The King is dead. Long live the King. After months (or decades—no one really knows how time works on this show) of madness, King Henry finally meets his maker and not a moment too soon. And in his demise rises Queen Mary (as opposed to "queen" Mary, a subtle but important difference), ready to rule with an iron fist and a fabulous wardrobe.
Before he dies, Henry really cranks up the madness to eleven, making even Francis realize he needs to get got. Rectifying the situation I brought up last episode of there not being a CW-mandated, inappropriately-timed festivity, Henry summons everyone to the courtyard to tell them they're spending the week celebrating France's victory at Calais. However, he doesn't announce the fun news until he's already frightened everyone by announcing he has new guards, following an attempt on his life. Oh, and that God told him who tried to kill him.
Henry is totally ready to drop Francis like a bad habit right then and there (and if he had, I would've laughed), but ghost brother doesn't think it's time. Something something God, you know? Also, knowing that the ghost brother has been around for the entirety of this madness, I can't help but imagine him around during Henry's wild sex times. It really amplifies all the window banging memories.
Instead of killing Francis, Henry kills some rando, just to punctuate the fact that he really is too far gone, I guess.
Also too far gone: whoever is responsible for the choice of simply a title card instead of the typical Reign credits. Why have you constantly forsaken us?!?
So the new plan to get rid of Henry is to get some of the generals who Henry dismissed before battle to team up with Mary and Francis and stage a coup! It's not a good plan, but it becomes an even worse plan when Henry decides to use cannons instead of fireworks in a fireworks show—he's crazy, you see—and the ship with all those generals ends up going KABOOM. Back to the drawing board, kids.
As expected, Greer actually has something to do this episode! Leith and Greer's saga continues, and trust me, it is a saga. They're in love! But they can't be together! But he has land and a rocking wardrobe now! But money talks! But they're in love! But Castleroy! Is Leith dead?!? Nope! But they still can't be together! It's all very frustrating, and Leith would agree as he finally tells Greer what's what:
When you are alone and miserable, remember this is the moment that you threw your happiness away. And I will remember you as the woman who told me I wasn't enough. I will become everything you are so convinced that you need. I will rise and rise and rise, until I am rich and powerful. But I will never be yours again.
He basically just recited a male perspective of "Sk8r Boi" to her, and boy did it sting. I feel but for Greer, but I mean… Girl, he's never looked better, you should've hopped on that. Also, he's a man that can cook. Can I make it anymore obvious?
With Leith as the Sk8r boi, that would make my new favorite character, Yvette, the Avril. Basically, 14 year old me is all about this situation. What makes her my new favorite character? Her introduction features two of my favorite tropes: badass overt 14th century feminism and pretending to be a couple to get rid of a douchey suitor. One of the king's guards tells her to smile because he got her a drink, and she pretty much says "that don't impress me much" and "you're a bug-a-boo," and I have a confession to make: All of my pop music references are at least a decade old. At least. Because of the patriarchy, the guard doesn't back off until Leith steps in and pretends to be her boyfriend. I'd say it's my dream for an attractive, former baker to swoop in to pretend to be my boyfriend and save me, but I also realize that means I'm dreaming of being harassed, so it's a little touch-and-go right now. But seriously, these two.
So of course she's Castleroy's daughter! It is an episode where Castleroy looks extremely young all of a sudden, so why wouldn't he have a daughter who he'd have to have had at, like, four? How old is Yvette supposed to be? How old is anyone? Is this a part of the show's greater timeline "problems"? What is time?
None of these questions are answered, essentially being the show's great cliffhanger.
Meanwhile, Kenna's punishment for wanting things (not even specific things, just things in general) remains having to be involved with Bash's Pagan woes and Nostradamus' terrible-at-his-job woes. The Kenna/Bash relationships surprisingly hasn't been a complete mess of a romance, but Bash's Pagan status, and all that surrounds it, brings everything on this show—which constantly flip flops between whether or not it's a supernatural show—to a screeching halt. That is the problem in their relationship. Not the fact that she and his dad used to hop on the Bone Zone Express on the regular. The Pagan thing is. Plus, Nostradamus? More like NOstradamus.
Also, Pascal does not do what I wanted him to do in this episode—reveal himself as a child possessed by the Darkness and then hopping into Kenna, for season two feminism—so all I can hope is that he ages ten years come season two, becomes CW-fied, and tries to hook up with adopted mom Kenna. All while Bash dies of the Plague or whatever.
And yeah, basically, the Darkness is just some dude from a Renaissance Faire tasked with sacrificing people to the gods to keep the Black Plague from coming and killing them all. Pascal is to be his successor, teaching other Pagans about the ritual so it never gets lost and less people die. Bash, having never met a Pagan ritual he liked, says screw that and kills the dude. But, unlike Nostradamus, the "Darkness" (at this point, it's just embarrassing to call him that) actually knew what he was talking about, and the Plague is coming. You know nothing, Sebastian de Poitiers.
Back at the castle, since the latest plan to get rid of Henry failed, Mary takes matters into her own hands and goes to the Duke of Guise for help in this coup. He's totally Team Mary, just as long as she becomes the Queen she's meant to be. And that's when Mary shows up to the joust rocking the English coat of arms while "Supermodel (You Better Work)" plays over the soundtrack (in my mind). Henry has spent this week's festivities trying to get it with Mary—without any subtlety, I might add—and Mary, Queen of England definitely gets him going. But since she's commanding more attention with her declaration, Henry decides to get the attention back by participating in the joust himself. As the king, nothing bad's going to happe— Oh wait, he just got jousted right in the eye. By Francis, posing as Lord Montgomery.
With only moments to live, Henry confesses on his death bed and it just makes the whole dying (and leaving us with Francis' Francis-ness and Bash's hair and Nostradamus' constant failure) thing even more upsetting. He and Catherine remind themselves how much they love each other, and then he has a moment alone with Francis, apologizing for his behavior recently and confessing his greatest sin: He poisoned his older brother, killing him so he could become king. It was the one thing weighing so heavy on him, but once he confesses, he is able to die in peace.
It's a terrific scene, for sure, but the one thing that took me out of Henry's death was the fact that Bash, you know, the son he was all about early in the season, was not by his side because he was too busy taking down a Ren Faire reject and causing the Black Plague. Bash is able to save the moment a bit when he bows to Francis only to get wrapped in a brotherly hug, but still—get with it, Bash.
I could go on a long, eloquent rant on Francis and his constant hypocrisy about Mary hiding things from him—when he constantly hides things from her—or Mary becoming a more hardened person—when he's been such a massive dick in the past...AND LOCKED HER IN A TOWER—but none of that will be as effective as this one sentence: Francis can get bent. Ah, it feels so good to rant. "Listen to your heart and you will hear it as clearly as I do." Even Roxette would tell Francis to get bent over that one.
And with this season finale, Lola (possibly) died like she lived: in two and half scenes and as an afterthought to Mary (while not even a thought to Kenna or Greer). She's able to have a letter sent to Mary (the voiceover is the half scene) about how Julien is dead and she'll probably die in childbirth, and that's when Mary drops the bomb that Francis is the baby daddy. Being classic Francis, having just told Mary they're in this together, Francis dashes out of the castle, even with the Plague on the rise. So Mary does what she has to do—she has the gates lowered so he can't get back in.
Long may she reign.