Sunday, October 27, 2013

Reign (Episode 2)

Reign is a 2013 TV series, airing on the CW network, on Mary, Queen of Scots stay at the French court during the 1550s. The second episode attracted an audience of 1.83 million people.

Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots
Alan Van Sprang as King Henry II of France
Caitlin Stasey as Keanna

As it turns out, Collin was not actually executed! He was mistaken for a prisoner set to be tortured so instead, he spends his days on the rack. That is, until he is released by a mysterious hooded figure - the same figure who saved Mary's virtue in the previous episode.

Francis's younger brother, Charles, becomes engaged to Madeleine a french noble, Mary accompanies the two princes when the girl is retrieved. That night, the court is hosting a party in honor of the betrothal. It is there that Mary meets the English ambassador, Simon Westbrook. He is incredibly hostile to Scotland's alliance with France, leading Mary to believe that it was the English, who were behind her attempted rape.

From Charles, Mary learns of the existence of a girl named Clarissa, who lives in the secret passageways of the castle. It was probably she, who saved Mary from certain doom. When Mary returns to her rooms, she notices one of her ladies in waiting wearing her dress. The lady suddenly begins to scream in pain - it is poisoned! When Mary returns with help, there is no body to be found. Mary attempts to obtain information from Clarissa through a game of die. Clarissa gives her the key to Simon's room.

In Simon's bed, Mary finds the lady-in-waiting that was supposedly poisoned. It was all just a ruse on the part of the English to scare Mary out of an alliance with France. He reminds Mary that so long as she and Francis are not married, she is weak and powerless. Mary, however, stands firm against the English threat. Mary and Francis once again talk about the possibility of them marrying.

Colin's body is found by Sebastian in the forest. When Francis arrives, so do dark figures. Basch chants a few magic words and they all disappear into the dense brush. It is a pagan language and Basch reveals that Collin was sacrificed and he warns his half-brother not to go into the woods.

Keanna's and King Henry's relationship has come to a stalemate. Keanna wants to be more than just a mistress, feeling that by giving herself to the King, she would be compromised and unable to find herself a husband. But Henry demonstrates that being the King's favorite could expand her horizons instead of limiting them.

Francis confronts his Mother regarding the many plots against Mary, warning Queen Catherine that she is to leave Mary alone. He and Mary are now united, even though it is not yet in marriage, in order to stand up against her enemies. 

I give this episode 2/5. Perhaps it's because I have grown desensitized to how horrendously wrong this series is but I thought that this episode was better than the last. Having Collin escape, only to have him killed off again was pretty useless, in my opinion. Considering the target audience that the show is intended for and the overall tone of the first episode, I did not expect to see the darker scenes that were featured in this episode and it was a little off putting. I apologize for bashing on the White Queen's use of magic because it was leagues ahead of what Reign is trying to do. I suppose one of the episode's better moments was the developing romance between Francis and Mary - the acting is still terrible though. Will the show ever get a "fresh" rating? I highly doubt it but still, it didn't completely rain on my Thursday night viewing. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Reign (Episode 1)

Reign is a 2013 TV series, airing on the CW network, on Mary Queen of Scots stay at the French court during the 1550s. The show premiered on October 17th to an audience of 1.98 million.

Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots

Nostradamus has just had a startling premonition on the coming of the arrival of Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary has been staying at a convent in France for her protection since the age of 9. After one of the nuns was poisoned, the nuns decide to send Mary to the French court. It is high time that she meet and marry the Dauphin of France.

The French court is abuzz with the upcoming marriage between Princess Elisabeth and Philip II of Spain when Mary arrives with her gaggle of ladies-in-waiting. Mary is greeted by her father-in-law, Henry II of France, accompanied by his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, and illegitimate son, Sebastian. When Catherine arrives, Nostradamus tells her the meaning behind his dream; Mary will cause Francis's death. While Mary and Francis get along well, Francis has a mistress that controls his heart. Mary becomes introduced to Sebastian "Basch", after her dog goes missing.

Mary's lady-in-waiting, Lola, is in love with the son of a servant raised high by the name of Collin. They seek permission from Catherine de Medici to marry which Catherine grants, although at an unseen price. Before leaving for the wedding celebrations that night, Mary receives a warning not to drink the wine. Collin is the one to offer it. 

At the wedding, Mary and her ladies-in-waiting, lose their inhibitions and dance the night away. Later that evening, the group sneak in to see the consummation of the marriage. The girls then run off, their emotions having been stirred up from what they have seen. One of her group has a dalliance with King Henry. Mary and Francis have an argument over whether or not love plays a role in their upcoming marriage.

That night, Mary awakes to have Collin standing over her. She screams for help and he is dragged away and executed. Lola is much distressed over the loss of her love and blames Mary for her sorrows. Mary finds solace in Basch, who finds her lost dog. The next day, Mary and Francis get into another argument relating to the matters of the previous night. Francis is close to admitting his feelings but stop shorts.

It is revealed that it is Catherine de Medici and Nostradamus orchestrated the entire plot.

I give this episode 1/5. Let us start off by saying THIS SHOW IS INCREDIBLY HISTORICALLY INACCURATE. The White Queen is the Elizabeth R compared to Reign. There are so many things wrong with this, I do not know where to begin. The clothing and the mannerism are completely wrong. I complete agree with Catherine de Medici when she said, "We've got a bunch of Scots in".  They creates of the show chose to romanticize every character and in doing so ruins any grain of credibility it has. It's only slightly creepy that they painted the wedding night between a 13 year old Elisabeth and 30 some year old Phillip as one filled with passion. Nostradamus was no hunk, Francis was no dashing figure and Basch, the man on horseback, never existed. The forced love triangle was bland and boring. The acting was simply dreadful, absolutely cringe worthy. I will continue to review episodes weekly but I am not optimistic for the future.