Raise your hand if you still miss the Reign opening voice-over. Good, of course you do. You have two ears and a heart. "Forces of the heart." You know you say it out loud too.
The first season of Reign has become progressively more and more insane—cray, even, as the kids would say—with each passing week, making it must-see TV. Remember Must-See TV, you guys? Reign is essentially the 2014 version of that. Golden age of television, etc.
In "Long Live The King," Reign's wonky timeline gets wonkier as Francis and company finally return home from war in Calais after many months. Yes, months. Honestly, this show would challenge The Vampire Diaries' (and by extension, The Originals') timeline if it it weren't for the fact that Diaries' timeline simultaneously takes place in the present and the not-so-distant past. Honestly, were it not for the mention of the months passing, you wouldn't even notice it; the show really needs to work on that little aspect.
"The One With The Communion Wafers"
Upon arrival, Francis gives a rousing speech about his men, but Henry gives an even more rousing speech about God and our Mary being the rightful queen of England, escalating everything once more. At no point does Henry say "also, we'll be attacking England within the week okay thanks bye," but it's only a matter of minutes (or decades, depending on how this show's timeline really works) before he sings that tune.
It is that very tune that forces (or gently nudges, really) Catherine and Mary to conspire together to take out the king. "So it's settled then. Together, you and I are going to kill the king of France." You know, if Reign were a Leverage-esque show with Mary and Catherine (and all of the ladies in waiting, actually) conspiring to take down various royals on week-by-week basis… I'm sorry, I've found myself lost in my excellent thoughts.
Francis is not on board with the murder plot, because he's apparently never met his father before and thinks he can reason with him by going on a father-son hunting trip. While Francis runs off to do that (and to be fair, he actually gets to see a glimmer of the sane, possibly caring, man his father once was during this trip), Catherine and Mary continue to "think like queens" and remain stalwart in their mission to kill Henry. Mary actually calls Catherine "a very imaginative murderer," and I've never been happier to see Reign progress the Mary/Catherine relationship this way. The in-laws who plot murder together, always have fantastic screen-time together. Or something. I'll brainstorm.
Catherine's "imaginative" idea for Henry's murder ends up being poisoned communion wafers; Henry has taken to private church visits, and it's the only time the tasters aren't there to interfere. It's a perfect plan, except for one little hitch—the damn Duke of Guise, who wants Henry's trust. As it turns out, the Duke warned Henry that an attempt would be made on his life, not even knowing about the actual attempt. So in order to have his intel be good and get into Henry's good graces, he hired an assassin to attack Henry during his church time. Henry beats the assassin to death, never even tasting a wafer. Classic. That's So Henry: Only On The CW.
Of course, Francis has a fit about Catherine and Mary having gone along with the murder plot in the first place and has the audacity to go on about Mary betraying his trust and changing into someone he doesn't recognize. Raise your hand if you've had your wife imprisoned in your castle's anytime in your relationship—nay, anytime in the last few months. Presumably, no one but Henry and Francis should be raising their hands right now. There are plenty of problems about the Mary and Francis relationship (she's a dime, and he's...a penny), but perhaps the biggest one in these end of the season episodes is that Mary still hasn't righteously taken Francis to task for HAVING HER LOCKED IN THE TOWER. Ladies, that is a dealbreaker. He doesn't get the right to constantly tell her off, when he LOCKED HER IN THE TOWER. He just doesn't. Forces of the heart, be damned.
Now, the last scene of the episode is simply marvelous. Props to director Jeremiah Chechik for shooting the scene with constant quick cuts, just as jarring and as scatterbrained as Henry is at this state and during this monologue. TWIST! It's not a monologue. He's saying all of this—the fact that before he invades England, he must kill Francis and wed Mary—to the ghost of his dead brother. With this new information, Henry is most likely not long for this world at all (I want him to live forever like Conrad Grayson on Revenge), but at least Alan Van Sprang has provided us with some amazing moments (never forget Window Banging, the prequel to "Tubthumbing," I believe) and fantastic acting. Long live the king! Sorry about your insanity!
