Sunday, October 26, 2014

Reign (S2E04)

Reign is a 2013-2014 TV series, airing on the CW network, on Mary, Queen of Scots and her marriage to her first husband, King Francis II of France. The third episode of the second season garnered an audience of 1.26 million people.

Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots
Torrance Coombs as Sebastian "Basch"
Anna Popplewell as Lola

The time has come for the christening of Lola and Francis's child. Lola is concerned by Mary's lack of anger of the actions resulting in the birth of her son. Lord Narcisse comes to court with his new bride who Lola recognizes as Estelle, the girl who took her in when she was in labour. The last time that she had seen Narcisse and Estelle the latter had been placed in a cage. Estelle hands Lola a secret note begging the Lady to help her. Mary reveals the she is pregnant with Francis's baby and news quickly spreads around court. 

Their marriage has not been consummated yet but Estelle has heard rumors of his treatment of his previous wives and she is utterly terrified. Lola promises to do whatever she can for Estelle but Mary believes that they should act on the side of caution, leading to a dispute between the two women. Lola decides to act against Mary's wishes and botches Estelle's escape. When all hope is lost, Mary steps in and they send Estelle off to a safe place. Mary and Lola put their differences aside and Lola asks Mary to be godmother to her son. 

The stress of the day takes its toll on Mary and she miscarries. Conde helps her during her time of needs but she hides the fact that she has lost the child until after the christening. A maid informs Lola that Estelle committed suicide shortly after arriving at the safe location, believing that her parents had been calling out to her. Narcisse and Lola settle the rumors spread about him over Estelle's dead body. Narcisse had kept her in the cage because Estelle believed that her parents wanted her to join them and had attempted suicide before. Narcisse did not play a role in the death of his other wives as previously thought. 

Greer is left in a state of limbo over Lord Castleroy's departure. Castleroy informs her that he no longer wishes to jeopardize his happiness with her and is going to call the whole thing off. Greer wavers between Castleroy and Leith but eventually comes to the decision that Castleroy, beyond just his financial assets, is the best choice. Castleroy is hesitant but the couple consummate their relationship. 

I give this episode 1/5. Did this episode further the plot in any way? Mary and Lola weren't mad at each other before and by the end of it they're not bad at each other anymore. Lola has a baby and Mary didn't and by the end of the episode, Lola still has a child and Mary doesn't anymore. Greer's plotline is the only one that progressed and it went in a really weird way, mainly due to the terribly acted love scene by Celina Sinden. It was just so awkward. And this only progressed somewhat seeing as she was already with Castleroy in the first place. Shining light on Narcisse's character was done poorly. "HER DEFIANCE WILL BE THE END OF HER!" He said....lovingly. When Narcisse was talking about his second wife who was a hemophiliac I thought to myself 1) How do you know what that is in the 1500s 2) DAMN GIRL, YOU ARE SO UNLUCKY! Keep in mind I did my extended essay on Hemophilia and the British Royal Family so I know a thing or two about the disease and you'd have to have a FATHER who is a hemophiliac and a MOTHER who is at the very least a carrier to be female with hemophilia. HOW UNLUCKY CAN YOU BE?!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Reign (S2E03)

Reign is a 2013-2014 TV series, airing on the CW network, on Mary, Queen of Scots and her marriage to her first husband, King Francis II of France. The third episode of the second season garnered an audience of 1.36 million people.

Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots
Torrance Coombs as Sebastian "Basch"

Catherine arranges lavish ceremonies in preparation for Francis's coronation much to the dismay of Mary and Francis, who feel that such displays are distasteful after France was decimated by the plague. As Narcisse has delayed on delivering his grain, Francis and Mary try other French options, ie Lord Ducasse, but Narcisse is quick to put an end to this. They seek help from a German duke, Herr Schuler, who offers them grain in return for the freedom of Protestant prisoners imprisoned by Henry II. Herr Schuler becomes impatient with waiting for their pardon so Mary agrees to free the prisoners without Francis. Francis is angered by Mary's actions as it undermines his position at court. When Herr Schuler comes to free the prisoners, all of them have mysteriously disappeared. As it turns out, Conde was the one who had them smuggled out. With some convincing by Mary, he returns them and all is well.

