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Reign - Banished - Review

Reign, “Banished,” was written by Chelsey Lora and was directed by Larysa Kondracki, whose impressive credits include The Walking Dead, Covert Affairs, and Rogue. This is Lora’s first writing credit, and it’s a great start! The title resonates throughout the episode. We see Catherine (Megan Follows) banish her ghosts and Bash (Torrance Coombs) banish his mother, Diane (Anna Walton). But, of course, the real banishment is that of Greer (Celina Sinden) for her complicity in Castleroy’s giving money to the Protestant rebels.

This was a fast-paced episode with a lot going on and some very good performances. Mary (Adelaide Kane) tells Francis (Toby Regbo) that she saw him sleeping with Lola (Anna Popplewell) and the baby when she returned to the castle. She also immediately tells him she knows nothing is going on, but that she does regret that she can’t bring him the same kind of peace. I was very relieved that Mary remained sensible and didn’t jump to ludicrous assumptions. In fact, even while she is have trouble with physical contact, she does offer to work with Francis in parceling out Narcisse’s (Craig Parker) land.

It was great to see Parker back, and even better to see how he must bow and scrape and basically grovel! I do have to wonder if he may now be the man he pretended to be for Lola – will there be a chance for them now?

It’s because of the land that Diane returns to court. There is no love lost between Diane and Kenna (Caitlin Stasey), especially after Bash gives the Duchy to his mother! This episode revisits a theme that the show has examined before and does very well. All of the women are at the mercy of the men around them. Both Diane and Kenna used and manipulated Henry (Alan Van Sprang) to try to secure their futures. Kenna finally reveals to Bash that she did love his father – something she’s held back so as not to hurt him. Bash is furious when he learns that Kenna revealed Diane’s plan to have him legitimized, but Kenna tells him, “You have no idea what it’s like to be a girl in this world. Owning nothing, having no power except the effect you have on men.” Both Stasey and Coombs are great in this scene. Bash is infuriating in his refusal to let the past go.

Greer is ruined because of Castleroy. Francis reminds Mary that if there is any talk of her and Conde (Sean Teale) she will be in danger because the paternity of their children could be called into question – just like Diane and Bash with Kenna. Mary, of course, rails against this double standard, saying “it sounds like a man trying to tighten his grip.” Yet, she later agrees with Francis. Kane is terrific in this scene – as well as in the quarterstaff scene.

I very much liked the quarterstaff fight between Conde and Francis. It was well choreographed, and I loved the reactions from the women. Possibly the last time we’ll see all the ladies-in-waiting together. Greer is the first to realize that Francis and Conde are angry about something, but it’s Kenna to realize that they are fighting over Mary. In fact, Mary has to step in to prevent them from degenerating to fists. Mary realizes the truth about Conde’s threat to their rule and her safety and asks a favor of Lola.

I loved the scene between Lola and Conde. Popplewell is absolutely fierce in this scene. I loved that she scolds him. She tells him that he’s “started harmful gossip with your male pride!” Lola offers herself as a possible match for Conde. She tells him, “I don’t care if your heart doesn’t lead you to me, but I won’t have it lead you to Mary.” And it’s her fierceness – one of the things he admires in Mary that leads Conde to agree.
I also really liked that we continue to see Bash develop as the resident court sleuth. Claude (Rose Williams) comes to Bash to solve the mystery of the twins’ death. It looks at first like it was the nanny, and she even thinks she did it. Of course, in the end, it was Diane in a jealous rage. I liked the clever way that Bash pulled the dates together using the piece of stained glass.
Megan Follows was amazing in this episode as she walks the fine line between sanity and insanity. Bash manages to find her in the snow before she can kill herself and tells her the truth. Catherine still feels guilty, mainly because of the damage done to their children because of her terrible marriage. Of course, the shocker of the episode is Catherine bashing Diane over the head with the shovel and then strangling her with the necklace Henry had given her. It’s a terrific performance – as is her banishing the ghosts.

The final scene with Greer is also terrific. Mary can offer her nothing except her life. It’s a hard blow after Greer had sacrificed true love and come from nothing to end up even worse than she started. I have to say I’m most disappointed to lose her. I also hope we aren’t going to have Leith (Jonathan Keltz) mooning after her to sleep in musty barns together.

By the end of the episode, Mary and Francis seem to be the only couple left standing. Francis offers to watch over Mary while she sleeps, and she actually agrees. This is another great scene. She admits that appearances do matter – especially if you are a woman!

What did you think of the episode? How long do you think Greer will be gone from court? Do you think that Catherine should be punished for killing Diane? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

About the Author - Lisa Macklem
I do interviews and write articles for the site in addition to reviewing a number of shows, including Supernatural, Arrow, Agents of Shield, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Forever, Defiance, Bitten, Glee, and a few others! Highlights of this past year include covering San Diego Comic Con as press and a set visit to Bitten. When I'm not writing about television shows, I'm often writing about entertainment and media law in my capacity as a legal scholar. I also work in theatre when the opportunity arises. I'm an avid runner and rider, currently training in dressage.