a) I HATE Mary.
b) Grain is BORING.
c) You should just assume that any time Mary or any of the Ladies appears on camera, I squawk, “WHAT IS SHE WEARING?” in an unattractive and graceless manner.
Herein, Catherine is waxing poetic about all the shenanigans she’s got planned for Francis’s coronation and Francis and Mary both whine that the unicorns and elephants seem expensive, given that half of France is starving due to fires set to control the spread of plague (and their own combined terrible mismanagement of, like, EVERYTHING) and that it’s disgusting to be spending so much money in a time of need and Catherine is like, “you DUMBASSES. If the rest of Europe knows we’re poor and starving, they will pounce and take us over. We have to act like EVERYTHING IS FINE. PS: Nice Marchesa, Mary.” Everyone on this show is so much dumber than Catherine. (In fairness, actual history seems to bear out that Francis, at least, WAS dumber than Catherine.)
I’m pretty sure that, in the 16th century, proper ladies didn’t wear dresses highlighting the curvature of their bums.
Kenna, on the other hand, has just parachuted down from the future, where she was at Woodstock. (I’ve read and been told that one of the reasons the Main Ladies and Mary are dressed thusly, whilst the others look more accurate, is to better demonstrate just HOW fashion-forward and esoteric their manner of dress was considered at this particular court. But I also think it’s budgetary; this show so suffers from lack of cash flow, much like Francis himself. [For example, you need to keep an eye on how the same five candelabra pop up in literally every scene. Those candelabra are doing yeoman’s work in making this production look as luxe as they can manage.] I get it, but I still am not sure if I think it works or if I think it’s just making things discordant. I do think it’s interesting and I give the costume department a lot of credit for trying something creative, even if it’s making me twitch.) ANYWAY, there’s this whole plot line set into motion here about how Francis has fired the Nursemaid Possessed By His Dead Father, which drags out all episode but basically: she’s staying fired, Lola has to deal, and either she really is possessed, or someone is running a hilarious long con on Francis. There’s also a plot line that culminates in Kenna being so desperate for a house and lands that she totally falls for a bribe from a woman whose husband is being investigated by Bash for MURDER. And then when said woman threatens Bash’s life, Kenna goes and destroys all the evidence. ALL OF THE YOUNG WOMEN ON THIS SHOW MAKE TERRIBLE CHOICES, and they always make them without talking to their spouses first, which means this entire show is — hopefully inadvertently — husbands (rightly) scolding their wives for making rash, emotional decisions that screw basically everything up.
WHAT ARE THEY WEARING.
Also, whilst at this pre-coronation festival (or something), a peasant gets stabbed for stealing a loaf of bread:
WHO IS HE? 24601.
Anyway, this grain plot is incredibly tiresome. This show is suffering from a major lack of romantical intrigue. Even Tolstoy couldn’t make farming THAT interesting; get back to me when grain shortage (in part) leads to the French Revolution and we can get some tumbrils up in this joint. In short: EVERYONE is using their grain supplies to hold one over on Francis, who is terrible at running/feeding his own country, but after a whole lot of yadda, a deal is brokered with Germany to get some grain from them in exchange for the release of some political/religious prisoners. (Conde — who, in real life, possibly was involved with this whole drama that saw Francis abducted, which I HAVE to think is going to come into play this season — is involved in figuring this out, although it’s cast as a noble way for him to return his mistress to her husband [this show is overly complex]. He also, per Wikipedia, “allegedly fathered a son by his mistress Isabelle de Limeuil, who served as Maid of Honour to Catherine de’ Medici and was a member of her notorious group of female spies known at the French court as the ‘Flying Squadron.'” UM. Why aren’t we hanging out with THOSE women?) It will not surprise you to learn that Mary handles all of the machinations and delicate political/religious negotiations inherent in this situation with the artistry and subtlety of a draft horse let loose inside a Faberge egg factory and I would have locked her in a tower by this point, were I Catherine.
These dudes are my favorite extras:
Hello, gentle candelabra! How hard you work. How little you are appreciated.
This coat on Catherine is actually spectacular and awesome on her:
And Francis looks excellent, while Mary is giving us all a lesson in just how early man learned to embrace illusion netting:
Additionally, is it totally wrong that I want Catherine and Nefarious Lord Narcisse to have an affair? They’re the only two people at this court with more than one brain cell to rub together, and so it stands to reason they might want to rub other things together:
They both also share a fondness for well-embroidered coats, plotting, and wondering if Mary could possibly get any dumber (the answer is always yes). I suspect they both also enjoy a spot of kidnapping:
See? Lord Narcisse (in the name of some grain-related SNORE) has had his Henchman (wearing what I can only describe as a Inigo Montoya outfit) kidnap this sweet child:
Don’t worry. Everyone lives. Grain is eventually procured. A nation of CW viewers work on their Candy Crush levels as farming-related blackmail is discussed ad nauseum, and wonders mildly, aloud to their living rooms, if anyone is going to have an affair or anything, any time soon.
This look of Mary’s, especially from afar, seems correct-ish, but sadly, we don’t get to spend any time with it. She’s whinging about something here. She whines about a lot of things. Mostly about problems SHE has caused by trying to (a) fix shit that’s not really her problem (b) overstep her boundaries.
