Reign – S01E02 – Snakes in the Garden
Someone is being tortured. I believe they call this the rack. When his torturer leaves, Burlap Sack sneaks in to free him, and also jab him with a red-hot fireplace poker. You can thank me later! Toodles!
Lola is still crying over Colin. Mary is still trying to work out who tried to set her up. Kenna is running around in her fuck me pj’s, complete with short babydoll dress, knee high socks with tassels (TASSELS!!), and plenty of thigh showing. For now that will have to wait, because the royal family is discussing the future wife of Francis’ little brother Charlie. He was 7 in 1557, and would one day be King Charles IX (spoiler alert?).
Charlie is to marry Madeleine, who has a giraffe. Fancy! She’s arrived by ship alone because her parents are too busy partying in Morroco to care about their 7 year old daughter. Francis is to take Charlie (but not Bash, because he’s just a bastard; Catherine can be really bitchy) to meet her at the shore. Mary offers to go with them so she can reassure the young girl, and Henry okays it despite Catherine trying to stop it.
Mary falls asleep in the carriage on the way, where she sits beside Charlie. I actually thought this moment was very sweet, and we see a bit of Francis actually being swept up in the romance.
There is a panic at the shore as Francis realizes there are too many boats, and that the ship that’s arrived is actually an English warship. He orders Charlie to be taken somewhere safe and tells Mary to ride off on one of the horses. There’s a tense moment when the carriage guards draw their bows on the landing Englishmen, but Bash rides to the rescue! They’re not here to kill people, they just rescued Madeleine’s sinking ship. No big deal! It’s a good thing single horsemen can travel significantly faster than a horse and carriage, and also that they thought to send an emissary to give the court a heads up. Mary and Francis still probably need a fresh change of clothes after all that excitement.
Mary’s dress looks like a molting ostrich, but what I can see of her crown looks very pretty. Francis continues his complete disregard of dressing for the occasion. The children are in formal wear, and their headwear is actually the closest the show has come so far regarding costume accuracy. Madeleine has on something similar to what most ladies with some money wore at the time; a cap with a tail of fabric to cover the hair. Charlie has on a type of flat cap, which was made famous by Henry VIII of England.
Aww, wee love as only 7 year olds can. He’ll probably punch her next and run away.
There’s a party tonight, I assume to welcome Charlie’s future bride. The two of them are adorably prancing around the adults in fancy white wear. Mary and her ladies are trying to keep their cool at a party full of Englishmen. King Henry has decided to treat them well and hope they leave soon rather than encouraging hostilities.
Catherine is on edge, because despite the English also wanting Mary out of the picture, they have an annoying habit of claiming France as part of their kingdom. [Henry VIII’s official title: By the Grace of God, King of England and France, Defender of the Faith, Lord of Ireland, and of the Church of England and of Ireland in Earth Supreme Head; the English monarchs actually claimed France as their own from 1340-1801] Nostradamus helpfully points out that her goals of disappointing the English and Mary are at odds, but what is a mother to do. Also, Francis doesn’t believe in prophecies, so it’s not like she can just tell him he’s going to die. Pesky logic, why must you ruin all the things? I’m actually quite taken with her jewelry choice here, but then, blue is my favorite color.
Lord Simon Westbrook, the
EvilEnglish envoy, has a home in Paris and spends a lot of time at the French court. He asks her to call him Simon so they can be “friendly and frank” with one another. Which really means he want to mock her sham of an engagement, and also eyeball her figure while commenting that she’s of age. “Remember that time we tried to poison you at the convent? Haha, good times.”
Mary is visibly shaken, and Francis comes to her rescue. “Yeah, I know our engagement is a sham, but let’s pretend it’s not. You know, for your sake. I’m still not going to marry you though.” So chivalrous. I’d also like to say that Simon might be a total jerk, but man he looks good in that military jacket. The embroidery is fantastic, though the belt is hysterically big (compensating?).
Nostradamus gets a message, and he and Catherine sneak off to the dungeon. “Remember how we totally chopped off Colin’s head? Yeah.. that um.. didn’t happen.” Turns out someone marked the wrong door for execution, and some random thief got the axe instead. So that guy being tortured on the rack at the beginning? That was Colin! Burlap Sack set him free!
You know, I’ve watched the following scene a ton of times in the process of writing this, and around the 20th I finally notice something that made me laugh out loud. This whole time I had been wondering where Horse Hair was while Mary learns of Colin’s survival. I mean, most of the time the scene looks like this:
But then I finally notice this:
OH HAI! Even CW is hiding me because I’m too embarrassing to be seen!
Mary is of course confused at this turn of events, but she realizes that it means she can actually question him when he’s found. Catherine does all she can to make it clear that it’s unlikely Colin won’t be harmed during the recovery attempt, due to him being a vicious criminal and all that. Certainly not because she has ordered him found and killed. Oh, and if he isn’t found, all the other witnesses have also run away.
Watch it Catherine! The king is starting to wonder about your role in this.
King Henry: I heard you were the first to learn of Colin’s escape. You were seen last night in the dungeon with Nostradamus.
Catherine: Yes. I sent out the guards right away.
King Henry: But you didn’t tell me.
Catherine: I wouldn’t want to disturb you in your mistress’s bed. (Oooh, burn.)
King Henry: Diane’s at the country house. So, by all means, keep me informed. (Shit!) Day or night. Because I want to know whatever that boy has to say.
What’s that phrase? Check yourself before you wreck yourself? (Yeah, that’s right. I don’t start using popular slang until long after it’s cool. I’m like the opposite of a hipster. Unless the opposite of a hipster is a cool person. I’m definitely not that.)
There’s a big outdoor picnic for Madeleine and Charlie. Everyone is there, and Horse Hair looks slightly more kempt than usual, which isn’t saying much. The kids are playing a game where Charlie is blindfolded and surrounded by girls calling his name. He has to find his “lover’s” voice among them. It seems like an elaborate form of a game Tudor era kids played called Blind Man’s Bluff, which is basically Marco Polo for you modern kids. But Charlie is too caught up in having all these girls after him already at his young age to hone in on Madeleine.
Kenna: How is Charles supposed to recognize the voice of his true love if she’s so quiet?
Well Kenna, not everyone has to walk around with a giant sign that says, “PLEASE HAVE SEX WITH ME!”
Francis and Mary find this game a great metaphor for their relationship. He teases her about how impatient she’s always been, which probably felt like a slap in the face since her lack of an actual wedding is putting her life in danger. “Excuse me for not wanting to die Francis!” “My parents promised to protect you!” “I’ll believe it when I see it! Also, your mom is probably evil, no big deal.” Francis walks off in a huff. Also, Madeleine gets tired of waiting for Charles and ends the game, and he also walks off in a huff. It runs in the family.
It’s okay though, because Bash is ready to rescue Mary again. Francis, if you really want to keep this girl, you should stop letting your brother do all the wooing. “The guards have a head start, but they’re afraid of the woods.” “Why, what’s in the woods?” “GHOSTS! I mean… you know… the usual.”
Charlie went off to talk to a hole in the wall, and Mary catches him. He has a mysterious friend that is omniscient and doesn’t let people see her. He bribes her, because he’s a very smart 7 year old. Burlap Sack has a name! It’s Clarissa. But we’re still going to call her Burlap Sack. It just has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Mary goes to look for her and only finds a marble.
She does, however, find a stranger hanging out in her room, wearing her clothes. That’s not weird or anything. The stranger’s skin starts hurting her, and she falls on the floor screaming about poison. Mary runs for the guards, but when they return the woman is gone. Mary suspects her poisoner took the woman through one of the hidden passageways, and Francis promises to have the guards search them. Oh right, guards. Where were they again when all these people were going in and out of your room? Not doing their job? BEST GUARDS EVER.
King Henry finds Kenna temporarily alone, and pretends to care about her reputation. Kenna had been giving him the jealous eye outside; apparently when Diane is away he flirts with all the ladies. Sounds like a total catch and she must feel so special. Is that what she takes away from this? No. Apparently this means she has an opportunity to win his heart. She’s claiming her virtue is important (which would be more convincing if she wasn’t running around in lingerie at breakfast), and the king says boo to that. It’s sex or nothing, because he’s the king and can do that. Honestly, I really don’t care about any of this storyline.
Francis believes the poisoning was done by Lord Westbrook, and even wants to go so far as torturing him to get to the truth. Francis blames his father’s lack of action for Mary’s lack of safety, but King Henry says she’d be unsafe without them too. Henry wields words like an expert politician, knowing how to tell the truth while getting away with an unspoken lie. Mary might be just as unsafe in Scotland, but she’d be a lot safer if she were married to your son, or most anyone really, and you won’t let her go. Francis tries to remind his father that Mary is essentially his ward, which comes with certain responsibilities. The king digs deep into the majesty of his station and sings, “Mary and Francis sitting in a tree.” Francis is flustered, and the round goes to Henry.
