Thursday, November 21, 2013

Reign (Episode 6)

Reign is a 2013 TV series, broadcasting on the CW network, on Mary, Queen of Scots stay at the French court during the 1550s. 

Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots
Alan Van Sprang as King Henry II of France
Torrance Coombs as Sebastian "Basch"

Tension is in the air as King Henry returns from Paris. Mary is in turmoil over her kiss with Basch's. Francis is torn between Olivia, Mary and his love for his older half-brother. Basch's world is turned upside down by the appearance of the pagans. Kenna is waiting for Henry to announce that she is his mistress to the world and discard Diane de Poitier. To her surprise, King Henry returns with Diane in hand.

Sebastian tells Francis and Mary of the butcher's visit the previous night as well as his reason for coming after Mary finds a cursed necklace in her room. He doesn't reveal that his mother, Diane de Poitier, dabbled in the pagan's dark arts and that he shares her connection to the heretics. Mary wakes to the sight of a stag's head hanging above her bed. Now, it is Catherine de Medici's problem. She won't have some heretic invading her room, threatening her guests.

Kenna reveals to her friends that she is Henry's mistress and she gets a luke warm reaction. They question her on whether or not Henry's affections are true and if he really has broken free of Diane's spell. After all, the tiles on the floor say, "DH". Kenna confronts her lover over the matter much to his annoyance. She begins to doubt his feelings for her until she sees his candle light display and this seemingly reaffirms their relationship. The jokes on her because Henry is still visiting Diane's bed.

To fulfill the requirements of the sacrifice, Basch brings a prisoner, who is incarcerated because he stole food for his family, into the forest to die. But it is all just a ploy, he lures the butcher out and kills him, thus fulfilling the prophecy. But because the prisoner now knows of his connection to the herectics, Basch pushes him off a cliff. Catherine finds out who it is that placed the stag's head on Mary's wall and Mary is almost assassinated by one of her ladies. The heretics are burned at the stake.

In light of all that has happened, while their betrothal still stands, Francis leaves Mary, in Basch's arm's, or so he thinks, and runs to Olivia's warm embrace. 

I give this episode 3/5. Alright, I'll admit it. This episode was not half bad. The tension in this episode is constant throughout and I really felt engaged. Coombs really steals the show this time around and Follows plays Queen Catherine well. Less Francis, more Basch! I watched his transformation from good to evil with a keen eye and it didn't feel too sudden like Tomas's was. The tension between Mary and Francis was good but I couldn't help but roll my eyes at him saying, "I'm doing this for France." Francis, please, I thought we were done with this nonsense. As usual, the weak point of the episode was the part on Mary's ladies-in-waiting. The amount of cheese in Henry's display for Kenna was balanced out by the revelation that he is still in love with Diane. AS SUSPECTED! If you can ignore all the usual problems with a Reign episode, this episode is moderately enjoyable.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Reign (Episode 5)

Reign is a 2013 TV series, broadcasting on the CW network, on Mary, Queen of Scots stay at the French court during the 1550s. 

Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots
Alan Van Sprang as King Henry II of France
Torrance Coombs as Sebastian "Basch"

Mary and Francis have entered into a new phase of their relationship together, where both speak freely to one another like a man to a woman. But things are thrown off course upon the arrival of a young noblewoman named Olivia. While travelling to court, Olivia's carriage was attacked by a pack of mysterious men.

When Mary inquires as to who this Olivia is, Sebastian explains that she was a close confidant of Francis. As it turns out, Olivia and Francis had been intimate before and upon this being discovered, Olivia's marriage with a nobleman falls through. Mary tries to be kind to Olivia but Olivia's hostility ends any chance of them ever being friends. Mary wants to send Olivia away.

Olivia convinces Francis to allow her to stay.This causes tension between his and Mary's relationship. She walks off in a fit of anger, venting it out to Basch. In her rashness, she kisses Sebastian - a kiss that is spotted by Francis.