Kenna becomes embarrassed by Basch's lack of formal home after the Plague especially when Lola has just been rewarded with a summer home in light of her being the mother of Francis's only son. Lady Barnard offers to help Kenna gain some land for cheap, however, it is revealed that this is in fact a bribe to get Basch to stop investigating a murder Lord Barnard has committed. Basch informs his wife that he means to pursue justice but Kenna burns the evidence as she fears retribution if Basch continues to ruffle the nobles' feathers.

Francis calls upon the aid of a summoner to confirm that the wet nurse was indeed possessed by the soul of his dead father. Henry knows that it was Francis who killed him. Francis and Mary have their coronation and are now King and Queen of France, ceremony and all.

I give this episode 2.75/5. The writers are getting SOME political nuance in there and I give them credit for that. I really liked the scene where Francis confronts Mary on weakening his position in the public eye - this show actually has brains for once? But there are still a bunch of stupid points throughout the episode. The wet nurse possessed by the soul of Henry is still ridiculous but it wasn't quite as funny as it was before. The conversation between Catherine and Narcisse was a little iffy. I'm aware of that Catherine de Medici wasn't especially fond of Mary, Queen of Scots. However, considering the main objective of the royal family is to propagate the royal dynasty, so trying to stop Mary from conceiving would be a little counter intuitive. True, if Mary were to give Francis an heir, Catherine's position would wane a little but we must always keep in mind that Catherine is Francis's mother - she is the mother of a King. The sex scene at the end was a little jarring. It came out of no where and I was just thought to myself 'Okay then...'. It was poorly done from a directing stand point as there was a point where I thought, 'She's on top of him waiting for the camera guy to say action so they can kiss...did you just reuse the same shot? . Progress is key. Still hoping for the best. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Reign (S2E02)

Reign is a 2013 TV series, airing on the CW network, on Mary, Queen of Scots and her marriage to her first husband, King Francis II of France. The second episode of the second season garnered an audience of 1.09 million people.

Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots
Torrance Coombs as Sebastian "Basch"

Francis, Lola and their child return to the castle, renewing Mary's anxieties over her lack of providing an heir. With Francis came Lord Narcisse, devastated over the news of his son's, Lord Edward's, death. He confronts Catherine over some discrepancies in Nostradamus's diagnosis, ultimately discovering the truth. Despite Mary's guarantee of his safety, Narcisse has Nostradamus arrested and sentenced to be hang, drawn and quartered.

Lord Castleroy is devastated by his daughter's murder and blames Leith for placing her in such a dangerous position. He accuses Leith of only using his daughter for her position, something previously told to him by Greer. Greer feels terrible for what she has done and tries to make amends. Castleroy reveals that he is leaving on a trip for an extended period of time and this will be a test to see if Greer is actually his.

Now it is Mary's turn to note some discrepancies in the Narcisse family story. She soon realizes that Edward was actually working on the orders of his father when her murdered the Valent family. His true reason for murdering Valent was that the two had killed a cardinal together and Valent became consumed by guilt over the affair. He had meant to confess his crimes but Edward had put an end to that. However, Mary comes to know this by means of confession and therefore she has no substantial evidence. 

Conde sides with Francis in the matter of Narcisse and Narcisse accuses him of being a Huegenot. Conde does not admit to this, he does say that he is against the corruption of the Catholic Church. He is present at Nostradamus's execution as a show of protest against. But the execution is stopped by Francis's timely intervention with a "confession" he discovered written by Lord Valent - actually just a forgery - and Narcisse agrees to halt pardon Nostradamus for some land.  As it turns out, that land is or was Leith's. Nostradamus decides to leave court.

