Reign 2.02 “Drawn and Quartered” Recap - Ksitetv.com
In preparation for the upcoming Coronation of Francis and Mary, Catherine has planned and executed quite the celebration - a banquet for 1200; new military uniforms; a golden-horned unicorn; a seemingly never-ending Tent City. However, Mary doesn't appreciate the display of grandiosity, which occurs at a time when the country is swimming in debts and facing a famine that could wipe out quite a bit of their population. Catherine argues that the coronation is about survival, that they're hosting leaders from 50 countries so they can strut their stuff and show their enemies that they're not weakening under a new regime. If they economize, they run the risk of looking wounded, thereby leaving themselves open to attack from all sides. She then strikes out at Mary's contentiousness, telling Francis that his wife needs to know her place until after the coronation, as she's already caused quite the ruckus with French nobles.
Once Catherine leaves, Francis assures his wife that he has another plan for grain; he doesn't need to bow down to Lord Narcisse and his control of 90% of the country's grain when he has another Lord who can get him what he needs. Elsewhere in the tent city, Lola and Kenna have gathered with other noble ladies, with the topic turning to homes and material possessions. The ladies laud Lola for landing a new chateau for the new baron, a chateau filled with everything she could ever want, while expressing sympathy for the loss of Kenna's chateau with Bash, which was swallowed in the recent fires. While Kenna understands that she can't look down upon Lola for getting so much, since it'll make the baby's life easier than Bash's was, it still stings to know just how far behind her peers she really is. Meanwhile, Mary and Greer run upon Lord Condé and a blonde courtesan with one blue eye and one green eye; Mary shames him for moving on from his love Lady Dutson and confides in Greer that she was thinking of setting Condé up with Lola. However, that possibility gets extinguished by the callousness in which he treated his relationship with Lady Dutson.
Francis and Mary run into Lord Narcisse in the Tent City, with the nobleman chalking up the French famine to laziness. Those who can't work are dead; those who can work are too hungry or too sad to work. He refuses to give a concrete date for the grain shipment, just as a thief steals a basket from a nearby tent and tries to evade the guards. He ends up getting a sword to the torso, with the contents of his basket spilling out - a chicken and a load of bread. Incensed that a man was killed for trying to help his family, Mary tells Francis that they have to find a way to get grain to their people. Later, a pre-coronation party is thrown and Mary meets Lord Duchess, a grain provider who worked at the French southern border under King Henry. He confesses to Mary that even though he wants to help with the grain, he and the rest of those of his ilk are too worried about the retribution from Lord Narcisse, that they don't want to face his wrath after undermining his position as royal grain provider. She then comes into contact with Charles Schuler, a German Duke who offers to provide the French with grain, a crop that his people are rich with. The only catch? She has to free the Protestant prisoners that Henry had been keeping in the garrison for years, all for the way they believed.
Across the room, a woman approaches Bash after finding her husband dead and accuses Lord Barnard of being the one to end his life. Outside, Narcisse joins Catherine on the balcony and hears about how Francis and Mary are different rulers than Henry was, how they care more about the people than they do their pocketbooks. However, he believes that in time, their morality will fade. Inside the party, Kenna gets approached by one of the women she met earlier in the day at the Tent City; after expressing her regret at how their friends talked to Kenna, she mentions how her husband was responsible for deposing estates of those who passed in the plague. Since Kenna lost her home, the woman suggests that they work out a deal so that the King's Deputy and his beloved can have somewhere to stay. As Francis warns Mary against acting with the German, since working with Protestants would annoy the Catholics in their country, Narcisse brings Lord Duchess to his chambers. Inside is the Lord's son Guy - balancing on the balcony ledge with only one of Narcisse's guards to save him if he stumbled. Narcisse delivers a warning that sends Duchess running away from working with Francis and Mary, while the royal twosome have their hands bound by the fact that they don't know what crimes these men Charles Schuler wants freed committed, so the deal with the German will have to wait. For now.