"The One With The Con Artist"
The Lola and Julien saga continues (and ends?) this week as Lord Julien's Uncle Bartos visits town. Another TWIST! "Julien" isn't Julien—he's Remy, Julien's personal secretary. Somehow the Reign writers have managed to come up with an even more ridiculous twist than the black widow route, with Remy assuming the identity of his master after a fire killed him and left him burned beyond recognition. (The Talented Mr. Remy: Only On The CW.)
Having a member of Julien's family finally show up after hearing word of Julien's marriage makes all the sense in the world—royals talk, so of course Julien's family would hear about it eventually, whether he (let's pretend it was the real Julien for a moment) wanted them to or not. For all of his deceptions, Remy's not really the best liar and his near immediate confession to Lola about the whole situation makes you wonder just how this guy was able to pull the wool over her eyes for all these "months" that have passed.
Oh, I've got it: pregnancy brain.
Lola is, understandably, angry with Remy (which is actually a better-suited name for him, I think) but she begrudgingly goes with his lie about Julien's whereabouts; his gambling addiction has gotten the better of him and he hasn't been seen in ages. Surprisingly, Bartos buys it and promises the family will take care of Lola and the baby, but as if this were an episode of Saved by the Bell (try and tell me this isn't such a SbtB moment), Bartos notices Remy wearing Julien's ring. Then he realizes that none of the male clothing in their home could possibly belong to Julian, because, fun fact: he was a large man, unlike Remy! Bartos confirms his suspicions by asking a servant who the man of the house is (Remy!Julien, duh), so there's a tussle.
Wanting to defend the man she loves, Lola interferes and pushes Bartos into a spike that just so happens to be over the fireplace. Real talk: at this point, I think Lola might actually be cursed? She's got a bastard baby brewing, and now her fraud of a husband has to fake his death and run away forever. He even pretty much inadvertently tells her to have a love triangle with her baby daddy by saying that if the father's a good man, she needs to let him into her life. I personally don't find Francis to be a good man, but the show does, so there we have it.
Bye, Remy. I hope you show up in the beginning of the second season, having ended up lost in the castle's walls or something.
"The One With The Pagan Baby Boba Fett"
Bash has apparently been spending a lot of time in the Blood Woods lately, hunting for The Darkness as you often do when you're a newlywed. There he finds an orphan boy who's obviously up to no good (never trust orphan boys who live in the woods, I always say) and decides to take him back to the castle upon realization that he carries The Darkness' whistle in his possession. Bash and Nostradamus team up to find the darkness in Visiguard (a place in the mountains and a pagan word meaning "where darkness rises"), and I have never wanted a pairing less than the Bash/Nostradamus one. Talk about two guys who take themselves way too seriously: Reign's Jon Snow and the Worst Clairvoyant Ever is a recipe for disaster. Can't wait. Really, I can't wait—this is what trainwrecky dreams are made of.
Also, while in the woods, there's a momentary eclipse, which reminds me: Wouldn't an eclipse usually be the backdrop for an inappropriately-timed party? This is The CW. Instead, Bash is even more blase about the eclipse than I just was. He has a Darkness to hunt after all.
Honestly, Reign already pulls back so often on its supernatural elements that I'll be pretty disappointed when The Darkness turns out to be just another person (supernatural creatures don't tend to have whistles) and not some demonic black smoke, possessing little orphan Pagans. Until then, I just assume The Darkness is Pascal—the kid's name is Pascal—until we're told otherwise in the finale.
Kenna immediately takes to Pascal, which I only think strengthens my case about being a supernatural force. Kenna doesn't care about kids. When has Kenna ever cared about kids? I say this with all the love in the world, because I see myself in her—Kenna is a driven, newly married woman. She has no time to care about kids, especially ones that aren't hers or her husbands, and I don't think she has a maternal bone in her body. Actually, maybe it's that lack of maternal instinct that prevents her from seeing that Pascal is up to no good, out for some sort of vengeance against Bash, the man who killed his father. Good thing she's going to her new home without the company of her new husband with this new orphan threat! Way to tell him that bad men always get what they deserve, Kenna!
(I hope The Darkness possesses Kenna and the second season is all about Darkness!Kenna locking men up in the castle.)
"The One Where They Forget About Greer"
Greer existed for a scene, just to remind us that her Leith probably won't be coming back to town, since the only reason he joined the army was so that he could avoid punishment. This was, of course, before he saved Francis' life on the battlefield, so perhaps the finale will actually give Greer something to do.