in Television

Reign 1×17 “Liege Lord” Recap

When Mary learns of a secret clause in her marriage contract that her mother, Marie de Guise and Queen Catherine orchestrated, Mary and Francis embark on a dangerous plan to turn Scotland against her mother – and Mary gets her first taste of power as the Queen of Scots.

Kenna and Bash

Man, Kenna is quickly becoming one of my favorites on this show. Her forced marriage to Bash totally sucks for her as a character, but it’s doing wonders for her snarky dialogue. Fresh out of their wedding, Kenna has moved into Bash’s tiny ass room, where she and Bash spend a considerable amount of time arguing before agreeing to put up with one another. I’m definitely seeing some chemistry here – a lot more than Bash ever had with Mary – and their scenes together have been a lot of snippy fun, so I’m kinda hoping for something to happen here if only so Reign can let go of the annoying Francis/Mary/Bash love triangle.

Unfortunately, due to unpreventable circumstances, Kenna is forced to rekindle her affair with the King, which makes him think he’s entitled to her body whenever he likes. It also makes him brag to Bash about the dalliance. Bash confronts Kenna about it, and she tells him of Mary’s plans and how afraid she was the entire time she was with the King. She also calls him out on his being at Mary’s every beck and call, while leaving her alone and subject to Henry’s whims.

Later, Henry approaches Kenna in the middle of court after a hallucination and confesses to his headaches. Uncaring of their audience – which includes Penelope – he curls up in Kenna’s lap against her wishes. When Bash walks in and sees Kenna looking fearful, he convinces Henry to leave Kenna alone.

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Mary, Queen of Scots

King Henry’s still cray-cray, and is still dallying with his Queen of the Bean Penelope. One of Catherine’s special servants, a woman sent to sleep with various nobles and report back to Catherine with important information, approaches Mary to ask her for help in leaving France. Apparently Catherine wants Charlotte to seduce Henry and win him away from Penelope, so that he has a consort that Catherine can control – but Charlotte is afraid of the Mad King. She offers Mary information in return for safe passage to Scotland.

The information turns out to be about a secret marriage clause in Mary’s contract which states that if Mary dies without an heir, Scotland will belong to France. Mary, Francis, and Kenna work to determine if the information is correct (which it is). Furthermore, they discover that Mary’s mother, Marie de Guise, knew about the whole thing and had been paid a substantial amount of money to let it happen.

I enjoy Reign for the pretty dresses and the soap opera drama, but my favorite moments are always when Queen Mary goes H.A.M. on someone threatening her country or loved ones – which is exactly what she does here. Mary goes on the offensive, planning to let the Protestant faction in Scotland know that Marie sold Scotland out for money and force both Henry and Marie to deny any involvement and burn their contracts. In doing so, she earns the loyalty of a Scottish noble, Lord Mackenzie, and his men, who agree to carry out her plan after she gives an amazing and rousing speech. Francis is so adorably proud of her.

Catherine de’ Medici

Trying to keep the world from seeing Henry’s madness while simultaneously dealing with Penelope eclipsing her throne, Catherine attracts the affections of a Scottish man at Mary’s party. Pretending to only be a lady in waiting, Catherine uses him to figure out what Mary is doing, but also uses him for his hot bod, which is just fantastic. Get some, Catherine de’ Medici! (Random side note: all her inside jokes with herself about “the Queen” gave me so much life.)

She eventually reveals her true identity – post coital and with her hair literally down – and Scottish Dude is surprised but undeterred. “I would have gone through with it no matter who you are. I made love to you because you are most intriguing woman I’ve met in France,” he says, before going on to blab about Mary’s meeting with Lord Mackenzie. Oh, Random. Why couldn’t you have kept your mouth shut?

Catherine confirms her suspicions about Mary when she finds out the contract with the secret marriage clause missing from Henry’s chambers. All of Mackenzie’s men are slaughtered in the night. Catherine does show regret over the loss of life – not that it matters much, since she still did it. It doesn’t matter to Mary, either, who slaps Catherine hard across the face when she hears what she’s done. It’s here that Catherine delivers a chilling, highly memorable speech to Mary about the realities of ruling. Definitely the highlight of this episode, by far.

