‘Reign’ Series Premiere Review: Danger Follows Mary to French Court

Tonight, The CW introduced us to Mary Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane), her future husband-to-be Prince Francis (Toby Regbo), his half-brother Sebastian (Torrance Coombs) and the rest of the French Court circa 1557 in the series premiere of Reign. While the show has made it clear that some liberties will be taken with historical accuracy, we don’t mind at all because we’re already completely obsessed.

The pilot began with Nostradamus (Rossif Sutherland) receiving a warning, literally dripping with blood. The scene switches and we get our first glimpse of Mary, enjoying her quiet life with the nuns at the convent she’s been stashed in for her safety. But all of that comes crashing down when one of her food tasters dies from poison and it’s decided that Mary will be much safer at French Court. Before she leaves, she’s warned of ghosts and a girl whose face is ruined (ominous).

Joss Barratt/The CW

Joss Barratt/The CW

Mary is apprehensive about the journey she’s about to take, but Queen Catherine (Megan Follows) is downright against it and tells her husband King Henry II (Alan Van Sprang) that she’s got some issues. He doesn’t really care because his wife’s problems are not his (even if he is happy with the fortune she brings him). In fact, the king openly parades his mistress around court and gives his bastard son Bash free reign (no pun intended) while Francis has to keep up appearances as future king.

If that’s not enough royal drama, Mary is reunited with her friends Aylee (Jenessa Grant), Kenna (Caitlin Stasey), Greer (Celina Sinden) and Lola (Anna Popplewell), who arrive at court to serve as her ladies-in-waiting. They’re there to help Mary and while the initial reunion is filled with excitement, things take a turn for the worse once Lola’s boyfriend Colin (Ashley Charles) asks to stay at court so that he can be near her. Needless to say that doesn’t go over too well.

Mary and Francis have some issues right off the bat as well. He’s enjoying the single life and he’s more concerned about making the right alliance for his country than he is with Mary or her feelings. He’s downright rude to her when she shows up in his wing of the castle unexpectedly (mostly because he’s getting busy with someone else at the time). Mary heads outside to clear her head and Bash is there to witness everything. Cue the bonding and the beginnings of what could be a really intriguing love triangle since we already know who’s marrying who.

But there’s another twist. Remember that creepy blood prediction Nostradamus was dealing with in the beginning? Queen Catherine wants to know if her son is going to find love and happiness with Mary, but he warns her that Mary will bring Francis’ death (Yikes). We can see why Catherine wasn’t too happy with that, but what she chooses to do with the information is downright diabolical.

Joss Barratt/The CW

Joss Barratt/The CW

First, let’s talk about the wedding. Francis’ sister marries a royal from Spain. The reception is fun and Francis watches Mary dancing and having a blast with her friends. Colin is there too and he offers Mary some wine, but she doesn’t drink it because someone (the girl who hides her face) warned her not to and Mary listened. While this was going on, Lola was shooting eye daggers in Mary’s direction, but all was forgotten a few minutes later when the girls went to watch the marriage consummation.

Yes, you read that right…there were some creepy traditions back in the day and this was one of them. But it was mainly a group of men who stood in the bedroom and watched the newlyweds consummate their union (we can’t blame the princess for looking terrified at the thought). The girls wanted to see what Mary was in for and then Kenna was so turned on by what she saw, she found a quiet area of the castle to pleasure herself…and was caught by the king, who offered her a hand (yes, this scene was more graphic in the original pilot version, but we’re still proud of the network for keeping it in there, even toned down).

Later, Mary is sleeping in her bed and Colin arrives and starts to undo his pants. Mary begins to scream and Colin is dragged away. Mary tells her friends that she was warned and Lola insists that Colin would never attack her. Mary goes to talk to the king and queen and wants to speak to Colin, but they tell her that it’s too late; he’s already been beheaded because he was part of some terrorist plot against the monarchy. They also point out that Mary should not be asking questions because if he’d succeeded in his attack, her virtue (read: virginity) would be gone and she wouldn’t be fit to be a royal wife (ugh, olden days).

Lola is devastated and blames Mary. We’re guessing this is only the beginning of this rivalry and we’re curious how the pieces are going to play out. Mary feels sad and alone again, but Bash is there to give her a little comfort and return her dog (he’d wandered into the woods). Bash’s mother warns her son not to get attached to a girl he’ll never have and then she asks how far the dog got into the woods. Bash says he was drawn to the blood. Um…what blood? What’s happening in the woods? We’d really like to know more about this…

reign-triangleFrancis decides to follow in his parents’ footsteps and read Mary the riot act, but she’s not having it. She’s still hurt by what he said early and she asks if things were different, if she wasn’t the queen of anything, would he still want this (the marriage). Francis seems interested again and leans in like he’s going to kiss her, but then has some kind of panic attack and runs away (We are so Team Bash).

Finally, the faceless girl approaches Mary and Mary thanks her for the warning and points out that danger is surrounding her. She asks if the girl is in danger too, but when she turns around, the girl is gone. Who is she? Is she a ghost? Or is she a royal family member everyone wants to pretend doesn’t exist? We can’t wait to learn more.

As far as pilot episodes go, this one was packed with drama and intrigue and we could not be happier about that. Mary might be a queen, but she’s also a teenage girl in a new place, dealing with people she cannot fully trust. Queen Catherine is determined to make sure the marriage doesn’t happen, Francis isn’t sure if he wants to make an investment in the relationship and Bash can’t make one but definitely seems to want to. Throw in the drama with the ladies-in-waiting, the mystery of what’s happening in the woods, a potential ghost story, really awesome, modern music…can we just fast-forward to next Thursday?

Did you enjoy the premiere? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Editorial Director since 2012. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceMandy.