You never forget your first time. The first time you have an enemy beheaded for your personal gain, I mean.
Ewww, what did you think I was talking about?
Aside from including the best surprise beheading this side of Seven, Reign Season 1 Episode 20 was noteworthy for showing Mary's other first time: her first abuse of power.
Mary has served as a moral barometer of sorts for all of Reign Season 1, expecting absolute fairness in all situations, as everyone around her, from Francis to Kenna, becomes corrupted by little tastes of power.
And yet here we are, having just seen Mary abuse her own power more intensely than anyone this side of Queen Catherine.
Is this a commentary on how all power inevitably corrupts? The impossibility of a royal retaining a moral compass? A set-up to help TV recappers make beheading puns? Hey, let's not get ahead of ourselves here (sorry, had to).
In Greek mythology, if you cut off one of the hydra's many heads, two more grew in it's place. When Mary had Hortensa's head cut off, did another grow in its morally corrupt place? And is that new head Mary's?
Though Adelaide Kane generally does a great job conveying Mary's jumpy, neurotic hopefulness, she had a rougher time selling Mary's journey through emotional torture to moral corruption (though she got in a few choice Reign quotes).
But Tortured, Desperate Mary and Corrupt Mary acted and sounded just a little too much like Innocent Mary.
Unless she was Corrupt Mary the whole time??! It was a long grift! The longest long grift!!
Although the military plotlines on this show can't ever hold a candle to the emotional wars raging inside the castle walls, having Leith be a part of Francis's battalion was a neat way to recomplicate Greer's story line.
And I thought she and her Cousin Larry Appleton-looking husband were going to be so happy together!
Just kidding! No one gets to be happy together on this show! That's the whole point. Royals - they're just like us! Totally miserable and morally compromised!
Official Reign FashionWatch: 7/10, probably just because we saw so little of Kenna this week, and everyone else was mostly in nightgowns or tied up or eeeeeeevil (everyone knows that evil people like Hortensa don't get to wear cute dresses).
But to get back to the serious business that came to a head in this episode (sorry, that was my last chance to get one of those in there):
Was Mary justified in ordering Hortensa's murder?