Thursday, March 6, 2014

REVIEW: 'Reign' - Mary Weds as Her Mother Visits & Nostradamus Gets A New Vision in 'The Consummation'

The CW's Reign - Episode 1.13 The Consummation

Mary must consider both her heart and her nation when deciding whom she will wed - Francis or Bash; Mary's mother, Marie de Guise (Amy Brenneman) visits the castle with her own agenda; and Henry and Catherine try to secure their own plans for the future of France.

"The Consummation" was probably the most enjoyable episode of Reign so far - even though it effectively brings things full circle to how the series started. Mary is with Francis; Nostradamus gets a vision of Francis' death; Catherine's scheming; Kenna is sleeping with King Henry; Clarissa is still around with a hand in things; and the climatic episode also features a consummation ceremony which also happened in the pilot. And yet, so much of it feels satisfying because the characters were pushed into acting.

Mary had to marry now in order to get France's backing in her pursuit of the English throne. The strongest thing the hour does is give Mary the decision to choice who to marry. Heading into this episode I figured she would be forced into marrying Francis because the line of succession wouldn't change and she needed the support to help her flailing country. Instead Mary chooses to give her heart to Francis after learning that Nostradamus' prophecy has already come to pass with the "killing" of Clarissa. It's a twist that works entirely because of the nuptials that occur later on. If she promised to marry Francis again, it would have felt like the show was just going back and forth between Francis and Bash being the one whose Mary's heart is for. And that's no way to derive a whole lot of tension long term.

So now, Mary and Francis are married and hopefully that will open up the world of this show as they are forced into even bigger political issues. It's already produced the best material for the Bash and Francis dynamic. I'm intrigued to see what path the show will be taking Bash down for the rest of the season. Francis and Catherine have pushed him out of the castle or return to certain death. I'm hoping he doesn't disappear for several episodes as we see Mary and Francis as happy newlyweds. He needs to have a continuing presence in order for this marriage not to be such a cut-and-dry story.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Consummation" was written by Laurie McCarthy and directed by Fred Gerber.
  • I've always been a big Amy Brenneman fan. So it was nice seeing her pop up here and she was quite good and fit into this scheming universe very well. Even though Mary doesn't want her around anymore, I wouldn't be against another guest appearance in the future. She did force everyone's hand in this hour.
  • Blood pouring out of an ear will never not creep me out.
  • So, Nostradamus can better connect to his visions when he's close to death. That seems like it will be very important later on.
  • Catherine has also been pardoned for her crimes. So now, she's free to roam around the castle as she pleases. Meaning she'll likely try to kill herself in order to prove a point for the rest of the season.
  • I'm not sure Clarissa being alive is that realistic of a twist. But it could have interesting complications moving forward.