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‘Reign’ Review: Francis steps up as Mary continues her quest for answers

Photo: Ben Mark Holzberg/The CW

The second episode of a new series can be a terrifying experience after falling in love with the show’s pilot. Will the new episode hold up to the already high standards that the pilot set up or will it be a disappointment? Thankfully, the latest episode of Reign was just as good as the premiere and we’re breathing a happy sigh of relief (as long as we’re not thinking about the ratings).

Snakes in the Garden” continued the pilot’s theme of creating multiple plotlines in one episode and then weaving them together as the hour progresses. This week, we witnessed Mary feeling more alone than ever at the castle before getting word that Colin wasn’t executed after all, thanks to a misplaced red x (somewhere in the Hamptons, Emily Thorne is frowning at the carelessness). We learned more about the mysterious girl who hides her face and also one of the reasons the woods can be so scary.

After last week’s less than flattering Francis scenes when we did not enjoy his attitude toward Mary at all, this episode gets major points for redeeming him so quickly. We love a good triangle as much as the next person and we’d already started waving our ‘Team Bash’ flags, but suddenly Francis is back in the game. The prince spent the episode defending Mary and looking out for her and he actually threatened his mother if she continued her quest to destroy Mary. Even his father questioned why he was fighting so hard for a girl he claimed that he didn’t want to marry. We approve.

Of course we’re not counting out Bash just yet either. He was more than willing to go off into the woods when Mary asked for help finding Colin. Sadly, the young man was already dead, for real this time, when Bash found his body hanging upside down from a tree. Francis arrived not long after (apparently Bash taught him hunting skills over the years) and when they heard people approaching, Bash rattled off some pagan chant and everything was squared away. So are there witches and warlocks in the woods or just normal people practicing pagan rituals? We’re dying to know just how supernatural this show is going to be (also, if we had a point system, Bash is still winning).

Speaking of supernatural, the castle’s faceless girl continued to make her presence known. It turns out her name is Clarissa and she likes games. After getting that tip from Francis’ little brother, Mary sought out the phantom and tried to get to the bottom of who was trying to kill her. She suspected the English (more on this soon) and Queen Catherine. Clarissa confirmed that both sides were threats to Mary, but she didn’t quite understand that until later when she realized Simon, the English envoy, had staged the latest attempt to scare her.

We’re not history buffs and we don’t care how inaccurate this is, but here’s the deal: the English are worried that the Scottish and French are going to team up and Mary will try to claim the English throne. They want to stop the wedding from happening because then Mary won’t have the support of the French army (are we the only ones who have trouble remembering they’re French considering the British accents? We’re not advocating for subtitles or anything, but it gets a little confusing). Anyway, Mary tells Simon she has no interest in the English throne, but she will fight him if he continues to come after her.

Is it just us or is Mary all kinds of awesome? She’s in a strange place, she doesn’t really have anyone she can trust, people are constantly trying to kill or scare her and she just holds her head up high and continues to do her thing. We’re big fans of how independent she is and how she’s always thinking about what’s best for her country and her people, even though she could easily let Francis and the other French royals handle everything. Plus, she helped out two cute kids (we’re not going to think about the marriage stuff) and she’s got nice chemistry with both of her potential love interests. In short, she’s the best.

Unfortunately, Queen Catherine does not seem to think so and continued to do what she could to ruin Mary’s life. She sent the guards after Colin and had them make it look like it was part of the ritual sacrifice to hide the straight up murder to keep him quiet. She didn’t seem particularly upset by Francis’ insistence that he would not tolerate anything bad happening to Mary, but she was definitely freaked out when she saw a red x that had been left in her bed courtesy of Clarissa (or Emily Thorne, but probably Clarissa. If you don’t watch Revenge, we apologize for the references).

The ladies-in-waiting didn’t have much to do this week, aside from Kenna, who had to deal with advances from the king. He wanted another tryst, but she was worried about her virtue and pointed out the rich, single royals wouldn’t want to marry her if she wasn’t a virgin. The king said he respected that, but then he showed up at her bedroom door with a royal and more or less ordered him to say he’d marry her to prove a point. Kenna seemed mildly impressed, but we foresee this ending badly.

All in all, it was a great hour of television and we’re looking forward to next week when a Portuguese suitor arrives and tries to sway Mary to be his bride. Feel free to hit the comments and share your thoughts on the episode. Most importantly: are you Team Bash or Team Francis?

Mandy Treccia
Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. 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.

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