Reign continues to surge above and beyond my expectations with each new episode. One of things that leave me in awe each week is how unpredictable everything and everyone is. Just when you think you know the characters and the choices they will make, the show throws something unexpected at them and we learn discover new facets of their personalities. It’s fascinating and so much fun to watch.
When the promotional materials for “Left Behind” were released, I was really curious who this man was and how and why he was able to take over the castle. I don’t know much about castles and royalty, but I assumed they would have better security than to just let some man off the street have the power to come in and make himself at home. Thankfully, the episode offered a perfectly reasonable explanation. Count Vincent of Naples was a guest at court, but the king and his soldiers were away fighting a different battle.
Francis remained behind because it would be considered rude if there was no king or no heir to greet the fellow nobleman. Queen Catherine and Mary were there as well and they weren’t exactly on the best of terms when the episode began. I have to give props to the writers for the way the opening scenes played out. Catherine was laying it on thick with Mary for putting up with Francis and Olivia and Mary just rolled her eyes, but it bothered her enough to confront Francis. Meanwhile, Olivia made it clear to Catherine that Francis only cared about Mary, so much so that he called out Mary’s name at the height of passion (awkward).
So things were tense between the royals when they greeted Count Vincent. Speaking of awkward, he instantly made things uncomfortable by pointing out that the last time he was in France, he’d been there to negotiate with the king for his son’s life – he’d been kidnapped and held for ransom during the war. Count Vincent eventually found the right amount of money to get his son back, but it turned out that he hadn’t been treated well and he ended up dying on the journey back. He insisted that it had given him clarity (with a heavy dose of creepy, apparently).
At this point, everyone is starting to sense that things are not okay so Francis tries to send Mary away, but it’s too late. Vincent’s men have already overtaken the castle and rounded up the guards and send them to the dungeons. One guard attempts to help himself to Kenna, but Mary pleads with Vincent to let her ladies be. Since he has no qualm with her or her country, he agrees and in return, asks Mary and the ladies to attend his feast. She agrees and then goes to ask Clarissa for help navigating the tunnels so she can get everyone out.
Meanwhile, Catherine and Francis are trying to find a monetary price that will satisfy Vincent, but he’s not biting. Catherine offers up Mary as his bride or plaything or whatever and Francis is not amused. He realizes what Vincent really wants and agrees to be his hostage (how could you not be Team Francis during that scene?). Vincent has his guards put Francis and his little brothers (how cute were they?) in a room while he and his men prepare for the feast.
This is when the episode really started to get good. Mary goes to Catherine and tells her that she marked the passageway (leaving out the Clarissa part) so they can get everyone out. Catherine doesn’t like the plan, but only because it needs more work. She wants Francis and the staff to get out while they attend the feast and then Mary and her ladies will leave. Catherine will stay behind with Vincent and his men to throw everyone off track. Mary isn’t sure she can trust her, but Catherine tells her that she will go to hell for Francis and wants to know how far Mary will go. Mary replies that they will go into hell together (this line remains made of awesome).
Francis isn’t thrilled with the plan, but Mary begs him to protect his brothers. Olivia is tasked with minding the passageway door (it only opens from within). She doesn’t like the idea and it seems super risky to leave her in charge, but Catherine points out that she’s the only one who won’t be missed (harsh, but the truth hurt sometimes). Kenna and Lola aren’t crazy about trusting the queen, but she comes in to reassure them and tells them that she’s been through this before when she was a child and she was held hostage for years. She said she trusted her faith to protect her and she was rescued before any harm came to her.
Again, major props to the show for the way these scenes happened. There was so much suspense and tension, but everyone held up as the feast began. The queen started by offering a treasure chest of gold to Vincent’s men, which they happily dug into. Then she turned an hourglass over on the table and everyone began to eat. Meanwhile, Francis had his brothers look away while he took out his guard and then the ones who come after them. He gets the children and the servants into the passageway and Olivia is reluctant to stay behind to wait for Mary and the girls, but Francis reminds her how important it is.
