Synopsis of 2×13: The King of Navarre extorts France for money, Mary sets Francis free, and Catherine figures out why she’s been having visions. Oh, and apparently the dead are coming back to life.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Can we talk about how great Catherine’s material was this week?

The poor woman’s been having super crazy ghost sex murder visions for weeks now and finally someone’s decided something might be wrong. Apparently she was still sane enough to cover up Diane du Portier’s murder because none of the characters are discussing how she was found with her head bashed in, but nonetheless I still don’t know if this says more about how self-involved all the other royals are or how crazy Catherine is on a daily basis. Either way, the woman finally gets some ‘help’ this week.

I say ‘help’ because she’s seen by the court physician, and after Nostradamus fled the castle a season ago, the new guy goes by the ‘humours’ version of medicine. He also determines that Catherine has syphilis.

There’s this great moment during Catherine’s diagnosis when she curses a philandering Henry for leaving her one more problem from beyond the grave. Anyway, the rest of Catherine’s storyline is her enduring crazy cures for syphilis – birds pecking at her feet to drain the black bile from her blood, sweating out the disease in a barrel, etc. Claude is loving it. She’s told everyone in the castle about her mother’s disease, which only adds to Catherine’s chagrin.

Catherine’s torture finally abates when Narcisse (of all people) suggests that she may have been poisoned. After an elaborate poison detection test (seriously – Catherine’s knowledge of chemistry is hella advanced considering her court physician still treats most things with parakeets and boiling water), she and Narcisse determine that Henry’s Bible was poisoned, causing both of the royals’ visions.

In the meantime, it’s First Bloom celebration at the castle. The heavy-handed metaphor for new beginnings runs throughout the episode, but it mainly results in Kenna and Bash trying to start over, Lola and Conde attempting to court in earnest, and the royal couple finally calling it quits. We also get a kickass string version of Sia’s “Chandelier.”

Oh, also Bash has a side storyline this week where the dead are coming back to life in a neighboring village. Apparently some woman in white is bringing people back from the grave. *shrugs*

The Prince of Navarre is here this week to renew a peace treaty. Well, that and Antoine is trying to wrangle money out of France to pay for the Protestant refugees, who have been flocking to his country’s borders seeking asylum. Catherine’s all for refusing him – after Henry sent the Bourbons to the front lines during the Italian wars, there is no love lost between the two families, especially because the Bourbon family is next in line for the French throne.

Antoine Navarre also has an ulterior motive – he’s searching for the assassin hired by Henry to kill his brother Marcus. He suspects Bash is guilty of the crime, so he flirts with Kenna for the entirety of the episode for information.

After Mary fails to convince Conde to spy on his brother (go Louis!), Francis asks Narcisse to look into why Navarre wants money. Narcisse suggests that if Francis is looking for a way to soothe his fragile male ego, he should just ask him to kill Conde instead of making the matter political. Which, you know. Fair enough.

Francis flips out at Narcisse, but he doesn’t exactly say “no” in so many words, so I’m hoping that there’s a ham-fisted attempt on Louis’ life in the near future.

Narcisse has a bit of a side thing with Lola where he tries to convince her to take another bath with him, this time in the natural hot springs. This man’s fetish legitimately freaks me out. Anyway, his romantic attempts with Lola go awry when he and Claude get together, she slights him, and then the two fall apart, leaving one upset Lola in their wake. Well, for now. To quote the snake himself, “It would be a mistake to think that I will not be back on top.”

Anyway, Narcisse finds out that Navarre’s been in talks with England. Elizabeth is recruiting spies because she fears a French invasion because France has been persecuting Protestants, presumably setting up Mary to be the Catholic ruler of England.

Mary and Francis know there’s nothing they can do to fix relations with England, so they decide to pay Navarre off. Mary then decides it’s best to set Francis free so that one of them can be happy since Mary still can’t stand to sleep next to Francis. It’s heartbreaking, but it feels necessary for the plot – doubtless it’ll eventually send Mary into Louis’ arms.

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