On Reign Season 2 Episode 1, we were introduced us to a couple of new characters who butted heads in the woods over their connections with Francis. It was difficult to determine whether either Conde or Lord Narcisse was thinking more of the young King or themselves or if it was none of the above.
We had the chance to jump on a call with Craig Parker, who embodies Lord Narcisse and we have some scoop about what we can expect from him on Reign Season 2.
Lord Narcisse comes across as a bit of a bad guy when we first meet him, and previews suggest that he's not going to be happy about what happened to his son. "I'm not a bad guy! I'm a misunderstood guy," shared Parker about his character. "He's not an absolute monster, but a monster with heart, which is the lovely thing about this show, it's not just straight villains, it's villains for a reason."
He's likely going to be angry at Mary for taking action against the younger Narcisse for his outrageous request to use the Plague as a way to be rid of his enemy. Parker sees things differently, " I wouldn't call that outrageous. Yes there is definitely a reason for Narcisse to visit court now. Does that make him a villain because Mary murdered his son and he's a bit angry with her. Does that make him a villain? I think it makes him a good father."
But Mary didn't technically murder his son, she merely gave him what he requested for somebody else, right? "It's still technically murder! Put it to the court and it's maybe second degree murder," Parker continues, "The lovely thing is this guy, he will do dreadful things. He's one of those monstrously political ambitious creatures, but it's still his son, so when we meet him this week, his rage and his fury is genuine. He discovers what happened and there is true hatred for Mary, but because he is so political, he will deal with it in a very particular way so he does do monstrous things, but I don't think he's a monster."
Will taking the food supply away from France be on his list of ways to hurt the Queen? Parker suggests, "He has many, many strengths. Basically, he's richer than the royalty. He is one of those great oligarchs of France and his fingers control many strings or whatever the metaphor is and he will do what it takes to teach the King and Queen how France works. With Francis there is a case of him placing himself in a fatherly role, teaching him to be the King that France needs and Mary, particularly because of what she's done, I think there is a much more personal vendetta going on and that will play out as it goes."
Lord Narcisse will have a much different relationship with Francis than he will with Mary, for whom he has very ill feelings. He will definitely create friction between the couple. Parker explained, " The way I see it there is just a gut hatred of Mary. He wishes her dead in every possible way, unfortunately, full stop. But she's the Queen of France, so he can't directly get to her but with Francis' slightly different relationship -- he sees the naivete in Francis, he sees the caring, which both Mary and Francis have, of looking after the people of France but Narcisse is just looking after France with a capital F.
It's interesting, because we're up to episode 8 now, and there is a fondness, I think, that Narcisse has for the young King, but it's a frustration, a very internal creature aspect, if he would just do it my way and if he can just get Francis to act the way that he wants, he definitely will throw in some twists that damage the relationship between Francis and Mary."
Parker shared that working in Toronto is "absolutely glorious" and despite being terrified the first day on the job, "the first day was on a horse in the woods, and there were wagons and it's a nightmare with horses and things so I was so terrified," he found the cast absolutely delightful. "Immediately we were welcomed and there are some shows that have politics that have to be sorted out, but this is very much 'the princesses stay on the screen.' They're a bunch of puppies, really. Actors are very strange creatures. They basically go, yes, I like you, we're going to be working together. We'd be very good at speed dating, I think. We'd just jump in, I'm going to like you, here's me."
It seemed odd to this viewer that Lord Narcisse fathered the fallen soul Mary punished. Did Lord Narcisse start impregnating women at the age of five? Parker laughed, "I didn't get to meet [the actor who played his son] until episode 3. He had shot all this stuff before I got up here, so I shot these scenes thinking about my son and who murdered my son and in my head I was thinking he was maybe 19. And then he came in to do a couple of pickups for some stuff and I was like, 'oh Lord! I want to call you sir!' He's a very manly man and suddenly I felt very short and puny. But he's a rich man's son and they grow up with a very healthy diet and that's why he's so manly." Parker also decided that his own character "bathed in the blood of virgins. He's really 80," followed by more laughter.
What can we expect from Narcisse? Parker shared Narcisse from his viewpoint, " You can expect a lot of interesting personal revelations. For this reasonably hard man, there is a really squishy center to him, a slightly twisted and scarred squishiness." He expects to be on the show at least through he end of the season, "As long as I don't screw up too terribly."
There have been rumors going around that Catherine would be having a romantic dalliance this season, and it just had to be asked. Parker described what Lord Narcisse might be getting into, " There is a sense of romance going on with a wonderful woman on the show who has been an absolute joy and delight and really, every new script that comes out surprises me more, so hopefully for the home viewer there will be some revelations about both Narcisse and this other person. A lovely quality about him is he has no fear, so people like that tend to bring out that bravery in other people as well. They either run for their lives or they let them in and allow then to be brave. There is definitely an adventurous quality to him sexually, so look, I'm trying terribly not to say anything."
But what about Catherine?! Parker said, "I say nothing, but I can think of no better joy than to work with Megan. We have recently shot some scenes together, we went over to Ireland and shot some stuff and we shot about four episodes worth of scenes together there and she is, as a person and as an actor, she is so wonderfully wicked and so much fun to play with. If a relationship with her were to develop, it would be particularly twisted and wonderful."
Honestly, the way he describes Narcisse is kind of sexy and as a person he's delightful. Can you imagine his potential scenes with Megan Follows? When put to him like that, Parker gave a little, "There is so much play on a set like this."
He talked about his experience watching Reign Season 1 and his introduction to Queen Catherine: "Originally I just watched a few, and then I became hooked and was sitting there at three in the morning saying just a few more and Megan has the most glorious ability to play the theatricality and the operatic quality of Catherine in the situations she's in but it's always absolutely genuinely locked into the humanity of this woman and she's looking after her son and she's looking after herself, so the few days I spent in Ireland with her, you immediately lift your game with her and we said let's see how far we can push this level of performance but not allowing it to become pantomime. Yeah, she's just a joy."
So there you have it! Do you think we might be treated to a bit of romance between Lord Narcisse and Catherine? Don't forget, you can watch Reign online via TV Fanatic. Be back here tonight for a full review of the latest installment!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.