Lilith Luvs TV

I'm just a girl sitting in front of her TV asking it to entertain her.

Reign – 2.10 – Mercy – Review: “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”


Hey, Royals! I know I’ve been missing in action for a while but I’m back and just in time for Reign’s mid-season finale. So raise your hands and raise them high if you’re ready to dissect this episode from top to bottom. I know I am. So let’s get to it.

This week’s episode of Reign was written by Wendy Riss Gatsiounis & Drew Lindo. This is the third time in ten episodes that they have written an episode. I’m not complaining but I just hope their muses don’t get worn out too soon, they are in heavy rotation and we still have twelve more episodes this season. We had a new to the series director by the name of Rich Newey. I always find it odd when I newcomer has the privilege to direct a finale or mid-season finale but I think he a great job nonetheless. All-in-all it was a pretty solid episode on a technical level.

But I will say this episode had a lot of things to cover as well as set the stage for the second of the season and as such came of feeling unevenly paced, unnecessarily crowded and a certain someone’s subplot bordered on the ludicrous. I also found most of the dialogue to watered down and muted.

Ever since it was announced that Mary would be having a rape subplot I was tentative about how it would be handled. The situation felt even more precarious because it was stated that this rape was mainly happening to flesh the character of Francis. Rape as a subplot on TV is tiresome and worrisome trope to be sure (it’s even a few rungs below the ‘woman in a refrigerator ‘ trope). How I view the end result of this subplot will be based on a few things, namely the duration of the effects on Mary and the consequences of the act.

I think that the rape subplot was not placed in the best possible episode. Rape is a serious issue and if you choose to explore that event with one of your characters you should be prepared to have that presented as an everlasting effect on the psyche of your character in some shape or form. So the timing of this was a disservice indeed. For such an act to occur during the penultimate episode of a mid-season finale is inopportune to say the least because the next episode has a lot to wrap up as well as set the stage for the second half of the season so there would be no time to really give the story the respect it deserves. Then of course we have a time jump to deal with during the second half of the season so we will miss a lot of the emotional fallout (or maybe that was the point, I’m not sure).

But at any rate Adelaide Kane was a powerhouse (much like most of the episodes this season and last) during this episode. I know I say this, like A LOT but it’s so true, Kane breathes something magical into the character of Mary every single week. She nails whatever emotion she is supposed to be giving us. I like this frailty and vulnerability and how the vile act has sullied her idealism and brought out the vengeful side that we only got glimpses of very briefly last season.

Meanwhile, everything else just kind of floundered and meandered. Seriously, Bash’s brightest moment this season has been killing Montgomery to protect his brother. Kenna is now a lurk-about who appears to characters spouting words of wisdom and encouragement and very rarely gets to see her husband or her friends for some odd reason. Then we have Lola who got maybe two or three lines in the episodes and one of them was about trying to save Narcisse. Really, Lola? Is the D that good? They made Johnathon Keltz’s character, Leith a season regular and for the life of me I can’t figure out why. I feel like maybe they should have used Bash, Leith and now Claude to flesh Francis out. The only character I really felt was utilized to their maximum potential was Narcisse and that blackmail thing got old real fast but the point they have now brought it to was unexpected and should actually be entertaining now that the tables have turned. And lastly, we have Greer. Just when we thought one of ladies was going to be allowed to have at one good thing in their life without any strings they go and pull the rug from underneath us. I’m so exhausted with all this misery and torment.

Speaking of Greer… Shout out to my fellow Team Castleroy people. Man, we just can’t catch a freaking break. I was happy when Greer decided she wanted to marry Castleroy. I like her with his children. I liked them together. It was a refreshing change of pace to see an unpopular outcome prevail. My best guess is that Castleroy will die while in hiding and Greer will get all of his cash and then ride off into the sunset with Leith (or rather remarry and live at court with him).

Well, I was happy to learn that my instinct weren’t that far off in terms of Louis Conde. I knew he was a snake in the grass and not just because he likes to bang other men’s wives because hey it takes two tango and they have shown time and time again the male nobles for the most treat their ladies like trash. From the moment we met Conde we knew he only dealt in half truths. I feel vindicated. I want Louis to choose his brother and not Mary. You would think though that he would jump at the opportunity to marry Princess Claude being a Bourbon/prince of the blood if his treachery truly ran that deep so maybe we are going the clichéd route.

Oh yeah, while we are on the subject of Claude… Can you believe Catherine actually went through with poisoning her? I mean sure Claude seems to be seriously defective sociopath but still, it’s her own flesh and blood. The “fate” of Claude was left dangling so unimportantly that I’m just going to go ahead wager that she actually isn’t dead. Claude is the new Old!Kenna and I really don’t like this character so if she really is dead there will be no sweat off my back but Rose Williams is doing an amazing job with this bratty character so it’s a win-win situation either way.

