The latest episode of Reign, episode 19: “Toy Soldiers,” can be described in two words: love and war.
Francis and Mary
In the last episode Francis locked Mary in a tower for her own safety. A month later when episode 19 takes place, Mary explains that that she and Francis are not on good terms during a snowball fight with her ladies. As the episode progresses, Francis and Mary become close again as Francis takes charge of different armies because of his father’s mental instability. Francis and Mary are finally together again and even he has the confidence to hope she might be pregnant now. It’s been said the truest act of love is sacrifice and, as you will read further down, Francis is potentially sacrificing himself for his wife.
Bash and Kenna
After getting married in episode 16, the past couple of months have been rough on this couple. Bash left for a few weeks to try and defeat The Darkness (the show finally brought that storyline back, hopefully to conclude it), and when he returned in “Toy Soldiers,” the episode was just full of Bash and Kenna having sex. Beyond the physical act, their time together was about trying to forget past lovers (Mary and King Henry respectively). Even though their time together wasn’t exactly an act of appreciation, I think they are a great couple and I hope they learn to truly love each other.
Greer and Lord Castleroy
Speaking of learning to love someone, that’s exactly what happened with Greer and Lord Castleroy who’s been pursuing her all season. Greer’s father and two of her sisters visit her at the castle to meet her new man and find suitors themselves. Though Castleroy is old and a bit strange, he seems to be the only genuinely kind man on Reign. Knowing that her family is broke, Castleroy declares that he doesn’t want any money from Greer’s family, just her. Beyond helping his future wife, he also helps her sisters by giving Greer the final word on who they marry so that they can marry for love. Greer starts to open her heart to Castleroy and kisses him in the end. After what he did for her and her family, it’s impossible not to have a soft spot for him.
The Royal Family
The little priest prank in the last episode didn’t seem to cure King Henry. He’s still insane, often acting completely outrageous in his powerful position and even losing his pants. In “Toy Soldiers” we learn that Catherine has been protecting Henry and the family by ordering the king’s men to disregard any commands the King has given them. Unfortunately, Henry uncovers this ploy and manages to send out armies in an effort to fulfill his plans (more on that below). Out of love for his family and country, Francis steps in to fix the mess his father has made even though it means leaving Mary.
The “Bean Queen” Penelope jumps back into the picture as she claims she’s pregnant with King Henry’s child, a bluff Catherine didn’t belief for a second. As a result, she has Penelope locked up in the tower but later offers Penelope an opportunity to be “trained in the art of deception” (as Catherine calls it) and work as one of her “spies” (for lack of a better word).
The episode begins with a general recruiting a 14-year-old boy for his army. We later learn that the general is in fact Mary’s uncle, General Christian de Guise, a ruthless man who was once employed by King Henry. Mary recruits her uncle after she hears that her mother is under attack in Scotland but France won’t send any men to help. To convince the general to help her cause, because family loyalty isn’t enough, Mary’s husband Francis agrees to make Christian his left hand man when he becomes King. And to make sure Christian doesn’t abuse his new power and he actually protects the royalty in Scotland (Mary’s family), Francis decides to go with the army.
As previously mentioned, King Henry also made plans to send his French army to war. With the news of Mary Tudor appointing Elizabeth as Queen of England, a role Henry was expecting Mary to get, Henry loses it and sends men to fight for Calais, the land he believes belongs to France. But Henry’s army isn’t strong enough and Francis, unbeknown to his father, has to clean up the mess and make a change in plans. Christian and his soldiers, along with Francis, are to meet the French army and fight alongside him to overthrow England and win back Calais.
No longer able to send men to help Mary protect her mother in Scotland, all this Henry trouble forces Francis to break another promise he made to Mary. Francis does his best to spin a positive out of a negative by explaining that he and his army will go to Scotland after the French army defeats England.
It all feels a bit doomed because we do know a few important things: Francis is off to war, we know Francis dies young (thanks to history) and the season is almost over. I’m just praying that one of these wars doesn’t cause his death. While Reign has been inspired by history, let’s hope they prolong Francis’s death as long as possible considering there will be a season two.