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Reign – 1.18 – No Exit – Review: Hell is other people.


‘Hell is other people.’


‘Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.’
― Helen Keller, The Open Door


Preface

Reign delivered another amazing episode. Am I right, Royals? But I guess it’s time to batten down the hatches and buckle up because the road looks a bit bumpy and the storm is rolling in…

I don’t do spoilers for Reign, so color me surprised when Mary’s half-brother (whom I mentioned in the History Lesson section of last week’s review) showed up in this episode. I’m really excited about the waters Reign is currently treading in. Romance every now and again is fine and dandy but really the main draw of this show for me personally is political intrigue and the dangers of French court. Oh, yeah and watching Mary rise to power over the course of her, ahem, reign.

This episode is the beginning of what looks like a very interesting arc for the relationship of Francis and Mary and their respective countries. The ending of this episode literally made my jaw drop and my Twitter timeline explode with Frary angst.

I’m hungry for next week’s installment but for now let’s discuss this week’s episode, shall we?

The Review

Title: No Exit | Writer: Hannah Schneider | Director: Mike Rohl
Long Story Short


Mary's half-brother James Stewart, Earl of Moray (Joe Doyle) arrives to tell her that the Scots are chafing under Marie de Guise's rule and advises her to return to Scotland. Mary wants to go immediately but Francis is reluctant. Francis discovers James' footman was paid by the English to kill Mary during her voyage so that James can be king. When Mary still insists on going, Francis locks her in the tower.

Catherine and Kenna work together, staging an intervention where a fake "Bishop" condemns Henry's sexual activities and scares Henry into humility and dismissing Penelope. When this succeeds, Catherine gives Penelope's estate and jewels to Kenna and Bash, who celebrate with a kiss.

Lola and Julien are married, but Lola starts to suspect that Julien has financial difficulties.

Nostradamus and Olivia have started a romantic relationship, but when Nostradamus has a vision of Olivia's death, he sends her away to Trinidad alone, knowing that Catherine will never let him go.
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Character Contemplations


Bash – He may not have any land or money but at least he’s young and handsome. I felt that Bash was a little too ‘wash, rinse and repeat’ in his actions this week. But instead of the king harassing her in his presence it was “Queen” Penelope. I do love Heroic!Bash and they certainly gave me plenty that but I’m actually more concerned with when he will go back to using his title ‘Master of Horse and Hunt’ and start being concerned with ‘The Darkness’ again. I love that Bash is trying to make the most of the situation and is slowly coming around to seeing past his initial “disgust” of Kenna. There is more than meets the eye when it comes to Kenna and I love that it is mostly through Bash’s eyes that we get to see this transformation. Toby and Torrance had a delightful scene together and I hope to see more of them together. The brother relationship is one of the best friendships on the show and the two actors have great chemistry together, they just need to keep developing it and really try not to dwell on the past because if they never brought up the prophecy and all the things that happened because of it, it would be too soon for me. It was a misstep so let’s course correct and move on. Fingers crossed for less love triangles (although it appears poor Bash seems to still be in one with his father, ick!) and more political intrigue, adventure and royal balls!

Catherine – Catherine was understated this week. She was silently brooding and plotting in the background while also managing to handle state affairs. Catherine has had a taste of true power by slowly sapping it away from Henry. And she is a Medici and we’ve learned they are a shrewd and ruthless lot. A queen consort doesn’t get to do much, at least a French one doesn't. We learned pretty much right off the bat that she is resentful of Mary because she was quite literally born a queen, a real queen, with real power whom she could never control. I have to say the plot to get rid of Penelope was quite simple I was expecting it to be a bigger ordeal than what it was. But it seems as though Catherine might have Henry under thumb (which if you can muster that feat is right where you would want a king, no?). Henry is rather “mad” and now that Catherine has delivered him from that wretched wench Penelope he might be more open with Catherine and let her “help” him. So Henry is far from safe, Catherine still might get a wild her up her bum and have him killed so she can be her son’s queen regent. If I had to wager, I think that is the end game for Catherine at the moment. If she and Henry hadn’t pulled the stunt they did with the secret marriage contract I would be rooting for her to succeed. I wanted Catherine and Mary to bury the hatchet and be confidantes (though Catherine was cruel about the lesson she taught Mary last week, it was still valid nonetheless). But on the other hand, Catherine does need a foil. Maybe that foil will be Nostradamus now that she has denied him his one last chance at happiness. Man, come to think about it, Catherine is burning bridge all over the realm. Bummed that there could potentially be no more scheming with her and Nostradamus, they were adorable schemers together.

Francis – I will give credit where credit is due, Francis tried to put his wife first. He really did. But he’s certainly made a mess of his marriage. I love that he so vigorously tried to get to the bottom of the plot against Mary. I love that he loves Mary so fiercely that he would incur her wifely wrath and queenly wrath as well to protect her at all costs. Did I like the way he went about it no? Mary asked him to trust her and literally said no he couldn’t do that. No relationship can survive without trust. I’m eager to see what happens next with the Frary relationship.

