We knew going in that historical accuracy wasn't going to be Reign's top concern, but last week they veered off into an alternate past that would impress even Doc Brown and Marty McFly: Henry is on his way to Rome to legitimize his bastard son, Bash, and change the line of succession to remove Francis as next in line so Mary can marry Bash instead. In this week's episode, "Sacrifice," we have a total break from Francis (which may be great news or terrible news, depending on who you are so... yay! Or, possibly, I'm sorry for your loss), who is off enjoying the freedom of not being prince and also understandably avoiding having to watch his half brother prepare to take over his throne and marry his love.
Bash is being trained on how to be king and, it turns out, he's not great at it. He's completely bored by the peasants' problems, which he has to hear and rule on as the regent while Henry is away. Things get interesting when a girl that he obviously knows (fun fact: Bash has the worst poker face in history) is brought before him on charges of theft. She's very pregnant and the implication is definitely supposed to be that he's the father. He finds her guilty, but we all know we'll be seeing her again.
The next "case" is a woman who has no grievance. She just wanted a chance to meet the future king of France. She plays the role of the honored citizen, right up until she slices at him with a poison dagger. It's Bash's first royal assassination attempt and he's not even eligible for the throne yet. Luckily, Bash has a new bodyguard, Alec, for exactly such situations, and he takes the majority of the cut.
Assassination? Poison? If you're thinking "that sounds like Catherine!" then you and Mary think exactly alike. She marches up to Catherine's "cell" (it's a lavishly-decorated tower, buzzing with servants and full of amenities) and accuses her of trying to have Bash killed. She denies it, but with an implied wink. She and Mary both know what the game is here. She falls back on her usual defense: That everything is for her kids. But we kind of know better, right? Catherine really likes being Queen. She would be doing the exact same thing if she had no children. Mary pulls a very badass move and orders that every amenity be stripped from the tower and that only she and her ladies in waiting will be allowed to approve things like guests and food for Catherine. At least this gives the ladies something to do.
Later, we meet the pregnant thief again. Her name is Isobel, and Bash confesses to Mary that he's broken her out of lockup and needs to get her away from the palace. She's not his lover; she's his cousin. Her father, his uncle, was executed for treason. If word were to get out that he was so closely related to a traitor, he could never be king. Mary dresses her up as a disguise, but warns Bash that she's going to go into labor any day now and insists on coming with him to smuggle her out.
At this point, things take a turn for the truly bat shit crazy. On the journey, we run into the Pagans again. They are insane and going to be popping up more and more now if Bash is set to take the throne. He still insists that even though his whole family is Pagan, he and his mother are Catholics. When the Pagans encircle their camp, Bash, Alec, and Isobel have to recite a prayer (chant?) to make sure that they will sacrifice a horse instead of… one of them? Mary is totally freaked out by this, but she's forced to focus when Isobel goes into labor and delivers a beautiful baby girl for her. (Midwifery was a skill she picked up in her time with the nuns.) Of course, this is, like, 1557 and they're out in the middle of nowhere delivering the baby, so it's no shock that Isobel doesn't survive childbirth. She makes it through initially, but ends up bleeding out (but not before telling Bash to take care of her daughter as her dying, life-complicating wish).
Mary attends the funeral and even takes part in the creepy rituals, like spreading her blood on the grave. It must be a pretty romantic setting (or maybe it's just the blood loss making her woozy), because when Bash promises to be the anti-Francis and always put her before his country, she kisses him and Team Bash fans everywhere wet themselves.
Back at the castle, the ladies in waiting decide it will be a great idea to forge letters from Catherine to use as proof that she committed the crimes that she did definitely commit (we get to see her meet with her conspirator at one point), but that they can't prove she did. There is, of course, no way whatsoever this plan could go awry...
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