Making plans these days sucks. It’s usually in a group chat where no one will make a definitive statement, or respond, or agree on anything from location to who to invite. The worst is when you do participate and say something like “I don’t care as long as Jane doesn’t come” only to receive a “bro, Jane’s in this chat” side text. There’s only so many times you can claim you meant a DIFFERENT Jane. It seems to me we should all take a cue from Reign, ditch our phones, and revert to 16th century technologies. Apparently communication was super efficient as they were able to get a remarkable number of messages between Scotland and England faster than it takes most people to respond to an email. Who knows how many horses were shot lame in the process, but when the throne of a nation is up for grabs, our rulers aren’t messing around.
We open in Scotland where Mary and Bash are still pretending to be brother and sister. Bash offers to ransom his “sister” with the goal that their friendly travel companions/captors will take them to their clan leader, Monroe, to approve the plan. The underlings are so excited at the prospect of splitting this money with Bash that they completely forget they’re supposed to be pillagers of a ruthless clan. Take all the money, y’all! Either way, the ruse works, and we’re off to see the leader.
v. excited about our fair and modest profit
You guys, Monroe is HOT. Maybe it’s because he actually has a Scottish accent, but I am not minding him at all. I wish Narcisse were still involved in this plot so they could interact while I yell “make out!” at the television screen.
Monroe’s sent a rider to check on Mary’s fake intended, so moves need to be made against him immediately. Bash is freaking out about being outnumbered and the logistics of getting close enough to Monroe. Mary is not worried.
Chill. I’m hot.
After a dance, Monroe invites Mary to his room under the pretense of picking a piece from his recently looted jewelry collection. Take note, gentlemen. I’m pretty sure this would have a 95% success rate for me. Anytime I get an opportunity to wear a necklace that won’t turn me green, I’m in.
Mary picks one out. Monroe fastens it around her neck and puts the moves on her.
His flirting soon turns antagonistic, though, when he picks up a salvaged dagger. The latin inscription implies it belongs to a queen and he’s put the pieces together. He’s heard tale of the bewitching raven-haired beauty, Mary Queen of Scots, and this interaction has confirmed it’s her.
Mary thinks fast, grabs hold of her regifted necklace and stabs him in the throat. While he gasps for breath she picks up the dagger and finishes the job. You go girl. Francis would be proud.
It’s MY necklace!
To his credit, Bash trusts Mary to handle herself, and waits outside dutifully with two horses. He may have drowned someone in an artsy sequence where the only audio was music to get said horses, but sometimes you gotta crack a few eggs. Mary runs from the tent drenched in blood and they peace the eff out.
♫ bagpipes ♫
The show is sort of acting like she’s crossed a line and reached new dark depths of her soul, but she bashed Clarissa in the head with a rock with intention to kill in Season 1, so I’m not really convinced. I suppose it was a premeditated revenge kill, but if it’s deserved, in my experience, it doesn’t weigh on the psyche any more than your run-of-the-mill self defense manslaughter.
Elsewhere in Scotland, we finally meet Mary’s bastard brother, James, the King Regent. Big surprise… he’s hot! No Scottish accent, but he’ll do. He even gets a superfluous sex scene to demonstrate his studliness. Wrapped up in his story line is the infamous woman-hating John Knox who THANK G is not hot because you know I would low key root for him if he were.
They too have figured out the shipwreck most likely contained Queen Mary, and Knox is thrilled. He’s in James’ ear constantly hounding him. “Mary’s dead, let’s move on. Dismantle the monarchy!” James wants proof of his sister’s death before he fundamentally changes the government of Scotland but Knox ain’t got no time for that because Elizabeth is coming!
It’s either me, Elizabeth, or Lord Darnley
Oh God, not Lord Darnley
News of the shipwreck reached England, and they are also assuming Mary is dead. Without Mary, James is no longer regent, and the throne goes to Mary’s cousin, Lord Darnley. One thing all parties seem to agree on is that they don’t want this guy in charge, so Elizabeth plans to throw her hat in the ring.
She consults with Lola who is “sad” over the news of Mary’s death. She agrees that Elizabeth is the best option for Scotland and offers her prestigious Scottish family’s support.
