‘Reign’ Midseason Finale Review: Testing Fate

Jan Thijs/The CW

The midseason finale of Reign wasn’t quite as dramatic as last week’s incredible episode, but “Fated” still brought a lot to the table. We learned the outcome of Francis and Mary’s night together and whether or not they took a step that could have a big impact on her future. The episode was definitely a game changer for more than one relationship and left us wondering what’s going to happen when the show returns in January.

First, let’s start where the episode did, with Mary and Francis enjoying the morning after. The young royals definitely consummated their relationship and Mary voiced her concerns that maybe they’d been reckless. Francis eased her fears, but I have to admit that I’m surprised and a little disappointed that this was the direction they took. It sounds ridiculous by 2013 logic to be judging two teenagers for getting carried away, but the show does not take place in present day and Mary has a lot to lose if anyone ever finds out what happened between them. This is exactly the kind of ammunition Queen Catherine or someone else could use against Mary. But I trust the writers know that and wanted to tell this particular story for a reason so I’m curious to see where they’ll go with it.

On the other hand, if we pretend that Mary’s whole life, future and country weren’t in jeopardy, the Francis and Mary scenes were super cute. These two definitely have that first love vibe happening and it’s fun to watch the way their faces light up when they’re together. And how adorable was the proposal scene? We’ll get to the politics portion in a moment, but when it was just the two of them and Francis wanted to make sure it was what Mary wanted? I loved those scenes. He’s a teenager in love and he’s putting Mary’s needs above his own, even though there are much bigger forces in play, and it’s really sweet.

But let’s talk about those bigger forces for a moment. One of the cardinals had come to court to let them know that England’s queen was dying and some people believe that Mary is the rightful heir to the throne because many did not recognize his marriage to Anne Boleyn or their daughter’s right to the throne. So French King Henry wanted Mary to fight for the throne (he straight up hates England and wants to control it) and he promised France’s full support and demanded that Francis and Mary’s wedding take place immediately. Mary worried that claiming the throne could end up costing her head (real life spoiler alert: it does. Nicely played, writers), but she was willing to consider it, mainly because she was anxious to marry Francis.

Queen Catherine, on the other hand, was not okay with any of this because Nostradamus had predicted that wedding Mary would lead to Francis dying. So the queen turned to her old friend poison and was prepared to take Mary out (I love that poison is her answer for everything), but Nostradamus rationalized with her and suggested that she talk to Mary, tell her about the prophecy and let her decide. Catherine was skeptical, but she agreed and then she laid everything out for Mary and asked her to love Francis enough to walk away.

Mary was pretty mad and believed it was a lie (understandable) so she went to Nostradamus for confirmation. He told her about the vision and how it could be changed, but he had another vision that one of her friends would die before the next night. Kenna overheard that and freaked out, but Mary was looking for further proof. She talked to the girls and none of the predictions Nostradamus had made about them had come true, except for the one he told Mary about the lion and the dragon in the field of poppies. That turned out to be about Bash and Tomas’ fight in the forest that ended with Francis eventually killing Tomas (his symbol was the dragon).

So now there was a question of which one of the girls was going to die. It certainly seemed like it would be Kenna. After she spilled Diane’s plan to legitimize Bash to Catherine, the queen decided that Diane needed to leave court, but first she wanted her to poison Kenna with the potion she’d made for Mary. The king had already told Kenna that he’d choose Diane over her so her options were pretty bleak. But when it came time to drink the poisoned tea, the ladies were passing it around and it wasn’t obvious at first who would end up drinking it (Although it wasn’t too hard to figure out by process of elimination which girl had the least amount of story and had been told she’d never go home again).

The scene switches and we see one of the girls choking as she carries the poisoned tea and Clarissa is following her and then shoves her over the balcony! What? I wasn’t expecting that at all. Maybe Clarissa really did murder Olivia (who hasn’t been seen since) in the tunnels. Everyone rushed around Aylee, who was dying on the floor in a puddle of blood. Mary was horrified as she watched her friend die and then she spotted Nostradamus watching and called him the devil before running off. Francis tried to comfort Mary, but it was clear she’d already made up her mind.

Elsewhere, Diane was also determined to leave the castle, but she assured Bash that she would find the king and get him back once she was outside the walls. He refused to go with her because he didn’t want to just hide out until she had a chance to seduce his father (fair enough). Diane was fine with that, but she begged him to run too. As much as I don’t want to see Bash leave, this made sense to me. Diane had really terrible timing because the king could not afford to have any legitimacy scandals when he was preparing to take on England over its illegitimate heir to the throne.

