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Reign – 1.17 – Liege Lord – Review: A crown should never sit easy on the head.


‘A crown should never sit easy on the head.’


‘There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.
- Denis Waitley


Well, Royals, I must say that Reign just keeps getting better and better. I’m not sure how they keep managing to exceed my expectations. I’m just glad that they do.

OK, seriously, this is getting crazy. Every single time I have a problem or concern with a plot or a character the writers of Reign have fixed it or have begun to address it by the next episode.

In the last review, I talked about how unlikeable Lola would be to me if she didn’t fully disclose her situation to Lord Julien. I also hoped that the Bash and Kenna situation would show some promise.

While I have loved and supported Mary this whole time, if I’m honest she has been a little blandly heroic. I have been craving a darker and more commanding Mary. I really want to witness her grow into the role of Queen of Scotland. This episode showed Mary being a BOSS. I liked it and I hope they keep it up.
I really loved Francis reactions to her; on the one hand he was in awe of her in the scene where the men pledge allegiance to her and on the other he seemed a little frightened by her as well when she said that if it is a choice between her Scotland and hiss France, she would choose Scotland every time.

But Mary only told Francis what he told her at the start of the season. So what is good for the goose is good for the gander. I’m very interested in how this will affect their relationship. Their relationship is starting to get interesting so I say, ‘Stow the romance and bring on the political intrigue’…
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Title: Liege Lord | Writer: Doris Egan | Director: Allan Kroeker
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Long Story Short

Mary discovers that her marriage contract has a secret clause stating that if she dies without an heir, Scotland will belong to France. Mary and Francis secretly meet Scottish Lord MacKenzie (Andrew Airlie) to tell him of the contract so he can return to Scotland and protest.

Catherine learns of Mary's actions and has all the Scots who know of the contract killed. Mary threatens to reveal to all the French nobles that Henry is mad, which forces Catherine to burn the original marriage contract.

Francis is disconcerted by Mary's willingness to start a French civil war to protect Scotland.

Bash and Kenna's marriage has a rocky start but Bash later saves Kenna from Henry's attentions and promises to always defend her.

Lola confesses to Julien about her pregnancy but not the father; Julien accepts this and still wants to marry her.
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Character Contemplations


Bash – I will not ship Kash! I will NOT ship Kash! Yeah, right. Welcome to my new crack ship.

Bash cares about people and I like when they display that quality. If he isn’t dubbed ‘Protector of the Realm’ before the series ends I might riot. But what I don’t like is Bash still being at Mary’s beck and call. I was not a fan of the love triangle (a lot of Royals were in that boat with me) so please let’s all just pretend like it didn’t happen. Bash and Kenna both made some pretty solid points about the other’s past. Kenna has every reason to avoid Henry whereas Bash doesn’t have any such inclinations to avoid Mary.

At the end of the day, I want Bash to be happy and to have a healthy relationship with his brother. So, I’m rooting for him and Kenna to fall in love and one day move out of the castle and out of Mary’s hair. Kind of like why I ship Olivia with Nostradamus. I really did enjoy Torrance and Caitlin’s chemistry when Bash came to Kenna’s aid. But I also liked when they were taking shots at each other. So in short I’m all for Heroic!Bash and really loathe Lovestoned!Bash. looking forward to seeing what character growth/development comes from this forced marriage for Bash.

ps: Do you think they were forced to consummate that relationship yet? Technically if they have not, there is still hope for annulment of the marriage.

Catherine – When you see a real queen, acknowledge it! I may love to hate Catherine but I have nothing but love for Megan Follows. She manages to give Catherine so much depth and range, it’s really something. Glad to see Catherine getting lucky and appreciated for the amazing woman she can be when she’s not being an evil and manipulative witch.

I also like seeing the darker side of Catherine. She is taking care of business and quite literally working overtime. Henry has become a bit of a handful, wouldn’t you say? Fun Fact: The real Catherine was not allowed to participate in foreign affairs and she was never able to get rid of Diaen de Poitiers hold on Henry. I’m glad they were liberal with those details because power hungry!Catherine and protective!Catherine is so compelling and juicy. It makes for a much better story, in my opinion.

I see a lot of the best qualities of Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones) and Regina Mills Once Upon a Time) in the fictionalization of the character for some reason and I really love it. They way Catherine is written, it reminds me of one my favorite quotes, “Screw writing “strong” women. Write interesting women. Write well-rounded women. Write complicated women. Write a woman who kicks ass, write a woman who cowers in a corner. Write a woman who’s desperate for a husband. Write a woman who doesn’t need a man. Write women who cry, women who rant, women who are shy, women who don’t take no shit, women who need validation and women who don’t care what anybody thinks. THEY ARE ALL OKAY, and all those things could exist in THE SAME WOMAN. Women shouldn’t be valued because we are strong, or kick-ass, but because we are people. So don’t focus on writing characters who are strong. Write characters who are people.” And in my opinion that's just what they are doing with ALL of the women on this show and I couldn't be more happy about it.