It’s either me, John Knox, or Lord Darnley
Oh God, anyone but Darnley
Later, Lola is taking private mass in her room. The priest enters and he’s curiously hot. It’s actually Narcisse playing dress up. Somehow Narcisse finagled himself into England, found out Lola’s praying plans, got a costume, and entered the castle without anyone knowing. I get that he cheated, but that is a man that can GET SHIT DONE. Lola’s impressed and kisses him after he informs her Mary is still alive.
They were out of “sexy cop”
Lola immediately wants to tell Elizabeth to halt the conquering of a nation process, but Narcisse warns that 1. the information can’t come from her and 2. the wheels are in motion so Elizabeth most likely won’t want to stop.
They backchannel a message to Elizabeth within minutes and Narcisse is correct. Liz caught the scent of blood, and she’s not leaving until she eats the seal. Lola resigns to escape England with Narcisse in a few days.
France is still dealing with the whole Red Knight situation. Charles is kidnapped and a new man is sniffing around at court, Martel de Guise. He claims his main objective is to help the crown, so naturally he is at the top of Catherine’s suspect list.
These combined problems serve to provide a series of hilarious reveals and conversations between Claude and Catherine.
Catherine’s pissed at Leith for losing Charles so Claude confesses she wants to marry him.
Of course you do.
Martel also has an ulterior motive at Court: sleuthing out who killed his father. Spoiler alert: it was Catherine.
Of course you did.
And Catherine questions why Claude isn’t more wary around Martel. Turns out they’ve banged in the past.
Of course you have.
Charles is in the ideal kidnapping situation in which his watch guard is his former friend. Former friend might as well hand Chuck the keys now because manipulating his way out will be pie. Charles explains the Red Knights simply used him due to his proximity to the King. The weak-willed boy already starts to soften.
The Red Knights send an offer to the castle—Catherine’s life for Charles’s. Catherine knows it’s bullshit, Charles knows it’s bullshit, Leith the kitchen boy knows it’s bullshit, Ailee’s ghost knows it’s bullshit—both mother and son will die. The only people who are shocked at the intent are Charles’s poor naive friend and naive friend’s father. When the father objects he’s swiftly executed.
The boy reacts with all the emotion of Christoph the serial killer and quickly releases Charles. Tip to kidnappers: seriously never let the one with the personal relationship to the captive guard them. It 100% results in assisted escape.
Catherine has no choice but to offer herself for the “exchange.” Conveniently, it takes place in the foggiest field in France, and her secret plan of having Leith&Co dress in the Red Knight uniform, blend into their ranks, and kill everyone works. However, Charles is nowhere to be found.
loving our new smoke machine
Elizabeth’s out of town, and Lola is primed to leave the castle. As Narcisse waits outside, Lola is stopped with a message. It’s a letter written in Mary’s code with explicit instructions to kill Queen Elizabeth. I guess we’re supposed to buy it as evidence of new “dark Mary”, but let’s be real. It’s gotta be from Liz as a test of Lola’s loyalties. Hopefully she, or more likely Narcisse, figures it out before a bungled attempted murder. If it’s anything like Lola trying to plant Elizabeth’s necklace during the jubilee, it won’t be pretty.
Dear Lola, please murder. XOXO,
In Scotland, James grows sick of Knox’s whispers and finally concedes to disassemble the monarchy. Just as he is about to make the final vote, Mary barges in triumphantly: “I am Mary Queen of Scots and I have come for my throne!” As we’ve learned from Game of Thrones, no matter what transpires in an episode, if you end it with a fierce declaration from a badass woman, you can’t help but get a thrill.
A girl has a name.
Monday is the season finale! My wish list includes: Claude and Catherine figuring out if they have any sexual partners in common, Lola and Elizabeth making BFF necklaces, Narcisse resurrecting Monroe and living happily ever after, and Mary diverging from the path that actual history has laid out for her. Chances of any of these events occurring are slim, but let’s remember we started this season out with Catherine in a mobile cage with a tiger. Whatever happens, crazy shit will go down, and I eagerly anticipate the shenanigans. See ya soon!
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