Thursday, March 13, 2014

REVIEW: 'Reign' - Someone is Pregnant & King Henry Accidentally Kills a Woman in 'Dirty Laundry'

The CW's Reign - Episode 1.14 Dirty Laundry

Mary returns from her honeymoon and, suspicious of Lola's strange behavior, uncovers a deception that changes everything; Bash encounters a confused and terrified Olivia in the woods which causes him to enlist Nostradamus for help; and Henry's behavior causes a misfortune and he is forced to ask Catherine for help.

"The Consummation" was a climatic episode for the first part of the season. The season so far had been building up to that moment where Mary had to choose between Francis and Bash. She was then pushed into wedding her choice of Francis. With the two of them happily married, it's time for the show to begin its next arc for the final half of the season. Fortunately, the seeds were planted in earlier episodes so Episode 14 didn't feel like the show introducing a ton of new plots.

Plot momentum is a huge thing for this show to utilize. Throughout its early episode, it learned that sometimes it needs to tell things quickly in order to best engage its episode. So now, Francis and Lola had their sexual encounter two episodes ago and now she's two months pregnant with his child. On top of that, Mary learns about everything.

While that story was the highlight of this episode, it also wasn't a huge part of the hour. The storylines that made up the bulk of this hour also weren't that engaging. The show is actively building up to something big with the return of Olivia. It's weird. She popped up early in the show's run before it quite figured out its voice and then basically got shuffled away without a real explanation. The show does better by her in this return by effectively putting her in the craziest of all the plots - the mystery surrounding the people in the woods. And yet, that too is not a story I have a lot of interest in. This week that part of the universe is all about establishing mystery and the pending threat of "The Darkness." It all feels very much in line with the supernatural inclinations the show first exhibited in the early episodes but has since largely swept away.

The Henry-Catherine story was very much a standalone entry. It's good for the show to remind us of how effective they are as a team. And yet, the stakes of this story were so nonexistent. It's strangely tying into Kenna's continued arrangement with the King. But it mostly felt like a plot to give those characters something to do and to fill time in this episode. Also, the show needs to find a better direction to take Catherine down. Now that she's friends with Mary and a loving mother to Francis and helping Henry, it's taken out a lot of tension that makes her so fun and engaging.

Lastly, the show still has the urging to keep the love triangle of Francis, Mary and Bash alive. She's married to Francis now. So the show should find a new direction to take the Mary and Bash dynamic instead of it just being him pining after her and pointing out the truth to her. Mary is a very capable person. She made that decision in "The Consummation." We should trust her decision. Instead we get a couple minutes of Mary and Francis being happy at the very beginning of the hour and then the series paints Francis as a liar when he denies trying to have Bash killed. 

Some more thoughts:
  • "Dirty Laundry" was directed by Norma Bailey with the teleplay by Edgar Lyall and story by Drew Lindo.
  • Mary: "Politics, backstabbing, murder. Just another day at French court." Oh Mary, you so get this show.
  • Nostradamus was so alarmed by his new vision at the end of the last episode. But now that two months have passed, he's normal and not worried about anything. It's a weird choice for that character.