It’s been awhile since I’ve recapped my favorite love-to-bag-on TV show, Reign. Let’s see what Mary and co. have been up to, shall we?
The “previously on” section reminds us that Mary gave an ultimatum to Catherine (legitimize Bash and make him the next King of France, and Mary will marry him and thus avoid fulfilling that messy prophecy about Francis), which led to Catherine trying to assassinate both Mary and Bash, which led to King Henry throwing Catherine into prison. Henry then rode off to get the Pope’s approval for an annulment of his and Catherine’s marriage, and for Bash’s legitimization.
“Sacrifice” opens on Bash getting a sword-fighting lesson, as his bodyguard warns him to “learn to expect the blade you can’t see.” Gee, that sounds ominous, I wonder if that’ll ever come up again. Mary walks in right as the lesson ends and asks Bash why he’s not keeping up to date with his duties as regent while his father’s away. Bash is worried about what the nobles make of him, as a bastard set to inherit the kingdom. Mary, bless her, basically says “fuck ’em all, you do you boo” and drags him off to the throne room to preside over a royal audience.
Bash is completely bored out of his mind as the people bring their complaints to him, that is until one man brings a heavily pregnant woman that he claims tried to rob his house and asks for justice. Bash and the mysterious woman obviously recognize each other – a fact which doesn’t escape Mary’s notice. Bash orders the guards to search the woman’s house for the alleged stolen items, and to keep the woman in the castle until the search is complete.
The woman is carted off, while the next person to approach Bash and ask for his favor ends up being an assassin sent to kill him. Alec, Bash’s bodyguard, saves Bash’s life by tackling the assassin and disarming her. Mary, Lola and Bash suspect a combination of Lord Hugo and Queen Catherine to be behind the attempt, but of course there’s no proof to back their suspicions.
You know what that means: time to figure out a way to prove it! Mary heads straight for Catherine’s swanky prison cell which is all decked out in expensive rugs, fancy furniture, interior decorators, and servants feeding Catherine grapes. Apparently, even though the King ordered that no one enter Catherine’s cell, she’s terrifying enough that people came to bake her pies anyway. Oh, Catherine, never change.
Mary informs Catherine about the attempt on Bash’s life. Catherine pretends to be aghast, which is all kinds of hilarious. Though Catherine is (for obvious reasons) on the top of Mary’s suspects list, Catherine does point out that the assassination order could have come from anyone – particularly any and every nobleman who doesn’t want a King’s bastard to gain that much power. She then accuses Mary of engaging herself to Bash not as a way to protect Francis, but as a nefarious plot hatched so Mary could rule half of Europe. Catherine then all but states that she will continue to try to kill Bash.
Mary orders the servants to remove all the comforts from Catherine’s prison cell – including food – and tells the guards that no one is allowed back in unless by Mary or her ladies’ express permission or they’ll be executed. Damn, Mary. Werk that queenliness.
Mary leaves to inform Bash of her meeting with Catherine. Bash and Alec quickly tell Mary they think the knife was poisoned – which supports the theory that Catherine had something to do with this – and then Bash brings the accused thief from before to Mary, introducing her as Isabel. Bash tells Mary that Catherine must have orchestrated Isabel’s arrest, as well, because Isabel’s father was Bash’s half-uncle – and he was guilty of treason against the kingdom. If word gets out of Bash’s connection to such a man, Bash could never be King.
To keep that from happening, Bash arranged for Isabel to be released from her prison cell and is trying to have her taken someplace safe. Mary helps by disguising Isabel to look like a noblewoman, but in the process of dressing her notices that Isabel is going to give birth really, really soon. Mary decides to take Isabel to the midwives in a nearby village to keep Bash from being seen with the girl.
We then get a quick flash to Catherine freaking out in her now bare prison cell. Lord Hugo enters, having bought his way into being allowed in, and through conversation they confirm Mary’s suspicions over their involvement in Bash’s assassination attempt. Catherine also outlines her current plan: to have Bash and Isabel found running away together, murdered by thieves. Dude, are Hugo and Catherine banging? If not, they should be. Evil murder-plotting couples for the win.
Meanwhile, Bash meets up with Mary, Isabel, Alec, and their stagecoach in the woods. Mary and Bash go for a probably ill-timed stroll through some fields, where Bash tells Mary more about Isabel’s father and Bash’s family history. Just as they begin to talk about their engagement and any feelings they might have, the Queen’s guards roll up and Mary and Bash are forced to move. They decide to take the road through the Blood Wood, knowing that the guards would hesitate before following them through it.