Nostradamus realized that the poison in Aylee’s system was not one Catherine made, but one of his and he knew Clarissa was behind it. He screamed at her and pulled off her mask, forcing her to look at the girl she killed. Clarissa admitted that she did it because she needed Mary to believe him. Nostradamus was not amused and yanked her back into the tunnels. This scene confused me a little. Why does Clarissa want to protect Mary? Who is she? And why was Nostradamus so mad (I mean, yeah, murder is bad, but if felt like something so much deeper than that).

Finally, Mary leaves the girls and goes to tell the king that she will not be part of his plot to take over England and she understands that means her engagement is off. She attempts to leave, but Francis tries to stop her and promises that he can smooth things over with his father. Mary keeps her expression hard and reminds him of his words, “Love is irrelevant for people like us.” But Francis persists that their love is enough and begs Mary to wait while he talks to the king. She agrees, but as soon as his back is turned, she flees to the stables and demands a horse.

The stable hand wants to send a guard with her and Mary tries to talk him out of it and then Bash shows up and promises to keep an eye on her. She tells him that she needs to get far away and he tells her that far is his destination as well. As they mount their horses, Francis comes running up and shouting for her, but Mary ignores him and takes off with Bash. Francis chases after, eventually falling to his knees as he watches the two ride away.

Yikes…that didn’t end well for either side of the triangle. Sure, Mary left with Bash, but because she was desperate, not because she was helplessly in love with him. And how can you not feel sorry for poor Francis? I wonder who or what is going to bring these two back to the castle once the show returns and I’m guessing that it is not going to be a happy homecoming as far as Francis is concerned.

This was a solid episode, but it didn’t really compare to last week’s compelling hour. Maybe it’s because we’ve known about the prophecy since the pilot, but the stakes didn’t seem as high as they should have this week. I was more concerned about what was going to happen between Catherine and Diane than anything else. Those were the scenes that were hard to look away from. And while Aylee’s death is sad because she’s young and she was a friend to Mary, I’m not the sad about it because the show didn’t really give us a chance to get to know her. Out of all the girls, she was easily the most expendable.

What did you guys think? Did you enjoy the finale? Do you think Mary and Francis were reckless? Will anyone find out what they did? What will bring Bash and Mary back to the castle? Hit the comments and share your thoughts and theories with us!

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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  1. Thanks. I knew it was a queen. I should have caught that in editing though. Yes! I love that too. They give these little nods to history even as they play with the facts.

  2. Mandy: It wasn’t King Henry VIII that was dying, he was already dead. It was his eldest daughter and temporary successor, Queen Mary, AKA ‘Bloody Mary’ that was dying in England. She was queen from 1553 until she died in 1558. Fwiw: Mary QoS and Francis were married April 1558.

    I love the show even if it isn’t historically accurate. I choose to think of it as an alternate reality version, and who wouldn’t love those glacial blue eyes of Bash? Yum. :-). I’m glad I wouldn’t have to choose since I’d want them both!

  3. I wonder what the poison was in – the cat drank the smashed cup’s liquid & walked away….so it wasn’t in there
    Hmmmmmm…..why back to the castle…..well Francis did say he wished she was pregnant…..maybe….
    .(I like this improvised history…real life Mary had a pretty unhappy life after Francis kicked the bucket at age 15 with an ear infection that migrated to his brain (& might I add he certainly didn’t look like Reign/Francis, but he was the only 1 that treated Real Mary pretty decently those that followed were cads & then she ended up under house arrest for about 18 years & finally was executed) so the mention in this episode of her running the risk of being beheaded was accurate & not fiction; and of course there was no Bash….as long as this show gets the ratings & desired demographics we’ll get more delicious episodes…
    Historically speaking, them bouncing in the feather bed was risky but marriage at that time was quite common at ages 12-14, Reign Mary is “old” by comparison… and life expectancy for a male Francis’s age was 22-30 discounting war it was 30-40)and they did look so happy and in love (Toby does pull off that charming wide eyed rogue of a prince quite well and can get oodles of sympathy with his “wounded puppy” look), doesn’t have Bash’s penetrating blue eyes but they are big and blue too) maybe it’s the British accent (even though he’s portraying a French Prince) but I’m addicted and if I want authenticity I’ll flip on the History and/or Discovery channel. Clarissa scares me… wonder what other mischief she’s going to get up to. The interpretation of Reign will probably vary with the age of the viewer – older more mature viewers who’ve experienced the bumpy road of life being much more forgiving & understanding & protective (Kenna really shouldn’t twist Mama Catherine’s tail)

  4. im curious to know what brings Mary and Bash back to the castle. the promo looks AWESOME!!! now i want to have a synopsis of the episode

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