Reign S04E12 Recap

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Darnley has gone full on scoundrel – as he promised – and I am this close to despising him. Not only is he spending all of his time drinking and whoring – discreetly thankfully – he’s going behind Mary’s back and bleeding the crown of all of its money. He even had the gall to show off an expensive necklace he bought for one of his whores. Right in Mary’s face. Just went she needs the same money to fund the relief efforts for earthquake survivors.

Much like John Knox himself did at the start of the episode, Darnley used these people’s suffering for his own gain; he would only give Mary the money back – which he had stored in a chest – if she allowed him to return to court. Making her spend even more money by throwing him a party. He’s become astoundingly immature and incredibly unlikeable; acting like a petulant child throwing a tantrum.

But our Queen Mary enacted a plan to leave his party early and accompany Bothwell to Lennox House to take the money, while Darnley and his king’s guard were otherwise occupied. Mary’s plans never go smoothly, however, and. Darnley figured out what she was doing and made his way there, finding only Bothwell (Mary had already made her escape upon hearing word of his coming). When Bothwell told him of his feelings for Mary, Darnley had him, as he put it, “beat within an inch of his life.”

While it looked like he’d just been stealing from the crown just as petty revenge against Mary, he had more sinister motives for his actions. The chest, which had been full when he’d shown it to her earlier, had been almost empty by the time she and Bothwell had gone to take it. He’d been using the money to buy the loyalties of Mary’s enemies. Enemies who had been attendance at the party.

Darnley, in his quest for power, is now actively moving against Mary. He doesn’t want to share her power, he wants all of it for his own. Now that Mary has taken the money he needs to enact his schemes, Darnley has joined forces with Mary’s greatest enemy of all; Reverend John Knox. He will provide the funding Darnley needs so that he can have Mary off of the throne as he’s always wanted. Given that Darnley knows what an evil little man Knox is, he’s a fool to trust him. His ambition and pride are blinding him.

Things are still just as shaky at French court, with Charles being especially aggressive not just toward Henry (he shot an apple out of Henry’s hand with an arrow), but to just about everyone.

When a group of Protestant, English nobles who reside in France refuse to pay taxes because Charles is Catholic, thereby inspiring French Protestants to do the same, Charles is met with yet another threat of rebellion. Not only that, making the wrong move could be seen as an act of aggression toward England.

He has Henry attend his meeting with his generals about the problem and Henry gives him fairly sound advice, but Charles decides to have them imprisoned instead. When Catherine manages to secretly arrange for him to meet with the nobles in order to find a peaceful solution, Charles has them beheaded.

I spent much of the episode thinking that Catherine’s spell was responsible for this. Claude and Catherine herself thought so as well. But when Catherine spoke to him after the beheading and he revealed that he’s been acting that way to hide his fear and weakness, I didn’t think it was the spell anymore. In fact, I don’t think that the “spell” did anything at all.

The threat that Henry poses and his open ambition to take Charles’ crown has rattled him to his core and he wants to prove that he is a strong king. The only problem is that he’s making himself look cruel, not strong.

As for Claude and Luc, that ship has sailed. Just when it looked like she would finally open her heart to him and the two would fall in love, Luc discovers that she wrote to Leith that she would leave him once she bore him a child. She’s actually developing feelings for him too, but she doesn’t want to break her promise to Leith that she wouldn’t. I absolutely love this ship and Luc is such a good man. I wanted so badly for it to happen officially. But now Luc has given up on forming a genuine bond of love with her.

In England, the recent coup attempt has left Elizabeth more paranoid than ever and in an effort to soothe her and give her time away from the stresses of ruling, Gideon sneaks away with her to a remote cottage near the sea. All is going well for the two and they can, at last, enjoy their love without fear. That is until Elizabeth’s servant girl Jane shows up and catches the two together.

Unlike Gideon, I was all for Elizabeth killing Jane. The girl was far too much of a threat to her already precarious seat on the throne. Elizabeth was going to carry out the act herself in fact. Ultimately, she couldn’t do it because Lola’s betrayal and execution still weighed heavily on her and Jane was only guilty of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I genuinely believed Jane when Elizabeth found her in her chambers and the girl said she would keep silent about what she’d seen. Then she had to go and write that letter! Of course, it doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s working with someone in some plot against Elizabeth, but this being Reign, that’s more than likely the case. Whatever the reason for her spying on Elizabeth, I’m officially intrigued.

Random thoughts:

  1. Was going under a table a safety measure for earthquakes back then?
  2. Mary has already proven that your word means nothing when people need food, shelter and clothing Knox.
  3. I love Snarky Greer. That roast pig comment was golden.
  4. Charles does not look older than Henry.
  5. Gideon and Elizabeth really shouldn’t be out in the open like that.
  6. Catherine maneuvered Charles in the direction she wanted a lot easier than I thought she would.
  7. Darnley brought all of this on himself. Not Mary.

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.