‘Reign’ Recap 2×12: Stick Measuring Contest

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Casual night out at the stick fights.

If there’s one thing we can be happy about regarding “Banished” it’s Catherine’s return to being HBIC. Sure, she certainly staked out a nice piece of real estate in fantasyland, playing house with the ghosts of her deceased husband, King Henry and her two children, but I miss the Catherine who was always the smartest person in the room and the one that was always butting heads with Mary. Part of what revives the old Catherine we know and love is the realization of her loving ghost bliss with her deceased husband is based on a false premise, mainly the false premise that Henry was at any point devoted to his wife during their marriage. Catherine’s delusion slowly breaks as she realizes, with some help from Court Detective Bash, Diane, Henry’s long lost mistress and Bash’s mom, actually murdered the twin girls, before believing that the girls died from neglect while Henry was having his way with the nanny and passed the blame over to Claude. Anyway, the old Catherine emerges in fiery form, mainly by smacking Diane over the head with a spade and then choking the her to death in a rage.  Damn, Diane just should have stayed gone. What’s an episode of Reign without a little bit of bloodshed? Anyway, welcome back, Catherine!

Things are looking less promising for Greer. The treasonous fundraising Castleroy and Greer participated in, under the guise of funding a Protestant school (oh, that ol’ chestnut) was uncovered, prompting Greer to get banished from Court without property, a title or a penny to her name. And she got off easy considering that Mary bargained with the French nobles in exchange for her life. Obviously, this almost destroyed misty-eyed Leith who offered to help Greer cover up her unwitting crime, as well as Mary, who was forced to ruin one of her oldest and most dearest friends’ lives. Mary finds herself steeped in guilt over the fact that bringing her ladies in waiting to court was the worst thing she ever could have done to them. Perhaps poor Aylee and her Coachella braids got off lucky with her early death. It seems to have saved her a lot of suffering.

In fact, the only lady in waiting left intact is Kenna. That’s great and all, expect Bash just discovered that Kenna once spilled the beans to Catherine about Diane sojourning off to Rome to get Bash legitimized as the rightful heir to the throne, thus making him eligible for a beheading. So, yeah, looks like the honeymoon between these two is over, because God forbid anyone enjoy a moment of happiness on this show.

On the Mary and Francis front, is still persistent in working his way into Mary’s life, despite her wishes and the fact that seeing Francis asleep next to his baby and Lola left a bad taste in her mouth. Francis just doesn’t see the two of them living separate lives as effective for their leadership, but ultimately, he just wants to reconcile with his wife. Also, Francis catches wind of Conde’s obvious affections for Mary at the ice themed formal party at Court. So, congratulations on being the absolute last person on the planet to notice what was glaringly obvious to anyone with a working set of eyes. Way to go, sovereign ruler of a world superpower. Once Francis realizes that Conde has designs on his property/wife, they settle their disagreement by the only logical means. They hit each other with sticks. Like, actual wooden sticks. In front of everyone. At the party. Nothing phallic to see here, folks.

As easy as it is to joke about the patriarchal display, this episode is a crushing revelation how little agency women were afforded at the time and how their fates and livelihoods were ultimately tied to the whims and good fortunes of men and existing social structures.  Kenna pretty much makes that argument outright to Bash, but he can’t get over the whole possibly being executed for treason relationship roadblock. It’s a shame, since he was just titled and given land and all.

Unfortunately, Conde and Francis’s patriarchal showdown telegraphs to the entire country that the bond between the king and queen is compromised by the flirtation between Conde and Mary, so all things considered, that dick measuring contest essentially endangered the stability of the entire damn country. This yet another reason why many countries have moved on from granting absolute rule to teenagers who simply inherited the job and told them that they were God’s mandated representative on Earth. Anyway, Francis manipulates Mary into believing that Conde’s obvious affections for her into a plea to spend the night in her room and watch her sleep. Ugh. You need to work on that approach, boy king.

As a peace offering, Mary sends Lola, the show’s enduring consolation prize,  off to Conde as a potential peace offering and potential bride. Sure, Conde’s put off by the fact that she’s not married, but he’s also willing to give this ordained union a go. Hey, it worked for Bash and Kenna…for a time.

Oh yeah, and we briefly see Lord Narcisse all out of prison, all washed up and submissive while Francis divides up his land to give away as punishment for his crimes. Sure, Narcisse looks all humiliated and broken, but it’s pretty safe to say that this snake still has some venom left.

‘Reign’ Recap 2×12: Stick Measuring Contest