SOME SPOILERS AHEAD.
Just when I thought that Darnley couldn’t do any worse for himself, he had to go and prove me wrong. His relentless pursuit of the Crown Matrimonial has been the single most frustrating story line in this season so far (in a good way) and it really only pushed him further away from the one thing he truly desired: respect.
Mary already proved a long time ago that she can match Darnley blow for blow when it comes to his plotting against her. She did it again in this episode when she found out about his and Knox’s plan to have the Privy Council overrule her denial of the Crown Matrimony, by announcing her pregnancy. She effectively quelled the Privy Council and gave them no more reason to want her gone. Except for Ruthven of course; he hates her with the same passion and fury that Knox does.
It’s here that Darnley starts to get way over his head but still cannot see exactly who it is that he has decided to lie down with. Knox and Ruthven immediately decide that it’s time that they kill Mary, rather than simply remove her from the throne. Darnley himself says that he doesn’t want Mary dead, but continues to work with the men either way! If there was ever a time when Darnley should have bailed and told Mary everything, it was then. But alas, he hadn’t gotten what he wanted yet and like I said in the last recap, his ambition has been blinding him.
He comes up with another plan at Knox’s behest and plans to stage a coup; he tries to catch Mary alone in her room with Bothwell so that he can accuse her of adultery. Again, for the second time in this episode and despite an incredibly last minute warning, Mary thwarts him and the plan has failed. But Ruthven isn’t about to just let this go, not when Rizzio is right there and had earlier threatened to expose his homosexuality if he didn’t change his position on opposing Mary on the Crown Matrimonial. It was the perfect opportunity for him to kill two birds with one stone; get rid of Rizzio and his threat and use him instead of Bothwell in his accusation of adultery. And got rid of Rizzio he did, in the most brutal manner, by stabbing him repeatedly along with at least another half dozen men.
That was the moment in which I went from almost despising Darnley, to despising him out right; an innocent, good man died because of his ambition. And still he believed that Ruthven and Knox would give him what he wanted. Darnley was thoroughly obtuse for pretty much this entire episode. Absolutely nothing these men did awakened him to their true character. To what was awaiting him once everything they wanted was in place and they no longer needed him. Mary had to almost literally shake the sense back into him so that he could see what he’d truly gotten himself into. It was frustrating watching him be that stupid.
His only saving grace in this episode was that he helper her escape the castle and finally left the poor girl alone. He left so he wouldn’t have to face the consequences of what he did, under fear of death at the hands of Bothwell, but still, he’s gone and hopefully remains gone.
In France, Henry is still being a power hungry little git and using Charles’ mistake with the English residing in France to his own benefit and doing a pretty good job of it. I didn’t trust that he was acting in Charles’ name and I’d assumed he’d been doing it without the requisite permissions. At first I thought that he was trying to make the situation worse in order to further ruin Charles’ image, but what he was really doing was working for Spain.
He raided one of the beheaded English traders’ ships and found saltpeter, which is used to make gunpowder. While Narcisse was off meeting with Gideon in order to come to an agreement concerning the ship and its cargo, Henry was off tattling to Spain about his discovery; something that they wanted for themselves. He made the wrong decision in telling Narcisse of his discovery, however, because Narcisse told Gideon, who then told Charles about his brother’s little plot. But that wasn’t the only way he’d been trying to undermine Charles in this episode.
He went after Nicole yet again and got her. I wondered why he was so interested in Nicole (I don’t buy that he has any genuine feelings for her) and why he was so invested in proving to her that Narcisse has no feelings for her (another little plan of his that back fired in some way because he then had to listen to Narcisse and Catherine having sex). Then it occurred to me that if he separates Narcisse and Nicole, Charles is no longer getting proper advice from someone with more experience and who can help him lead the country. I’m thoroughly convinced that he is manipulating Nicole.
I don’t really understand why Henry is working with Spain because, the way I see it, even though they will put him on the throne if they can, their ultimate goal is to have power over France. To absorb it into their own kingdom. Even if Henry is on the throne, he would be a king in name only and have virtually no power. He would be at their beck and call, doing their bidding.
The Arch Duke Ferdinand finally return to England, ready to marry Elizabeth now that his family has agreed to her terms. The only problem is that he found the very saucy letters that Elizabeth had written for Gideon, which she planned to show him once he returned from France. I absolutely loved how Elizabeth played it off by telling him she’d written them for him to read after they were married. It was funny and brilliant. Funnier still was the look on her face when he proposed they no longer wait to share in their desire for one another since they were getting married anyway.
I like Ferdinand a lot. I’m a little peeved that he tricked Elizabeth into sleeping with him (he knew that the letters were for Gideon), but it’s admirable that he wants them to have a real marriage. I understand why he wants Gideon gone and away from court, but I’m not particularly happy about it; I’d hate to see him go. I am, for the time being, entertaining the idea that he is the one that Jane was writing to. Sure, he could have known about him and Elizabeth just by observing them together but it would explain how he knew.
- I love Gideon and Narcisse’s banter and chemistry.
- Mary’s surprise announcement got Darnley the adoration he craves so desperately. That should satiate him.
- You’re terrible at intrigue Darnley.
- Ruthven isn’t just sexist, he’s xenophobic too!
- Rizzio’s devotion to Mary is the sweetest.
- R.I.P Rizzio.
- Darnley: “All I ever wanted was to be treated with respect.” You could have had it without the Crown Matrimonial! In fact, I’d argue that you did!
Reign airs Fridays at 9 PM on The CW.