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Reign 1×18 “No Exit” Recap

When Mary’s brother James arrives in France and convinces Mary to return to Scotland, Francis is suspicious and uncovers a plot that would destroy Mary, which causes a rift between them.

Kenna and Bash are slowly growing closer, even as Henry’s fixation on Kenna threatens to pull them apart; Bash offers Kenna his grandmother’s wedding ring as a symbol of them trying to move on together. Meanwhile, preparations for Lola’s wedding to Lord Julian are underway. They soon marry, and… wait, is that a string cover of Lorde’s “Royals” in the background? Oh my god, this show is a gift.

At the wedding, Catherine brings an issue to Francis and Mary’s attention: the Pope’s new envoy has arrived to negotiate with Henry, and they need to distract him from noticing Henry’s gone cray cray. Mary succeeds in using her womanly charms to get him to agree to work with her and Francis instead, while Catherine finds Henry all bondage-d up in his and Penelope’s chambers.

Later, Mary meets her half brother James, who has arrived from Scotland to tell her that there is unrest in their country. Under Mary’s mother’s rule, the Scots feel occupied by French allies and want to see a Scot on the throne. James asks her to come home to rule Scotland. Francis doesn’t want her to go – he thinks it’s unsafe in Scotland and worries about France’s stability in the wake of Henry’s madness. Mary refuses, of course, because like she told him in 1×17, her country will always come first.

Francis opens up to Bash about the Mary/Scotland issue. As Bash encourages him to let her do what she needs to do, Francis seems to have come to terms with Bash’s feelings for Mary; “Mary knew that you could promise her something that I never could. You could put her first.”

Lola and Julian are lying in post-coital bliss the morning after their wedding, when Lola’s suspicions are piqued by Julian’s odd behavior. He keeps avoiding the subject of his parents and estate, wants to stay in court instead of going on their honeymoon tour, and keeps “casually” asking about her dowry. While packing her things, Lola accidentally breaks a fine piece of jewelry he gave her and discovers the jewels were actually made of glass. She mentions her worries to Greer, who tells her that all she knew of him before the engagement was that he’d been married to two rich women who subsequently died, leaving him all the richer. Ohhhh man, I KNEW there was something wrong with him. He’s totally a black widow! RUN, LOLA, RUN!

Elsewhere, Olivia and Nostradamus have kickstarted a relationship with one another. They, too, are lying post-coital in the morning, when Nostradamus gets a vision of death in the castle, and Olivia in the middle of it. He tells Catherine he wants to bring Olivia to live with him in Trinidad, and that it’s non-negotiable. Catherine gives him a thinly veiled threat about vipers, as she is wont to do, and that night Olivia is nearly killed by one hiding in her suitcase. Nostradamus saves her just in time, but ends up sending Olivia off to Trinidad alone, knowing that if he leaves they’ll both be in danger of Catherine.

Henry’s still traipsing about the castle insane, and he’s still stalking poor Kenna everywhere she goes. When Kenna brings attention to her new wedding ring to remind Henry of who she’s married to now, a jealous and petty Penelope strides up and demands to have it. Bash is infuriated, of course, which leads to Henry taking the ring right from Catherine’s hand to give to Kenna. Musical wedding rings – the next hit party game in France.

After Henry, Penelope, and Bash storm off, Catherine and Kenna team up to take down Penelope once and for all. Francis goes to Mary to tell her he’s decided to go with her to Scotland as soon as possible, no matter what happens. Mary is overjoyed. Who wants to bet this isn’t how things are going to turn out by the end of the episode?

Sure enough, when Mary tells her brother that Francis is coming with, James seems unsettled. Francis and Bash spy James’ footman with a suspiciously expensive courtesan, and interrogate him. Francis discovers English gold in the footman’s belongings, and brings the issue straight to Mary, who asks him to keep digging – but quickly, because a storm is coming.

Kenna comes to Penelope with a proposal – she will help Penelope keep Henry’s interest with information about a sex act called “the standing cross”, and in return Penelope will keep him from straying back to Kenna, or worse, having his madness discovered by someone else. When Penelope and Henry get down to business, Henry is discomforted by the position’s similarity to the crucifix – something Catherine was likely counting on, based on his newfound passion for religion.

The scene’s made all the better when Catherine brings in a “bishop”, who yells at Henry for being blasphemous. Henry banishes Penelope, and Catherine becomes Henry’s support.

Still suspicious of her new husband (and rightly so), Lola asks her father’s banker to hold off on transferring the dowry. That night, she asks him if he has anything to tell her. Julian proves to be quite the smooth talker, soothing Lola’s troubles while at the same time not answering any of her questions.

James comes to Mary and tells her a rebellion is starting, and they intend to remove Mary’s mother from rule by force. He encourages her to leave for Scotland right away, and leave Francis behind. Francis, meanwhile, is torturing the footman, resorting to bribery to get the information he needs. Mary packs her bags and starts to leave with her brother just as the footman confesses that he was paid by Englishmen to murder Mary on her voyage home – and that those Englishmen want James to be Scotland’s King. Wait, so does that mean James is in on this whole thing? Say it ain’t so!

Because Catherine and Kenna’s plot went so well, Kenna gets the estate and riches she was promised. We also find out that Penelope has been sent back to the kitchens, where I’m sure she’ll lurk sullenly until the next time she can strike. To please Bash and show she’s not all about the riches (though who could fault her if she was), Kenna took his grandmother’s ring back from Penelope and is displaying it proudly on her hand.

Penelope may be gone, but Henry’s still mad, crying in the middle of his chambers while hallucinating young man holding some sort of racket stares accusingly at him. Someone Henry murdered once, perhaps? Mary, meanwhile, is still hellbent on leaving for Scotland even though Francis has warned her about what the footman told him. Francis orders his guards to lock Mary in the towers to keep her from sneaking out.

Furious, Mary refuses to help Francis with the Pope’s envoy, and calls him out on putting France before her and Scotland. “If Scotland falls, I will never forgive you. You will lose my country and you will lose me.”

Francis leaves her locked there in the tower and walks away.

Memorable Quotes

Kenna: [staring at tiny wedding ring] Oh. I though Diane de Poitier came from money.
Bash: Well, if you don’t want it –
Kenna: I didn’t say that!

Francis: Pleased to see you’re enjoying yourself. Wasn’t too long ago you were raging to rain anarchy down on this place.
Mary: Wasn’t too long ago your parents tried to trick me into bequeathing them Scotland.

Servant: Queen Penelope told me to tell you that the King is… quite… tied up. [cut to scene with Henry tied up]

Henry: She’s gone to get supplies. The waiting is horrible. I love it.

Henry: I will not be so –  [falls over] – demeaned by a woman!
Catherine: Yes, I can see that.

Mary: More frenchmen? To solve the problem of not enough Scots?

Mary: An heir. For France, of course. Stability, for France. A handy queen consort for the pleasure of the next King, of France! …My country and I are one and the same. Forget that, and you forget who I am.

Francis: What does it mean when being a good King means being a bad husband?
Bash: It’s simple. Be a bad King.

Greer: Plenty of people want to hide their parents! Me, for instance!

Nostradamus: This is not a betrayal. This is a friend, saying goodbye.

Kenna: She’s an artist with poisons. If she wanted you dead you’d be rotting by now.

Banker: The money is not yours, of course. Women cannot hold such accounts.
Lola: Yes, heaven knows what foolish things women might do with our own money. Gamble, buy prostitutes.

Mary: You love a girl! You don’t love a queen, or you would allow me to be one!

Rating: C+