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Reign - Blood in the Water - Review

16 Jun 2017

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Reign “Blood in the Water” was written by the team of Drew Lindo and Wendy Riss Gatsiounis and was directed by Charles Biname. I can’t believe that there’s only one episode to go. I’m really hoping that the last episode doesn’t suddenly just sum up half of Mary’s (Adelaide Kane) life in the last 10 minutes. I feel like there is just so much story left to tell – and so much was set up in this episode – not just with Mary but also in France.

In France, Leesa (Anastasia Phillips) returns and is apparently ok with Charles (Spencer Macpherson) marrying Nicole (Ann Pirvu). Henry (Nick Slater) and Claude (Rose Williams) are understandably not happy to see their brother getting better treatment than they did! Catherine (Megan Follows) is immediately suspicious that Leesa is up to something – in addition to her bringing an entire wagon full of witches to be burned at the stake – presumably as a wedding entertainment!

Charles breaks the news that he can’t give Luc (Steve Lund) and Claude the annulment he’d promised because he now has to court the Vatican and Spain’s good favor for his own marriage. Luc tells Claude to go to Leith anyway and be happy.

Leesa goes to Henry, who is understandably still angry, and she assures him that nothing has changed. Spain has chosen him and is sending the Armada. Henry tells Nicole and promises that she will be his Queen. Nicole makes Henry promise that Charles won’t be harmed before she’ll agree to go with him to hide on one of the Spanish ships. For his own part, Henry tells her that he’s sure that Charles will just step down because he never wanted to be King. It seems like Henry does believe that – though Charles’ recent behavior sure makes it seem like he wants to be King…

Charles sees Henry and Nicole go to the Spanish ships and assumes that Henry has kidnapped Nicole. He arrives with guards and throws Leesa into the dungeon for treason!

There is a lovely scene between Catherine and Claude, who has been missing all the excitement. Claude is heartbroken as she went to Leith as Luc told her to only to discover that Leith is getting married! Claude tells Catherine that she tried so hard to keep her promise only to lose Leith anyway. Catherine, wisely, tells her that it’s one thing to keep her promise because she wants to be good and honorable but that isn’t the same as keeping her promise because she truly loves someone. In other words, it shouldn’t have been so hard to keep her promise if she really loved Leith. She tells Claude that maybe she doesn’t love Leith as much as she thinks she does and reminds her that she does still have a husband who truly values her. Claude looks thoughtful.

In one of the best scenes in the episode, we get some classic Catherine as she visits Leesa in the dungeon. Catherine is happy to tell Leesa that the Armada isn’t coming to France – they’re too busy dealing with England. Leesa is on her own. Catherine tells her that Charles is angry. Leesa begs her mother to help her, and Catherine agrees – but it’s going to cost Leesa – and Spain! – a long list of favors.

Charles is not happy with Catherine for letting Leesa out. Catherine tells him that he can thank her for averting a war. Charles insists that he is going to crush Henry because he’s tarnished Nicole. Catherine has no patience for Charles. She tells him that he only wants to destroy Henry because two are rivals over Nicole.

In the final scene in France, Catherine goes to the witch Emanuelle (Catherine Berube) in the dungeon with the book of dark magic. She enlists her help – and you just know that is not going to end well.

In England, we see that Jane (Megan Hutchings) has brought her family a box full of French luxuries, telling them that the gifts are from Elizabeth (Rachel Skarsten) with whom she’s grown very close. The next time Jane goes to visit her family, we find out that the gifts were from Narcisse (Craig Parker) for Jane helping him to murder Gideon – and Narcisse has taken her family hostage to ensure her continued compliance. Narcisse demands that Jane push Elizabeth to kill the Archduke.

Elizabeth is still in mourning after 47 days. She is convinced that the Archduke killed Gideon because he was jealous. In fact, Elizabeth tells Jane that the only two people it could have been were Jane and the Archduke. She assumes Jane had no reason to do it and that Jane knew what Elizabeth would do to her family if she betrayed her. But Jane does look worried.