OK, so don’t hate me for saying this but what the hell are they doing with Catherine. I really feel like they could be utilizing Megan Follows talents in a storyline that is a little more refined and dignified. I’m willing to go down this road but I’m just saying at every single turn when they have given us a “supernatural” element it has been a false alert and quite frankly I’m tired of them jerking me around on this front. I will say that Megan Follows was wickedly delicious in the scene where no hands could be accurately accounted for. I do give kudos to the writers for always making Catherine, as an older woman, viable, desirable, cunning and capable, especially since this is still a CW/M3 show. I’m curious as to what is going on with this situation and I definitely think (and mean this in a negative manner) it iswhat will be buzzed about for the next six weeks. I have a crackpot theory to share about this storyline and I’d love to hear yours as well in the comments below.

Episode Awards


Grade: B- (that’s due to me being very generous and having a wait and see attitude)

Character of the Night
• It’s a tie between Mary and Francis.

Best Character Interactions
• Francis and Narcisse

Scene of the Night
• Mary hunts down her attackers and watches as their corpses burn.

Line of the Night
Kenna: The women in this castle have it hard enough without us turning on each other.

Most Memorable Moment
• King Henry’s sexy ghost romp with Catherine.

Favorite Lady-in-Waiting
• Greer (simply because she got the most screen time and has the least frustrating storyline)

That Awkward Moment
• That awkward moment when you finally tell the truth and it blows up in your face. Poor Francis, he’s becoming the king he never wanted to be and what’s worse, is that he has basically set Mary on the path to becoming like Catherine.

Daddy’s Home Award
• I was so pleasantly surprised to see Alan van Sprang ‘s name in the credits and very surprised with what they did with his shocking return.

Miscellaneous

Biggest Surprise - Not all that much actually happened over the course of the episode when you really break it down. France is still slowly roasting itself from the inside out on all fronts.
Crackpot Theory - Clarissa has been poisoning Catherine and these are some potent, heavy duty hallucinations.
Fun Fact - Claude had a hunchback and club foot.

Friendly Reminder
Don’t forget to live tweet with the show (@CWReign) and me (@lilithhellfire) every Thursday night at 9 pm EST.

Well, now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below. I look forward to reading your thoughts.

PS: Don't forget to promote this and all interesting ‘Reign’ articles in all the social media you can. For instance be sure to click the like button, retweet this and +1 this article if you like it and appreciate this reviewer's hard work

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Arrow - 3.09 - The Climb - Review: Say a Little Prayer


Nyssa returns to Starling City and tells Oliver that her father, Ra's al Ghul has given Oliver 48 hours to find Sara’s killer or The League of Assassins will start killing the citizens of Starling City. Laurel is stunned when her father delivers a very special Christmas gift – her mother, Dinah. Meanwhile, Ray tries to make amends with Felicity and Oliver sets a "meeting" with Ra’s al Ghul. To read more click here.

If you like my reviews, then you'll love my podcast Queen Consolidated. PS: The podcast is available on most podcast apps, not just iTunes.

Episode Awards

Grade: A-

Character of the Night
• Oliver

Best Character Interactions
• Oliver and Ra's al Ghul
• Oliver and Maseo (past and present)

Scene of the Night
• Ra's al Ghul "kills" Oliver

Line of the Night
• Ra's al Ghul (to Oliver): Why, he's just a boy.

Most Memorable Moment
• The look on The Arrow's face after Thea kicks his butt and jumps off her balcony into the night

Screenshot of the Night


Please feel free to sound off in the comments section below.

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Benched - 1.06 - Rights & Wrongs - Review: The Art of Compromise


Raise your hand if you are ready to talk about the latest episode of USA’s Benched! I know I for one cannot wait to gush and blubber like a fangirl. This week’s episode of was hands down the best to date. Let’s not waste any more time and just get straight to the review. OK? OK!

This week’s episode was written by John Enbom. I found his style to be moderate. He didn’t do too much nor did he do too little. I did find it odd that we were still harping on Nina’s competitive nature but they did manage to spin it in a new light. In last week’s misadventures, Nina actually hurt her client’s case because she was so obsessed with not getting played and her need to be the smartest person in the room at all times.

This week’s episode saw her wanting to “serve justice” (as long as that meant really sticking it to Trent at every turn). But this episode did touch on a very serious topic in criminal law: trumped up charges to illicit more guilty pleas without regard to actually serving justice all to avoid expensive jury trials under the guise of saving taxpayers money.

Victor Nelli Jr. directed this episode. I enjoyed his use of the wide angles and I have to say he really captured the courtroom in a fresh and interesting way. The tight composition of each scene really sold the low budget public defender angle. This was definitely one of the best technically balanced episodes to date.

This episode explored themes of compromise, obsession and letting go. It was great getting a little taste of what Trent had to put up with during his time with Nina. I mean sure she is lead of the show but every story, especially a break up has three side (his side, her side and the truth, of course). Another bonus is that the writer of this episode didn’t feel the need to shove the budding romance of Nina and Phil down our throats. We were long overdue for a break on that front.

