Reign 1×12 Review: Royal Blood
Now that’s more like it! I enjoyed this episode far more than the previous one. We saw the return of Francis, Mary, and Bash butting heads over the protection of the boys. It didn’t have that frenzied pace from the last episode or two, which was really refreshing! I don’t know if it’s intentional or not, but the writers are continuing to put Catherine in situations where I am cheering for her to succeed. Horrible, I know, as Mary is the hero of this story, but I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for wickedly complex characters, which Catherine totally is! But enough lollygagging, let’s get this review on the road!
Was anyone curious about the change to the opening credit sequence? I must admit I was relieved to not have to listen to Nostradamus, but I did like the speech itself. The sequence seems a bit off without it. If it’s the show’s intention is not to have Nostradamus do it anymore, perhaps the voices of Mary’s ladies could replace him. This show has such a strong female presence and is about a famous female figure in history; it would only make sense to have one voice the opening.
We got to see other characters shine in this episode, and what a relief that was! Tackling this subplot, we found Lady Lola in Paris, bailing her brother out of a sticky situation, only to get in one of her own! Luckily for her (and the viewers), Francis was there, posing as a count, and helped her in the end. I really enjoyed the scenes between Lola and Francis, as we were able to see how Francis is dealing with his new-found “freedom”. The answer is: not well at all. It’s to be expected, as he has been groomed since birth to be the next great ruler of France. To have that identity stripped away from him, and by his own half-brother and fiancée no less, it would be expected for him to be a little lost. I was confused when Lola didn’t tell him about his mother’s impending execution, but she apparently left the castle before that decision was made. Does anyone remember this? I must admit I was so distracted by the back and forth, rapid-fire scheming between Catherine, Mary, and Bash that other characters fell by the wayside. Regardless of the details, Francis found out about his father’s plan and proved me right in thinking that, despite all she’s done, he still loves his mother and won’t stand by while Henry tries to murder her. I don’t know how much weight Francis will have upon his return to court, but perhaps that will be the thing that unites the nobles against Henry and his plans to legitimize Bash. On a more personal note, it will be interesting to see what Francis’ returning to court does to Mary, especially since he will be returning with Lola after their little love scene. Something tells me Mary didn’t give Lola permission to go to Paris, and while she might understand Lola wanting to help her brother, her returning with Francis will be another matter entirely.
We saw Mary and Bash going toe to toe over the boys: Mary wanting to keep them at the castle and Bash wanting to send them away. Torrance Coombs (the actor who plays Bash) tweeted during the show, “Happy couples are boring guys. That’s why romance movies all END with the guy and the girl getting together”, and I couldn’t help but agree with him. You don’t want to see your favorite couples get along all the time. They need to fight, and if their bond is real, such disagreements will only strengthen it! A perfect example of this is the fight scene from The Notebook. Noah makes the fantastic quote, “So it’s not gonna be easy, it’s gonna be really hard! And we’re gonna have to work at this every day, but I’m willing to do that because I want you!” If Bash and Mary truly care about each other, they’re going to have to be willing to work through their problems together. Bash took a page out of Francis’ playbook and went behind Mary’s back in a classic “the man knows best” move, “kidnapping” the boys and going through with his plan despite her objections. Mary forced his hand with the way she presumed to order him about, which was poorly done, but I can’t help but side with her in the argument. Bash insisted her keeping the boys at the castle and taking care of them was her way to assuage her guilt over being a party to taking away their birth rights, but to me it was more than that. Yes, her guilt may have been a factor, but Bash is forgetting that Mary was forced from her home and her family due to constant threats, as well. She knows what it’s like to be isolated from all you know and love, and wouldn’t wish that fate on anyone, even the children of her enemy.
I think it showed a great maturity on Mary’s part that she allowed Catherine to come with them on the search for the boys. As we know, Bash’s plan for the boys was foiled by Clarissa, who was intent on punishing her mother with the deaths of Charles and Henry. I’ve said it many times in the past, but it bears repeating: Catherine has done horrible things, but her love for her children is something no one can question. The fact that she refused to leave after her and Nostradamus’ farce had succeeded shows that. I loved her and Mary working together and Catherine’s acknowledgement at the end that Mary was willing to take care of her boys. I think she senses that Mary is being genuine in her promise and knows that in her hands, the boys will be safe. Their father, Henry, doesn’t appear to have many interactions with them, and really sees nothing beyond his own selfish desires. At the end of the episode, we are led to believe that Clarissa is dead, but that ending scene was pretty ambiguous. I wouldn’t be surprised if Clarissa reappears, intent on more vengeance.
The very end of the episode saw Bash and Mary kissing and making up in a big way, wanting to get married right way in hopes that the move would force the Pope’s hand into legitimizing Bash. In the preview for next week’s episode, we finally get to see Mary’s mother, who will be played by Amy Brenneman. I still maintain my theory that Mama Queen of Scots will be less than pleased with what Mary has done in terms of the treaty with France. There was an interesting shot of Catherine telling her, “I am defeated. If you want to fix this, do it yourself.” Is that the purpose behind Mary’s mother arriving at the French court? If so, what will she have hidden up her sleeve as a solution? Will it be another delay in Mary’s engagement? As of this episode, we are down to ten before the season’s end, which begs the question of what the writers have in store for us. I don’t see Mary’s mother allowing her daughter, the Queen of Scotland, to marry the illegitimate son of King Henry. Does that mean we will finally get an answer from the Pope? The preview shows Mary in a wedding dress, but for all we know, that’s just misdirection in the form of one of Mary’s daydreams. With so many theories next week’s episode looks to be very promising, indeed!
So what are your thoughts on “Royal Blood”? Did you think Mary was a tad too harsh with Bash? Have the writers caused you to warm up some to Catherine in regards to her love for her children? What kind of stir do you think Francis’ return to court will cause? Whatever your thoughts are, let me hear them! Comment below and as always, thank you for reading!
Author: Sarah Sue
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