Reign – S01E03 – Kissed
First, a quick side note about the header image Hulu uses for the show. It’s the standard promotional image used everywhere as far as I can tell, just shifted around a bit to fit the Hulu format. I’m pretty sure francis is supposed to look seductive or something, but he looks like he’s watching really horrible reality TV, with his eyes glazed and his mouth dropped open.. “oh. my. god. honey boo boo is INSANE.” Also, Mary totally has a shirt almost exactly like that. Also also, her goblet is filled with blood and she’s spilling it on her dress. What I’m saying is, I cringe every time I see this.
I am skeptical of the contents of this episode already based purely on the title. I’m sorry I can’t fangirl over these romances.
We open with a soldier being a creeping creeper, just standing there with a blank stare, watching a little Scottish boy gathering eggs on the moors. It’s actually our very first Scottish accent on the show, and it’s awesome. It’s too bad they didn’t think that part out better. The boy is frightened to find this English soldier here at the border, but tries to be friendly and offers him breakfast. “You’re gonna need a lot of eggs.” I’d tell you to run kid, but I know it wouldn’t help.
At least there’s a rainbow?
Catherine goes to get some sleeping potion from Nostradamus: “Only a few [grains], and not every night.” He has a vision of people dying by the sword, and prophesies that there will be a war somewhere that will affect the castle inhabitants.
Out on the lawn, Mary and her ladies are having girl talk, sharing the stories behind their best kisses. Kenna scandalizes everyone by saying she kissed a man and not a boy. Which, considering the actress’ age, all I could think was, “I should hope so! Geez, pedophile.” (This is what happens when you have a 23 year old woman playing someone 10 years younger; though I hope that the CW decided to fudge everyone’s ages, or I have serious qualms with King Henry.)
Kenna: All I’ll say is there’s no point waiting for boys our own age who have no idea what they’re doing. Either find yourself a man, or take care of your needs yourself.
I am curious how a lady in waiting knows so much more about these things than boys her own age. She deflects more questions by shifting the attention to Greer, who admits that she’s never kissed a boy. In the hopes of marrying up, and gaining a title, she has been extra careful to protect her reputation. She also mentions that she believes she has a chance with someone named Tomas, who is a favored bastard of the King of Spain. Horse Hair sticks her foot in her mouth trying to be the voice of reason. “It’s dangerous to get involved with princes. You know they only marry for alliances. Your family are commoners.” She looks embarrassed to have said it out loud. She continues to not be embarrassed by her hair, which, in addition to the manic braiding, has added some fierce roots belying a serious bleach job.
A servant arrives to summon Mary to see her uncle, newly arrived from Scotland. I don’t know why the servant has some kind of popcorn torture device on her head. I mean, this thing is a mess, and looks super painful.
Mary’s uncle, Claude de Guise, is bossy and rude, and I rather wish Mary had Elizabeth I’s penchant for discipline at the moment. No one seems to respect Mary’s crown, poor thing. He hands her a letter from her mother, and tells her to read it later. We don’t have time for your feminine sentiment, the English are at the border! He lets her know they need more troops, and basically implies that she must have done something to delay her wedding to France. No wedding, no troops. Must have been all that kissing. “Do something,” he tells her. “You’re the queen.” Well, now you tell her!
Mary barges in on King Henry in the middle of a meeting. He dismisses everyone but Francis, and lets her know that they’ve been discussing “this business in Scotland.” They’ve sent some supplies, but no men, because France has ALL TEH BORDERS. He brushes her off completely, changing the subject about attending “tonight’s entertainment” and kissing her hand. It’s incredibly condescending. Kenna has excellent taste.
Francis wants to help Mary, but points out that they have no real power at the moment. He wants her to wait; they can rule whatever is left of Scotland once he’s king. But Mary doesn’t want to wait, and she’s going to find a way of getting some power. OMINOUS MUSIC; DRAMATIC FACE ZOOM.
