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S02.E01: The Plague


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Reign airs on Wednesdays in Canada, meaning that the episodes are very often viewed a day before they have aired in the US. Therefore please be aware that this thread will definitely have spoilers for those who wish to wait until Thursday night to view the new episode.




PLAGUE ROCKS THE KINGDOM — The new King and Queen of France, Francis and Mary are plummeted into chaos after the Black Plague ravages the land and creeps inside the castle, threatening lives and the stability of their new rule. Francis finds himself on the wrong side of the quarantined gates, with Lola, as they try to make their way back to safety. New and murderous foes are introduced as nobles grasp for power, pressuring Mary and Catherine even as the death count rises. Meanwhile, Kenna and Bash find themselves separated; Kenna's life endangered as she risks all to save their young ward. Greer is forced to watch Leith move on with a new love and is shocked to realize he's involved with her fiancé’s daughter.



Having given the warning up top, here are my (random, disorganized) thoughts:


Mary and Catherine: I think Mary was fatally stupid in this episode, and I loved Catherine's reasonable arguments and explanations of where royalty gets their power. What I rather like about this is that Mary's behavior doesn't feel off when compared with the real Mary, Queen of Scots, who was also fatally stupid on more than one occasion. As I once read someone say, Mary was all heart, no head, and that was before her execution. *badum-ching* She has quite possibly screwed the entire country on her very first day as Queen.


Francis and Lola: I liked their interactions throughout the episode, they felt very real. And I thought Toby sold Francis being unable to let go of the wee bastard very convincingly. I just hope they'll keep up the pretense of the baby being Julian's, and spare the kid from being treated like Bash. Francis and Mary could easily be named Godparents and it would not seem that strange if Francis was shown to have a particular affection for his "godson", especially since he doesn't have any children with Mary yet.


Kenna and Bash: I continue to be surprised by how much I like them as a couple. I also find it funny that in this episode they were the most clear-cut heroes. Kenna was amazingly and heatbreakingly selfless, while Bash seemed to be doing a hell of a lot more for the castle than Mary, Catherine, or anyone else. He really looked after things for Francis. (That guy who mouthed off to Kenna is lucky he's dead, because the way Bash took care of things is in addition to the million other things that keep him in Francis's affections. My guess is that as soon as the king returns, Bash is going to be granted a very high position and Kenna will be holding a lot more power than before.) I'm sorry they lost Pascal but I see how his storyline is pretty much done with. I'm definitely preferring "ghost reckoning" to The Darkness, if this show insists on having a supernatural element always.


Nostradamus: Beard. What.


Greer, Leith, Castleroy and Yvette: I still want to hear Greer say, "I will not apologize for valuing my sisters more than I value a relationship with you, fuck off, etc" to Leith. I wonder if we're supposed to sympathize with Leith, who keeps acting like Greer is a simple gold-digger looking for the best title in a husband and nothing else. I found Yvette extremely stupid and rather callous to pursue Leith so hard after only knowing him for a short while and having found out about her soon-to-be-stepmother's past with him. That being said, I don't think she can be blamed even in part for her death; even though she was staying with them to see Leith, the family that Yvette was with was in fact secured and looked to be in a good place. That poisoning was more Mary's fault if anything (although obviously the most fault lies with the guy who poisoned the frikkin' water). I feel really bad for Castleroy, poor man. I really hope he'll have happiness, with Greer or without.

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What I rather like about this is that Mary's behavior doesn't feel off when compared with the real Mary, Queen of Scots, who was also fatally stupid on more than one occasion


I haven't seen this episode yet but I've felt like this on more than one occasion. You can see the desire and intention but also the points where it inevitably goes wrong and all comes crashing down, and the points where she is just helpless against other forces.

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Yeah, Mary just bugged me this episode with how unwilling she was to make the hard choices as queen. The thing is, if I were younger and still at the age where I saw that sort of thing in black and white, I'd probably have been on her side and all for her self-righteousness. So her behavior might be appealing to the CW teen demo, I don't know. (Because of course the way I was as a teenager is how all teenagers are.) 


On the one hand, I'm sad that Lola wasn't able to get away with her son. On the other hand, I'm glad that we're not losing Anna Popplewell from the show. 


Too bad the plague didn't take Leith. I'm guessing the triangle isn't over and done with since he presumably listened to Greer and stayed away from Yvette because he still has feelings for the former. 

Edited by galax-arena
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I read on TVline.com that the actor who plays Nostradamus had to shave his beard for another role, so they wrote in a line about without the beard, you could see that he was boil free and thus was not infected.

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I think Mary might have gone about things differently if Catherine hadn't been sitting next to her as a living, breathing, scheming example of what she doesn't want to become.


Or if she hadn't just closed the gates on Francis despite his plea she be the better person.




