The time has come, Royals: the season finale of Reign has aired. Episode 22, “Slaughter of Innocence,” was everything we needed to tie up story lines while mixing in heart crushing moments.
Let’s start with the major story of the episode, the one that’s been playing out for the latter part of the season. Many people expected a death in the finale; given Nostradamus’s predictions early on and what we learned in history class, many expected Francis to be dead by the end of this season. While a life ended last night, it wasn’t Francis’ — it was King Henry’s.
We know that Henry has been losing his mind; he sees and talks to ghosts and has ordered insane military attacks. In this episode, Henry concocted a plan to kill Francis and wed Mary. He even went so far as to make advances on her whenever Francis was out of sight. Henry also celebrated a win at Calais during a mock naval battle. Sadly, the mock battle goes awry when canons filled with actual gun power go off, killing hundreds of men. It seems like a freak accident on the surface but Henry is the one who made sure the ship would actually blow up.
The King continues celebrating by preparing a jousting match. When the best jouster goes undefeated, Henry steps in to take him on. It’s all fun and games until Henry is impaled in the eye by a piece of the lance. As the audience rushes to Henry’s side after the accident, it’s revealed that Francis snuck into the game to take out his father.
Francis does enough damage; the shard of wood goes deep into Henry’s brain who ends up dying because of the injury. While on his deathbed, Catherine and Henry make their peace and wish the best for one another. It was a heartfelt moment where you could see the love these two once had for each other long ago. I’ve always loved whenever Megan Follows (Catherine) and Alan Van Sprang (Henry) have scenes together; I wish we could have gotten to see more of their past.
The pain of Francis’ guilt is clear on his face when he goes to say goodbye to his father. Francis has tears in his eyes as he watches his father pass away but not before Henry reveals that his son was named after Henry’s older brother. Turns out, Henry’s older brother Francis never wanted to be king. Knowing that he could do a better job than Francis, Henry ended up killing his Francis for the title. Henry lets it slip that the ghost he had been talking to was his older brother Francis, who holds a tennis racket because he was killed on a tennis court.
The King passes shortly after this confession and Francis is crushed. Francis then realizes that his father has always been at the root of tension between Francis and his own brother Bash. So when Bash comes to visit the now dead King, Francis rushes over to embrace him.
In the midst of the royal family drama, Leith and Greer reunite …. sort of. If you recall, Leith fought along side Francis in Calais and the two are now friends. Though he has no title, Francis has given Leith land and money. So excited, he runs to find Greer and tell her they can be together. Unfortunately, especially for anyone who ships Greith, Greer won’t let herself be with Leith, and she continues her engagement to Lord Castleroy in order to protect her sisters and family in the future. In two very crushing scenes, Greer officially ends it just when you think Greith will be together. Leith calls her out and tells her that her decision means she has lost him forever. The tension and the power in those scenes was unbearable, who else was an emotional wreck?
We then go beyond the French Court into the woods where Bash searches for the Darkness with Nostradamus. They discover an abandon town where dead bodies lie in its houses. They also find marking on a wall that has predict where natural disasters will hit, including the chant Pascale sings along with a prediction that has yet to happen. Bash then realizes Kenna is not safe and rushes back to her. He makes it back to Kenna and Pascale just as The Darkness begins to attack them. Yes, finally we see The Darkness: a real person who has been sacrificing lives to feed the Gods in order to keep the predictions from coming true. Bash, who doesn’t believe in these pagan rituals, kills The Darkness.
That evening the final prediction comes true: the stars fall from the sky and the plague hits the towns and cities surrounding the castle.
In one of these towns is Lola. She is on her way back to the French Court (after Julien/Remy left her and burned down their house) right when she goes into labour. Stopping at a random house for help, Lola struggles with her delivery and with no midwife, Lola fears for her life and the life of her child. She sends word to Mary that she is in labour and that she wants Mary and Francis to raise the child if she dies.
Mary receives the news while her and Francis are sharing their burdens. Mary fears she is changing for the worse since being at Court and Francis tries to help her be herself again. Both suffering from the pain of their secrets and decisions, Mary finally reveals that Lola is carrying Francis’ child and tells him that he needs to go be with her. It’s as if the poor guy doesn’t have enough to deal with: his father just died at his own hand turning him into the new King, and he now finds out he has a child on the way.
Francis rushes to try and save Lola and the unborn baby but is stopped by Mary when she hears news that Catherine has ordered the castle on lock-down because of the spreading plague. Frary-loving hearts explodes as Mary makes it just in time to stop Francis from leaving the safety of the castle, he snaps at Mary and rides off to find Lola anyways.
The series finale ends in the same manner the midseason finale ended: one half of the ultimate couple (Frary) riding away from the other with heart break, pain and anger searing in both their eyes.
King Henry is dead, Lola and her baby are close to death, the plague endangers everyone’s lives, Francis and Mary are the new King and Queen, Francis has run off to do the right thing and save Lola as Mary slowly turns into Catherine. Now we must wait for the return of Reign next fall to see how the rest of their stories unfold.
Pain and joy is what we’ve come to know from this show. Do you think the finale did justice to the series?