Mary complains to Vincent about a problem with her corset, which he seems very uncomfortable with (hilarious how frazzled men get by ‘lady problems’). The girls follow her out, but when they get to the passage, Olivia has already disappeared (she went off on her own and presumably ran into Clarissa. Again, did we really expect her to actually follow through with the plan?). Vincent sent the guards to retrieve Mary and the ladies and he’s not amused to be played for a fool. Catherine is watching the hourglass carefully as he rants and then tells him that he can have Mary and the other ladies.
The girls are understandably horrified and Kenna, being the king’s mistress, is the first one to get knocked around by the men. Vincent grabs Mary and shoves her down on the table, but before he can hurt her, Catherine orders him to stop and tells him if he leaves, he can live. Then, his men start dropping dead around them. He’s confused since he ate and drank the same things they did, but it turned out that Catherine poisoned the coins (BAMF). He takes out his sword to go after her, but Mary stabs him with a fork (BAMF #2). Francis rushes in and cuts off his hand (sweet that he came back for Mary, but completely unnecessary for him to take action. This episode belonged to the women. They saved themselves).
Catherine explains that it was too risky to share her plan with them and she tells Mary that she earned respect because she risked her life to save Francis. She points out that she should never wait for a man’s rescue. Mary realizes that the story she told earlier wasn’t true – she didn’t escape before the soldiers hurt her. Catherine remarks that history is written by the survivors and she’s surely that. These scenes were so incredibly powerful. Again, I give so much credit to the show for handling something as ugly as rape and child abuse without being exploitive and just making the women victims. Very few shows know how to strike this balance.
After the danger had passed, Francis and Mary talk. He tells her that he loves her and he was wrong: in order to stay sane, they need to stay together. Mary obviously agrees because they start passionately kissing and end up on the bed. Francis tells her to let him know when to stop and she replies, “Never.” Did they have sex? I really hope not and before the shippers jump down my throat, it’s because I’m worried about Mary and her virtue and what it might cost her because she got caught up in the moment. As the show reminds us all the time, it’s very different for women to have sex before marriage than men in this historical time frame.
Finally, I have to talk really quickly about the two subplots. First, Greer and Leith are the cutest. It was so sweet that he wanted to show her how to cook and they were planning to spend the day together when all hell broke loose. Then we got to see them work together to save one another when the guard found him. I think Leith wins all the awards for romantic gestures (sorry Francis) by stabbing the guard after Greer hit him so they wouldn’t know for sure which one of them killed him (Is it wrong that I classified that as romantic? Don’t answer that).
Then there was Diane and Bash. Sadly, Bash didn’t have much to do in this episode, but Diane has been busy behind the scenes bribing Vatican officials in the hopes of making Bash a legitimate heir to the throne. Bash reminded his mother that the reason they’re the king’s favorites is because they don’t ask him for anything. But after the guard told Bash that his mother had paid him to keep him safe, Bash realized that Diane had been expecting Vincent and his men. Bash was horrified, but Diane told him that Catherine will have them both killed and he can’t rely on Francis’ love for him to save his life. He’s “a complication of Henry’s lust that they endure.”
Pretty harsh, but it got Bash thinking and also laid some nice groundwork for upcoming episodes. Will he change his mind about wanting to make a claim on the throne? Time will tell. Diane was just another example in this episode of a woman doing what she could to protect the person who matters the most to her. From beginning to end, this was a strong episode and my only real complaint was giving Francis a small heroic moment that wasn’t necessary. He already showed he was honorable when he offered himself up to Vincent to protect Mary. The rest was (pardon the pun) overkill.
Did you guys enjoy the episode? Which lady was your favorite? Do you think Mary made a mistake by possibly having sex with Francis? Should Bash make a play for the throne? Is Olivia still alive? Hit the comments and share your thoughts and theories with us!