Basch discovers the corpses of sacrificial victims in the forest and Nostradamus warns him that he has interrupted the ceremony and that terrible consequences will follow. That night he is visited by one of those mysterious men that had attacked Olivia earlier who tells him that another sacrifice is required.

Queen Catherine discovers that Aylee has in her possession a ring that belongs to Mary. Catherine assumes it to be theft and blackmails Aylee into sending Mary's letters to her mother, the Queen of France's way. Little does she know that this is all a ruse of Mary's part to see how deep her future mother-in-law's hatred for her is. Catherine is also behind Olivia's coming to court.

Greer's relationship with the kitchen boy is stalled as she cannot accept her feelings for the other boy due to his lowly status. She tries to find herself a good match but her attention always returns to the kitchen boy. In the end, wanting to live a life free of regrets, Greer accepts the kitchen boy's affections but they must keep their relationship a secret. Mary discovers that Kenna has become Henry's new mistress.

I give this episode 1.5/5. WARNING: I apologize if I come off rather rude- I have now officially dubbed the CW network as "Pretty people doing stupid s---". Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against looking at some eye candy. However, that is probably the last thing I'm looking for in my historical dramas. The darker elements of this episode were eclipsed by the hormonal teenage problems. This episode was very high school drama heavy as we focus on the "The Ex-girlfriend has returned" trope. I find it ironic that Mary constantly says she just wants to be a normal woman and Francis a normal man because the way they are acting, you'd think they were both teenage high school students rather than princes and princesses.

The little subplots of the  ladies-in-waiting is most tedious. Yet another girl to be added to the endless list of girls. Mary's reaction to discovering that Kenna has given herself to Henry is captured in one minute and lacks any of the emotions that would be running through my head after I just learned that one of my friends had compromised themselves. Greer's romance was rather dull. It tried to capture a teenage love-hate relationship but came off as contrived. It's romantic when a guy has to help you wipe out a stain on your dress, it is something else when all he really is doing is swatting your breast. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Reign (Episode 4)

Reign is a 2013 TV series, broadcasting on the CW network, on Mary, Queen of Scots stay at the French court during the 1550s. 

Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots
Alan Van Sprang as King Henry II of France
Torrance Coombs as Sebastian "Basch"

Tomas is bold in his advances towards Mary, upsetting Francis. Mary wishes to seal the alliance between Portugal and Scotland but King Henry refuses to break off Scotland's commitment to France. He only frees her from this commitment when she agrees to support a witness in the case of Lord Simon against the French Crown for the attempted murder of Sebastian.

Mary and Francis find it hard to fight their growing attraction for one another and they sneak off for an evening rendezvous.When Tomas discovers this, he is furious! He asserts that as Mary's fiance, he now controls her. He is completely changed in his character.

Francis becomes suspicious of Tomas and begins to investigate. He discovers that Tomas had every reason in wanting Basch's venture to fail as he needed Mary to increase his prestige as the future King of Portugal. After receiving a tip from Clarissa, the resident "ghost", Mary begins to think that Simon is actually innocent to the charges laid against him. Her suspicions are confirmed upon closer examination of the witness.

The Dauphin and his half-brother confront Tomas, which becomes violent in its nature. Basch is still recovering from his wounds from last episode so it's up to Francis to stop Tomas. In the ensuing struggle, Francis kills Tomas. This is Francis's first kill and it has clearly upset him.

Lord Simon Westbrook is cleared of all charges. Tomas's death is attributed to a hunting accident where the Prince of Portugal sacrificed his life to save the Dauphin. The alliance with Scotland is renewed with a new player in the mix, Mary, herself. Francis approaches the marriage with thoughts of his happiness as well as France's happiness.

Basch and Lola shared a moment in this episode when she visited him during his recuperation. Greer and her kitchen boy lover steal a kiss during the masked ball. Kenna and the King finally consummate their relationship after some discord over her position as his mistress.

