Reign S04E11 Recap

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SOME SPOILERS AHEAD.

Things were starting to look up for Mary and Darnley’s relationship in the beginning of this episode; she finally acknowledged that he tries and expressed a desire to return her efforts in kind. Then Darnley – as Darnley does – had to ruin everything with his desperation and ambition, in an abrupt change of character that came so fast, I got whiplash. We’ve always known that he was ambitious and had questionable morality, but never before had Darnley been this vicious. Especially toward Mary.

I’d been suspicious of him since he delivered word of Elizabeth’s engagement to the Arch Duke Ferdinand and even more so when he was so aggressive toward Bothwell and forced Mary’s hand in banishing him from the castle. He took a bit too much pleasure in seeing the man gone and seemed to be reveling in his power as king. So when he brought up the Crown Matrimonial – yet again – I figured that he’d brought the news of Elizabeth’s engagement to Mary and helped her assemble a force to attack England all so  that he could “earn” it. He essentially confessed as much to Mary. In fact, after she asked him why he was so concerned about something happening to her, I briefly entertained the thought that he was plotting to have her killed.

That wasn’t what he was planning, but he threatened her life (and everything she’s fought for) when she refused him, “warning” her of what would happen if the men they sent to England were stopped and her seal was found. He even went so far as to draw up the document for her to sign and gather the Privy Council so that they could announce that he’d be granted the Crown Matrimonial together. The arrogance he displayed there was sickening and I was glad that Mary ripped up the document.

All he did was send her running to the man he wanted to keep away from her: Lord Bothwell. She had no choice but to turn to him and ask him to stop the attack on England and retrieve her seal. Sending him and Rizzio to speak to Gideon so that he could help as well. Luckily, Bothwell and Rizzio succeeded, leaving Darnley to quiver and beg at Mary’s feet once confronted with the news. It was satisfying to see. He quickly changed his tune, however, once she told him that they were over and threatened to publicly denounce their child as his. All of the hope I had for the relationship is now gone, as is my love for and faith in Darnley.

Things weren’t faring much better in French court, as they were having their own family squabble. It was obvious that Henry was trying to undermine Charles’ rule. Doing petty little things like throwing a party “in is honour” and not inviting him and  hitting him in the face with a tennis ball filled with stones. This didn’t escape Catherine’s notice and she threatened to sell him out as a heretic to Leeza and Spain, for bringing a book of magic to court with him; a souvenir from his time as a soldier.

Telling Henry exactly what she planned to do – considering how cunning and obviously willing he is to back stab his family in pursuit of his ambition – probably was not the wisest move on her part. After Henry revealed that there were Spanish warships waiting in the harbour if he needed them, Catherine used the book of magic in order to strengthen Charles’ kingship. If Henry every finds out that she had, it’s over for her. And even if she hadn’t used it, he could have used her own play against her.

Unfortunately for Catherine as well, Narcisse has sided with Henry since he sees him as a better king than Charles ever was or ever could be. Granted, it is to some extent true; Charles is little more than a puppet being controlled by a foolish, if not ambitious, little girl and that is something that I could not see happening to Henry. He’s too strong of a person for that. In fact, Henry had been eyeing Nicole for the entire episode and I fully expect her to leave Charles for him at some point. Narcisse too. She’s in love with him now, but I’m confident that Henry has the charm and charisma to make her fall for him. Even if she doesn’t, she will align herself with whomever has the most power and if that ever becomes Henry, that is where she will be.

In England, Elizabeth’s engagement to the Arch Duke Ferdinand isn’t going quite so well. As much as she seemed to like him at her birthday party, it looks like since she became aware of her feelings for Gideon he isn’t quite as alluring as he used to be. Going so far as to beg Gideon to get her out of a four hour carriage ride with him. But when he was to save her from the Arch Duke, he was spying on Bothwell and Rizzio as they stopped the attack on England and was caught by their men.

Although as Gideon himself said, he works for Elizabeth and not Mary, I didn’t think he would have done something of the sort considering his history with Mary and the love they once shared. And though I understand that his loyalty lies with Elizabeth first, as a subject of his queen, I expected that since he now has feelings for Elizabeth that he’d be a little less on Mary’s side. Because he knew too much about their operation, Bothwell knocked him out and took him back to Scotland with them.

There, he promised he wouldn’t tell Elizabeth about their attempted coup. But when he got back home and Elizabeth said she would call off her engagement because she was worried he’d left her and she didn’t want to live a life with someone she didn’t love, he spilled the beans! Kind of. He bent the truth somewhat and only told Elizabeth that there had been an attempted coup by Catholic, English subjects that Mary asked him to help her stop. And that without a Catholic husband, she would always be facing such dangers.

I didn’t think that Elizabeth’s engagement would last the episode, but I thought that it would be because Arch Duke Ferdinand found her and Gideon kissing or something of the sort and called it off himself. If she she heeds Gideon’s warning, though, the engagement is still on.

Random thoughts:

  1. Narcisse must hate entertaining Nicole. She’s such a child.
  2. Laying on that praise real thick Nicole.
  3. Henry is such a snake. He didn’t hide his hand long at all.
  4. Luc and Claude are 100% going to fall for each other.
  5. Did Henry really just try to blackmail Narcisse? Ha!
  6. Stay away from that dark magic Catherine!
  7. Eugh! Charles is an angsty, brooding teen again?
  8. This spell is totally going to backfire on Catherine.
  9. You brought this on yourself Darnley.
  10. No Mary, you never really did give him much of a chance. That’s probably why he’s acting this way,

Reign airs Fridays at 9 PM on The CW.

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About The Author

An avid reader who accidentally discovered her love and talent for writing and has loved movies for as long as she has been watching them. Stumbled into film-making and found her second love because she decided to read for a degree in it on a whim - kind of.