Synopsis of 2×05: Tension between the French Catholics and Protestants explodes, weakening Mary and Francis’ marriage in its wake. Lord Narcisse reveals that he paid off the nurse, Caroline, in order to get Francis to confess to his father’s murder. Greer gets married to Lord Castleroy – who also turns out to be a secret Protestant. Lola and the other ladies go on a hunt to find Lola a lover.
Each week, I have to suspend more and more disbelief about this being a semi-plausible period piece. I should probably have issues with that, but because Reign is such gratuitous fun I just can’t find the energy to care.
White for wedding dresses in pre-Victorian France? Kay. A lady keeping a journal of all her sexual trysts and the other ladies finding empowerment in that? Sure. Let’s do it. One of the better parts of Reign is the fact that I feel like Caitlin Stasey is her character in real life. I follow the actress who plays Kenna on Twitter and her sex-positive, feminist tweets are sometimes the best things on my feed.
It’s great, because this week when Kenna walks in on two female servants having sex in public, she criticizes them for going about their business in public instead of the censuring the ladies themselves. It’s sex-positive and it’s great. It’s also unrealistic. But hey. I’ll take my feminist media where I can get it.
Anyway, Kenna finds those two servants in possession of a sex journal – which she gleefully confiscates to read herself and share with her friends.
And Catherine. “Henry died. I lived.” Me: *dies*
In the midst of Greer’s wedding to Castleroy (who’s also a secret Protestant), Kenna thinks it’s time for Lola to take a lover, and with that, the game’s afoot! The ladies run amok throughout the castle trying to find the mysterious man (cough sexual panther cough) with the butterfly birthmark on his wrist. Eventually, Lola figures out that butterfly man is none other than Lord Narcisse, who promptly takes a pass at her.
I kind of ship it. In a dark, twisty, you’ll-feel-a-little-morally-gross way.
Politically, the story is much more realistic this week.
A group of Catholics burned down a Protestant church and murdered Lord Conde’s nephew. Conde demands retribution, but Narcisse and the Catholic nobles demand the release of the perpetrators. Narcisse claims that the men were provoked by Conde’s nephew. They wheel in a comatose boy who they claim Conde’s nephew injured.
Upon investigation, Mary and Francis find their story doesn’t hold any water, and Francis moves to punish the Catholics.
Just as he’s about to pass judgment, Francis finds the nanny (Caroline) who seems to be possessed by the spirit of King Henry lurking around his chambers with the remnants of the murder weapon. Francis confronts Caroline and locks her up – in the heat of the moment, he also confesses to his father’s murder. Lord Narcisse overhears the conversation and begs for Francis’ mercy.
Francis lets Narcisse go, only to discover that Narcisse has freed Caroline, paid her to act possessed, and generally orchestrated the whole affair.
Suddenly Narcisse has become way less annoying and a whole lot more interesting to me. Since Francis’ crime is treasonous and grounds for punishment by death, Narcisse leverages his blackmail to free the Catholic prisoners.
Narcisse also forbids Francis from telling Mary because that would make her an accomplice to treason. After Francis tells Mary he’s changed his mind and decided to free the Catholics, she knows Francis is hiding something. Francis plays on Mary’s insecurities over her failure to bear him an heir and claims he’s disappointed in her and that’s why he’s been distant.