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Reign - Three Queens, Two Tigers - Review

Reign returned for its third season with “Three Queens, Two Tigers,” written by showrunner Laurie McCarthy and directed by Holly Dale. It’s nice to see women represented both behind and in front of the camera on this show, especially when this episode continues the tradition of looking at what women faced in the time period, even when they were Queens. This episode also features a pirate and a tiger – so win/win, right?

As the episode opens, Mary (Adelaide Kane) is dancing with her ladies when Francis (Tony Regbo) crashes the party and spirts her away. They make passionate love, and Francis insists that nothing is more important. He’s clearly determined to make the most of the little time he has left. But he also knows that if he dies before Mary can bear an heir, he will leave her very vulnerable. Even as a Queen, her value is more as a mother than as a ruler.

Meanwhile, Catherine (Megan Follows) has ingratiated herself with Queen Elizabeth (Rachel Skarsten). I like that the fashions at the English court are quite different than the French court and actually slightly more historically correct. I did feel like Skarsten’s hair often didn’t look its best, however. Skarsten herself made a good start with the part having to show both a strong ruler side and also showing her passionate side with Dudley (Charlie Carrick).

Catherine’s initial plan is to have French couriers reveal Mary’s adultery to the Pope. She councils Elizabeth to turn the Pope against Mary, thus securing Scotland for herself. Unfortunately, the Pope is more interested in having a foothold in Scotland and has Catherine’s witnesses murdered. Follows is always wonderful to watch as the scheming Catherine. At English court she has to be absolutely ingratiating and it’s clear it grates on her.

Catherine’s second gambit is to marry Elizabeth to Charles (Spencer MacPherson). Because he is a Prince, he won’t diminish Elizabeth’s position, she’ll still be the one ruling. Elizabeth has hesitated to marry because she didn’t want to have to give up any of her power, but also couldn’t be seen to be marrying beneath her station. Of course, Catherine also knows of Elizabeth’s love for Dudley. With a child-groom, she promises Elizabeth at least ten years to enjoy her lover. Sounds like a deal with the Devil, doesn’t it? This plan comes to nothing when it turns out that Francis has already called Charles back to French court. Charles seems about as well-behaved as Claude.

I quite enjoyed the Elizabeth and Dudley scenes, and they have very good chemistry. However, I didn’t find Clara Pasieka as Amy Dudley was very strong. She was a little better in her second scene in which she’s clearly trying to get pregnant to keep her husband. Tom Everett Scott also joins the cast as Elizabeth’s advisor William, and he was very good. I’m looking forward to seeing more from him.

Meanwhile, the court is thinking that Catherine is in France until her decoy’s (Rebecca Davey) lover meets with an unfortunate end. Which is hilarious! Of course, when the decoy then kills herself, the cat is out of the bag and Mary quickly surmises that the woman can’t be Catherine because she would never feel remorse over a lover – to the extent of harming herself.

There are several wonderful scenes between Mary and Francis. I was both surprised and impressed when he actually told her the truth, that he was dying. He also tells her that every moment matters and he is clearly determined to find joy in every possible way. Having him making a boat is a bit on the nose, but does lead to the very romantic scene of the two sailing about together. Regbo is simply wonderful in these scenes, and he will be sorely missed. Kane is also impressive.

Meanwhile, Scotland is again in peril and Mary turns to privateers – pirates to be exact – for help. Martin’s (Saamer Usmani) entrance, complete with tiger! – is quite impressive. Usmani is excellent as the charismatic and philandering swashbuckler. He sets his sights on Greer, and she is intrigued enough to play along. However, she ends up falling for him – trouble is, he’s been playing both sides against the middle and has also made similar promises to two other women. However, it was interesting that he – unlike Leith – was prepared to allow Greer to continue her business. While Greer is offended that he merely proposed to her to get her into bed because he like high-born women, she is clearly still attracted to him as she hides in the battlements watching him leave.

This theme of unrequited or thwarted love also turns up in the Narcisse (Craig Parker) and Lola (Anna Popplewell) storyline. I’m very much enjoying their story as both are terrific and they do have great chemistry. Narcisse says he would never hurt Lola, yet she remains unconvinced and it’s hardly a surprise. After all, he hurt her pretty badly. Francis forbids Lola from having a relationship with Narcisse. Lola decides to test Narcisse – and defy Francis – and turns up in a bath in his rooms. Parker is excellent in both of these scenes. I’m really pulling for him to become the good guy he seems capable of being for Lola. Narcisse gently refuses her offer of being casual sexual partners and tells her that he’s prepared to wait.

Bash (Torrance Coombs) is trying to hunt down Delphine (Alexandra Ordolis). The bond that she promised between the two of them is clearly strong as we see abrasions caused by her being tied up manifest on Bash’s wrists. She drugs his wine and comes to him in his bed. She maintains that she is not a witch, that she didn’t burn merely because she’d coated herself with a special ointment. There was one close up of her fingers in which they looked like they were made of wax, so perhaps, that was the special coating. Regardless, she tells him that she didn’t commit the murder and that there is a murderer within the castle who will kill again – she’s felt his urges.

My absolutely favorite scene from this episode was Catherine’s being dragged back to France – under pretense of a meeting between Elizabeth and Mary. Catherine continues to protest that she was simply trying to create an alliance. Follows is utterly fantastic when she’s put in the cage beside the tiger. Who knew she could do terror so well! I love the last shot of her peering daggers through the bars at Mary.

I thought this was a really good start to the season. It will be interesting to continue the contrast between the two courts. What did you think of the episode? Do you like the addition of Elizabeth? Do you feel that the show should have prolonged Francis’ life? What was your favorite scene/development in the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Enter Pirate, accompanied by tiger. Best entrance ever?

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, Agent Carter, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The X-Files, Defiance, Bitten, Killjoys, and a few others! I'm active on the Con scene when I have the time. 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.
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