Well, a happy royal couple is a rarity, and doesn't necessarily make sense, right? RIGHT?!
Yes, it was a very difficult installment for Francis and Mary. All of the progress they made was sent straight into the garbage heap because of Francis' misguided sense of protection for the woman he loves. Instead of having faith in her, he turned on her and wounded her with words far worse than the pike on which her head could be hanging as threatened by Narcisse.
Women care greatly about the truth and that's true of Mary in particular. Now she believes the truth is that her husband is blaming her for not yet bearing her a child and has, essentially, entirely given up on the prospect.
Thus it is that Reign Season 2 Episode 5 struck down one of our favorite loving couples, while bringing together another in matrimony and hinting at a future union based on more lies and lust. Oh goodie.
Looking back, everything that has gone down with Lord Narcisse seemed exceedingly simple. There's a reason for that. He learned very well how to manipulate the tragedy of the plague. Not only did he use it to gain control of the lands of people he murdered and whose death he blamed on the disease, he tidied things up by tricking a King all too eager to believe in spirits of the dead.
Francis: You're not going anywhere. You're thinking that if you were my father, you'd be dead by now.
Narcisse: But apparently you're not your father. You went one better by killing him.
Francis: Against my word, all you have are the rantings of a deranged woman.
Narcisse: Who you are locking up so no one may hear what she has to say. As well you should, because in truth, no rumor could be as dangerous as fratricide. It's a crime against France, against God; anyone who commits it or even knows of it could be summarily put to death -- man, woman, King or Queen. Which is why I imagine your Queen knows nothing of this.
A shout out to how well it was thought out -- even to the point that Caroline, as Henry, grunted sexually at Kenna as she passed him on the lawn on her way to sit on the throne. She was well informed about all things King Henry!
Considering Narcisse is so Pro-Catholic, it should seem surprising he thought of using haunting as a way to get Francis to confess to fratricide. Then again, even then there was likely confession -- the beautiful absolution of all sins -- that Narcisse could fall back on if he started to feel dirty.
But would Narcisse ever feel dirty about anything? I'd venture to guess he knew about the sex journal, as well. When he got Lola to think well of him and his past wives, surely it crossed his mind that taking the mother of the King's child as his lover (or more) would be most beneficial.
As good of a sleuth as he is, it would be very easy for him to manipulate the situation so that Kenna found the journal and sent Lola on a journey to find the butterflied man. He is a masterful liar and nothing he does will be taken for granted by this viewer again. He no longer gets the benefit of any doubt regarding a noble gesture.
What a shame that the fun of the journal was marred by the butterfly appearing on the wrist of Narcisse. Truthfully, it wasn't really in doubt, but until his wrist was revealed, there was still hope.
That said, it's difficult to feel a lot of love for Francis any longer. The simplest of things and he turned on his bride, thrusting aside all of the groundwork they had created for a fair and just marriage and rule.
Francis: Mary, I have already made my decision. I am informing the courts now, in writing, before Greer's wedding. My people will know of my decision before the day's end.
Mary: Your people? I thought we were to rule together! At your coronation, you said we would rule as a partnership.
Francis: Mary, I can't always be your husband first. Sometimes I have to be King.
Mary and Conde bonded over the loss of her child, and again over the loss of his nephew.She wanted so badly to make both sides of the religious fervor pay for their actions. Francis promised that he would never punish anyone for what they believed in their heart, but going against those words will likely exact a terrible cost. Will it push Mary into Conde's arms? Would you blame her if it did?
Mary: Do you worry that I can't bear you a child?
Francis: Yes! I worry because as a King and as a man I want heirs. Is that what you want to hear? Does it bring us closer for you to know that your failure disappoints me beyond words? Have I answered you fully? Are we done with this relentless interrogation?
Mary: When you told me you hadn't lost hope...
Francis: I lied. Mary, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have. I wish...
Mary: For something I can't give you. Well, I asked you for the truth and you certainly gave it to me. I don't need to hear anymore.
Choosing to lie about his actions regarding his father and instead placing blame for everything on Mary's inability to produce an heir is the lowest thing he could have done. It would not be surprising if Mary ran to Conde. He is grappling with his religious beliefs, sure, but at least he is pure in his intent and honest about it.
If Francis was worried about the Catholic and Protestant uprisings and the possibility of losing his throne before, he should be even more worried now. The person who has kept him on an even keel was Mary. She was the yin to his yang. If he lost her confidence, they're doomed (and we already know they're doomed, to make matters worse!).
The backdrop of the installment was Greer's wedding and Castleroy's decision to seek out answers in the Protestant faith after Yvette's death. He made it sound as though he had his feelers out, but his mind was made up. He left Greer on the night before their vows to ponder her decision to marry him, and she did make him sweat it out a bit at the alter. Thank goodness, because we got this wickedly delightful morsel from Catherine as a result:
Honestly, is Greer dragging out the suspense to make a grander entrance? Will she be arriving on flying swans?Catherine
Instead of balking at his decision, Greer felt Castleroy's determination to do what he believed in was surprising and it will challenge her instead of keep her stationary in the world. They promise to always protect each other and they dance merrily.
While Kenna had a decent role in the hour, we were not treated to much of Bash. The two are far too important to be absent so often from the drama. Yes, they were front and center during much of Reign Season 1, but that doesn't mean they should take a back seat while Lola and Greer are examined, instead.
Things may not have gone as I would have hoped, but the hour didn't fail to entertain. With happiness lurking for all three of Mary's ladies, her pain in necessary to keep the show interesting from a romantic point of view for younger fans. It will be interesting to see what Catherine makes of the drama between her son and his wife, as it seems she has taken a liking to Mary whether she intended to or not.
Hit the comments with your thoughts. Are you disappointed in Francis? Worried for Lola? Proud of Greer? Do you wish we had more scenes featuring Bash and Kenna? Don't forget, you can always watch Reign online via TV Fanatic for all the latest!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.