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Season Four Episode
A Grain of Deception
Season 4, Episode 2
A Grain of Deception
Air date February 17, 2017
Written by Patti Carr
Lara Olsen
Directed by Fred Gerber
<font-family:Trajan Pro;font color="white">Episode Guide
With Friends Like These


Leaps of Faith
"Men forget that women have ears."
Queen Mary


A Spy Threatens Mary's Trust within Her Inner Circle
Queen Mary discovers there is a leak amongst her advisors and sets out to uncover the traitor. Queen Elizabeth enlists in Narcisse to further her quest for supremacy. Meanwhile, Catherine takes desperate measures to regain some of the power she has lost.


In Scotland, a cart on its way to Canonbie is halted by two English guards. The men driving the cart claim that they're just farmers transporting grain to the village, but upon inspecting it, the guards find gunpowder inside it. One of the men loses his hand.

James takes Mary to the two farmers who are actually undercover soldiers working for Mary. Mary cannot believe their every attempt to supply Canonbie with arms and food has been thwarted and starts to suspect that one of the generals is a traitor.

In England, Lord Darnley and Lady Keira are making out. Darnley is excited to be her husband now that Queen Elizabeth is negotiating Keira's release from her engagement to Lord White.

Elizabeth and Lord Narcisse are playing an Italian game called Bocce. Narcisse doesn't understand why he's still being held at English court, but Elizabeth reminds him how he stabbed two of her guards. She also tells him that she wrote to Catherine de' Medici about the terms of Narcisse's release but Catherine hasn't responded.

Gideon comes in and apprises Elizabeth of Lord White agreeing to release Keira from their engagement under the condition of receiving a substantial sum for it. He also tells her that John Knox has arrived at court, and much to Gideon's surprise, Elizabeth invited him. She wants to bring him down.

In France, Catherine, Claude, and Queen Leeza come out of the chapel after attending yet another mass. Catherine maintains the cover story of King Charles being in Paris, because she knows that once Leeza senses a power vaccuum, she will most likely try to fill it with a Spaniard, making France a colony of Spain. So Catherine sets out to get Lord Narcisse back from England.

Mary and James argue. Mary doesn't trust James because of him doubting her leadership time and time again and resolves to save Canonbie on her own.

Elizabeth and Knox meet. Elizabeth brings up the attack on her life and the person she is supposed to believe is responsible for it, Queen Mary. Elizabeth would like to join forces against her and Knox is intrigued by the prospect.

Mary and Greer prepare for St. Brigid's Day party, a day to celebrate spring and life and a chance for Mary to find out whether the generals' wives are behind the leak. Mary asks Greer to help her and to move to Scotland with her husband and baby and stay as her lady, all of which Greer gladly accepts.

Catherine uses the rare sight of Charles to her benefit and asks him to sign a document that would secure Narcisse's release. When he tries to walk away, Catherine notices blood on his shirt, but Charles brushes it off as a minor injury. Catherine then pleads with Charles to at least dine with his family to dispel the rising suspicion regarding his welfare.

Narcisse is summoned by Queen Elizabeth. She has a plan to destroy Knox but she needs his help. She doesn't have proof of his crime against her so she needs him to plan another, during which she will catch him red-handed and try him. In exchange for entrapping him, Narcisse will earn his freedom back and get to kill Knox.

The St. Brigid's Day party is taking place. A lot of noble ladies are in attendance, including all four of the generals' wives and the young Emily Knox, John Knox's wife. As soon as Mary and the ladies raise a glass to celebrate the patron saint of fertility, Mary and Greer get to work.

They talk to the ladies and learn that all of them have quite loose lips. Mary has her brother, James, interrupt her with an "urgent" message after she get the four of the generals' wives together. Mary divulges the message to them, which is the next time the English intercept the shipment, they will find that the grain is poisoned. The ladies then start to deride Emily Knox, which Greer does not take kindly to.

Catherine, Claude, and Leeza wait for Charles to show up to dine with them, but he doesn't. After driving Claude away from the table as well, Leeza turns to her mother and makes a proposal: Spain will pay for Lord Narcisse's release, but only if he steps down as Lord Chancellor permanently. Catherine refuses and sets off to get Narcisse back without Spain's help.

Narcisse sneaks up on Knox when alone and encourages him in conspiring against Elizabeth. He and his supporters could meet up at the French embassy, where they would be safe from the prying eyes and ears of the English and free to commit sedition.

Mary goes to James and enlists him in seducing Emily Knox, because she may be wise to his plots against Mary and since he is out of town, the best time to do that is now. James is outraged at her request and while she tells him that she is giving him a chance to earn her trust, he retorts that she hasn't earned his.

Knox tells a servant to prepare a carriage for him to leave for the French embassy within an hour. However, he changes his mind when he learns that John Philip's nanny was killed by the Queen's Guard, thus Elizabeth finding out about his assassination attempt on her and planning to entrap him at the meeting.

Mary realises that Greer is packing and asks her why. Greer explains that her daughter is darker in complexion than her or Castleroy, so she is worried about how the royal nannies will treat her because of it. Mary promises to provide Greer and her baby with the best care so Greer decides to stay.

While Gideon is planning to bust in to the French embassy with guards, Narcisse informs them that Knox is not there. He must have sensed a trap and fled. Gideon looks through a hole in the wall and much to his shock, he sees fifty of Elizabeth's subjects gathered there. When Elizabeth learns of it, she orders them all quietly killed.

Catherine plans to remind the nobles of the power of the Valois and what they stand to lose if Spain takes over at a banquet hosted by her. Shockingly enough, though, out of all ten nobles in invitation, only one shows up, and he just came for the food.

Knox is brought in front of Elizabeth. She confronts him about his attempt on her life and he admits to it, but can tell that Elizabeth has no proof, otherwise he'd be in the tower. Elizabeth knows that if Knox goes missing, she will have an uprising on her hands, so she lets him go.

Mary and Greer piece together that Lady Donal is the wife of the general who was responsible for the leak. She is found and arrested for treason.

Emily Knox goes to James and thanks him for the kind note he sent her. James is confused at first, but soon realizes that it was Mary who sent it. On his way to her, he runs into Greer, who promises that whatever Mary has done, she has her reasons for it.

Narcisse cannot believe Elizabeth let Knox go, and even Gideon's answer that Elizabeth had no proof against him and thus couldn't hold him doesn't satisfy him. He pretends to push justice to the back of his man now that he has earned his way home and can return to France with John, when what he really does is visit Lady Lennox.

He tells her about how Elizabeth made a financial arrangement with Lord White to cancel the engagement between him and Keira. However, the road to Lord White's estate is rife with danger that the man delivering the money will have to face on his way, such as another man trailing him and then killing him, a man whom Narcisse all but admits to hiring.

James confronts Mary about the note she sent to Emily Knox pretending to be him. If Knox finds out about it, it will sever James' ties with him for good. But Mary argues that the only alliance he should have is with her. She urges him to be on her side, because unlike Knox, she will never betray him. He agrees.

Catherine goes to Charles and yet again beseeches him to sign a document to bring Narcisse home. He takes it and dismisses her. When she leaves, he lifts his hands to sign it and there is blood all over them.


Queen Catherine: Why, Claude, how nice of you to take time away from your grief to criticize me.

Queen Mary: Men forget that women have ears.

Queen Catherine: Charles, if I could have a moment.
King Charles: Not now, I need some air.
Queen Catherine: Well, you can breathe while I talk.

Lord Narcisse: So, are you killing Knox, or am I?

Queen Leeza: I've received word from my husband, King Philip.
Queen Catherine: I'm aware who you married, Leeza, you don't have to keep saying it.

James Stuart: Trust is given, but loyalty is earned. And you, my queen, have not earned mine.

Greer Castleroy: Even a queen cannot change how people are.


Death Toll [1][2]
- 50 Nobles
- Lady Donal


  • The episode title was released on December 29, 2016.
    • The episode's synopsis was released on December 30, 2016.

Historical Notes[]

  • Lord Darnley was never previously engaged, nor looking to marry anyone beside Mary, Queen of Scots.
  • John Knox was married twice: first to Margery Bowes, then to Margaret Stewart.
    • Margery Bowes was his very wealthy first wife who married him against her family's wishes. She died in 1560.
    • Margaret Stewart was his 17-year old Scottish second wife, and related to Mary, Queen of Scots. However, they married without the Queen's permission. The couple had 3 daughters.



  • Credit Order
Actor Character
Adelaide Kane Queen Mary
Megan Follows Queen Catherine
Rachel Skarsten Queen Elizabeth
Celina Sinden Greer Castleroy
Craig Parker Lord Narcisse
Rose Williams Princess Claude
Ben Geurens Gideon Blackburn
Dan Jeannotte James Stuart
Jonathan Goad John Knox
Spencer MacPherson King Charles
Will Kemp Lord Darnley
Guest Staring
Anastasia Phillips Queen Leeza
Nola Augustson Lady Lennox
Claire Hunter Emily Knox  
Sara Garcia Lady Keira
Character debut
Speaking debut
Episode debut