Bash is tracking blood through the haunted forest. He comes across these bloody flower petals, which look suspiciously like Nostradamus’ “death to Francis” flowers. Bash looks up to find a body hanging upside down, impossibly high. A drop of blood falls on his face, and he smudges it with his bloody thumb instead of wiping it off. Now he has this bloody cross on his face. Isn’t he handsome? *swoon*
Francis lets Mary know that Lord Westbrook has an alibi (what, did you think he did it personally? in that hand embroidered jacket!?). He asks about Bash, and she admits that he’s out following the blood trail. Francis is worried that he hasn’t come back yet and runs off. Mary’s ladies have helpfully questioned their servants and guards, and no one saw the poisoned girl leave, “and they would have.” Because the security in this castle is AWE-SOME.
Things I love about this image:
- The embroidery on Mary’s bodice (apparently I have a thing for little embroidered flowers)
- The leadlight windows
- Even more random braiding for Horse Hair, who seems to be running around the castle in a fancy modern nightgown
Mary heads to the secret corridor in the hopes of finding Burlap Sack. She tries to bribe her into helping by leaving some marbles, because 7 year old genius is still genius. As she starts to leave one rolls back. For some reason Burlap Sack can’t speak today, so Mary asks yes or no questions, which Burlap Sack answers by rolling or not rolling marbles. Mary asks too many questions at once, “Is it the English? Is it Catherine?” and gets two marbles back. This seems to confuse her, but I interpreted that as yes to both. You can have more than one person trying to hurt you goober. We hear a crunch, and Mary runs down the corridor wanting an answer to her question. She finds a broken marble and a key. Curiouser and curiouser.
Francis finds Bash in the forest, who has Colin on the ground with the rope around his ankle still attached. That bloody cross is still on his face. Francis is suspicious when Bash said their guards killed him, because of the way he was hanged and a slit neck. Bash tells him not to be naive. Suddenly, they’re surrounded by shadowy figures. NOT THE FOREST GHOSTS! Bash appeases them by cutting his hand and spilling blood on the blood petals and speaking not-English. Francis is freaked the fuck out, as he should be. The ghosts leave, and the boys ride off with Colin slung over the horse and unsecured, because he’s apparently great at riding even in death.
Mary takes the key and tries Catherine’s door first, but no luck. It does, however, fit in the door of Lord Westbrook. Inside, the poisoned girl is looking not so poisoned, and is hastily covered on his bed. Westbrook is in the process of dressing, because the CW knows what you like. They have a tête-à-tête, and Westbrook shows us that he really does love to be honest, though maybe learning the definition of friendship wouldn’t be amiss. We get some actual historical truths for once:
- Queen Mary Tudor of England is ill and in danger of dying
- Her half sister Elizabeth is next in line to the throne, but Protestant and also technically illegitimate
- Which makes Mary Stuart, King Henry VIII’s great-niece who is third in line for the throne and also Catholic, a threat to Elizabeth’s succession
- Mary Stuart has no interest in the English throne and just wants peace for Scotland
Westbrook says that England will always see Scotland as a threat, especially if Mary has France to back her. He pointedly asks her why her guards let them into her room so they could stage the dress poisoning, and Mary realizes finally that the two marbles was a double yes. Catherine was in on this plan the whole time and is the reason all the guards are so lousy at their jobs. Westbrook’s MO seems to be, “sure, tell her the truth, the better to terrorize her since she can’t do anything about it.” What a spider.
Kenna is playing chess with a pretty good looking dude, and employing important seduction tricks from the Handbook of How to Get Guys like touching her mouth, and letting him win at chess. King Henry is hovering nearby, and she goes to talk to him. The chess game was metaphor for this relationship, because this episode is titled “Watch us play games that are metaphors for the relationship we are currently showcasing!” The king expects her to give it up, but Kenna has decided to play the Anne Boleyn card (she’s aware that woman was beheaded after a measly 3 years on the throne, right?). She says she wants a husband who knows she’s a virgin so his heirs aren’t in question. You can just see her dangling this in front of him like a carrot. The king responds, “Cool. Good luck with that.” Stalemate for now. I’m on the edge of my seat.
Francis and Bash are back in the castle. Francis wants some details about that shifty business in the forest, because whether his words were pagan (not even a language, though if you like etymology, I found this interesting) or druid (also not a language, we’ll get to this gem in a minute), it was definitely heresy. “Tell me or I’m telling on you!” Seriously Francis, you remind me of a yap dog and an annoying little brother all rolled into one. Bash, rolling his eyes, gives him the translation, passing it off as nonsense used simply to appease the “vagrants in the woods.” Ghost vagrants you mean. Francis wants to know if Colin’s death was part of the blood oath, meaning he kind of just accused his brother of murder. Bash tells him Colin was used as a sacrifice. All this talk of sacrifices, but no mention of to whom or their purpose. “I TOLD you the woods weren’t safe didn’t I?”
Francis: You went into them for Mary.
Bash: She’s your fiancée, I felt duty-bound to protect her.
Francis: Bash, we’re brothers. We could always trust each other, regardless of our station. Let that be the last lie you tell me.
