Reign 1×07 ‘Left Behind’: Neapolitan

Source: The CW

I’m not sure how I feel about all of this Count Vincent stuff. On the one hand, it’s a convenient enough development to force Francis and Mary together, on the other hand, it makes their estrangement last episode feel artificial, especially since Olivia and Bash are now spinning off into their own side plots. And really, Francis didn’t do much this time out, aside from attempt that daring escape plan, but that kinda fell through. He didn’t even get the ironic violence, which went to Mary’s fork callback. No, the main axis of this episode turned out to be Catherine and Mary, and now that I think about it, I actually enjoyed that a lot.

Megan Follows has been pretty great at playing Catherine as a straight villain so far, and honestly I wasn’t expecting a whole lot more out of her. There are always attempts to humanize the villain; I don’t mean to say that I don’t expect that happen, but it wasn’t the backstory that got me (that may just be because I’m more of history nerd than most people). No, it was Catherine’s scheming demeanor the entire time, so underplayed that it was kinda obvious she had a couple things up her sleeve/balls in the air. Catherine’s not the kind of character who would end up unprepared at a time like this, but this was one of the first times that I actually bought that Catherine, the person, could handle this.

Source: The CW

Source: The CW

Call me crazy, but Catherine, sitting in that candle-lit banquet all and slowly moving pieces around her, reminded me so much of Cersei during the Battle of King’s Landing that it actually shocked me. Sure, she was a lot more…family friendly than Lena Headey plays it, but there’s the same kind of mid-level opperating and assurance of domestic control at play there. Catherine studiously attributes her motives to protecting herself and her house, even going so far as to give Mary some double sided meaningless feel-goody stuff to double mislead everyone. The plan must have necessarily preceded her conversation with Mary, after all. But unlike, say Cersei, Catherine’s operating on an unknown and entertainingly mysterious level.

The other function of this plot, to get Mary and Francis out of the heat and into the furnace (of boning), was mediocre. We get the oversharing from Olivia (hey, what happened to her, exactly?) that tells us that hey, Francis still loves Mary because of cliche, and it’s off to the races with Francis and Mary 4ever nonsense. Francis absolutely drops the ball several times trying to organize the escape, and manages to rush in and “save the day” after Mary and Catherine (ladies!) have already saved the day.

He does get to chop off Vincent’s hand though, which is also kind of mitigated by the fact that Francis is still a real person and Vincent is completely not (see below).

Source: The CW

Source: The CW

That all? Oh yeah, we’re really kicking the Greer & and cook plot into high gear, and cook and Mary each get their first kill. Kenna is still Kenna-ing about, meaning that she’s mostly looking very concerned that Henry’s not around. Aylee had, I’m sure, a line or two. I could almost swear she did. Maybe it was Greer, actually. But hey, she looked great in peasant’s garb! Oh wait, that was Greer too.

Oh, and Anna Popplewell is just becoming the best friend snark queen, which is awesome. I’m team Lola.

It’s early yet to have any real opinion Mary and Francis going at it like two wet cats having sex in a bag, other than the fact that Mary is slowly becoming a Katniss and Francis a Peeta, in the sense that Francis, with his strict parents and constant distractions and utter ineptitude seems much more like the movie girlfriend to Mary’s competent and confident hero, but honestly? I still don’t have a handle on these characters. So I guess, till next time.

Stray Thoughts:

  • Catherine is back to mustache-twirling at the start of this episode, which is always great.
  • Haha, Francis called out Mary’s name during sex. A+ passive-aggression, big guy.
  • Oh yes, because Naples is the home of the refined, not a garbage dumb.
  • Loling at “nunnery,” cause I’m an English class nerd.
  • Teaching your gf how to make an omelet is a top 10 foreplay move according to the French peasantry.
  • “When has the French court not been full of evil men?” Killing it, Popplewell.
  • Source: The CW

    Source: The CW

    History lesson fun times: There has never been a Count of Naples, and this is screwed up in a deliciously ironic way. Naples had been an independent kingdom since the 13th century, after having been a Duchy and then a part of the Kingdom of Sicily (if you know about the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies during the Italian unification, Naples is the second Sicily). During the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, Naples changed hands a few times (if you’ve seen The Borgias you have an idea how complicated it got), but by 1557 the Spanish had held it, one way or another, for some time. France, which had conquered it for a few years at the turn of the century, still “claimed” the city. In 1555, Charles V, in keeping with his division of the empire, handed the city to his son. And so the King of Naples in 1557 was Phillip I, who we know better as our old friend King Phillip II of Spain, consort of Bloody Mary Tudor, Queen of England.

  • Fun side note: After the death of Mary Tudor, Phillip II married Elisabeth of Valois, daughter of Henri II and brother of Francis.
  • More fun history: The rebellion Catherine is referring to was a successful effort to overthrow Medici domination of the Florentine Republic, and Catherine likely spent the entire time in a convent. The rebellion was violently put down in the 1530 Siege of Florence by Charles V, then Carlos I of Spain. Carlos’ military success forced Pope Clement to name him Holy Roman Emperor, thus concluding an earlier iteration of the Italian Wars, the War of the League of Cognac, a war started by Pope Clement in an attempt to lessen Charles’ growing power.
John M.

works for a legal newspaper in Baltimore and lives within three blocks of Tilghman Middle, the alley where Omar and Brother Mouzone have their showdown, and Pearson’s Florists. He enjoys putting his liberal arts degree to good use by watching a lot of TV and reading a lot of internet. He occasionally blogs (about Dawson’s Creek) on tumblr.

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  • Eric Pharand

    Good. I want them to ease up on (attempted) rape plots please. I was hoping that Clarissa the Friendly Ghost was going to stab an Italian. I pretend Vincent is a count of Naples (Neapolitan count).