Mary and Charlie are playing kickball outside. She’s using this as a good opportunity to blow off some steam. Charlie is trying to figure out how she can be both a girl and fun. They get the ball stuck in a tree, so Mary climbs up to get it. We really want to emphasize here that Mary is not like other girls. While up in the tree, Greer and Tomas, the bastard of Portugal, appear. He’s definitely not looking up her dress. Charlie is nowhere to be seen. Tomas seems to be our second character with a non-English accent. I couldn’t tell you if it’s actually a Portuguese accent, but it sounds good to my uneducated ears. Honestly, he could have walked up simply rolling his R’s and I would have been happy they made even a token effort at this point. Mary asks him to turn around so she can climb down from the tree, because he’s only allowed to look up her skirts while she stands still I guess. She ends up falling out of the tree onto Tomas instead, which plays conveniently into the joke he’d been making about Scotland planning an aerial attack on Portugal. As he leaves the ladies, Mary congratulates Greer on her choice of man and says he’s worth the wait. Greer lays out her master plan of wooing him with a picnic basket during a boating party. I don’t know how he could avoid marrying her.
King Henry and Bash are getting in some swordplay practice. In general I’ve been overlooking the modern music played throughout the series, because after everything else that isn’t historically accurate, the music felt like a small quibble. However, I reserve the right to point out when it’s just bizarre, and their choice of Pompeii by Bastille here definitely is. This isn’t even a comment on the song itself, but I definitely should not suddenly look at the tv screen and think, “What the heck is this nonsense” because of the music playing. I honestly expected to see a bunch of people dancing in front of a stadium-sized audience or something. So weird.
Anyway, Bash isn’t sparring well, and Henry jokes about which woman is distracting him. He chooses to keep it to himself because of Henry’s habit of taking all the ladies. Yes, in this show, it’s a simple joke that a father sleeps with his son’s girlfriends or whatever you want to call Bash’s interests. Francis walks in and attempts to convince his father to send troops to Scotland. When words don’t work, he presents a wager; if he wins a sparring session, troops go to Scotland, and if not, he shuts up. So they beat each other with their wooden swords even though Henry said it’s unwise for a king to spar with his usurper. I’m trying to think of something funny about all of this and compensating, but I’m really just feeling kind of sad that Henry is such a horrible father. Francis wins the duel, but Henry doesn’t honor the bet. Because he’s the king, that’s why. Haha, I’m such a good role model! Zing!
Greer is down in the pantry speaking with one of the food boys. She has a long list of things she wants for her sex picnic. I’m a little surprised that she’s talking to a random cook and not whoever runs the kitchen, much less actually gathering supplies off the shelf herself. But then, most of my knowledge about kitchen servants centers more around the Regency era and later. So maybe there wasn’t a head cook in the 16th century. Tired of listening to her demands, he asks that she just leave her list, and she asks who would read it to him. It seems very condescending, but honestly, the chances of him knowing how to read back then were almost nonexistent.
Before he can retort, Mary comes in and retrieves Greer. She wants to know about the trade deal that brought Tomas from Portugal. All Greer knows is that it has to do with timber and ships. “Why are we talking about wood?” Haha, oh Greer, you really haven’t ever been kissed. Seriously though, Mary wants to offer Portugal some lumber for building their ships in return for some troops to save her country. Power found!
When Mary approaches Tomas, he jokes about them stealing away for romance. DANGER WILL ROBINSON! This guy is a total flirt; don’t you go hurting Greer’s chances Mary, however small they may be. Tomas likes the sound of Mary’s proposal, and says he will give her confirmation of the deal that afternoon. Apparently he has some preparations to make and a king to disappoint.
King Henry and Kenna are making out in the hallway. Barf. He wants to have sex, she wants to keep making those horrible faces that look like pain but mean pleasure. She wants to wait, and Henry tries to be patient and give her all the time she needs. I am not buying his mock chivalry here at all. He knows it’s in the bag.
Mary and Tomas are riding horses in slow mo to a love song. The nice thing about it is that we get some sweet aerial shots of what I assume is Ireland, since that’s where the internet tells me the show is filmed. The bad thing is Mary isn’t riding sidesaddle. This is odd because she most definitely would have at the time; the real Catherine even reinvented the damn thing. Maybe they mean it as a way of defining her “otherness”, but it’s hard to believe any lady, much less a queen, would be riding around unaccompanied with a gentleman with her underskirts and legs bared.