Elizabeth enlists the help of Sir Francis Drake (Richard Fleeshman) to steal the Archduke’s gold – and ruin his family. Fleeshman was not especially impressive. Drake, of course, did historically act as a privateer (pirate) from time to time, so he has no problem agreeing to help Elizabeth. However, in the end, he does end up in trouble when he runs afoul of Spanish ships after having plundered the Archduke’s ship. By the time he encounters the Spanish, Drake is once again flying British colors, so when they want to board, and he sinks one of the ship instead, they know it’s the British to blame. So, now we have the beginning of the war between Britain and Spain that really created the legend of Elizabeth and made Britain a world leader.

Elizabeth has taken note that Jane’s family seems to be missing. She calls Jane in to her and asks Jane what she should do about the Archduke. Jane tells her to kill him. When Elizabeth asks Jane if she’s willing to help kill him, Jane says yes. It was the final evidence that Elizabeth needed – Jane was willing to kill a man for nothing. Elizabeth sends her off to the Tower to answer to the interrogators.

Finally, in Scotland, Mary is ready to have the baby – we get a lovely scene with Greer (Celina Sinden) and that gigantic Irish Wolfhound of Mary’s! Mary has some good news for Greer and tells her that she’s called James (Dan Jeannotte) back to court to name him Regent if anything happens to Mary. Will Greer finally get some happiness? Greer, however, has less good news about Darnley’s (Will Kemp) current behavior.

Mary goes to Darnley, who has made an adorable toy horse for the baby. Mary realizes that Darnley has syphilis and that has caused his erratic behavior. She tells him she wants to help and sends him for treatment, wondering if this has been the cause of his insanity and cruelty all along.

Bothwell (Adam Croasdell) is all for simply locking Darnley away and letting the disease kill him. Mary refuses, insisting that Darnley is her husband and the King. Bothwell insists that he is fated to be with her. She insists that he is her most trusted friend and protector, but all he can be is her bodyguard.

Lady Lennox (Nola Augustson) is angry with Mary for sending Darnley away, and arguing with her sends Mary into labor. Lady Lennox can’t leave well enough alone and because she really cares more about power than her son, she has Darnley removed from the treatment that is actually helping. She even brushes off his delusions of Keira (Sara Garcia).

Naturally, Mary’s labor is life threatening. While the scene was emotionally charged, I couldn’t help but groan when Bothwell convinces Mary not to give up, and she gives one final push – to a previously stuck baby – who then just slides out, easy peasy.

Bothwell goes to Mary after the birth. He is going to leave her in peace when she tells him that it was his voice that guided her back. She’s seen that she’s done it all wrong. The danger lies in being apart. Her enemies will gossip and plot regardless of what she does, so she’s decided to spend the rest of her life with the ones she loves. Greer interrupts them to give them the news that Lady Lennox has organized the Privy Council and shifted the power.

Lady Lennox addresses the Privy Council for Darnley. Mary bursts in and wants to talk to Darnley alone. However, Darnley thinks Mary just wants to take his child away. Lady Lennox insists that they’ll accuse Mary of giving Darnley syphilis, and it’s clear that Darnley is slipping back into madness.

Mary seems to be giving up and writes a letter to Elizabeth. This is one of Kane’s best scenes – and wonderfully written. Mary tells Elizabeth that they are still family and informs her that she’s had a baby. He is her duty and her heir. She asks Elizabeth that if anything happens to her, to protect her son. In exchange, Mary promises not to move against England. And then she asks Elizabeth that if she decides to remain the Virgin Queen, make her son King of England and Scotland. That is, of course, what happens historically – James I becomes the King of Scotland and James IV of England – but Elizabeth never clearly endorsed the succession.

Darnley manages to convince the baby’s nanny to leave him alone with the baby – he is still King after all. He is clearly in the throes of madness again, as he is talking to Keira and asserting that the two of them will take good care of the baby. The final scene in Scotland is Mary discovering that Darnley has taken her baby and run off!

So, the final episode will have to deal with the kidnapping of the baby, the beginning of the Anglo-Spanish war, and the struggle between Henry and Charles for the crown in France. Seems like an awful lot to pack into one episode, to say nothing of the last few decades of Mary’s life! What are you hoping to see in the final episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!