Bros before hos, Bash. Everyone knows this. Barney Stinson wrote a whole book about it.
Francis tells Mary that Colin is dead.
Mary: [The English] fear your country’s power.
Francis: And they’ll fear it when I’m king!
Settle down Francis, geez. Someone is feeling impotent today. She’s willing to settle for just about anything close to an engagement at this point. Maybe he should get her one of those pre-engagement rings, the ones that say, “Let’s pretend I don’t have commitment issues and know what I want!” Also known as, “Please don’t leave me while I look for someone better!” Mary tries to explain that it’s not just the English, but his mother supporting them, that has her ready to leave. “Don’t you talk about my mother!”
The king makes a play for Kenna’s queen. I can’t even concentrate on this storyline enough anymore to make fun of it. Basically, Henry demonstrated that he could make anyone marry her, because he is caring and full of love and knows what girls want. So stop worrying about your pretend virtue Kenna. Also, Beth had me make her this, and it deserves to be seen. Kenna answered her door in modern lingerie and did not even put on a dressing gown. [They really went whole hog with the appliqué, amirite? – B]
Francis confronts his mother, accusing her of killing Colin and the nameless thief. She tries to play it off as honest mistakes. Francis is still struggling with why she would hate Mary, since it’s so obvious they’re not getting married. Then Catherine gets a little too eager when she asks if Mary is leaving, and Francis realizes she’s guilty.
Shit! I’ve said too much! Francis lets her know that if anything happens to Mary, Catherine will be getting the blame. His goodwill actually matters since she’ll have no real status once he’s king. She goes to her room and dismisses her ladies so she can pout alone after confirming the details of Colin’s death. The guard calls the area Colin was found as “The Blood Wood”. Not creepy at all. As she pulls back her covers, she is mortified to find her sheets painted with same red X used in the dungeon.
Meanwhile, the actual dungeon X is being washed off by Nostradamus. Surely that’s not part of his job description. Luckily for him, it looks like simple chalk paint, so it’s coming off easy. He’s talking to Burlap Sack while he scrubs, asking her if she thinks she’s an avenging angel protecting Mary. Burlap Sack is nowhere to be seen for most of this, but right as he begins to stand, you catch an image of her sitting at the end of the hall. She is blocked from view as he fully stands, and when he walks away she is gone. “You’re no angel. If people knew what you really were…”
So… ghost. She’s definitely a ghost.
Francis approaches Mary outside. Let me paraphrase that conversation for you. “My bad, my mom totally tried to kill you. I’m going to put my money on my mother’s love for me being enough to protect you. That’s totally enough to stay even though you want to leave because you’re likely to die if you don’t. So let me be your ally of one. Also, I’m still not going to marry you.” To which Mary responds, “Sold!” At least she has the decency to look skeptical at his offer of friendship. I mean, what were they before?
This is the point of the show where Francis has learned that even though he might be king one day, it’s probably okay to treat Mary like a human being. Congratulations? Of course, the fangirls took all of this as a reason to give them a dumb conjoined name. Frary. I’m embarrassed even typing that. Thank goodness that was the end of the episode.
TL;DR – Catherine and Lord Westbrook terrorize Mary by making her think a servant was poisoned by a dress made for her. Lord Westbrook gloats about all the horrible things he’s done to her. Colin was saved by Burlap Sack, but then murdered in the woods and hung to look like the heretics got to him first. Bash might also be one of those heretics. Francis realizes his mother was involved with Colin dying, and decides to be friends with Mary. Oh, and Kenna and the king played mind-sex chess.
I wanted to take a moment to give note on Druidism, since it looks like the show is either going to make Bash a druid or somehow involved with them. From what I’ve read, and I’m certainly no expert, actual real-life Druidism was a thing that disappeared from Ireland (then Gaul) after Julius Caesar rode in and claimed the land for Rome in the 2nd century. They may or may not have performed human sacrifices, depending on whether or not the sources that said they did were Roman propaganda to excuse killing them. Druids show up in the literature of Ireland later, but are much different from the sacrificing ones.
The druids in Irish literature — for whom words such as drui, draoi, drua and drai are used — are sorcerers with supernatural powers, who are respected in society, particularly for their ability to perform divination. They can cast spells and turn people into animals or stones, or curse peoples’ crops to be blighted. via Wikipedia
By that definition, Nostradamus could be druid. There’s nothing mentioned there about them having a special language, but since they seem fairly unique to Ireland, Gaelic or it’s ancestor is a safe bet. I have no idea how this is going to be tied into 16th century France, but I think we know by now that this show is really only loosely based on real life anyhow, so let’s just settle in with our popcorn and watch the insanity unfold.