We return to this week’s episode of Reign to see Bash having a nightmare/flashback to the events at the end of “A Chill In The Air.”
A member of a pagan heretic blood sacrifice-y clan (they really need to give these dudes a clearer name because I still have no idea how to describe them. People Of The Blood Wood, maybe?) had infiltrated the castle to give Bash a warning then committed suicide via balcony-leaping.
Bash now has to choose a sacrifice for the PotBW, otherwise they’ll choose one for him. Again, why does he get a choice? Why don’t they just sacrifice Bash? Oh, right, it’s because he’s Mary’s love interest and can’t die until at least season four.
Mary, meanwhile, wakes in the morning to find a necklace with a stag’s head pendant neatly arranged on the pillow next to her. Francis and Olivia head over to meet King Henry’s carriage as he returns from Paris and talk about Mary’s honesty/fidelity and Olivia’s own feelings for Francis. At some point, Olivia breaks away from Francis and finds Catherine, who tells Olivia to keep doin’ her seducin’ thang if she wants her reputation restored.
Kenna dolls herself up to meet the King. She and Mary patch things up a little, as Mary defends Kenna’s right to be lovely for no reason at all against their other questioning friends. Again, Mary warns Kenna to be careful with the King and Queen – but for now it seems that she’s given her blessing for Kenna’s affair.
Then Bash shows up looking all Bash-y and smolder-y and Mary rushes off to tell him that their drunken kiss didn’t mean anything, and she still wants to patch things up with Francis. She’s obviously trying to let him down easy, having assumed that the necklace she found on her pillow was a gift from him. Oh, girl, no. That pretty necklace was a gift from the PotBW who want to slit your throat and let a scary forest monster dance around in your entrails.
Bash recognizes the necklace instantly as belonging to the man who’d killed himself and is worried for Mary’s safety. Mary, spotting Francis waiting next to his mother, tries to talk to him about their argument, but Francis still acts cold to her. When the King finally arrives, it’s with his mistress #1 – and Kenna is visibly confused and heartbroken.
Bash brings Francis and Mary away to tell them of his concerns with the PotBW, and they make plans to keep Mary safely away from those who would harm her. Francis makes a few thinly veiled comments about secrets, trying to get the other two to come clean with him about the kiss, but neither Mary nor Bash tell him what happened.
Kenna bursts into the King’s rooms to yell at him about bringing his mistress Diane back from Paris, only for him to say he’s moved Diane into a cottage on the grounds and made Kenna his #1 mistress. “She’s my friend and the mother of my son,” Henry says. “It’s over with her. I’m with you now.” Kenna believes him. I totally do not.
Elsewhere in the castle, Diane meets up with her son Bash to talk about their blood sacrificing problem. It’s here that we find out Diane used to worship alongside the pagans when she was young, which is how she and Bash know so much about what goes on in the Blood Wood. So THAT’S why the heretics refuse to sacrifice Bash! He’s family.
Diane tells Bash to stay away from Mary, but he wants to be close to protect her. Well, protecting Mary also involves Bash choosing someone to kill in her place, so he better get on that one real quick. Especially because the next time Mary wakes up she’s got a freshly severed stag’s head hanging above her bed. Ewww.
Once Mary’s done screaming her head off (props to her, because I don’t think I could stop screaming for the rest of my life if that happened to me) servants take the stag’s head down as Francis angrily tells Bash to fix this no matter what.
As they converse, Catherine rushes into Mary’s rooms and looks around in horror. Seems despite all the other things she’s done, this is a touch too macabre even for Catherine to handle. When she hears that the stag’s head is a symbol of the pagans growing “bolder, more ruthless, and thirsty for blood,” she sets her mind to getting them out of her castle.
Meanwhile Kenna is breaking the news of her King’s Mistress status to her friends (minus Mary, who’s still recovering from the shock of the stag’s head.) They aren’t as excited for her as she wants them to be, instead sitting around looking really concerned – especially about what Diane thinks of this, since she’s the mother of the King’s favorite son (ouch, poor Francis) and they’ve been in love for ages.