Catherine approaches Narcisse outside the castle and offers to buy the grain from him, thereby cutting out any dealings with Francis. However, Narcisse won't just sell the grain and let that be that; he wants an advisor on the privy council, which Catherine won't agree to. While Mary gets rejected by Charles Schuler when she lays out the fact that Francis needs more time, the king arrives in the Tent City after having Caroline, the nanny who Henry spoke to him through, brought to a local medium. Once inside the tent, the medium puts a liquid on various spots of Caroline's body that is said to bring out any spirits that might have attached themselves to her. Henry returns through Caroline and tells Francis that though he doesn't know why he's still here, he does know that it wasn't Lord Montgomery who killed him - it was Francis. As Henry goes on about how Francis changed, the king leaves the tent and heads back to the castle, unable to face his guilt. Meanwhile, Bash gets the undertaker's ledgers from the man's assistant and has the boy tell him about Lord Duono, the man who was allegedly murdered, and Lord Barnard. Though Duono isn't in the death records, which exploded after the plague, he remembers that Duono's wife said that they were recently titled, so it turns out that Lord Duono is indeed in the death records - under Bouchard, his family name. The cause of death? Cut to the throat.
When Francis returns home, he learns that Mary agreed to free the German prisoners to Charles Schuler, which undermines him as a king and prevents him from earning the respect of both his peers and the people he's been tasked with leading. Bash doesn't have it any easier when he hears about Kenna's idea for a new chateau, as it turns out the woman who offered them the deal is Lady Barnard. The chateau now counts as a bribe and Lady Barnard's insistence on helping them shows Bash that he's on the right path. However, when Kenna confronts Lady Barnard in public about the chateau, she learns that the Nobles hate Bash for trying to usurp the throne and that the only reason she and her husband are safe at court is Francis and Mary. Lose that connection in any way and they might be in danger, the type of danger that Lady Barnard threatens if her husband is charged with the murder. Elsewhere, at a celebration for Francis and Mary's impending coronation, Charles Schuler brings his men and confronts the leaders of France. The reason? The prisoners, which Mary authorized him to pick up, were not in the garrison, which Shuler believes was a plot meant to humiliate him. Swords are drawn on both sides and it looks to be a potential bloodbath until Francis calms the situation.
Inside, though, Francis is annoyed at the place Mary's action has put him. They have no grain, no prisoners, and no alliance, but Mary convinces him that she can help them without talking to anyone of import. Her contact turns out to be two prison guards tasked with guarding the garrison; they claim to have went to a tavern like they did every night without problem, only to be pulled away by a prostitute with one blue eye and one green eye. Knowing that Condé was responsible, she finds Francis' cousin and confronts him, saying that he was going to ransom the prisoners for his friends, whose ship was commandeered by the Germans on its way to Amsterdam. Condé believes Francis to be no better a king than Henry, while Mary argues that her husband is a better leader than that and that Condé is a better man than to let an entire country suffer over his own heart. Real leaders place their country over love and she suggests that Condé deliver the prisoners to the castle as such. Condé listens to Mary and brings the prisoners to the castle, thereby completing the trade with the German. They waste no time in rubbing it in Narcisse's face, though, lecturing him on knowing one's friends and the value of making friends to supplant those one loses. As such, Narcisse cowers and says that his grain would be coming later that day.
Mary finds Condé by the water in order to thank him, but she learns that his reasoning for saving the ship wasn't to be with Lady Dutson. It was to get her home to her husband and children, with whom she shares a bond that she couldn't with him. At the coronation, Francis assures Mary that he wants the same world that she does, telling her that they have to trust one another if they are to be the best rulers they can be. He receives a ring, scepter, and crown before taking the throne, while Mary herself is crowned before assuming her place beside Francis. Outside, though, Narcisse meets with Catherine and brings to her attention that he knows what she wanted to do with the grain. She didn't give it to Francis; she gave it to a village up north, another in her long line of "altruistic" acts meant to secure power for when Francis and Mary produce an heir. Catherine rebuts that finding an heir will take quite a long time, but Narcisse reminds her that Francis and Mary are young and just getting started in trying to conceive an heir.
At the same time, Francis and Mary make love, overcome with passion from working together and from the pomp of their coronation.
Additional thoughts and observations:
-"Didn't you promise the nobles you'd muzzle her?"
-"But how can I possibly help you? I'm irrelevant."
-No golden-horned unicorn? How disappointing.
-What I love about Catherine is that she's always thinking. So many in her position would rest on their laurels and enjoy the spoils of being the mother of the king, but she was very right about the theatricality of the Coronation masking any weakness France might have and the touch at the end of her feeding villages throughout the country was a nice touch. It shows that there's a heart underneath the sarcasm; it's just that Catherine has to be motivated by other factors in order to listen to it. It also highlighted how insecure she is about her position at the castle, despite her claims that Francis and Mary wouldn't be having a child for a while.
-This is the second episode in a row with a good Francis/Mary sex scene. The first season contained several that were too fan service-y, but last episode embraced Mary's sexuality and this episode used sex as both a mile marker for how far their relationship had come and the true celebration of their being officially named King and Queen of France.
-I thought the ghost angle was handled a lot better here than it was in the second episode, which is promising. The idea behind it was always fine, but here, it was less cheesy twist and more living personification of Francis's guilt. He got to have all the emotions he was repressing reflected back to him, the fear that his father knew what happened and the guilt over playing a part in Henry's death, and that should have an interesting impact on the way he rules and how he interacts with both Mary and Catherine. It's an interesting device that will make Francis less of an internal character and even though I have no idea where they're going with this, I'm more interested in finding out now than I was a week ago.
-I didn't include the conclusion in my recap, but I liked how everything with Bash and Kenna turned out. She burned the page in the ledger in order to protect him; he told her how much this position means to him. Smaller problems than what Mary and Francis are dealing with, but watching how close they've become after inauspicious beginnings is lovely. Bash has a sense of purpose with his new position and marriage; Kenna has matured a lot since getting married and can use her ease at navigating court to help her husband and maintain the power she fought so hard to acquire.
-I kind of wish that Condé's courtesan was a better hidden character. It was kind of obvious in the way their introduction was filmed that she would be important later down the line and there wasn't much in the way of suspense as far as who took the prisoners. However, I did like seeing Condé getting more mixed up in the action and the reveal that he was determined to get the ship back so that his former mistress could return safely to her husband was a humanizing moment that keeps his allegiance and attitudes more gray. Three episodes in and he's the wildcard of the season thus far, someone who could be against Francis (e.g. his belief that his cousin is no better than corrupt Henry) or someone who could prove to be a powerful ally.
-Favorite dress of the episode: This episode was pretty strong from a fashion perspective. Greer's black thing at Tent City was pretty, as was the dress Mary wore with the green bodice and brown-ish skirt. Honorable mention to the flowered thing Kenna wore that reminded me of Halle Berry's Oscar dress from 2002.
-Random, but I miss scenes with Mary and her ladies. While I know that they might not be feasible right now given the tension between Mary and Lola, one of the first things I latched onto with this show was the bond between the girls. Plus, having scenes with all of them would be a good way to show how much things have changed between their arrival in France and present day.
-Literally every scene with Catherine and Narcisse is great. They're very much two sides of the same coin and I think the humor that Megan Follows brings to Catherine meshes well with the Craig Parker's brooding.
-Quite a few new characters introduced here. I'm not opposed to expanding the show's universe, especially with Mary and Francis assuming power and Bash moving up the ranks, but it made the episode feel a little crowded. As long as at least some of these people hang around the show's universe for more than an episode, I'll be okay with the busy-ness, though.
-Given this show's history with people falling to their death, did you think Reign would kill off Guy? I understand the reasons not to (i.e. they're not the type of show that kills children, they didn't want death-by-window to be a thing, they didn't want to be known only by their shock twists, they didn't want Narcisse to be irredeemably evil, etc.), but part of me was kind of disappointed not to see it.
-I'm wondering if there's a long con to turn Francis from a skeptic into a believer. Between this episode and the first season of Nostradamus' visions, it kind of feels like we're creeping toward a Francis who doesn't immediately disregard with anything he doesn't understand or anything without a logical explanation. And I'm ready for it.
-One of these episodes, it would be nice to have a mistake made by Mary or Francis to not have a quick resolution. I don't mind episodes like this, since they strengthen the two's relationship and they reinforce that they're both competent rulers even if they're inexperienced, but I think there are other aspects of being a ruler that could stand to be explored. What happens when a young ruler makes a faux pas that negatively impacts not only their position in the country, but the opinions of their people and their standing within the pantheon of world leaders?
-That being said, the musical cue when Mary and Francis confronted Narcisse after striking a deal with Charles Schuler was delightful.
-Next week on Reign: Bash and Lord Condé investigate a shepherd's attack, while Mary reexamines her friendship with Lola, Greer focuses on her future, and Lord Narcisse presents his new bride.
By: Shilo Adams