Was that...is that it? Did King Francis just die but not really die on Reign Season 3 Episode 4?
Are we getting some sort of colossal fake-out where showrunner Laurie McCarthy gave that heartbreaking interview saying Francis would die this season because they're sticking with history even though literally no one who watches this show watches for its historical accuracy?
And then they just...faked us all out? I'm sincerely hoping so, because if we just sat through a death and resurrection only to lose Toby Regbo in three or four more episodes, there's going to be some cranky Reign fans here soon.
Pretty much the only part of this episode that really mattered happened at the very end. The rest of it? Meh. It'll probably be relevant in future episodes, but WOW were there a lot of scenes in "The Price."
No, but really. A LOT of scenes. One of which was 30 seconds long and only featured Bash pulling back his shirt. I mean, I'm not complaining if Bash wants to take his shirt off, but really? We needed an entire scene dedicated to Bash inspecting the brand on his chest? No. No, we did not.
In addition to the scenes like that one, the trouble with flitting between England and France is apparent.
It's hard to care about whether or not Elizabeth will marry when a) we know she never does and b) Francis is dying. Francis > Elizabeth. Jumping back and forth from country to country and court to court is pretty infuriating right now. There's no intrigue in English court. There are no villains. Elizabeth is supposed to be a villain, at least regarding Mary, but it's hard to think of her that way. She's just...someone who eats up time.
Things aren't much better in France as nearly every single character we've ever seen played a part in tonight's installment, leaving us very little time for Mary and Francis in what might have been the final days of his life.
Yes, there was typical Mary-Francis scheming and it was fabulous. He made a bold move to protect Scotland and help his mother-in-law Marie de Guise secure a supply route and he failed so Mary stepped in and came up with a plan to save her subjects. We've sort of been there, done that. I'm not saying it's not enjoyable, but it's not exactly new.
The only reason we heard about or saw Marie de Guise tonight is because her life was the price Mary had to pay to save Francis. Marie de Guise has only been Mary's mother in name since Mary was six. This is not a hard choice to make, Mary. You did well. Saving her husband was the infinitely better choice.
Everyone agreed, even Charles, the dauphin. Bash seemed upset at the prospect that Delphine might have been the one to lose her life in exchange for Francis', but really, Bash? This woman has linked herself to you so that when some nuns in a convent start burning her skin off to cleanse her, yours is burnt off too. This is not a healthy relationship, Sebastian. Not at all.
One thing I loved about Francis and Charles tonight was Francis' lesson that being king is being a performer. This is a role Francis has been trying to play since he killed his father and ascended to the throne, and he's done well. It was sort of touching to hear him say that good leaders make mistakes, but they acknowledge them and learn from them. That's not a lesson he learned from either of his parents.
Gah. We really can't lose Francis again later in the season, guys, but now I'm sort of terrified that this was a big ol' fake-out and his real death is coming. Nostradamus returns on Reign Season 3 Episode 5, so let's hope his predictions are somewhat less deadly than before, and the blood he sees does not belong to Francis.
I continue to love Lola and Narcisse even as my suspicion about him grows. I really think he's trying to change and be a better man because of Lola's influence, but he definitely craves power. That's a hard habit to break, no matter how hard she bats her eyes at him. It's sneaky that he wants a vote on the privy council, but I'm not ready to declare his motives in that regard strictly evil. I think there's some good in Stephan Narcisse yet.
What did you think of "The Price"? Was losing Marie de Guise a small price to pay for saving Francis? Were there entirely too many scenes crammed into tonight's episode? Is Lola wrong to trust Narcisse?
Sound off in the comments below and don't forget you can watch Reign online!
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.