Kenna later complains to the King about her insecurities and tells him that if she matters enough to him, he’ll do what it takes to convince her Diane is no longer in his heart. This leads to Henry making a grand gesture that night with fireworks and some candles on the lawn spelling out her name. Aww, how disgustingly cheesy.
As I predicted, though, after Henry’s done with his big romantic gesture to Kenna he steals away to Diane’s rooms and gets busy with her. Seems they’re still very much in love… or lust, either one.
Catherine and Mary bring the servants before them question them about the stag incident. Predictably, no one says a word, so Catherine takes it upon herself to force them to talk… starting by threatening to burn the servants’ villages down if no one comes forward by midnight.
Bash heads to the dungeons to scope out some prisoners he could slit the throat of. Sadly, there are no hardened criminals for him to ruthlessly murder in the name of saving his lady love – just a thief, whom Bash pays a guard to have released. Bash brings the thief through the woods, claiming to be leading him to a secret military mission.
Francis and Mary finally air out all their dirty laundry, with Francis telling Mary that he saw Mary and Bash kissing. His issue seems to be more complicated than simple jealousy; Francis knew Bash had feelings for Mary but he didn’t know they were “sacrifice a human in the woods” levels of feelings, and he doesn’t like that their kiss might lead Bash into becoming into a murderer.
Catherine’s threats worked; a servant comes to tell her that she saw a guard covered in blood come into the kitchens to take the stag’s head. Unfortunately that barely narrows down the list of suspects, since Catherine has nearly a hundred guards. Her delivery of “No, I didn’t see a guard drenched in blood” is fantastic.
Catherine cleverly figures out who it was when she realizes the guard would have changed his clothes after taking the stag’s head, and that she’d seen a guard in an ill-fitting uniform earlier. She rushes out her room to inform everyone of her guard’s betrayal.
Back in the woods, Bash strings the thief up, ignoring the man’s pleas, and waits for a heretic to come along to witness his act. But wait! Bash gets the heretic witness to restate the PotBW’s conditions – kill a human, any human, and Bash’s debt is paid – then turns a sword on the heretic himself, choosing that man as his sacrifice. Turns out this was a part of Bash’s master plan all along.
Bash successfully kills the heretic, and his debt is paid. As he leads the thief out of the woods, though, the man accidentally lets slip that he knows who Bash is – and to protect his mother from rumors about her involvement with the heretics, he shoves the man off a cliff to his death. Bash, what the hell. I was rooting for you (sort of), we were all rooting for you!
Mary sits in her rooms worried sick about Bash. She discusses her concerns with one of her servants, Sarah, only to discover that Sarah is one of the heretics and that she was the one to put the necklace on Mary’s pillow. Mary screams for the guards.
In the morning, Bash returns to the castle to tell Francis and Mary that the debt is paid. Francis takes that opportunity to remind them that he and Mary are to be rulers, and that they can’t allow feelings like anger and jealousy to cloud their judgement. He knows that the position he and Mary are in is an awkward one (he can’t marry her unless it’s right for France, and if a better offer comes along for Mary then she needs to do what’s right for her country) so he tells Mary that in the meantime, if she needs or wants to be with other people, then he accepts that. So long as it’s not Bash, of course. Then he rushes off to Olivia’s rooms to work off some of his “emotions”.
The heretics are burned at the stake as Mary, her friends, Bash and Diane watch from the windows. Bash tells his mother that they aren’t safe here, because “there are people who matter more and people who matter less.”
Catherine: Do you want your reputation cleaned up? Do you want a big wedding and children to silence forever those who call you “whore” behind your back? Then make yourself the next Queen of France. “Feelings,” honestly.
Francis: I warned you of the stakes of life at court. I told you that we can’t act on whim, on feeling. You didn’t listen.
Mary: I did!
Francis: Then why are we here now? And who will my brother be when he returns?
Catherine: Contrary to public opinion I do not relish destroying people’s homes.