Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Reign throws Mary and her dirtbag boyfriends into “Uncharted Waters”

Image for article titled Reign throws Mary and her dirtbag boyfriends into “Uncharted Waters”

Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.

  • Sometimes Reign is a history-adjacent show that pays lip service to the era it’s portraying. Sometimes it’s mostly interested in having an episode about the dangers of hanging on to a dirtbag boyfriend after things have already started to fall apart. Don’t be like Mary Queen of Scots, kids at home: If your boyfriend is being a jerk, cut and run as soon as possible. The downward spiral will just get more embarrassing, and you’ll end up negotiating a land deal/trapped in a boat/getting into a petticoat situation with a guy who’s somehow even worse, and then strangers are delivering prophecies to you and it’s just a mess.
  • Mary’s last-minute comeuppance was almost brutal (though stymied by the accidentally-hilarious staging of Kira’s accident), and it works both to emphasize her ongoing personal tragedies, and to remind us just how alone she really is in Scotland, surrounded by men who dislike and distrust one another and are filled with conflicting advice that all contains some amount of sense and some agenda that Mary recognizes but knows she can’t actually avoid. Mary and Catherine being in the same frame is a palpable relief, and a reminder of an emotional arc that this show has really invested in.
  • I hope, if that message did come from Bash, that he wrote the “sea glass” bit himself and assured Rizzio repeatedly how important it was.
  • Luke is so unfailingly kind and ethical and emotionally available that I’m beginning to wonder what his inevitable horrible secret is.
  • The show’s been so busy with its international court-intrigue parallels and historical stage business that it’s almost startling to hear the Valois siblings talking about one another as if they exist in the same plot.
  • The Catholic/Protestant divide provides plenty of fodder for political intrigue; I’m not sure the show has managed to make Charles’ conversion compelling, and trying to draw modern parallels gets them in the weeds fairly fast, but in tackling this, France has a through-line it’s been lacking for a while.
  • I suppose Elizabeth’s imperial pipe dream is meant to do the same for the English subplot, though actual Elizabeth had plenty of drama on her doorstep without the show starting a plot war on a new front. I recognize that Elizabeth’s looming successes as a result of thinking big are meant to parallel Mary’s doomed reactionary approach, but I’m not sure this is going anywhere good.
  • Nobody on TV does the United Front Scheming Turn-Around quite like Megan Follows and Craig Parker.
  • Hawkins is the most CW pirate TV has seen in a while.
  • Adelaide Kane is working uphill this season—establishing a brand new and constantly shifting status quo makes it hard to hang on to character, but she takes any opportunity to give weight to Mary’s moments of anger and helplessness. (And she really had fun with “trapped in a boat with a tavern gambler.”)
  • Dress of the week: Honestly, not a standout week for dresses. We’ll go with Mary’s gown that had to be removable in real time, since those logistics were notable, even though there’s absolutely no way it took two ladies to put on that petticoat.