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Reign 1×16 “Monsters” Recap

“When Francis reluctantly agrees to help Bash uncover the threat in the woods, he ends in grave danger, with only Bash to save him. Meanwhile, the King’s madness causes chaos when a servant wins “Queen for the Day,” and the King becomes obsessed with her. The King also forces a surprising, and unbreakable, union with a new couple at Court. Meanwhile, Greer gets caught kissing kitchen servant Leith, which threatens to ruin her.”

Lion’s Mane Olivia isn’t doing too well

Poor girl keeps having nightmares, and now one of her wounds is infected. When Nostradamus inspects the cut, he finds what looks like a claw or fingernail trapped underneath Olivia’s flesh.

Seriously, though, someone really needs to get this woman a hairbrush and shampoo. It’s been ages since she returned to civilization, there’s no earthly reason why her hair should still look like it has a bird’s nest and a tumbleweeds in it. Fingernail schmingernail, Nostradamus. Get your priorities straight.

With Nostradamus’ support, Olivia does eventually return to society, and it seems like she has her heart set on Nostradamus. He tells her of the family he had once and how they died tragically in the plague. And then they make out, because that’s exactly the type of conversation that gets people hot and bothered.

King Henry grows increasingly paranoid and erratic 

Catherine tries to keep her husband’s madness a secret from the rest of Court, while seeking out ways to either save him or stop him. When Nostradamus confirms that Henry hasn’t been poisoned with anything, Catherine concludes that he’s just gone crazy – and “a Mad King incites chaos and rebellion.” Exhibit A: Game of Thrones, which this episode has definitely been giving me callbacks to (Henry pouring hot wax into that noble’s ear = Viserys Targaryen’s crown of molten gold, much?)

Nostradamus hands her a sedative to put Henry into a coma until they devise a way to cure his craziness.

Henry, meanwhile, gleefully partakes in the Queen of the Bean celebrations. He’s especially pleased when this year’s Bean Queen is a pretty servant girl named Penelope (played by the adorable Kathryn Prescott of Skins and Being Human). Seeing as how Henry’s recent track record with pretty girls is… well, not good, you can see why I’m worried for Penelope’s continued survival.

Catherine sees an opportunity to use Henry’s attraction to Penelope against him, and cajoles the girl into giving Henry Nostradamus’ elixir during one of their “sexytimes”. Seems like Penelope doesn’t need any instruction in the art of seduction, though; her romps with the King get kinky fast.

Mary’s ladies in waiting

The fiance Greer’s parents chose for her, Lord Julian, is not half bad looking, and so far, he seems to be nice, as well (though this doesn’t mean much in Reign; Mary’s Portuguese Prince seemed decent until he revealed his true, nasty colors.) Leith is a day away from becoming a spice trade apprentice, but he can’t help but visit Greer one last time in her chambers… and, predictably, their last kiss is interrupted by none other than Lord Julian himself. Leith is carted away, and though Julian asks for him not to be harmed, he breaks the engagement off with Greer.

Meanwhile, Lola is worried she’s going to show soon. Mary promises to keep looking for a suitor for her. For Greer’s sake, Mary also tries to save Leith’s life by going to the King and asking for mercy, but the King tells her instead of prison, he’s being conscripted into the military.

The ladies all come clean to each other and to Mary about their various indiscretions, and Greer suggests that Lola marry Lord Julian to hide her pregnancy. Lola is reluctant at first – “Greer is punished and scorned while I’m rewarded?” – but she agrees to try to marry him to help Mary. This friendship, guys. I’m here for it.

Greer, too, has lucked out – Lord Castleroy/Peppercorn still wants her favor, and offers her marriage to quell the gossip about her and give her family the status boost they’re looking for. She accepts his proposal, and they embrace.

Bash returns to the castle

The King is quick to throw his exiled son into the dungeons, which Mary tries desperately to help him escape from. When Bash tells Mary of the Darkness in the woods, and the hunter woman who’d been taken by it, she agrees to help. Unfortunately, just as Mary and Bash exit the dungeons, they run into Francis, who is angered that he’s found them together again, and skeptical of Bash’s supposed “threat in the woods.” Jealousy is a not a good look on anyone, Francis, but it’s especially terrible on you.

