Sunday, April 20, 2014

Reign -- When You Like the Other Guy Better, Version 2.0

So apparently I've really got a thing for the underdog at the moment.
In case you were wondering about my first When You Like the Other Guy Better post, I actually stopped watching Beauty and the Beast in sheer disgust a few weeks back.
The last episode I saw was 2x15, where the closing scene featured Vincent carrying Cat off to bed. I'm sure all the fans who ship those two were cheering, but I was pissed off that Cat was about to cheat on Gabe, who'd been so good to her. Plus I don't really want to watch the fallout from that. Let me guess, it will go something like this: Cat will be agonizing with guilt over what she did with Vincent, and not want to hurt either him, or Gabe. She might even decide it was a mistake (you know, just to string out the drama a little longer). Tess will probably find out and then they'll have the inevitable girl chat (probably while both holing cups of coffee) and Cat will make some decision, which won't be the right one and will no doubt make things worse. Vincent will be upset if Cat tells him it was a mistake, but determined to prove her wrong. Gabe will somehow find out and then he and Vincent will have some kind of Alpha male, beast and ex-beast showdown. At this point, Cat may decide she's better off on her own.
...Damn, now I'm going to have to watch it to see how close to right I got this. Anyway, the point is, I'm so not impressed with this turn of events. I knew the Gabe/Cat ship would eventually sink, but did she really have to cheat on him?

But on to the reason we're here today. I've been watching this new show, Reign, and despite the deluge of historical inaccuracies, I am totally loving the latest teen/new adult drama. For the fact that we've only been treated to eighteen episodes, they sure have crammed a lot in.
The series starts off with Queen Mary of Scotland being re-introduced to the Dauphin of France, Francis, her future husband. The two of them met as children, but then Mary was sent to live in a convent for her safety, since the English were bent on killing her.
Mary is open to falling in love with Francis right away, but he resists, I think on the basis that a king can't afford to be in love, or some misconception like that. This would be complicated enough, except Francis' half brother, Sebastian, or Bash, as they call him, the King's bastard, also lives at the castle. Since it turns out that Bash is a total heart-throb, Mary notices him almost right away...  but who can blame her?
Bash starts falling for Mary, though he tries to keep it under wraps because she's marrying his brother.
And slowly, Francis does start letting go of his preconceived ideas about his relationship with Mary to start falling for her. So Bash, being all noble like he is, tries to keep out of the way. Except somehow, whenever Mary really needs something, Bash is the one who comes through for her.
Through a series of events that are meant to save Francis, the heir apparent gets ousted from his own castle, while the king attempts to legitimize Bash and have him become the next ruler of France. Since Mary is destined to marry the future king of France, her betrothal is carried over to make her engaged to Bash.
Since the two had already acknowledged their feelings for one another, they weren't exactly unhappy with this change in circumstances, and didn't bother holding back their affection, especially once Francis left the castle. 
The series of episodes that came from this story line were great, with Bash and Mary getting closer all the time. Bash saved her several times, in several different ways, including when the Queen, Francis' mother, almost poisoned Mary.
Once again, I was on board with a ship that I knew couldn't last. Yes, Mary and Francis are good together, and I knew that somehow things would all turn around to bring them back together, but I thought Mary's relationship with Bash was so much better. The chemistry was hotter and Bash would do something that Francis never would: always put Mary first, even before the crown.
Of course, their relationship came to a swift end, with Francis returning and order being restored.
In some ways, this series has been able to do things others have not. As a future King and Queen, after Francis and Mary were married, the consummation of their union had to be witnessed. As punishment and a lesson, the King forced Bash into the room along with all the other officials who had to be present. I know this at least is actually accurate history-wise, but I totally cringed through that scene. And poor Bash, forced to see the woman he loves become intimate with his brother.
After that, Bash tried to bow out gracefully, despite the fact that he so obviously loved Mary, but events kept drawing him back to the castle, no matter how many times he said he was leaving for good.
For a while, Bash and Francis were at odds over what happened, and Francis was quite obviously jealous despite the fact that he had married Mary.
But this was neatly fixed when Francis almost drowned, and Bash desperately rescues him. Just when it seems order is about to be restored, the King gets involved. As it turns out, their father is starting to go mad, and forces Bash to wed his mistress, Kenna, who is also one of Mary's ladies.
This was a shocking plot twist I never saw coming. The hasty wedding scene was done so well. At first, everyone protests, but the king threatens their lives, and Bash realizes there really is no choice. As Kenna cries, Bash makes his vows, while sharing a desperate glance with Francis, who is standing by, just as powerless.
But, Bash being the character he is, has made the best of his situation in the two episodes since. Just as he promised to do for Mary, he has put Kenna as his wife first. When she confesses that she is terrified of the king, Bash starts trying to protect her, and she returns the sentiment in a tense stand-off scene in the throne room. At the end of the last episode, the two of them shared a kiss... and I think they actually might be more suited to one another than they both first assumed.
Although I preferred Mary and Bash being together, I'm now actually not too upset about Bash's marriage to Kenna. In actual fact, I really just love seeing Bash get all protective and intense. I also have to say Bash has a great sense of humor. In the episode after they were married, Kenna and Bash were discussing how they'd ended up with people they hadn't expected to;

Kenna: You make it sound as if I'm the most self-centered woman in France.
Bash: I can't say that, I haven't met all the women in France... You act as though this was my fault; I am no happier about it than you.
Kenna: You? What do you have to complain about? You're now married to a beautiful woman of noble birth.
Bash: Whose notorious for sleeping with my father. I see no awkwardness there...

Maybe not so funny on paper, but the way this was delivered had me laughing out loud. But I can't rest easy yet. While things are looking promising for Bash and Kenna, Francis literally just destroyed the hell out of his relationship with Mary. She wanted to return to Scotland to settle some unease, and Francis decided it was too dangerous for her to go without him, and he couldn't leave for several days until he tied up some other affairs. When Mary told him she was going anyway, he locked her in the freaking tower. Because locking your wife in a tower always works out so well... Anyway, my gut feeling on this is that Mary is going to turn back toward Bash, which of course is going to ruin his new relationship with Kenna. Whatever happens, the drama is far from over.

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