Francis – I really wish Francis had more interactions with other people. Toby has kind of been shuttered away and shoved into a corner. Don’t get me wrong,
Toby and Adelaide have amazing chemistry but I just want Toby to be afforded the chance to stretch his chops because doting husband is starting to get to be a bit one note. So, I was happy to see that the writers are giving Francis something to do and worry about and in turn that should give Toby a chance to show his range. I’m very interested in Francis getting the chance to put his diplomacy lessons into action as well as contend with his wife who is a queen in her right and has demonstrated the ability to get men to fight for her cause.

Greer – Better luck next week! I think she got two lines and a total of a minute and half of screen time. I love the character and the actress so it sucked but we had more pressing issues to attend to so I forgive the writers as long as they don’t let it happen again. But it’s always nice when Greer’s ‘gals’ get to come out and play.

Henry – A mad king makes a country ripe for the picking. Henry clearly has a type: svelte, dark hair, dark eyes and ambitious. I swear all of this ‘madness’ business is probably just his way of throwing a temper tantrum about not having Diane around. I know is it’s a crackpot theory but I just can’t imagine not having Alan van Sprang around in season 2 and I really hope it’s not a tumor or something like that. Plus, they need to prolong Francis’s death for as long as possible so ipso facto they need to prolong Henry’s death as well. I just have to say I prefer mean, menacing and callous Henry. He felt very watered down this week. But the shots in the background of him with Penelope acting giddy as a school girl were priceless.

Keena – This was the turning point for the character of Kenna. I really hate reading that so many people dislike Kenna because I heart Caitlin so much! Kenna knows how others perceive her, yet she doesn’t care. She pursued avenues that she thought would better her lot in life. It kind of annoys me that Kenna has had so many quick turn arounds but I think it was the writers trying to figure out what works best for the character. This episode showed that Kenna has more depth than we all thought. I want to hug the writers so hard for that. I love that women seem to care more about their country and it’s well-being than men…

Lola – Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets apparently. Lola is the young lady that I thought she was. She gave full disclosure about her predicament and Julien still agreed to marry her. But now I have to give Julien the side eye… Is he a black widower? Does he secretly prefer the company of men… in his bed? Why is he willing to raise another man’s baby as his own? Lola, girl, you better watch out. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. I smell another Tomas situation all over again. Oh, dear!

Mary – I’m waiting on the writers to have Mary say this line, ‘I'm no one to be trifled with. That is all you ever need know’, because basically that statement, pretty much sums up how Mary was feeling during this episode and it looks like this will be her attitude from here on out. Mary is embracing her power but does not take the responsibility lightly and it's quite admirable and refreshing especially when juxtaposed against the jaded and haggard Catherine and her willingness to sacrifice just about anything when it comes to protecting what's hers.

Penelope – Girl, Bye! Penelope is really pushing her luck. Poor thing will never see her demise coming. Funny how, Henry keeps coming back to Kenna and even admitted that Penelope’s voice grates his nerves. Since this sub plot was brewing in the background, I'll just assume this whole thing will come to a head very quickly and hopefully in a very messy and evil fashion.







Awards


Character of the Night
• Grand Prize – Mary
• Runner up – Catherine

Best Character Interactions
• Grand Prize – Mary & Catherine
• Runner up – Bash & Kenna
• Third place – Julien & Lola

Line of the Night
• Catherine: Welcome to being a ruling queen, Mary. Men will trust you and die. These are the first but they won't be the last. It will go on and on until you are dead because that's the way it works. And a beautiful young queen? Men are going to throw themselves into the fire for you my dear. They'll shouldered lost causes and take on risks they should never take. In time you will get use to it.

Scene of the Night
• Mary demands that Catherine give her the marriage contract that contains her signature or she will let everyone know that Henry is ‘a mad king’ and France is ripe for the taking.

Favorite lady-in-waiting
• Kenna

That Awkward Moment Award
• That awkward moment when your father thinks you raising his bastard would make a super awesome belated wedding present.

The “Are We Sure This Isn’t the Upper Eastside?” Award
• Once again, Reign has channeled its inner Gossip Girl by throwing a party to set a scheme in motion. – I’m not complaining. I love all the royal shindigs. I honestly wished we could see more of the more “mundane” things and people at French court.


Highlights


Memorable Moments

• Kenna keeps saying Anjou. - Bash, I think she is hinting that is where she would like to honeymoon.
• Bash ties Kenna’s dress for her.
• Francis is in awe of Mary when her countrymen pledge their allegiance to her.
• Mary slaps Catherine.
• Henry’s hallucination.

Laudable Lines

• Kenna: What are you complaining about? You are now married to a beautiful woman of noble birth.
Bash: Who is notorious for sleeping with my father. I see know awkwardness there.

