SOME SPOILERS AHEAD.
Mary is a better person than most of us would be. After everything that Darnley did in his numerous attempts to claim power for himself, she can still find it within herself to care for him and treat him fairly and with kindness. As she maintains, he is still her husband and the father of her child, but I think her continued ability to care for him goes deeper than that.
When she diagnosed him with syphilis, it instantly explained everything about his behaviour in the last episode and his sudden madness. It unfortunately didn’t explain everything he did. It was a little irresponsible of her to send him away from the castle to be treated for his syphilis, as Lady Lennox said. At least if he had been within the castle, the risk of anyone finding out would have been lessened. His contraction of an STD poses significant risk to her reputation as queen – as Lady Lennox threatened near the end of the episode.
But that was of little concern to Mary because she literally went into labour in the middle of the discussion. Nothing comes easy to Mary of course and her labour was a difficult one. When she sent for Bothwell so that she could say goodbye, I expected her to send for Darnley as well – he is the father – but I do love that he and Greer were at her side. It was a little eye roll inducing that she “died” and came back and gave birth in two pushes. It took me out of the scene a little bit.
While all of this was happening, Lady Lennox, aka Worst Mother of the Year, took advantage of Darnley’s ill health and convinced him to make another power move against Mary and fill the remaining Privy Council seats with people loyal to him so that he could be named his son’s Steward. There was a tiny sliver of hope when he protested her urging, noting that seeing his dead ex-girlfriend – Kira – meant that Mary was right about his madness. But she succeeded in turning him against Mary. Honestly, none of that was about Darnley and securing power and security for him. It was about her. If she cared about her son she wouldn’t have manipulated him like that. In a bit of instant karma, it backfired on her because Darnley fled the castle with the baby.
With her back against the wall and no other options, Mary wrote a letter to Elizabeth promising that she wouldn’t come after her cousin’s throne and asking her to name Mary’s son as her heir. It may have been desperation on Mary’s part, but I think that it was ultimately smart. If Elizabeth accepts then Mary would have given both countries what they want and she’d have saved Elizabeth from her marriage obligations (except that with Gideon’s death, it’s a little too late for that). I expected Mary to sneak her son away to be fostered in England with Elizabeth, but I like this better.
Elizabeth was still reeling from the aforementioned death of Gideon. Much the same as I had, she assumed that Ferdinand was behind Gideon’s poisoning because of his jealously. In retaliation she employed Francis Drake to steal the cargo from one of Austria’s shipments, something that I knew would come back to bite her in the butt the second she mentioned it. Now she’s at war with Spain because Drake sank two Spanish war ships on his way back to England.
She had a point that he never should have raised the English sails on his way back, but it was her own misguided attempt at petty revenge. She’s just as much to blame. I’m certain that Ferdinand will find out about her involvement and end their engagement.
But that wasn’t the best part of Elizabeth’s story line in this episode; it was the revelation that Jane was working with Narcisse! It was confirmed the moment we saw her family poring over French goods. When Narcisse himself showed up at Jane’s home, having kidnapped her family and sent them to France, he also confirmed that she had been the one to poison Gideon. I knew it!
Narcisse had a fairly sound plan for covering their tracks; ensuring that Elizabeth felt strongly enough about Ferdinand’s guilt that she’d have him killed and thus feel like justice had been served. If it hadn’t already been made obvious that Elizabeth suspected Jane that is. In fact, I’d say that she’d already known by then. So it was no surprise when she confronted Jane and had her arrested. Jane really dug in her heels about not having anything to do with Gideon’s death. I thought that she would have sold out Narcisse.
Someone else got arrested in this episode, but that was surprising and satisfying.
Leeza arrived in France after Charles announced his intention to marry Nicole, feigning support of the union since she could do nothing to stop it (which no one believed). She was really there to let Henry know that Spain was sending a fleet (the same fleet that Drake encountered) as show of force to make Charles abdicate. She even confirmed my believe that Spain only wanted Henry on the throne so that they could control him.
Given that she so bluntly told Henry that Spain wanted to use him as their puppet, I was astounded that he still wanted to be a part of their scheme to take over France and be installed as king. Why would he want to be a king in name only? Furthermore, Leeza directly stated that Spain wanted him to marry who they chose and yet, he still went to Nicole telling her that he would make her queen once he became king. Spain doesn’t want Charles marrying her – the Protestant, peasant girl – so why would he think that they would be okay with him doing it?
I did want Henry and Nicole to end up together just because she accepts and loves him the way he is, but that was not the way that the two could be together. Their running away before the Spanish fleet arrived was a predictable mistake. With Spain occupied with fighting England, Leeza was left vulnerable enough that Charles arrested and imprisoned her. Not because she tried to stage a coup, but because the attempt cost him Nicole (who he firmly believed was kidnapped by Henry). I wish that Catherine had told him the truth about Nicole’s feelings. It’s not use hiding it from him any more.
Now Henry himself is vulnerable and I fully expect Charles to execute him once he is found. The coup attempt is a wonderful cover for him killing his brother over a girl. I don’t think that Catherine can save Henry this time. Even if Nicole is successfully assassinated, Henry is going to die.
- That’s really unfair to Claude.
- Luc: “As much as I’ve wanted this marriage to work it can’t.” You and me both bro.
- We all know Mary won’t die.
- Finally! Someone put Leeza in her place.
- Mary’s still in labour?
- Awww Mary, Bothwell and the baby are so cute together.
- Can we kill Lady Lennox already?
- At no point did Leith think to mention his impending marriage the entire time he and Claude have been writing to each other?
- Fire that nurse!
The series finale of Reign will air on Friday June 16th.