Thursday, February 6, 2014

REVIEW: 'Reign' - Catherine Tries to Poison Mary as Henry Gets to Swing a Sword Around in 'Inquisition'

The CW's Reign - Episode 1.11 Inquisition

When King Henry accuses Queen Catherine of treason and adultery, she sets out to save her life by exposing Bash's dark past; Mary and Bash go on a quest to expose an even more deadly secret from Catherine's past; and Nostradamus reveals the truth about Clarissa, which shocks everyone.

The start of "Inquisition" doesn't feel different than any other episode of Reign. There's Catherine scheming to try to save her life, Henry so driven to secure England that he will do anything to make it true and Mary and Bash trying to keep their secrets hidden from Catherine. But the last fifteen minutes of "Inquisition" kick Reign into high gear - and provide the best material the show has delivered yet.

From Catherine exposing Diane's heretic roots, Henry slashing her witness with his sword, Catherine's family shunning her and telling her to end her life, Bash's speech about how far he will go for Mary and Catherine's attempted poisoning of Mary, it was one exciting episode. It got my full attention and for truly the first time made me interested in how the chips will fall next.

I'm also very appreciative that Reign didn't choice to end the episode on a cliffhanger of Mary falling underwater and Catherine passed out. Instead they showed Clarissa saving both of them - with her face being shown for the first time. That was a strong thematic tie-in to the emotional revelations of the hour - while still offering up a strong concluding moment with Mary in Bash's arms saying Catherine tried to poison her.

I never once thought during this episode that Catherine would be dead by hour's end. However, I do think that there is a certain amount of shelf live left for that character. Megan Follows has been terrific in this role - and was the one constant thing in the beginning when the show was still finding its voice. With the attempted poisoning, the show is putting that character into a corner - one that seems impossible for her to get out of and once again just be the scheming queen roaming freely around the castle.

I don't know if it's historically accurate that Catherine dies at this stage of her life. But then again, Reign doesn't care at all at historical accuracy - and I'm fine with that. They shouldn't feel the need to do something because it happened in real-life if it doesn't quite make sense with the character they've presented. In Catherine, the show has set up a clear opposition to Mary while she's at French Court. I'm still waiting for the show to expand its world beyond the walls of the castle. They've done a reasonable job in that respect in the 2014 episodes - with how the nobility of the country are reacting to the change in the line of succession. I still think the show can go further with that. Perhaps by killing off Catherine, the show would have to confront and find new points of intrigue - which could be beneficial in the longevity of the series.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Inquisition' was written by Doris Egan and directed by Mike Rohl.
  • Where's Francis again? Actually I don't really care anymore.
  • So Catherine gets a former lover and a daughter in "Inquisition." Plus she gets to sleep with the king one more time. It was just a surprising episode overall for Catherine. But a terrific performance by Fellows.
  • Based on everything Nostradamus said, were you expecting Clarissa's face to be more deformed during that reveal? Oh, that's right this is The CW. Can't have pretty faces be that monstrously deformed - see Beauty and the Beast and the upcoming Star-Crossed.
  • Kenna is the only lady-in-waiting in the episode. Did not miss the other two at all.
  • Bash was a bland mess in 2013. But especially during these last two episodes, he has really come into better focus as a character.