Hey, remember when this show had Nostradamus floating around making announcements? It was awfully rude of him to leave right before EXTREMELY TERRIBLE THINGS started happening, which you’d think maybe he would have had an inkling were on the horizon. (In fact, I suspect that’s exactly why the writers had to get rid of him — what good is your soothsayer if he missed all this? Better to have him off in a cottage somewhere.) Warning: this episode involved murder and a brutal sexual assault, the aftermath of which was surprisingly well done by Adelaide Kane (and unsurprisingly extremely well done by Megan Follows), so if you’d rather not read about such things, I shall see you in the next post.
This week’s SUPER TERRIBLE THING that opens the show is this dude tripping over a dead body in a field and then getting kidnapped. Or arrested. TAKEN:
Liam Neeson sadly does not show up to rescue him.
Mary spends a great portion of this episode wearing a duvet cover. Let’s just cover the bullet points of the plot with a quickness and then get into the outfits and the details, and discuss whether or not the show should have Gone There.
The biggie: Francis was out of the castle interrogating (and then having killed) a dude Narcisse was holding captive, because said Dude knew that Francis killed his (Francis’s) father. While Francis was gone, Protestant assassins stormed the castle to try to kill him, but when he wasn’t there, one of them raped Mary instead. (He was a father of the Protestant minister that the Protestants themselves killed and pinned on the crown.) Mary is obviously utterly wrecked by this violation, and Adelaide Kane was more effective in these scenes than I would have anticipated. Catherine, when she discovers the truth, gives the Get A Grip speech of the decade, which manages to be kind and sympathetic and firm at the same time, telling Mary that she has to pretend to everyone that that she’s fine, or it really will be fuel to the flame on a national scale, and that she basically has to pull herself together for crown and country or they’re all utterly in for it. Megan Follows is GREAT in this scene — she’s in control without being dismissive or unkind in any way, and in fact, her control comes off like a proactive kindness in and of itself. She tells Mary what she has to do, and she makes it supremely clear that Mary can do it, that she’s strong enough, that her dignity hasn’t been taken from her, and that she, Catherine, will help. I can’t help but think that this is a huge turning point in their relationship, and thank god for this show that Megan Follows is controlled and subtle enough an actor to make telling Mary to pull herself together in this instance read as kindness and not cruelty.
The others: Claude is being married off to Conde (Mary’s idea) as a way to prove to the country that the crown practices religious tolerance and approves of inter-religious marriages. Conde isn’t thrilled (because he’s in love with Mary, and Claude is a handful), and neither is Claude (who delusionally believes she’ll be allowed to run wild her entire life; even if Catherine didn’t want to get her out of the castle because of that whole curse business, a princess of France is ALWAYS going to be married off, because she’s a chess piece if nothing else), until she gets a gander at how hot Conde is. Whether or not this wedding will actually now that SHIT HAS GOTTEN REAL in terms of assassination attempts and out-and-out religious violence is an entirely other question.
Greer allows herself to be talked into religious conversion for about five minutes, until she finds out that Lord Castleroy has bankrolled a bunch of Protestants who SAID they were building a school but who ACTUALLY are assassins and (unbeknownst to anyone but Catherine and Francis and Mary) one rapist. So…that’s not going very well.
Kenna has nothing to do.
Bash stabs a dude.
And Lola and Narcisse are TOTALLY getting back together because he’s so full of sexy angst now, because he blames himself for using France’s religious turmoil as leverage to control Francis, thus inadvertently helping it to get WAY out of hand and leading to the castle being attacked and loads of people being killed. He runs to Lola’s room, all concerned, and full of self-blame and personal, sexy recriminations. It’s quite hot.
Additionally, the show cast way more extras this week and FINALLY FINALLY people have servants. THAT IS A MIRACLE. Like so:
People! People walking behind Mary and taking her cloak and rolling their eyes at each other about her duvet cover dress, just as it ought to be!
Someone even comes and takes this horse from Conde! In another scene, there appear to be guards! I wonder if The CW knew this episode would perhaps be sent out to press (because of the Big Event Therein) and decided to splash out some extra cash for extras. It served them well, if so. PS: Conde’s being in love with Mary is going to end badly for everyone, I suspect.
Greer looks very pretty this week, but Castleroy’s waistcoasts are consistently made of wallpaper:
And Claude looks INSANE:
This ensemble is ridiculous. It looks thrown together with a bunch of random stuff they found at the back of the costume closet and a fitted sheet that someone’s lost the twin for. And you can’t really tell in this photo, but someone’s made her some bangs from a random fetlock and she basically looks like she’s trying out Donald’s Trump’s hairdo. I wouldn’t want to marry her, either, if I were Conde. She looks FULLY INSANE.
Although the feather is an amusing, show-pony touch.
Mary — this is before she is attacked — also looks lovely in this strapless gown with major jewels. And Kenna almost looks period-correct!
And Lola, as usual, looks the closest of them all, and this green dress is fantastic. Too bad her husband is too dumb to know he just BANKROLLED MURDERERS AND RAPISTS. PS: Where is Neckbeard Leith, I wonder? He hasn’t been on the show in ages.
And — there are few photos this week, because everyone was either stabbing people in the dark or wearing the same thing as terrible things happened to them forever — there is no doubt to me that Mary is dressed EXACTLY like Catherine here, as she assures the court that she and Francis are perfectly fine, because Catherine has dressed Mary, and given her a suit of armor exactly like the one Catherine herself wears:
It’s a very smart, very good costuming choice and I will be fascinated to see if Mary dresses like Catherine from here on out. I hope she does.
And her robe that she wears when she tells Francis what happened to her is glorious, not for nothing. I am really relived that she’s not keeping it from him — as we’ve seen in other period shows, that rarely works out well, and is generally frustrating for the audience after a certain point. But although Francis reacts to this appropriately — horror, sadness, a desire to comfort her — this is definitely not going to be good for their relationship. ANGST AHOY.