'Reign' Recap: Rape Talk and Female Relationships Dominate "Left Behind"
MARY AND FRANCIS DID IT! Sorry, I just had to get that out of the way at the top. This week's Reign was full of some very serious drama. If the show is usually like high school in the French court, then this week was like if the high school were attacked and taken over by terrorists. In "Left Behind," the king has left with his army, leaving Mary and company exposed. An old rival of the king's (some Italian guy on a vengeful rampage because the king is somehow responsible for the death of his son) arrives to kidnap Francis and his little brothers (he has little brothers?!) and to rape the women of the castle first for good measure.
There is a lot of rape (or attempted rape, at least) in Reign. It's dark and scary and uncomfortable to talk about, but unlike the wardrobing and plot, it's actually probably very historically accurate. Mary lives in a time where a woman – even a queen – has very few rights and where female sexual purity is at a premium, which counters any motivation a woman (especially a noble one, whose life depends so greatly on her chastity until marriage) might have to complain about her attack. This is precisely the argument Queen Bitchface makes when she offers Mary and her ladies up to the captors, something she does multiple times for various reasons over the course of the episode.
As awful as the queen can be (and she is still awful, even in the midst of some of her better moments this season), "Left Behind" gave us a nice look at her as a real person and gave her and Mary a chance for some supportive, girl-on-girl bonding and ruling. They hatch a plan to get Francis (who offers himself up as a hostage to save Mary after his mom offers her to the Italians the first time), his brothers and the rest of the servants and nobles in the castle out safely, using the secret tunnels Mary explored and marked as a child. It's nice to see them working together for once; the queen really is one of the smartest women on the show (if not the smartest) and while she usually uses her powers for evil, this week she and Mary teamed up. She even reveals a story about her past to Mary, who sees through the sugar-coating and realizes that the queen was not a virgin when she married the king of France; she had faced a similar situation years ago and not come out of it as fortunate as Mary and her friends.
But, when you cut out the pertinent sexual violence subplot and the amazingly feminist women supporting women theme of the episode, Reign is still at high school drama underneath it all. Here's your teen speak catch up of the personal plot updates:
Mary: Mary totes loses her virginity this week. She's like, totally grateful that Francis saved her, but also kind of desperate to keep him away from Olivia, who most definitely puts out. Now that he's "ruined" her, he better marry her or keep her secret.
Francis: Francis realizes he's really in love with Mary. How do we know? Because Olivia complains that he calls out a name during his orgasms – and it's not hers. Poor Olivia, but Team Francis has to be happy about this.
Bash: Bash is a bastard, but his mother (the king's longtime favorite mistress) would love to see him made legit and on the throne (OMG!). He'd rather not make waves and get killed and stuff, and he's like, so pissed when he puts two and two together and realizes that his mother was the one who tipped off the Italians about a good time to attack. Parents, amirite?
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