However, Isabel’s water has broken and she’s about to give birth. Mary helps her, having some experience with births by watching the nuns she grew up with, but staying in once place in order for her to do so leaves them vulnerable to attack from both guards and blood cults. When Mary leaves the tent for a brief moment, she notices some pagan symbols out in the woods, and smashes them down in terror. Mary runs back to tell Bash, Alec, and Isabel what she saw as the heretics surround the tent, but is shocked and horrified to hear all three of them begin to chant a pagan prayer.
The heretics choose a horse to slaughter instead of anyone in the group. Mary, however, is disgusted by Bash’s ties to pagan worship and accuses him of reveling in blood sacrifice. Bash shuts her down instantly, telling her that he IS Catholic, and that to him the pagan prayer he uttered meant nothing – and that Alec and Isabel are true believers, but that doesn’t make them any less human. Aww, Bash, I’m starting to like you!
Isabel gives birth to a baby girl, distracting Bash and Mary from their argument – and as Mary and Bash make eye-contact over a grinning Isabel and her daughter, it seems all is forgiven. And I’m for the first time starting to see chemistry and sparks between Mary and Bash, which probably surprises me more than anyone.
Back at the castle, Greer, Kenna, and Lola keep watch over Catherine as they try to find solid proof of her trickery. Kenna, the woman whose intelligence Catherine had scorned the most, ends up being the one to figure out a plan to incriminate Catherine; forge letters in Catherine’s hand and seal with instructions to kill Bash, then threaten to hand the letters and the knife over to the King. That alone would be enough for the King to begin an investigation, during which any of Catherine’s guards might rat on her.
Lola comes to deliver the news to Catherine, and tells her that if any harm comes to Mary, Bash, or any of Mary’s ladies, the letter will find its way into Henry and Francis’ hands.
As the group in the Blood Wood prepares to begin traveling again, Mary approaches Bash and offers him a choice to back out of their arrangement, having seen the lengths he would go to to protect his family. Once he’s King, those lengths might have to get shorter. Before Bash is able to answer, Alec calls them back into the tent. Isabel is still bleeding, and without a doctor to give her medical help she’s going to die. Isabel asks Bash to find a good home and family for her daughter, which he promises just as she breathes her last breath.
Bash and Mary bring the baby back to the castle, where they ask a servant woman to help hide the baby in the court nursery. As the baby is being taken away, Mary notices a mark on the infant’s foot, which Bash tells her is used to distinguish pagan children in the eyes of their god. Mary hopes the mark will fade fast before anyone notices it’s there, which is the show’s way of telling us that someone is most definitely going to notice it’s there.
Mary and Bash then bring Isabel’s corpse to Lord Hugo. They tell him a grand story about Bash going hunting alone and killing Isabel The Fugitive in the woods in self defense. Hugo, sensing there is more to Bash’s feelings about Isabel, tries to get a rise out of him by slandering her name – but Bash calls him out on being a no good dirty conspirator and threatens to throw Hugo into prison right alongside Catherine.
Bash buries Isabel out in the fields, and Mary watches as he pays his respects in blood, even offering her own as her way of accepting the pagan part of his life. Bash watches her in awe, then answers the question Mary made earlier with “I’m not Francis. My duty will never be to some country, some land, some throne. If I am married to you, you’ll be my family.” Oh my god, you guys. I SHIP IT.
Catherine: Mary, sweet Mary, I don’t attempt to do anything, I do it.
Kenna: How does [Isabel] look?
Bash: Like some awful baroness.
Catherine: Servants! Where are my servants?! I’m hungry! I have a chamberpot to be emptied! And the longer I am made to wait the more creative I will become in MY RETRIBUTION.
Catherine: Oh, next time you come, bring me some proper food? All Mary’s left me is this hideously stale bread, I’m famished.
Hugo: The next time I come, I’ll bring you a crown.
Isabel: [about Bash] Don’t Kings have to be nice to people they’d rather hit with a shovel?
Mary: Sometimes, yes.
Isabel: Ha. Then no, I can’t recommend him.
Catherine: Where are you going? I’m not done abusing you. You’re taking away my only amusement!
Bash: Most pagans are just like us, Mary, they live, and they pray, and they struggle exactly as we do. They just happen to see something different when they picture god.