Bash tells Francis that if he doesn’t believe his own brother, maybe he’ll believe Olivia. Thankfully, by the time the group reaches her, Nostradamus has finally finangled her a comb. Even more thankfully, Francis seems to believe her story – not that there’s some sort of monster roaming about, though, just that the heretics are slaughtering his people in the name of such a monster – and that he needs to stop them.

Nostradamus cuts in to tell them that the thing he pulled out of Olivia’s back, what I previously thought was a fingernail, is actually a tooth. A human tooth, filed down into a sharp point.

Hunting time

Using Olivia’s information, Bash, Francis, and some guards ride out to the monster’s cave to kill whatever lives there. They’re tracking footprints in the snow when Francis falls through the ice, and Bash rushes to his brother’s rescue, pulling him out of the water and giving him the KISS OF LIFE. At least I assume he does, because the next time we see these two, Francis is awake and shivering by a fire in the castle. They bond, and most everything seems to have been forgiven.

Bash tells Francis that he investigated the cave for a short while after Francis was saved, and found nothing. Francis swears to find and kill the person responsible for this, and assures Bash that he can go to Spain in peace. Which is, of course, the exact moment when King Henry bursts in and demands answers. Francis, seeing Henry’s anger, correctly deduces that Henry was the one who told the guards to kill Bash in one of his fits of madness.

Henry pulls a sword on Bash. Francis leaps between them and successfully talks his father down.

Penelope, by the way, turns out to be a whole lot more conniving than anyone thought. She tells Henry about the vial Catherine gave her and says Catherine threatened her life unless she poisoned the King. Henry announces himself to be in love with Penelope and makes her his Queen for realsies. Catherine collapses, having been poisoned herself with the sedative elixir. Luckily Mary happens upon the scene just in time for Catherine to croak out Nostradamus’ name, before falling into a coma in the hallway.

When Francis hears of this, he plans on having some strong words with his father. Bash walks in looking rather depressed, and tells Francis and Mary that they’re invited to his wedding. Right now. To Kenna. JFC, Henry.

Kenna sobs her way through her wedding vows. Bash privately confesses to still loving Mary, but at least he’s no longer exiled or under threat of execution. Silver linings?

Memorable Quotes

Francis: It’s a tradition I always prefer to avoid, especially when Diane Depotier was here. To watch my father juggling a mistress, my mother, and the Bean Queen.

Mary: Well, bully for you and your speedy recovery.

Catherine: When pretty girls win Queen of the Bean, they sometimes have a… special experience with the King. I must warn you that the King’s appetite in the bedchambers can be quite… rough. He has the appetite of a lion and the stamina of a horse. A horse that proceeds at a steady, punishing trot. It can be a lengthy experience. [Catherine’s euphemisms for sex are always hilarious and I love every single one]

Leith: He’s highborn. And he’s rich, and titled, and very kind to the servants.
Greer: And to me. He seems… everything I’ve ever wanted. Except he’s not you.

Henry: I’m anointed by God. You are as well. We are royals, what could ever be unwell with us? [Sing it with me guys: I’m not craaazy, I’m just a little unwell, I know right now you can’t tell]

Bash: Listen to you! You have Mary, and the crown, and all of France puckered to your ass and still you’re threatened by a bastard in exile!

Henry: Lady Greer! Well done with that kitchen boy, that nasty gossip is the first interesting thing I’ve heard about you.

Lord Castleroy: You have a good heart. And I’m too rich to care what people say. What I care about is you.

Francis: What happened? Did Father forgive you?
Bash: Not exactly. But he illuminated me on his “solution”. It’s a bit of a horrorshow, actually, and you’re both invited. Now. On pain of death.

Kenna: You want me to say an oath? What about your oath? You promised me someone with a title!
Henry: Fine. Bash, I hereby declare you the Master of Horse and Hunt.

Guard: I don’t take orders from bastards.
Bash: Haven’t you heard? I’ve been titled Master of Horse and Hunt. So gather your horses, and go out and hunt.

Rating: B+