On the rest of her body is a cape with a white fur capelet and a tiara, actually looking like she might be royalty. I’m not sure why wild horseback riding through the countryside required formalwear, but I guess that’s why I’m not a costumer. They stop at an old church, stone and missing a roof. Though at least this time they’re not pretending nuns still live in it. Tomas wants to know if his chest full of jewels would win him someone’s affection. Mary encourages him, thinking it’s for Greer. OH NOES! It’s for her. Turns out his trade agreement requires their marriage. “What about Greer?” “Greer who?” JERK.
He waxes on about her wildness and her spirit, and how he feels they are the same. And not to worry, he’s about to be proclaimed as his father’s heir, so her needing to marry real royalty is not a problem. I think we’re supposed to be swept up in how romantic the whole thing is. He’s come to the country just to get some lumber, but has been taken aback by Mary and her loveliness and fierceness. She’s a bit odd for normal female, as Charlie so helpfully pointed out earlier in the episode, but that’s what makes her special, better. And we’re all supposed to feel better too, because they know girls often feel odd. But what I’m actually hearing is, “I’ll help you, but only if you’re part of the trade agreement, because you’re property that can be traded.” I am perhaps a bit jaded.
She asks some time to think about the proposal. Back in her rooms, she talks it over with Horse Hair. In keeping with her earlier insistence that Greer couldn’t marry Tomas, she points out that as a crowned royal he’s doubly off the table now. So Mary shouldn’t even worry about Greer and just marry Tomas for Scotland. Feelings can come later. I’m starting to understand why Greer doesn’t fix this girl’s hair. With friends like this… Mary hasn’t decided anything yet, because she’s still hoping to marry Francis.
At tonight’s party, because at court there’s always a party, Nostradamus is hanging out in a giant fur robe while most everyone else is baring their arms. He must be so hot (and also, he is strangely hot; don’t judge me). Catherine looks lovely. She actually pretty much always looks lovely. I adore the fact that they chose someone who has naturally red hair and it’s worn up and curled, because that is the epitome of what was considered beautiful at the time. Anne of Green Gables has aged well.
Kenna tries to catch the king’s eye, but he ignores her because he is both mature and knows how to get into a young girl’s pants. I don’t even know what Mary is wearing, though at least her hair is up for once. Elizabeth of Scandalous Women describes Mary’s dress as a feather duster, and I’m hard pressed to disagree. That’s a lot of tulle. Francis tries to compliment her, but all she cares about is the war. Henry calls out Nostradamus, who is whispering with Catherine about his visions of war. He wants him to perform his magic council for Mary and her ladies, who are playing cards. He has them each pull a card and think of a question. He starts off vague, but then you can tell he switches to vision mode. Mary gets, “The lion will fight the dragon on the field of poppies.” Greer: “You’ll fall in love with a man with a white mark on his face.” Horse Hair: “You’ll never go home.”
Well that was fun! Mary lays into him, angry that he’s upset Horse Hair. She wants to know who he serves. “The realm… Myself. The truth. Serving the truth at court is a crooked path.” He might be the only male on this whole show who isn’t awful. Mary and Francis have a little dance while he tries to explain again that he’s done everything he can reasonably do to convince his father to send troops. Mary is totally rude and says perhaps he should be unreasonable. Then Tomas swoops in and steals Mary for a dance mid-song. He has the musicians play Portuguese music, and leads Mary in a dance that’s all dips and lifts and twirls. She follows along pretty well for someone who doesn’t know the steps. The court is slightly scandalized by how sexy it all is, and Bash teases Francis about it. Catherine is delighted, I’m sure because she hopes this puts a wedge between Francis and Mary. Though maybe she does love Portuguese music; it was a little kicky.
Greer is visibly upset about the sex dance and storms out. Mary is very annoyed at how brazen Tomas was, though I’m not sure why that meant she had to keep dancing. She runs after Greer, and now it’s her turn to tell Mary how awful it is to be her lady in waiting. I wonder if this will be a weekly theme? Francis waltzes up to rub salt in Mary’s wound, and she rounds on him and drops her competing marriage proposal bomb. His pride is seriously wounded. For all of his earlier blustering and womanizing, he’s really a fragile little flower. He has daddy issues. And it occurs to me that Francis can be a female name. No wonder they hired such a pretty actor.
