Synopsis of (2×11): The Pope’s emissaries are calling for the death of all of those with the mark of the Dark Riders, which leads to trouble for Conde. Bash and Francis end up removing the Cardinals from French Court, but Catherine is still having visions and Mary is still not seeing Francis.

Rating: ★★★★★

I swear this show got prettier in the interim, and now that it’s renewed, I get to jealous-stare at all the stunning dresses for another year!

Amazing wardrobe design aside, this week is mostly Conde-centric, presumably setting up the romance between Mary and Louis.

Now, kiss. [fanpop]
Now, kiss. [fanpop]
The Pope’s cardinals are in town, cleaning up Protestants who have the mark of the Dark Riders branded into their skin. All of the Protestants which Francis hanged while he was looking for Mary’s rapist have the brand on their chests.

Upon closer examination, however, it looks like these brands are post-mortem. Which means that someone is trying to make a political point that Protestants are the devil’s playthings.

And who better to do that than the representatives of the Catholic Church?

Looks like the good Cardinal and his lover rolled into town to light the powder keg of France’s brewing civil war and ride out before they’re caught in the explosion.

Anyway, Francis and Bash come up with a scheme to brand a faithful Catholic (the Cardinal’s lover, who happens to be a priest) to dispel the rumors that the Dark Riders are all Protestant heretics.

It goes about as well as any of the duo’s other harebrained attempts do.

Bash gets his arm sliced by the priest while he’s holding him down to apply the brand. Eventually, the good Cardinal catches the brothers after he sees Bash’s injury, but refuses to fess up to the Church’s scheme. Francis sways him with an impassioned speech on love and how he loves the priest, which eventually causes the Cardinal to yield. Maybe Francis won’t be such a terrible character for the last half of the season after all.

In the meantime, things are still cold between Francis and Mary. Mary wants nothing more than for Francis to leave her alone. In her mind, he’s responsible for her rape. And she’s not entirely wrong. If Francis hadn’t caved to the nobles’ demands to persecute the Protestants, the castle probably wouldn’t have been attacked.

Francis, as always, will not leave well enough alone. So Mary takes matters into her own hands and preps for a vacation in the countryside.

In the meantime, a woman confesses to the Cardinal that Louis Conde has the mark of the Dark Riders. Just before he’s taken into custody, Mary hides him in her carriage and they flee to his brother’s residence.

The King of Navarre (Conde’s brother) has rather peculiar tastes. He greets Mary, and then proceeds to throw a party where he pairs up each of his guests with each other to have sex publicly. Mary’s #OverIt in countless ways so she retreats to her chambers.

#Creepy [fanpop]
#Creepy [fanpop]
In the meantime, the King suggests that Louis should seduce Mary to gain a royal sympathetic ally to the Protestant cause. Louis refuses. Then proceeds to have reticent sex with a noblewoman of his brother’s choosing. Actually, the only way he can go through with it is by being blindfolded and pretending he’s with Mary, so that won’t be a problem in any way in upcoming episodes. Especially because Mary knows he’s in love with her, even after he tried to get his letter back.

Later, the Catholic representatives crash the King of Navarre’s residence, ready to take Louis into custody. Mary thinks quickly and ruins Louis’ brand with a hot poker before they all return to France for Francis’ judgment. The whole episode makes Mary more sympathetic toward Francis, but she returns to the castle to find Francis, Lola, and baby sleeping peacefully together, which pretty much ruins their reconciliation.

In the meantime, Catherine is still majorly hallucinating. We’re talking gross ghosty sexytimes with her late husband.

Annnd more ghost sex. [fanpop]
Annnd more ghost sex. [fanpop]
Anyway, she’s slowly poisoning Claude to appease her dead twin daughters. Fortunately, a suspicious Kenna steps in and saves Claude, but not before Claude tells Kenna she and Bash slept together.

Catherine tells Claude that she killed her siblings when she was young, but suddenly realizes that she cannot kill her daughter, so Claude is safe…for now.

All in all, it looks like we’re setting up a perfect love triangle for Mary, Francis, and Conde, so stay tuned for next week’s episode!

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