I wish these two would just make out:
They spar all the time and they’re the two best actors on the show, so it’s inevitable, right? This entire conversation is basically Catherine trying to figure out this entire grain SNOOZE and a conversation about privvy councils and more water-treading yadda, and is it wrong that I am shipping the two oldest main characters on this show, or merely a sign that I myself am old? Don’t answer that.
Shut up, Mary. No matter what you’re saying — this was more Grain Nattering — just SHUT UP: Also, I kind of like that goth nightgown but on Blair Waldorf, not you:
Speaking of which, I know it never could have happened for COUNTLESS good reasons, but how good would Leighton Meester have been in the role of Mary?
Anyway, while she continues to undermine everything, Francis goes to the Local Soothsayer (or whatever) to get him to get the Nanny Who Was Possessed By His Dead Dad to get all possessed again, even though he keeps saying he doesn’t believe in the occult:
He also says he wants the Mystic to figure out if the nursemaid is lying or not, but then tosses the Mystic out of his Mystic Tent the moment the Possessed Nursemaid starts to speak. (This also reminds me that we need to talk about how all these men in the 16th century manage to have a PERFECT three-day stubble at all times.) Anyway, of course Dead Henry swoops into the nursemaid’s body, thanks to what else but a “mesmeric elixir” and sharply tells Francis he needs to MAN UP and also that, whoops, he’s tethered to the earth forever now because of how Francis murdered him and all. Francis cannot deal with this development.
OR with Mary, who does all kinds of wheeling and dealing while he’s off chatting with his dead dad in the body of a nursemaid, all of which was inelegantly and poorly done:
And he’s not wrong when he stands in front of The Chorus of Candelabra and points out that her behavior totally undermines his authority with…well, everyone. And I think she knows it:
It would be one thing if Mary was actually doing anything with any kind of elegance or effectiveness — or kick-ass-itude — but she really is not, and she’s been flailing now for three straight weeks. It’s an interesting place to take your heroine. Is it possible this is just opening up a way to bring back in her Hoary Council of Aged Advisors, or perhaps a Guise or two? Because I like taking your protagonist to a place where she’s in over her head, and then watch her crawl out of it, but I’m not sure that’s what’s happening here, yet.
Meanwhile, Kenna and her intriguing hair choices are wearing this:
She’s being schooled here by the woman who bribed her — who then threatens Bash’s life, essentially — and does it seem weird to those of you who watched last season that none of these women seem to be very good at Anticipating Shenanigans? At some point, don’t your characters need to be able to give as good as they get? Or at least realize they might be about to get got?
In more important news: WHAT IS MARY EVEN WEARING THOUGH:
YOU GUYS COME ON. Things be growing on that skirt:
And those leather pants are….is…are….things HAPPENING within them? Not to be indelicate. But to be indelicate. That man can kidnap me in the name of stamping out Catholicism anytime, is what I am saying.
Meanwhile, the hair people continue their subtle reign of terror on Adelaide Kane’s head:
To cope with her follicular distress, Mary goes riding — ASTRIDE, POSSIBLY, about which I shrieked, “IS SHE RIDING ASTRIDE?!!” so loudly that I scared the cat. Which lives downstairs in a wholly other apartment — in this outfit, which is basically the opposite of a riding habit and SHOULD have lead to a (juicy and exciting) plotline in which her horse throws her into a ditch and she goes into an illustrative coma where she is visited by the ghosts of Coronations Past, Present, and Yet to Come, and from which she emerges with renewed purpose and less dumbness:
I feel like this would be amazing if she were in, like, 19th century Spain. WAIT. Maybe it shall be revealed that this version Mary is actually a time-traveller with a disorganized wardrobe! I WOULD SO WATCH THAT SHOW.
Now that grain situations are boringly sorted, it’s coronation time:
Her dress is probably totally wrong but in the interest of fair play, I have to say that I think it is GORGEOUS on her, and it’s luxe enough — and doesn’t feel like it was ordered from Net-a-Porter — that I will totally let it slide. I think it’s breathtaking. And she looks so much better with her hair away from her face.
Friends who get angry at lack of historical accuracy, the way this coronation goes will probably give you angina:
But does that train help? It helps me. It’s SPECTACULAR.
These three women just apparated in from the 2009 Oscars, but they’re super happy to have made it in time for the festivities:
I DOUBT that the holy ceremony anointing the king actually involved rose petals falling from the sky, but despite my all irritated squawking, I am aware that this is a show on The CW and I thought this segment was very well-edited and overall, pretty well done (if hamstrung by the fact that The CW won’t pay for the 1200 extras that Catherine had promised me):
Speaking of Catherine, she doesn’t appreciate Lord Narcisse pointing out that when Mary eventually has Francis’s child, SHE will be totes obsolete:
Throw your drink in his face, Catherine, and then MAKE OUT WITH HIM.
This show DOESN’T stint, after all, on the making out. Witness Mary and Francis, post-Coronation:
PS: Historically speaking, this marriage may have not even been consummated. Also, apparently it’s possible Real Francis’s testicles were undescended. Can we please address the state of his balls at some point in this season, writers? I’ll forgive EVERYTHING if you’ll do that for me. Thanks!