Oh right, there’s also a boating party tonight! Kenna thinks she’s getting on the boat with the king, but he snubs her for some random lady. Francis notices; he also notices Mary walking in on Tomas’ arm. Tomas is telling her about his first wife dying of influenza and how he never thought he would love again. Death talk, how sweet! Greer’s sex picnic is delivered, but now she has no one to share it with.
Kenna finds Bash in the castle and proceeds to have the most awkward conversation ever about how to regain the king’s affections. Somehow that doesn’t stop him from giving her advice about it. He makes no qualms about how his father plays the field and says, “A victory without effort is worse than a defeat.” Which means that the king enjoys the chase.
Francis uses the king’s pseudo-relationship with Kenna to bribe him into sending troops to Scotland in exchange for not mentioning her to the queen or his mistress. The king is actually impressed with Francis’ balls, and he’s upgraded from “usurper” to “king in waiting”. Give that guy a Father of the Year Award RIGHT NOW.
Bash dunks his head in the horse trough to sober up in the middle of the night and ride to the six companies that need to go to France. Greer returns the sex picnic, but starts bawling when the cook asks how it went. So they end up sharing the basket while they share stories about their lives. She explains to him how her marriage must elevate her whole family, and he laments that she has no room for love. Then he kisses her. She’s upset because he’s only a servant, and he’s very cheeky about it, grinning and everything. Rogue!
Francis lets Mary know that France is sending troops, but he still can’t marry her. “I would rather have hope with you than certainty with anyone else.” The next morning, Mary and Greer make up over cups of coffee, a “new Venetian drink.” I notice that neither of them actually drink it, which is probably for the best, because it looks black and virtually no one likes coffee on the first try. That bitter warmth is an acquired taste; actually, when Greer goes for breakfast she tells them to put heavy cream in it. Mary admits to her that she’s never been kissed either, and then finds out that now Greer has. She doesn’t get to find out from who though, because all the other girls barge in at that moment. Greer is all too happy to place the breakfast order. As she does, she gives the cook a look, and when he leaves, he absently wipes his cheek, leaving a flour smudge. We hear a wispy tinkle of a noise as he does it, and we know magic is happening. One of Nostradamus’ earlier prophesies at the party is coming true! He has a white mark on his face!
Bash returns from his errand slumped over his horse. The servants pull him down, and we see that he’s bleeding and out of it. He’s been stabbed because the English, who hold Calais, a piece of French soil, ambushed them and killed everyone. This is Nostradamus’ prophecy of the war reaching into the castle. He’s not sure if he can save Bash. Francis is very upset at being the cause of his brother’s suffering. King Henry takes this opportunity to teach him a lesson about not ruling from the heart, even though the real issue was that someone at court betrayed them by warning the English.
Mary tries to console him outside, and Francis impulsively kisses her. More first kisses! And then he ruins the moment by telling her to marry another man. His ship is bigger than my ship! After a moment’s pause, she agrees and goes to ask Tomas to each her Portuguese. Which I guess is her way of saying, “Yes, I’ll marry you, please can I have your ships now because I just lost six companies and need six more.” They see the ship off the next morning, carrying eight companies! Tomas, you’re so much more manly than Francis! He promises to make her happy, and she replies that he already has. She’s looking pretty fierce in a black gown with gold braided leaves across the breast. I don’t know if it’s appropriate, but I find that I can’t resist liking it. I’m apparently ignoring all the tulle on the bottom. Am I going over to the dark side?
As the last little boat leaves to take people back to the ship out at anchor, they unfurl Tomas’ standard. It’s a dragon, and Mary remembers Nostradamus’ prophecy that caused her to call bullshit earlier in the show. “The English lion will fight the dragon on the field of poppies.” She looks unsettled, whether it’s because magic might be real, or she feels bad for calling him a liar, or this mention of poppies gives her the heebie jeebies, I don’t know. Tomas takes her hand, Mary gives it the eyebrow and a look of “ohshitwhathaveidone”, and we fade to black.
All of those shenanigans and make out sessions, and not a single second of Burlap Sack. How disappointing.
So I don’t know about you, but I got really upset over that part in the beginning with the little boy. Something about the way he says “We’re just faaaarmers” made me want to cry.
He was really precious. It was a good way of visualizing that these skirmishes mostly affect people have no stake either way and just want to be left alone.