Greer – Greer’s role for now is just the den mothers, which use to be Lola’s job. The title of den mother only comes with three minutes of screen time total and maybe a total of 7 lines if you’re lucky apparently. Literally, all Greer has done for the last two episodes is soothe all the baby chicks and look fabulous while doing it. I hate that Greer is the one who was disgraced the most because the relationship between her and Leith was the one I was rooting for to work somehow. I guess we will be getting more of Greer once Lord Castleroy returns from his business. Are they really going to have Greer marry Lord Castleroy?

Henry – What’s the matter with Henry? He is a king. He was obviously over Penelope but somehow she still had a hold on him. He is still openly and publicly sexually harassing Kenna who is now a married woman who is married to his son no less. But most importantly, he is still seeing visions of the boy from last week. He refers to the boy as a past sin. Someone left a great theory about the boy being Henry’s older brother who is was suspected was taken out by Catherine so he could be king and she his queen. I like that and it fits because Henry had an odd moment where he took off his crown because it itched. But I also like my theory that Henry has had bouts of madness before and the boy he is seeing is someone he killed. I’ve said it for the past three weeks now; I want Alan van Sprang to stick around for season 2 so if we just make him a crazy invalid that Catherine locks away and only comes to get his signature that will be fine by me.

Julien – Well, I guess Julien is just your run of the mill murderous con man. Charming and handsome as he maybe you just knew it couldn’t be that easy, which I’m actually happy about. I’m not saying I want Lola to be miserable or anything but her life shouldn’t be that easy. There should be consequences for her mistake and betrayal. I actually have no clue what will become of this plotline. Julien will either go to prison, he will die or he will run away.

Keena – I love the evolution of Kenna, even it happened a little too fast. She too like Bash is trying to make the most of the forced marriage and is learning Bash is not half bad. Young, in possession of a title (no matter how silly or unimpressive), easy on the eyes and will at the very least always come to her defense no matter who is harasser are definitely good traits to have in a husband. She even managed to get the other half that he was missing, money and land so now he is pretty much set in her eyes. I think that Bash and Kenna make a pretty good couple, with her scheming and Bash’s heroic antics there’s a lot they can get accomplished together. I like that it was Kenna who initiated the kiss. I like that she kept the ring and told him that it made her feel safe. But she is seeing that Bash can put her first and stay away from Mary (now if only Henry could do the same when it comes to her).

Lola – At least Lola got to enjoy her special day and get some, what appeared to be nice morning sex before things started to fall apart. I love that Lola is suspicious and not being 100% swindled by Julien’s good looks, charm and willingness to help her out of a bad situation. I love that she didn’t transfer the money to his account. Lola is now the most up in the air character on the show. We’ve got 4 more episodes to go and anything could happen. I’m not sure what I want for Lola but I know it doesn’t involve Julien murdering her and/or the baby or having it revealed that she is carrying Francis’s child.

Mary – Wow, locked in the tower by her husband! Did not see that coming. I think that Mary was a little naïve in trusting her half- brother so whole hheartedly. He was the one who led that rebellion of the Lords of the Congregation after all. But on the other hand he did advise after her return to Scotland and maybe even helped in the plot against her second husband. I want Mary to return to Scotland but mostly to take her mother out of power and to be treated like the queen she is. The best thing about this episode was watching Mary grow into her powers and put those diplomacy lessons to good use with that cardinal.

Nostradamus – Can that man have anything? Of course he wasn’t going to get to run away from France and live happily ever after with Olivia but they could have made it work if she stayed. Death (at least in TV and movies) has a way of coming back around. If it is your time to go then it’s your time. Nostradamus of all people should know that. You can’t delay the inevitable. But his life has been so tragic I can understand wanting to give the woman you love any amount of time that you can for her to be happy. My hope is that he can forgive Catherine and they can go back to being scheming besties, the sooner the better.

Olivia – Bon Voyage! I liked what Olivia brought out in Nostradamus but she really wasn’t adding anything to the story. More than anything she was a distraction for Nostradamus. Now maybe he can get back to work on that ‘The Darkness’ thing and maybe just maybe get some new visions about Francis and/or Henry.

Penelope – Breathe a sigh of relief, Royals, “Queen” Penelope has been dethroned. At least she was smart enough to figure out that it was a trick but alas she is back in the kitchen where she belongs. I’m actually surprised Catherine didn’t have her kicked out of the castle and her family evicted from their thatched roof hovel in the village. Just think, if Penelope wouldn’t have picked on Kenna she still might be by Henry’s side right now.

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Awards


Character of the Night
• Francis

Best Character Interactions
• Grand Prize – Bash & Francis
• Runner up – Bash & Kenna

Most Memorable Moment
• Bash gives Kenna his grandmother’s ring. (That boy sure is trying to make it work and I find that honorable)

Line of the Night
• Mary: More Frenchmen, to solve the problem of not enough Scots?

Scene of the Night
• "Queen" Penelope gets "dethroned".

Favorite lady-in-waiting
• Kenna

That Awkward Moment Award
• That awkward moment when your best friend just can't be happy for you and force you to stay shackled to her evil behind. - Did Nostradamus really think that Catherine was just going to let him leave her employ? Not only is he a supposed seerer but he's known Catherine for quite awhile.

The ‘I Ship It Like FedEx’ Award
• You knew it was coming, it’s official, Kash is my new fun side ship (especially since Nostradamus & Olivia are over).

The ‘Ominous Foreshadowing’ Award
• Catherine: The land maybe soft and sweet but it is full of vipers.

Best Truth Bomb of the Night
• Mary: You fell in love with a girl, not a queen, otherwise you would let me be one.

The ‘Shots Fired’ Award
• Grand Prize – Kenna: I thought Diane de Poitiers came from money.
• Runner Up – This exchange made me feel bad for Francis for some reason, I could smell the salt as it was being poured into the gaping wound that is his pride...
Cardinal Morosini (happily and excitedly to Mary): Your Grace.
Cardinal Morosini (bored and unenthused to Francis): Dauphin. (Yep, Francis, you are still just the little prince for now, deal with it)


Highlights


Memorable Moments
• Mary reminds Francis that she and her country are one in the same.
• Henry takes off his crown because it itches.
• Greer and Kenna roll their eyes and act huffy when they hear it Henry enter the room they’re in.
• Henry is still hallucinating about that boy from last week and has reached the rare stress level that requires one to curl up into ball and rock back and forth.
• Bash and Kenna kiss.

Laudable Lines
• Greer: The Master of Horse and Hunt may not have any lands but at least he is young and handsome.
• Greer (to Kenna) Try not to be bitter on Lola’s special day.
• Henry: The waiting is horrible. I love it.
• Francis: There is a Mary on this coin but not MY Mary.
• Francis: What happens when being a good king means being a bad husband?
Bash: It’s simple, be a bad king.

Superb Scenes
• Catherine and the fake bishop dethrone “Queen” Penelope
• Bash and Francis talk about what whether or not being a good king should trump being a good husband.
• Francis tries to put Mary first and tells her that they will leave for Scotland as soon as possible.
• Lola and the banker talk about whether or not she is ready to transfer her dowry into her husband’s account.
• Francis tortures James’s footman.
• Bash comes to Kenna’s defense when Penelope takes the wedding ring he gave her.


Lowlights


• Not nearly enough Greer (again).
• We didn’t get to see Penelope working in the kitchen back in her rags where she belongs.
• Nostradamus is now left all alone in his shackled servitude to a wicked queen.
• What's the deal with The Darkness? This storyline has been jerking me around more than my dog's favorite tug-of-war rope toy, just spill the beans already! Not a mention, not an update? It' killing me.

Miscellaneous


Biggest Surprises of the Episode
• Nostradamus gets a vision about more death making it's way to the castle and it doesn't feature Francis or Henry, instead Olivia is the star of his vision.
• Penelope is ‘dethroned’ – I totally thought they were going to drag that out at least for one more episode.
• Francis locks Mary up in the tower to keep her from sailing to Scotland with her brother. - Wonder what the Royal equivalent of sleeping on the couch is because whatever that is, I have a feeling Francis is going to be doing that once Mary is released from the tower.

Style Spotlight: Another black and gold dress worn by Mary. That’s three times, which means it’s definitely a trend. That dress made Adelaide’s waist look insanely small, more tiny than usual.

Fun Fact: Joe Doyle is not the first person to play James Stewart. Patrick McGoohan played him in the 1971 film Mary, Queen of Scots.

Tasty Tidbit: It is reported that James was opposed to Mary’s second marriage to Lord Darnley.

History Lesson: They say that James Stewart was the most notable of the many illegitimate children of King James V of Scotland. His mother Lady Margaret Erskine was said to be the king’s favorite mistress.

Grade: A

Side Notes: I assumed that this episode took its title from the famous one act play of the same name that was written by Jean-Paul Sartre, it happens to be one of my favorite plays. The title in its original French can be translated to mean ‘in private’ or‘behind closed doors' and was used as legal jargon.
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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.

Also, pre-ordering the DVD/Blu-Ray and/or ordering season passes on iTunes are other ways that can show the network higher ups that this is and can continue to be a profitable endeavor.

Social Media Checklist:
• Have you liked Reign's official Facebook page?
• Do you make sure to visit the Facebook page at least once per week and leave comments and interact with other fans?
• Do you follow Reign's official Twitter account?
• Do you follow all of the show’s cast and crew that is on Twitter?
• Are you retweeting all relevant tweets from the cast and crew throughout the week?
• Do you live tweet with the show every Thursday using the show's hashtag (#Reign) as well as the episode tile hashtag between the hours of 7 PM EDT and 1 AM EDT?
• Are you checking in and leaving comments about the show on TV Tag?
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Shameless Plugs & Self-Promotion
If you like reading reviews and recaps about the following shows: 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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