved France’s problem by cutting a deal with the visiting German Duke. In exchange for Protestant prisoners the late King Henry jailed, the Duke will give France the grain it so desperately needs.
After Mary makes the deal, she finds out that the Protestant prisoners have disappeared. Condé made an earlier side deal to secure the safe passage of his lover back to her husband in exchange for the prisoners. Luckily, Condé isn’t very morally ambiguous, and he returns the prisoners. Mary arranges for the rescue of his lover.
The sexual tension between the two is so thick you could cut it with a sword. It’s fantastic.
The episode closes anticlimactically with the coronation of Mary and Francis. For a show that rejoices in its splendor, we sure didn’t get a ton of it here. The dresses were mediocre for this show, and the set design was minimal at best.
We flash to Catherine after the coronation, who’s talking to the defeated Lord Narcisse. He’s figured out that Catherine has been buying small kindnesses in the form of wells and food supplies for towns all over the countryside. She’s currying favor with the locals to plan for the day she’s ousted from the castle.
Ah, nefarious Catherine. How I’ve missed you.