Sebastian warns Mary and Basch of souls that couldn't find peace, souls that want to return. Francis is visited by his father's ghost and is labelled, "Usurper".

I give this episode 2.75/5. I know I said that I would try to keep scores +/- 0.5 so that they're easy to read but, while this episode is better than the season premiere, I just couldn't bring myself to give it a three. I'm sorry. I like that this show is trying to do intrigue but they just don't do it that well. I didn't buy it for a second that there was this giant conspiracy going on. I don't care about the Leith-Greer-Castleroy love triangle, I just don't. However, I loved the twist at the end where the land that Francis gave away was Leith's - although I should have suspected it considering he has never worked that land before. I'm interested in what they're going to do about the Huegenot plot line with Conde but considering that Francis dies in 1560, I don't know how far it will actually go. I don't mind the supernatural plotline for once but the end was a little ridiculous. The ghost of Henry II enters into a the wet nurse's body and asks Francis "Don't you recognize your own father?". If I were Francis I would have bursted out laughing and replied, "No, I don't Dad. You got a big ol' pair of boobs now."

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Reign (S2E01)

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 season premiered on October 2, 2014 to an audience 1.01 million people.

Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots
Torrance Coombs as Sebastian "Basch"
Anna Popplewell as Lola

The Black Death has returned to France! With Francis away from court to find Lola and her baby, Mary and Catherine are left behind to try and deal with the crisis. The two Queens decide to place the castle under lock down.  Lord Edward demands that Mary and Catherine have Lord Valent murdered albeit subtly via infection and for leverage, he informs them that he controls deliveries of food to court. The two differing values of Mary and Catherine clash over what is to be done about Edward's demands. Catherine falls ill, through the handiwork of Nostradamus, and Mary uses this opportunity to put an end to Edward's plan. In the end, Mary's plans are foiled when Edward reveals that he has already posioned the entire Valent household. Mary punishes Edward for his actions by having him locked in the catacombs so that he may be exposed to the plague and die.

Right and left, people are dying from the Plague and it is up to Basch to contain the outbreak in the castle. Kenna tries to protect Pascal from the disease but he becomes exposed and dies. Basch becomes exposed as well and he slowly begins to lose his sanity as the days wear on. A ghost warns him of the reckoning that will follow due to all the people who have lost their lives from the Plague along with other souls who died violently. Basch and Kenna reunited after this troubling time.

Leith continues to pursue a relationship with Yvette, Lord Castleroy's daughter, much to Greer's dismay. Leith and Yvette make plans to sneak away for a midnight rendez-vous. But it is never to be as Yvette stayed the night with the Valents and unfortunately, she was one of the victims of Edward's dastardly crime.

With the Plague spreading throughout all the countryside, Francis decides to move Lola further north where the disease has not yet affected the population. They are aided in their journey by Francis's cousin, Louis Conde. As they travel, Francis becomes more attached to his son and conflicted about whether or not to send the child away. Conde is set to send his mistress to the Netherlands and he invites Lola and her child to join them. In the end, Francis decides that he wants his son by his side and they decide to return to Paris.

I give this episode a 2.5/5. IT'S BACK! BY SOME MIRACLE THIS SHOW IS BACK! Is this season's premiere better than the first's? Yes. Is the premiere any good? Eh. It was by no means bad. Since we are on the second season, let's not make mention about how this show is incredibly historically inaccurate. No need to beat that dead horse. There were some positives to this episode, namely that tension surrounding the plague. I will admit I got a little teary eyed when Pascal died. And for this season, Nostradamus shaved his scraggle beard making him almost unrecognizable! However, there were some negatives as well like HOLY CRAP, THE PERSON WHO PLAYS EDWARD, Yes, I am referring to you, Kjartan Hewitt, IS A TERRIBLE ACTOR and I find the drama surrounding Francis and Lola to be boring and a little tedious. All in all, not a great episode but not a bad one either. I might actually be looking forward to this season.