If you’ve read my previous recaps you’ve probably gathered that I’m a huge fan of Reign, but after episode 12, I’m now on the fence about this show. I can sum up the most recent episode, “Royal Blood” in three words: disturbing, frightening and humorous.
Previously I’ve recapped the plot of each episode but “Royal Blood” was so all over the place that there’s not much to discuss plot wise. My assumption last week seems to be playing out with one character being the central focus for each episode, and last night it was all about Clarissa.
We now know she is Queen Catherine’s daughter but the girl is batshit crazy. In episode 12, Clarissa goes on a murder spree. Completely unprecedented, the episode begins with Clarissa catching two servants having sex in her mother’s former bedroom, so she kills the female party by snapping her neck. Other than showing that Clarissa is possibly insane and can get around the castle undetected (which we already know), I don’t see how this had anything to do with the show.
The structure this week felt off and disjointed, as if it was rushed. For the first ten minutes I thought I had missed an episode; the plot seemed to skip ahead with no bridge between what we last saw.
The episode goes on to have Clarissa escalate and kidnap Catherine’s youngest children, Charles and Little Henry. Catherine stages her own suicide with the help of Nostradamus to escape the castle and save her own life. When she learns that her sons are in trouble, she teams up with Mary and Bash to save them — evidently giving up her escape plan. It was really enjoyable to watch Catherine have a genuine maternal side and to see her work with Mary and Bash.
Back on the crazy train, Clarissa is attempting to drown the boys when Bash, Mary and Catherine show up. Feeling the abuse and neglect from her mother, Clarissa believes Catherine deserves to lose her children. Realizing that tricking the boys into drowning themselves won’t work, she holds Charles hostage with a knife to his throat. Suddenly Reign turns cop drama and Catherine has to negotiate with Clarissa to talk her down and let her son go.
Words are not getting through to her, so Mary takes things into her own hands and smashes Clarissa over the head with a rock. Declaring Clarissa dead, everyone returns to French Court and Clarissa is “buried” by being thrown down a hill.
The one off remarks from Catherine and Bash brought humour to the episode which was necessary with the dark themes “Royal Blood” was exploring.
Clarissa was sporting a horrifying mask that was meant to cover her deformed face and allow her to look “normal” so she could mesh in to society. Clarissa was the frightening part of the episode.
Then in a completely separate storyline, Lola (one of Mary’s Ladies in Waiting) goes to save her brother at a medieval casino/brothel and ends up being optioned as a prostitute to pay for her brother’s debts.
*DO-DO-DO-DOO* (those are trumpet sounds) Francis comes to the rescue! Though I am biased to this character, Francis brings a completely different dynamic to the show which has been missing the past few episodes in his absence. I never truly realized how much the show changed just by his not being in it.
While it was nice to have Francis back, and not have to endure seeing Lola be abused by piggish men (this was a slightly disturbing story that made my stomach churn) the show has been doomed by having Francis and Lola hook up, as we are lead to assume. Love triangle plus one much?
Cut down like this, the plot sounds successful and interesting, but the problem was watching it. The episode felt very choppy. As mentioned, I didn’t even understand what I was watching for the first while. Then, as the episode continued, it felt like scenes were out of place and missing which didn’t make for an enjoyable experience to watch. Cramming in the storyline and layering so many plots and new and secondary characters disrupted the flow of the episode. The careful plot and character development we have become used to was thrown out the window on this one. However, I’m thinking that the creators of the show used commercial breaks as their transitions during this episode and if you watched it online without commercials it changed the experience and understanding of the episode.
The first part of the season set up the stories and characters in a way that has given the audience an expectation for what’s to come. As great and necessary as it is to throw a wrench in the works, I feel the writers have made a wrong turn and lost the trust of the audience.
Taking into consideration that 1×12 “Royal Blood” would have been one of the last episodes the show was guaranteed before a pick-up decision was made, there is a good chance future episodes will resume to a pace and writing structure the we’ve come to love and expect.
Safe to say, this was my least favourite episode of the series. Your opinions?