Reign – With Friends Like These

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By: Stacy Miller


The episode opens with Mary (Adelaide Kane) involved in sword play. Actually, it’s more of a training exercise courtesy of her brother James (Dan Jeannotte).  She has to be ready to defend herself against her enemies, most of which are in her homeland of Scotland, as well as to be prepared to battle Queen Elizabeth.  Mary is determined to avenge her friend Lola, who was executed on Elizabeth’s orders after being tricked into helping to plot Elizabeth’s execution. Mary realizes that she’ll need to marry again to be in a position of power to take Elizabeth’s throne away from her.  A possible candidate is Lord Darnley (Will Kemp). As a fellow Catholic with English alliances and a strong claim to the throne, a match between him and Mary would perfectly suit her needs.  James disagrees with Mary’s reasoning.  If she were to wed Lord Darnley, a Catholic, it would anger Protestants (in particular John Knox) and would could gain support of Scotland.  James thinks that Mary should focus on getting the various Scottish clans in her corner.

Mary is reunited with friend Greer (Celina Sinden) for the sad occasion of Lola’s funeral. While at the funeral, Mary is drugged by Clan Gordon and her own royal carriage is the vehicle used in her abduction. What nefarious plan does Clan Gordon have for Mary?  Well, it seems that the clan is well aware of her plight in gaining power and The Earl of Clan Gordon (Stewart Arnott) tells her that they’re willing to help.  All she has to do is marry his son George.

Meanwhile over in England, Elizabeth (Rachel Skarsten) still believes that her cousin was behind the assassination attempt and vows that she will not let Mary take her throne away from her. Queen Elizabeth has heard about the possible marriage alliance between Mary and Lord Darnley and no way does she intend to let a marriage happen between the two, especially when they both have legitimate claims to her crown.  Elizabeth decides that the best way to stop a Mary/Darnley union is to forge her own union (not in matrimony but in a meeting of a common mind) with Darnley’s mother Lady Lennox (Nola Augustson).  But Catherine Jr. is not exactly an Elizabeth cheerleader. Okay Plan B, have Lord Darnley brought to English court.  To that end, Elizabeth enlists Gideon (Ben Geurens) to locate Lord Darnley. She also doesn’t appreciate that Gideon is trying to convince her that Mary had nothing to do with the plan to have her killed.  Since he knows that there seems to be no way of convincing Elizabeth of Mary’s innocence without all the facts, Gideon goes to get information regarding what Lola was up to from the one person who would know – Lola’s husband Narcisse (Craig Parker). So, Gideon goes to visit Narcisse who has been imprisoned for trying to stop the guards from executing Lola.  Narcisse tells Gideon that if he wants to learn more about the plot on Elizabeth’s life he should speak with Renee, the nanny taking care of Lola’s son John as it was she who gave Lola the supposed letter from Mary.  Narcisse believes that Renee was probably in on the whole scheme that cost Lola her head. Narcisse laments that he promised Lola he would take care of her son and he was the one who gave the boy to one of the people responsible for his mother’s death.

Armed with the information on where to find Renee, Gideon locates her. He warns her that there are archers outside with bows at the ready.  Renee is holding a knife to protect herself and John.  Gideon urges the woman to come with him and provide information about the murder attempt.  But when she stands, the archers pump her back with of arrows and Renee is killed before she can be questioned on who she was working for, which is basically a formality for Elizabeth as Gideon already knows that it was John Knox. Gideon returns to the castle with John and tells Elizabeth that Mary is innocent in trying to have her killed.  Regardless of whether she believes him or not, Elizabeth has no intention of going after the very powerful John Knox.  Besides, she and her cousin are enemies vying for the same throne so Elizabeth can guarantee that Mary will still come after her.

Meanwhile back in Scotland, Mary realizes the only way to escape her kidnappers is to pretend to play along with the ruse.  So, she asks betrothed George to come to her bedchamber and tells him that she has to see if he will be a proper husband to her. If he can’t perform his husbandly duties, she has the right to refuse to wed him.  Next, Mary orders him to take off his belt causing George to faint. Mary is now able to make her escape. But when she is caught by a guard, our spunky queen gets her hands on an ax and runs the man through with it. Then, she grabs a horse and rides off into the night.  The following day, Mary sees James and a group of men who were on their way to rescue her.  This makes her realize that the only way that James could have arrived at her location so quickly would have been if he had knowledge of where she was being held. What is the extent of his association with John Knox?  James wants to kill the entire Clan Gordon, but in the end the only member he executes is The Earl of Gordon after the man refuses to offer Mary an apology for abducting her.

When John Knox (Jonathan Goad) learns of the execution, he’s not happy and warns James that he can make life difficult for him by making it known that James appears to be a Catholic sympathizer.  But James shows that he is not going to let Knox threaten him and throws the man against a wall. James is the royal here, not Knox.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t let James off the hook with his sister as Mary is furious that he knew about the attempt of Elizabeth’s life (even if it was after the fact).  She reminds her brother that she is the queen and he needs to start showing her respect.

Over in England, Elizabeth comes to see Narcisse in the prison tower and tells him she has information that John Knox was behind the plot to kill her so he and Lola’s son John are free to leave England.  Elizabeth faces an attack of conscious when she looks at John as she thinks of Narcisse’s words that will she be able to tell little John that his mother is never coming back. Later, Elizabeth meets Lord Darnley who offers her a proposition.  As he’s in love with a woman who is promised in marriage to another man, if Elizabeth can get his lady love’s engagement broken then Darnley will remain in England with the woman he loves and won’t go to Scotland to meet Queen Mary.

In France, we meet Leesa (Anastasia Phillips) the queen of Spain and stepmother to that sex deviant Don Carlos.  Queen Leesa and King Philip, strong Catholics, want Princess Claude (Rose Williams) to marry Martel de Guise in order to prevent the Protestants from taking over in France.  But Claude reminds her mother that she gave her blessing for her to marry Leith and that’s who Claude wants to marry.  She refuses to believe that Leith is dead, but if he is then Martel may have hand in his murder so she’d never marry him.  No problem, Catherine (Megan Follows) tells her daughter that they’ll just kill Martel.  Since Catherine is a lioness if ever there was one, she arranges Martel’s murder yet makes it looks like a suicide and doesn’t tell Claude so her shock comes off as real. But now it looks like Queen Leesa will be staying in France and Spain will have their nose in the happenings of French court much to Catherine’s chagrin.

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