I'm hoping against hope that Greer keeps putting her family's future ahead of her hormones. This being a CW show though I'm giving it 5 episodes at most. 

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I really enjoy this show, though I'm not surprised it's at the bottom of the CW ratings heap. Any show that markets itself like the second coming of The Vampire Diaries (which guy will she choose? OMG!), and then boots its love triangle to the curb halfway through the first season probably isn't the CW's cup of tea.


But I like it a lot, and I enjoyed this episode. I like how Mary seems to be torn between being "meaner" than Francis, but "nicer" than Catherine. Her plot to incapacitate Catherine was brilliant, and even if her motives weren't the best, I enjoyed seeing her take down Lord Narcisse. Yeah, it was like a temper tantrum, but she's decisive and stubborn and holds true to what she believes in -- even if it's not always right. Since women are generally (on many teen dramas especially) the "nice" girl or the "bitch," I like Mary isn't easily categorized.


Contrast that with Francis, Lola and his child. I get that it's a complicated issue, but man, could he be more wishy-washy? And I actually like the guy (more than Bash, anyway). But I do love that this show isn't afraid to show how he has the emotional, feminine perspective in his relationship with Mary -- and pretty much everyone. He just does things out of love. It's a good thing France has Mary and Catherine to make the tough choices, or he'd be so screwed.


I don't hate this Francis and Lola baby storyline either -- I think it's interesting, since Francis and Lola have an almost familial relationship. They're more like distant cousins, or even an arranged marriage, than former lovers. Very stiff and formal with each other. I know they're setting up this relationship to contrast with Diane/Henry/Catherine, but I think the differences will be striking. I don't think Lola wants Francis for herself (now or ever), but I do think their familiarity will breed resentment in Mary. She'll be jealous, but of what their relationship produced -- not of the relationship itself.


Anna Popplewell is good, and in spite of myself, I like Lola. I think she made bad decisions and is in a tough situation. She has no power over herself -- she likely can never remarry or have a family, because she's tied to court. She's gone from a Lady with numerous prospects to the unwed mother of the King's bastard, all because of one bad choice one night. If Mary and Catherine are examples of women asserting their power, Lola is an example of how quickly a woman can lose it, and how much it is tied to her body.


Finally, I have to wonder if the show isn't a victim of incredibly horrible timing, storyline-wise. Given the growing debate over Ebola, it was really weird to turn on the TV and see the Plague being referred to in the same manner: isolate them, don't let them leave, they'll infect us all, we may already be infected. I think a vast majority of the low ratings were tied to overall lack of viewer interest in the show, and it being up against the highly rated "Scandal," but I wonder if a small portion tuned in and quickly tuned out because it was a little too much reality for a historically inaccurate teen soap.

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Yeah, I like the storyline, too, Cindy. The idea of a baby, not a woman, as the third party in a "love triangle" is fascinating to me. Especially since it turns on its head the idea of a man not being faithful because he's not getting everything he needs from a woman. In this case, it's a baby. All sorts of mixed up gender politics.


Added to that, the idea that Mary is more likely to invade a country rather than cry into her pillow about this development, and that the fallout could be really interesting.

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Mary's not wrong that it's terrible that someone can demand the death of a rival in exchange for not starving the court and Catherine isn't wrong about the political math and the fact that the rule with the consent of the nobles, something that gets Mary into trouble several times in her life.


Francis annoyed me a bit. He's right to be upset that Lola and Mary kept the truth from him but he expressed all the reasons Lola didn't tell him and then turned into the living nightmare of why she didn't. Everyone is trying to avert a Henri/Catherine/Diane situation but at least Diane was getting something out of it. Lola's in the worst position. She will have no life beyond being the mother of the king's bastard and no future beyond that that she can see yet, but she has none of the power that Diane had through an actual relationship with Francis and none of the love either. By far the best thing in this shitty situation would have been to have someone discreetly raise the baby away from court either with or without Lola.


And Leith can take his "nice guy" routine and go away. It seems inevitable that the triangle will start up again though after his daughter's death.

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Mary's still stupid. And now I see Francis is going to be stupid this season, and not for keeping the baby, but for being so trusting i.e. Louis


I would feel bad for Lola but her and Mary worked to keep this baby away from him and pass it off as another man. We don't know how francis would have reacted if they told him when Lola was pregnant. There was no baby for him to hold and feel a connection with then, so I think would've been fine with Lola going off. But no, they lied to him for months. Now both of them will have to deal. Too bad so sad. And when mary starts her whining I hope he reminds her she was in love with his brother at the time.

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I think for CW teenage soap fluff this episode did a decent job of showing how terrifying the plauge was. In a fucking-shit-end-of-the-world-zombie-apocalypse kind of way. Just how isolated everyone was from fear of contaigen and whole wings of the castle (which amounts to city blocks really) shut down and borded up and nobody knowing enough about science to know what to do. Just awful.

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