Mary has a pretty wretched introduction to power in Reign Season 2 Episode 1.
With Francis out to rescue his child (and Lola) and the Plague infiltrating the castle walls far earlier than imagined, things are fairly dire as we begin Reign Season 2.
While the tone was somber, we were still treated to sparking dialog delivered with the appropriate intensity to match every scene.
In short, Reign is back and better than ever.
Mary has learned so much in such a short time. The most important lesson has been that she doesn't want to wind up like Catherine. She wants to reign with a fairness and respect. She doesn't want to grease the palms of nobility just because they give her power, but she wants to earn their respect so nobody is making fear-based decisions.
That may not always work for her, and we know Mary's not against taking matters into her own hands and nudging things in her direction, as she did with Catherine. She took away some of Catherine's power, temporarily, so that she was able to handle things as she saw fit.
I never knew that the Plague would come into an area and ravage it for a few weeks and then move out after killing those would were susceptible. Maybe that's not historically accurate, but if it is, the swift moving nature of the disease is a lot better than it lingering around for months and years.
Who didn't love when Catherine declared they burn clean the air around them? Mary gave her a look like, "Are you kidding me?" and Catherine said "It worked for the Pope." Things were so horrific but that was pretty funny. Even today many people don't know how or why some diseases are transmitted, so it's not that odd of a belief.
When Lord Edward (Narcisse -- related to the one in the woods who will come to the castle and want even more vengeance??) wanted to kill another lord because he was screwing around with his wife, Catherine was willing to do it. Mary refused, finally drugging Catherine to believe she had the Plague to get around it.
I'm a little confused exactly who Edward killed. Somehow Lord Castleroy's daughter was in the room he poisoned. As soon as that water was delivered and I heard "finally" I knew death was imminent. But that wasn't Castleroy's room. Yvette dying opens the door back up for Leith and Greer to dally, because did we really believe it would be over so easily?
We had the ghost story in Reign Season 1 (which wasn't a ghost at all, of course) and it seems we might have another. There is really no logical explanation about what Bash saw in the hallway other than the girl infiltrated his dreams with the announcement of the reckoning the dead would have. Mary may have stopped the dead taking more vengeance since she duly punished Edward, but ghost stories are fun and this is The CW.
When I spoke recently with Torrance Coombs, I asked about Bash's relationship with Kenna and their new ward. He answered, carefully avoiding mention of Pascal. Now we know why. How heartbreaking for Kenna to be so far from the boy in her charge as he died, but yet her words about God and souls were quite tender. I wonder if children might be in her future.
Catherine told Mary not to let Lola come between her and Francis. It seems it will be a lot more difficult than that. Lola almost had a free getaway, but once Francis held his son, that was it. He couldn't let him go. With his son comes Lola, so the three will have to find a way to live together, odd as it will be.
It's hard to believe the notion of true love even comes into their minds considering how rare it was in the times. But as humans, even faced with the worst possible notion we like to believe that we can have it all, that our love will be different than that which came before.
Personally, I've never really liked Lola and her decision to sleep with Mary's guy even though they were estranged (to put it mildly) never settled well. I expect her to be a pain in the butt and for it to be difficult for her and Mary to mend fences.
Was the final scene -- Mary alone on the throne -- a sign of what's to come? I hope she's not left with the lion's share of running France while Francis attends to other issues inside the castle.
Overall, it was a solid, action-packed hour. We suffered through the Plague, discovered to what lengths Mary would go to rule over Court, met two new players for the season and learned Francis is coming home with a baby.
Bash and Kenna have lost their ward, which will leave Kenna with free time on her hands to get into fun situations and it appears Leith is free once again, as well, opening the door for a little Greer action. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
This was another premiere so full of quotable moments it's impossible to include them all, so please hit the Reign Quotes to get the best.
Did you think this was a good start to the season? Did anything surprise you and what are your hopes as we move forward? If you need to catch up, we make it easy for you to watch Reign online via TV Fanatic. Hit the comments!
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.