There have been a lot of theories about exactly who Clarissa might be - but Reign Season 1 Episode 11 put them all to rest:
She's an illegitimate daughter of Queen Catherine's with her lover Viscount Richard Delacroix. Whoops!
Some heads are gonna roll!
Well, to be technical, one already rolled, and the Viscount's might have rolled by now. Catherine's was already on the schedule before Henry knew about her bastard daughter... or her attempt on Mary's life. Catherine really wants to test the limits of Henry's patience.
Henry came back to court in a foul mood tugging along Delacroix with him to help take care of his pesky Catherine business. A couple members of her family made the journey as well to let her know they were successful in stopping his attempt to get an annulment granted by the Pope. However, and this is where it gets sticky, we're-really-sorry-but-he's-going-to-chop-off-your-head.
You see, they spit that out without breathing because as they were saying it they were interrupted by to fellows bringing in the stump where she'll place her head so they can whack it off. Why? The treasonable offense of adultery -- with her good friend Nostradamus.
Catherine: Hello old friend. Too bad you didn't see this one coming.
Nostradamus: Somehow I never see anything coming that could help me.
Speaking with her old friend was when Catherine learned the identity of the house ghost. She knew for certain who it was before we did as she was brought to tears by the tale. A baby was given to his father with a birthmark on its face. In trying to remove it, he instead mutilated her. Nostradamus felt responsible for the girl and cared for her.
I don't know if this spurred such emotion in Catherine that she decided she'd try use them on Henry or what, but it worked. She paid him a visit and we learned what happened to them. She was unable to give birth for years and afraid that Henry, like other kings, would have her beheaded for not producing an heir. He said that was ludicrous and was appalled to learn that she never realized how deeply in love with her he was at the time.
Like in all good romantic movies, when Catherine let her hair down, Henry realized what he had been missing for the past 15 years or so and they wound up in bed. Still, killing her was on the calendar for the next day. She's apparently not that good in bed. It seemed like he was mulling it around though; the idea of not killing her.
Mary and Bash were off on another adventure trying to save themselves from the nefarious deeds of Catherine and their trip included learning about the story of Catherine taking a lover and giving birth to a baby. They decided to bring the witness to court and use it to wrap things up with Catherine.
Henry remembered Delacroix's port wine stain, realized what had happened, all of the sweet lovemaking from earlier in the day was wasted and Catherine was even lower than before, plus the one man she had loved and who loved her completely throughout her life was losing his head.
Ironically, things only got worse from there. Catherine's family left disgraced, but not after giving her poison to spare the pain of a beheading. She used the poison on Mary and Clarissa saved them both. We can only imagine what this will mean for Catherine's future. I don't think she'll be having sex again any time soon.
Clarissa isn't nearly so horrid that she should me made to wear a bag over her head, but every generation has its own tolerance issues. Catherine screaming that she should be dead couldn't have done much for her self confidence.
As for Mary and Bash (were you worried I wasn't going to go there?), it's really difficult not to fall for Bash. I know he has a dark side. He did unabashedly (see what I did there?) push a man over a cliff, after all. But tonight he took his father's suggestion to cut down threats like weeds quickly and interpreted it to mean that he would kill his own father if he ever threatened Mary.
Bash appears to be doing everything right. He is giving Mary space, but reminding her often of his position. He loves her. He puts love above politics. He will think of her first, country second. If she decides she wants to do something other than what his father commands, he will ensure that she gets her wish.
So what's the catch? There has to be one. This guy is written into the story. He's not real. Mary marries Francis. Then he dies. If that's a spoiler, then you need to read more. This is based on a real girl, even if it's fictionalized. It's not fantasy to the point that they're going to write an alternate future (if a future is in the cards for Reign).
History lessons be damned, right? Francis was actually two years younger than Mary when the were wed, so some of the details have to be changed or we'd be skeeved out! Bash and Francis are going to have to duke (or prince or dauphin) it out over Mary. They both have good points and apparently Catherine doesn't want either one to wed Mary. What fun!
Were you surprised to learn Clarissa is Catherine's bastard daughter?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.