I give this episode 2/5. Every episode so far has featured a new romance. Episode one feature Lola and Colin. Episode 2 was Kenna and King Henry. Episode 3 was Greer and the kitchen boy. Episode 4 features Lola 2.0 and Basch. There are too many characters in this show! It becomes incredibly hard to pay attention to all these little developments especially when it comes to Mary's ladies-in-waiting. Although I will admit, I am glad the "will they, won't they" relationship between Kenna and Henry has been resolved. Don't get me wrong, I still don't approve of their relationship but the writers had stretched that plot point for so long that I was just about as frustrated as Henry was over the situation. 

I "love" how they just gloss over Tomas's death. As if there wouldn't be any investigation into the death of the possible heir to the Portuguese throne. He was killed by a stag, let's accept that as the god given truth despite the fact that it honestly does look like he was stabbed, oh well. I did think that Tomas's transition was a little too sudden because it was never mentioned before but I'll let it slide because it was all "part of the plan."

Friday, November 1, 2013

Reign (Episode 3)

Reign is a 2013 TV series, broadcasting on the CW network, on Mary, Queen of Scots stay at the French court during the 1550s. The show continues with the shows slow decline in viewers, with 1.57 million people watching the third episode.

Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots
Alan Van Sprang as King Henry II of France
Torrance Coombs as Sebastian "Basch"

Mary and her ladies are sitting in the garden, discussing their first kiss. Greer has yet to have her first kiss but she is hoping to give it to Prince Tomas, the bastard son of the King of Portugal. Their conversation is interrupted by a maid, who informs Mary that her Uncle is in France. Claude de Guise questions his niece as to why she and Francis are not married yet. Scotland needs an alliance to help her protect her borders from England. Mary asks King Henry for military aid but the King refuses, despite his eldest son's pleading.

Mary meets Tomas while he is out on a walk with Greer. Desperate for foreign support, Mary tries to negotiate with Tomas. To her surprise, Tomas proposes to her, promising to offer her military support. Tomas reveals that the King of Portugal plans on legitimizing him, thereby guaranteeing that his offer of marriage to Mary is sound. All of this happens under Greer's nose and so, she goes ahead with her plan to have a romantic midnight picnic with Tomas. She is helped out by a friendly cook in the kitchens.

At the ball that night, Mary and her ladies have their fortunes read by Nostradamus. It does not bode well. Francis becomes upset over Mary dancing with Tomas at the ball. Francis finally convinces his Father to support Mary's cause through the use of blackmail, regarding Henry's relationship with Kenna. Henry sends Sebastian to deliver the message to the troops but the next day, he has returned to the castle, bleeding - something Nostradamus predicted.

Mary and Francis share their first kiss together but Henry has reneged on his support for Scotland. Mary agrees to Tomas's proposal. Heartbroken, Greer shares her first kiss with the cook from earlier.

I give this episode 1/5. Something in this episode that bothered that I never noticed in the earlier episodes was just how terrible the dialogue was. At the beginning of the episode, a little farmer boy comes across an English soldier and offers him breakfast. The soldier's response, "You're gonna need a lot of eggs." WHAT?! I'm sorry, WHAT?! Ahahahahahahahahahhahahaha! Were you trying to be intimidating there? Every time the show tries to give a character a strong tone, it comes off as terrible one liner.

The dialogue comes across incredibly forced and the flirting was absolutely terrible. I don't think the man who plays Prince Tomas is an actor. I think he was an Abercrombie model that the producers hired because he has a "sexy" accent, which will attract all the girls. The plot took itself to a whole new low with the cliched love story between Francis, Mary and Thomas (or a rectangle if you include Basch). The whole legitimizing a bastard concept, simply does not work for me. I know the writers want to connect to their teenage audience but I feel absolutely no sympathy for Kenna because the man she might be having relations with is a married man with children...HER AGE.

At this point in the show, Mary's ladies-in-waitings should never inform Mary of their love lives because Mary will always screw it up! The show's main problem is that it goes between two different genres.  There's Mary's plot in which has a dark, Tudor-esque theme and then you have plot involving her ladies-waitings which is  teenage drama of "Is Lord Bobby gonna ask me out to prom?".