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‘Reign’ Season 1 Finale Review: There’s No Going Back

Sven Frenzel/The CW

Last night the fantastic first season of Reign came to an end with “Slaughter of Innocence.” I’ve been so impressed with this show all season and the finale was no exception. The writing, acting and surprising twists and turns in the story have been compelling since day one and this episode brought one chapter to a close while opening up many possibilities for next season.

The hour began with Henry gathering everyone in the courtyard in the middle of the night because the crazy voice in his head was telling him that he needed to get revenge for the attempt on his life. He killed one man and decided to spare everyone else until the next day. Francis finally saw that there was no hope for his father and Mary and Catherine both picked up on Henry’s creepy intentions toward Mary. Clearly this was not going to end well.

Elsewhere in the castle, Leith was back and comfortably wealthy thanks to Francis. He sought out Greer and while she was happy that he’d survived, she wanted to honor her commitment to Lord Castleroy to make sure that her sisters would be protected. Leith was hurt and told her that sooner or later, she’d have to stop hiding behind her family burdens. The two were reunited once more after Greer worried that he’d been blown up during Henry’s fake ship wars and they had a passionate reunion.

But again, it didn’t last and this time Leith did not mince words. He basically told Greer that he was going to get richer and more powerful and she was going to spend the rest of her life regretting the moment when she said he wasn’t enough for her. This was a total bummer because I can see both sides and feel bad for both of them. Of course it’s not over yet because Leith has found a new potential love interest – who just happens to be the daughter of Lord Castleroy. Those family dinners should be all kinds of uncomfortable.

Meanwhile, Bash and Nostradamus were out searching for the darkness while Pascal continued to chant and make weird comments to Kenna. Bash put two and two together and realized that Pascal had actually been calling for the darkness, not running from it, so he rushed home to save Kenna. As much as I love Bash and Kenna, and I do love them, this darkness subplot is weak and it’s something I would like to see fade away completely next season. Later in the episode, after Bash and Kenna declared their love for one another (!!!!), shooting stars began to overtake the night sky, which the darkness had warned would bring the plague to the kingdom (yikes).

After Henry’s ship went up in flames, he decided to have a jousting tournament to impress Mary. Even though she was clearly grossed out by his intentions, that didn’t stop the young queen from donning England’s colors as she took the throne beside him. Catherine made a comment about missing the girl Mary used to be and she responded that many would because that girl was easier to kill. This transition Mary has made over the season has been fascinating to watch. It’s awful to see how much her innocence has been corrupted, but as Catherine has pointed out many times, that’s the burden a queen must carry and Mary is determined to do what’s best for her people.

Henry decides that he wants to take place in the tournament to since he doesn’t like the knight getting more favor than the king. Anyone who has ever glanced at his Wikipedia page probably knew what was coming next. At first, the knight was letting the king show off like any good subject would, but then he came roaring back and ending up stabbing Henry through the eye (yes, it was as horrifying as it sounds). But there was a twist coming…the knight returned to his tent and removed his helmet and it was Francis!

I really loved this moment because it was so tragic that it came to this, but it was necessary for Francis to step up and do something about his father before his father killed him and tried to wed Mary. Catherine and Henry shared a lovely goodbye scene where they reaffirmed their love for each other and Henry urged her to try and find the good inside of her again and also to help Diane. I’m going truly going to miss their relationship. They might have tried to kill each other every few episodes, but there was never a question that there had always been love between them and would be until the very end.

Francis was the next one to say goodbye to his father and talk about twisting the knife. Henry confessed to Francis that his brother had been killed because only one of them could be king (that’s the mystery man who has been haunting Henry all of this time). Francis realized that was why Henry warned him about Bash and Henry was glad he hadn’t listened because the pain of being responsible for a loved one’s death never went away. See what I mean about twisting the knife? Poor Francis is going to be haunted by this for a long time.

As he left his father’s chambers, shouts of ‘the king is dead’ and ‘long live the king’ followed him down the hall. Bash had been coming from the opposite direction and stopped to bow to his brother, but Francis immediately pulled him up and they hugged. This was my favorite scene in the entire episode. I really hated the part of the season where they were at odds – they’re brothers and they need each other now more than ever.

Mary and Francis took a moment to themselves amid the chaos and they each had something heavy weighing on them. Neither of them can turn away from their responsibilities, but they want to hold onto the people that they’ve always been. This was a big moment and it was interrupted by a messenger, who’d been sent to let Mary know about Lola’s current predicament where she was in a nearby village, giving birth without a midwife and things were not looking good. Mary told Francis that he should go to her and that he was the father of the baby.

I’ve been waiting for this to come out since we learned of Lola’s pregnancy, but this moment felt completely out of place in the finale. It was so rushed. This show has done a really great job with pacing all season, but this was a fumble for me. We barely got to see any reaction from Francis or any confrontation between the two before he had to leave and it just seemed like too much to toss in when there were already so many things going on in the episode.

Of course this wasn’t quite the end. Catherine warned Mary that the plague was coming and they had to lockdown the castle so she raced after Francis to tell him not to go. She got to him in time, but he reminded her that he didn’t want to be the kind of king who would turn his back on a friend and his child so he left the castle anyway and Mary made the decision to proceed with the lockdown since the new king was well aware of the risk that he was taking. That seemed a little harsh, even if it does make sense to keep the people in the castle safe.

I’m curious where the show will pick up next season. I have a feeling Lola’s baby will not survive, but the fact that Mary knew all along and Francis knows that now is definitely going to come into play. Francis is king, but odds are Catherine will still be pulling a lot of strings, which means she’s bound to keep butting heads with Mary. Not only that, history tells us that Francis does not have much time left once he becomes king. It will be interesting to see how the show tackles what’s ahead.

Now it’s your turn. Did you enjoy the finale? Will you miss Henry? Are you said about Leith and Greer? Were you happy with Bash and Kenna? Who do you think will fall victim to the plague? Can Mary and Francis ever get back to being on the same page? Hit the comments below and share your thoughts and theories with us!

About the author

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. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceMandy.