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Reign 1×15 “The Darkness” Recap

The castle is abuzz with First Light, where the women of the castle mingle with potential suitors. Much to Mary’s dismay, Lola is reluctant to participate in the tradition. After another violent incident with the increasingly erratic King Henry, Kenna fears for her safety and confides in Queen Catherine, while Bash experiences the terrors of the woods and vows to uncover the truth behind the Darkness.

Wouldja look at that, they’ve spelled “darkness” with a capital D! This is how you know it’s the real deal. None of that rinky dink everyday lights-out darkness for Reign, nope, it’s full on crazytown from here on out.

Kenna and Henry the Unhinged

This week’s episode opens with a threesome, because Henry’s debauchery obviously needed to escalate in some way. Kenna is reluctant at first, mainly because her trysts with Henry have apparently taken a painful and violent turn, but gives in once Henry promises her tons and tons of new suitors during First Light. Also because he’s the freaking King, and he’s become more than a little terrifying.

When Kenna wakes up after, it’s to find herself tied to the prostitute’s dead body and Henry nowhere to be seen. Worst. Morning after. Ever.

At the First Light gathering, a frantic Kenna seeks out Queen Catherine’s advice on Henry’s “growing sexual appetite” and the dead girl that’s just chillin’ in his bed. How have servants not already stumbled upon the corpse, I have no idea. Catherine orders Kenna not to tell anyone about this, then rushes off to yell at Henry for murdering people. She quickly realizes that there might be outside factors contributing to his madness – Henry hasn’t been getting sleep, and his “water has run black” whatever that means – and urges him to see Nostradamus. Henry refuses to believe that he’s sick, blathers on about being King, and pretty much orders Catherine to clean up his messes for him, which is just beyond.

Queen Mary and Lola hash things out

Lola’s trying to get out of going to First Light, and Mary’s attempts at convincing her to attend conveniently drops some exposition in our laps; if a man is interested in a woman at First Light, he hands her a candle, and if she accepts his courtship, she will light the candle in her window that night. My question is, what if a woman gets a million different candles? How will any of the men know which one she accepted? Or, what if she accepts all of them, and is forced to light a million candles in her room thus burning the entire castle down?

Logistics aside, Mary introduces a reluctant Lola to a Count during First Light and they seem to hit it off. The Count tells Lola he needs to marry quickly – great news for a still pregnant Lola! – and hands her a candle.

Lola accepts his affections by lighting the candle, a fact which doesn’t escape Francis’ notice. He visits her in the morning to warn her against courting this man… but are his words spoken out of jealousy or genuine concern? Hmm, time will tell.

Turns out time moves pretty fast – Francis pulls Mary away in the halls to tell her that the Count “prefers the company of men in bed,” and that Lola might not be happy in a marriage to him. Mary isn’t pleased that Francis and Lola have been confiding in each other in secret, and Francis, surprisingly enough, chooses to be honest with her. He tells her about his tryst with Lola in Paris, and promises her that there’s nothing between them anymore.

Mary and Lola air out their issues at the end, with Lola confirming that she has no intention of getting in the way of Mary and Francis’ marriage, and Mary offering support and friendship as Lola searches for love.

The triumphant return of Adorable Baker Boy! Also Greer

Oh, Leith, how I have missed your face. Maybe we’ll be lucky and he’ll turn out to be the bastard son of some lord and he and Greer can be happily married forever. Until then, Leith and Greer are planning to spend First Light apart, as Leith needs to do his baking, and Greer needs to find herself a rich, rich man.

This isn’t what ends up happening, because fate is cruel and this show is hilarious. Lord Peppercorn has returned to the castle with intentions of wooing Greer, and has asked Leith to help serve them at a private dinner for two. Lord Peppercorn is about to propose when his sleeve catches fire, and Leith rescues him from certain death – or at the very least, certain embarrassment.

To reward him, Peppercorn offers Leith a chance to apprentice at one of his businesses in Spain. Greer is overjoyed at his opportunity and urges him to take it. Later, it’s revealed that Greer was the one to ask Peppercorn to give Leith the apprenticeship, and it’s because her parents have already engaged her to be wed.

Lion’s Mane Olivia

Olivia finally tells Nostradamus what happened to her the night she disappeared. She found her way out of the castle and into the woods, where a group of people trapped her underground for a creature named Darkness to feed on. After months of this, she eventually escaped, running into Bash and the two hunters last episode.

She also tells Nostradamus that whatever that Darkness was, it filled her with evil as well, and she’s never going to be able to be normal again. Nostradamus washes her sins and darkness away in the morning.

Bash and that Darkness With A Capital D thing

After spending the night with Roan, Bash leaves the house to find blood smeared all over the door. Roan tells him this means her family has been chosen to be sacrificed to The Darkness. Bash decides to stick around and help her family fight it off.

In the end, Roan and her family decide not to go against the pagans’ decision, and drug Bash to prevent him from stopping them. The Darkness comes, and when Roan sees its true face, it drags her away to be eaten. Bash and Roan’s brother hike out into the snow to save her.

Memorable Quotes

Mary: First Light isn’t about food. It’s about men.

Kenna: I must speak with you.
Catherine: Always the highlight of my day.

Kenna: We’re not going to tell anyone?
Catherine: The King already knows. Who else would we tell?

Henry: When is that English bitch going to die, hm? She’s sick, she feels better, she’s sick, she feels better.
Catherine: Sorry, who?

Roan: Castlefolk like to believe all their money and armies can conquer any foe. Otherwise, why fight so hard over nonsense like titles and marriages. People like us have to fight life’s true enemies: starvation, cold, and the things that come hunting for men in the night.

Greer: We can’t go on this way. I need to marry a man with a title. This will end.
Leith: I know. I always thought you’d be the one to end it.
Greer: You’d be sparing me that. And I could watch you go with more hope than sadness. [my shipper heart]

Mary: I just lied to my husband for you! He confessed to your night in Paris. And I had to pretend, not very convincingly, I add, that I was shocked!

Mary: One thing I’ve learned from your mother’s… many lectures and insights on pregnancy is that there are some days when it is more likely and days where it is less likely. We’ve been vigorous in trying to achieve what we both want but I don’t think it’s going to happen tonight.
Francis: ‘Vigorous.’ I like that. I don’t make love to you because I want to make a baby. I want a baby because I love you.

Nostradamus: Evil is not a thing, it is not a condition. It is a choice. You are only what you choose.

Rating: B-