The CW’s Reign had its first appearance at court on Thursday (9/8c), but did it make a loyal subject out of you?
The drama, loosely based on royal goings-on in 16th-century France, follows Mary, Queen of Scots (Teen Wolf‘s Adelaide Kane) as she returns to the royal court and is re-introduced to Francis (Tony Regbo, The Town), the prince to whom she’s been betrothed since childhood.
Though the promised pair obviously like each other – the prince confides in Mary that his passion for metal work grows out of his desire to possess “a real skill” and therefore be more than a privileged, sheltered royal – Francis’ assertion that their arranged union is not good for France keeps him from falling for her completely. (Then there’s also the matter of the comely Natalia, who shows up unannounced in the prince’s quarters and purrs that even though his future wife has moved in, “Nothing’s changed here. Nothing has to.”)
But Mary’s got bigger problems than a reluctant fiancé, which is made clear when a plot to slip her ye olde mickey (and then rape her, thus taking her “virtue” and nullifying her engagement) fails.
What the audience knows – and Mary does not, at least not yet — is that Francis’ protective mother, Queen Catherine (Anne of Green Gables‘ Megan Follows) is behind the violent attack on the young queen. By the end of the pilot, Catherine’s plotting already has a body count, but the queen is undeterred in her mission to take down the woman she’s sure will be the death of Francis. Good thing a mysterious, wraithlike woman, who slips around the palace like a ghost, seems to be looking out for the raven-haired young transplant.
Elsewhere in the episode, Mary reunites with her girlhood pals/ladies-in-waiting, one of whom has a lusty moment to herself before literally stumbling into a hook-up with Catherine’s husband, King Henry. The king is no stranger to extramarital shenanigans – his mistress Diana and bastard son, Sebastian (Torrance Coombs, The Tudors) are far from hidden from the public eye. And the handsome Sebastian certainly catches a pensive Mary’s attention when he returns her missing pet dog and reassures her “You are not alone here.”
With a cast straight out of the Abercrombie & Fitch catalog and a modern soundtrack, Reign is a frothy, CW-style history lesson – which means you should sit back, admire the headbands (so many! so pretty!) and the eye candy (ditto!) and not worry too much about accuracy.
But enough about what we thought: What was your take on Reign? Grade the episode via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your choice!