Mary doesn’t take this lying down, though. She later bursts into Catherine’s chambers, threatening to tell the world about Henry’s illness unless Catherine burns the contract. Catherine does so after a long bout of protesting.

Lola and Julian

Lola finally gets what she needs: a proposal from Lord Julian, but only after he confesses to her that he doesn’t want to have children. Which is Not Good At All, seeing as how Lola’s already pregnant. Still, Lola accepts his proposal and they announce their engagement to the court.

Later, Lola tells Julian that she’s already pregnant, and he’s surprisingly – perhaps suspiciously – supportive and tells her he still wants to marry her.

Wait… so he turns down Greer for having a scandalous love affair with a kitchen boy, but he’ll marry Lola, who’s had an even more scandalous love affair? I mean, I know the servants’ gossip surrounding Greer was the main issue on why he couldn’t marry her, but what if Lola’s baby daddy is revealed (which, let’s face it, is totally gonna happen), won’t that be a worse scandal for Julian’s family? You’d think Julian wouldn’t risk it, but he does. 

Rating: B+

Memorable Quotes

Kenna: Ha! The Master of Horse and Hunt? That’s something Henry made up. It comes with no wealth, no land. The title I was expecting was The Duke of Anjou, with a chateau in Anjou, with a suite of rooms in Anjou!

Kenna: What do you have to complain about? You’re now married to a beautiful woman of noble birth. [I freaking love Kenna]

Kenna: You make it sound as though I’m the most self-centered woman in France.
Bash: Well, I can’t say that, I haven’t met all the women in France.

Mary: My first duty is not to my mother. I am the Queen of Scotland, not the Queen of Marie de Guise.

Penelope: Don’t you think a royal crown suits me?
Catherine:
 Of course, Your Majesty! It makes your head look smaller. Almost back to normal size.

Random Scottish Dude: Don’t be offended. It’s a good word, saucy. It’s sauce that makes food worth eating, and women like you that make life worth living.

Mary: I cannot allow it to stand, do you understand what I am saying? I cannot allow it! I may live in France, but I have the heart of a Scot. France has betrayed us, so I charge you men to take the news with you. Tell the world. But most especially tell Lord Hardy, the leader of the Protestants who oppose my mother. They will raise such a stink the contracts will never survive.
I would defy the Devil himself if he tried to buy and sell my country. I will not risk Scotland’s freedom.

Mary: No one’s ever looked at me like that before. I can still feel it like a weight in my chest. All my life I have been a chess piece in other people’s courts, but now I have the responsibility.

Bash: Mary sent you into the lion’s den?
Kenna: She asked, and I agreed. I know you don’t think I notice anything that’s not a pretty dress or a jewel, but strangely enough I give a damn about my country.

Kenna: My country was at stake. What was at stake when Mary batted her eyes and you rushed off to be her true and gentle knight? You’ll never be that knight for me. You’ll be my husband but never that. This marriage is based on nothing.

Catherine: Wherever the Queen is, I assure you she’s already quite satisfied.

Random Scottish Dude: I suppose bowing would be pointless now.
Catherine: Well, you’ve shown your willingness to serve me quite sufficiently this past hour.

Guard: My lady, they were whoring themselves to the Scots when we came in, it’s not as if they were innocents.
Catherine: No, I’m sure they chose their vocation willingly, happy to service men like you. Go away.

Mary: You killed a dozen men because you couldn’t be bothered with the extra trouble? I will never forgive you for this.
Catherine: Forgive me, or forgive yourself? Welcome to being a ruling queen, Mary. Men will trust you and die. These are the first, but they won’t be the last. It’ll go on and on until your death because that’s the way it works. And a beautiful young queen, oh, men are gonna throw themselves into the fire for you, my dear. They’ll shoulder lost causes and take on risks they should never take. In time you’ll get used to it. You’ll know in your bones the losses you face each time you send men out and you’ll do it anyway. It’ll be a cold choice, it’s mathematical, you could say. Because the only other option is to pull the covers over your head and give up.

Mary: You are the Queen of France. I am the Queen of Scotland.
Catherine: You wouldn’t harm Francis.
Mary: Francis is welcome to join me in Scotland as my consort, just as I am his consort here. It seems only fair.