• Bash: I won’t pretend I love you. But we should start liking each other at least.

• Mary: France cannot be governed by a mad king.

• Greer: Maybe he just needs a push.

• Julien: You are unusually clear about what you want from others, Lady Lola. I’m not complaining. We are well matched.

• Mary: I am the queen of Scotland not the queen of Mary de Guise.

Superb Scenes
• Bash comes to Kenna’s aide when Henry forces his whims upon her, in public no less.
• Bash and Kenna bicker about each other’s exes.
• Mary tells Francis that she was not bluffing when she told Catherine that she would let the cat out of the bag about France’s mad king if she didn’t give her what she wanted.
• Francis and Mary scheme together to make the secret marriage contract null and void
• Julien proposes to Lola.

Lowlights


• No Nostradamus. Y’all should be firmly aware of what a huge Rossif Sutherland fangirl I am by now so I would be remissed to not to mention his absence.
• Damn, was Greer even in this episode? Blinked and you missed her. It’s no secret that Greer is my favorite lady-in-waiting so when we don’t get much of her, I get a little grumpy. But at least they are doing something to expand the character of Kenna so at least Greer’s lack of screen time was used wisely.

Miscellaneous


Biggest Surprises of the Episode
• Mary did not tell Francis of her plan before hand; she did it behind his back.
• The massacre of Lord MacKenzie and all of his men at the brothel.

Burning Questions

• Who is the boy that Henry was hallucinating about?
Theory: It's some poor lad he killed in his youth and he's had these bouts of madness before.

Style Spotlight: All the other women’s wardrobe was a hot mess this week on Reign. Even though Greer didn’t have that much screen time this week, when we did see her, she was the definitely the fashionista out of the bunch. The picture to left is my favorite outfit that Greer wore this week.

Fun Fact: Mary had two illegitimate half-brothers that were sent to court with her.

Tasty Tidbit: It is reported that Francis stuttered.

History Lesson: Did you know Mary’s half-brother James Stewart, Earl of Moray was a protestant who led the Lords of the Congregation in rebellion in 1559? But he then turned around and advised Mary on religion when she returned to Scotland.
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Grade: A
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Side Notes: The incident featured in this episode actually happened. The real Mary in her early years was actually a lot more naïve and trusting than the one portrayed in the show. How a mother could sell her daughter out like, I’ll never know. Please, let’s diverge from the history books and have Mary and Francis storm Scotland and behead Mary of Guise. Who’s with me?
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Friendly Reminders
Don’t forget to watch and live tweet with the show (@CWReign) & me (@lilithhellfire) every Thursday night at 9 pm EST.

Do Your Part
Royals, even though we have already been renewed for season 2, we still have to make every episode count for the rest of the season. If we don't we will get put in a death slot next season to wither away and die (see Beauty and the Beast if you don't believe me). It is very important to be stream the episodes. The biggest impact is to stream it directly off of the CW site. But Hulu counts as well. The biggest difference is definitely clicking the ads when you watch from a legit streaming site.

Also, even if you don't have Nielsen's box you can still help the ratings (a little) in your own way by live tweeting with show. You can pitch in by using the show's hashtag (#Reign) and the show's episode title in every tweet you make about the show on Thursdays. Prime tweeting hours to get the show trending are usually between 7 pm EST until about 1 am EST (after the west coast airing has gone off).

If you are Canadian and you’d like to help the show on the social media front, don’t live tweet on Wednesdays; do it on Thursdays instead with the US Royals. If you really have your heart set on trending, make sure not to over use the episode title in tweets prior to 7 pm EDT.

Social Media Check List:
• Do you follow Reign's official Twitter account?
• Have you liked Reign's official Facebook page?
• Do you live tweet with the show every Thursday using the show's hashtag as well as the episode tile hashtag between the hours of 7 PM EDT and 1 AM EDT?
• Are you retweeting all relevant tweets from the and crew throughout the week?
• Are you checking in and leaving comments about the show on TV Tag?

Shameless Plugs & Self-Promotion
If you like Arrow, Awkward, Beauty and the Beast, Bitten, Continuum, Drop Dead Diva, House of Cards and/or Teen Wolf be sure to check out my blog.
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Well, now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below. I look forward to reading your thoughts.

ps: Don't forget to promote this and all interesting Reign articles in all the social media you can. For instance be sure to click the like button, retweet this and +1 this article if you like it and appreciate this reviewer's hard work.

About the Author
Lilith Hellfire is a 27 year old female who currently resides in NYC, NY. She spends her nights either blogging, DJing or podcasting. She's a rabid fangirl of the following shows: Arrow, Beauty and The Beast, The Originals, Justified, Sons of Anarchy and Revenge. She writes about Beauty and the Beast and Reign for Spoiler TV.

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