I love nothing more than when the whole office crew is present. Well, alright boring Larry wasn’t there but he only shows up when Cheryl isn’t there (and between me and you I like Maria Bamford’s Cheryl a whole lot more even though for some odd reason she gets less screen time than him). I definitely have to say Carlos is my favorite character. He’s the character we know the most about (even though he isn’t the lead) and he’s the most sympathetic and relatable and that just grows by leaps and bounds each week. I’m thrilled to see Oscar Nuñez have a character that the show appreciates.

A very well put together episode that could (and probably should) be a winning formula for the show to follow. Here’s hoping net week’s episode is as put together, balanced and funny as this one maybe even hopefully more.

Grade: A

Episode Awards

Character of the Night
• Carlos

Best Character Interactions
• Nina, Trent and Judge Nelson

Scene of the Night
• Nina realizes her client is guilty and decides to compromise

Line of the Night
• Micah: You look like a porn star who just got her real estate license.

Most Memorable Moment
• Nina gets the Public Defenders office some office supplies courtesy of the District Attorney's office.

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Arrow - 3.08 - The Brave and The Bold - Review: Welcome to the Jungle


Oliver, Roy, and Diggle track down the location of a boomerang-wielding killer named Digger Harkness but are surprised when they come face to face with an A.R.G.U.S. team. Diggle asks Lyla why A.R.G.U.S. is involved but she defers until Harkness attacks the building, killing several agents and targeting Lyla. The Arrow joins the fight and gets help from an old friend – The Flash. Harkness manages to get away and Oliver teams up with Barry again to find him before he can get to Lyla. When Harkness plants five bombs in the city that are timed to explode at the same time, both teams must come together to save the city.

To read this review in full, click here.

If you'd like to hear more of my thoughts I have a podcast dedicated to Arrow and it's called Queen Consolidated. Give it a listen, if you like it please be sure to rate, review and subscribe.


Episode Awards

Grade: B-

Character of the Night
• Cisco
• Flashback Oliver

Best Character Interactions
• Diggle and Lyla
• Caitlin and Felicity
• Cisco and Roy

Scene of the Night
• Oliver and Roy go to Diggle's place for a late dinner.

Most Memorable Moment
• Felicity and Ray kissing

Best Action
• Digger Harkness, The Arrow and Arsenal get into a hand to hand fight

Screenshot of the Night

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Arrow - 3.07 - Draw Back Your Bow - Review: Your Love Is My Drug


AUSTIN BUTLER (“THE CARRIE DIARIES”) JOINS THE CAST AS CHASE; OLIVER DEALS WITH CARRIE CUTTER — Oliver (Stephen Amell) must stop an Arrow-obsessed serial killer, Carrie Cutter (guest star Amy Gumenick), who is convinced that The Arrow is her one true love and will stop at nothing to get his attention. Unfortunately, her way of getting his attention is to kill people. Meanwhile, Ray (Brandon Routh) asks Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) to be his date for a work dinner with important clients. Thea (Willa Holland) auditions new DJs for Verdant and meets Chase (Austin Butler), a brash DJ with whom she immediately clashes.

To read more click here.


Episode Awards


Character of the Night
• Oliver

Best Character Interactions
• Oliver and Diggle
• Felicity and Ray

Scene of the Night
• Oliver and Roy go to Diggle's place for a late dinner.

Most Memorable Moment
• Felicity and Ray kissing

Best Action
• Cupid and The Arrow fight

Screenshot of the Night



If you'd like to hear more of my thoughts I have a podcast dedicated to Arrow and it's called Queen Consolidated. Give it a listen, if you like it please be sure to rate, review and subscribe.

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Reign 2x07 - The Prince of the Blood – Review: The Brave and the Bold


Hey, Royals! It’s time to discuss another episode of Reign. This week’s installment of Reign really saw things heating up. This was a really fantastic episode that saw every single character get a chance to shine, put some wind in the sails of all the fandom ships as well as break our hearts and to be honest I wouldn’t have it any other way. A story of this nature is all about the ups and downs and it’s amazing how much I’ve been enjoying the ride for most of season 2. More on that later… Let’s just jump straight into the review, shall we?


This week’s episode was written by, not even going to lie, my favorite writing pair on the show (technically it’s a tie but whatever) Drew Lindo & Wendy Riss Gatsiounis. The last episode they wrote was episode of this season so I was very pleasantly surprised to them back and so soon to boot. They really brought their A game for this episode (like always). I was over the moon with how great this episode turned out.

Deborah Chow directed this week’s episode and I have to say it was visually stunning. I really do love when the show is able to film outdoors and make use of natural light. I loved all the wide shots, especially during Claude’s party and how the fireworks sequences were captured. But I think my favorite shot of the night was that of Francis sitting all alone on his throne, his image getting more distant and then it fading to black. It pretty much summed up Francis journey during this episode.

If I had to make a long story short here’s how I would sum up the episode’s course of events: Princess Claude returned home. Narcisse demanded that Francis sign an edict that would force everyone in France to openly declare their faith. Francis turned to Bash for help, confessing the truth that he killed Henry. Francis also asked Lola to plant false evidence that could get Narcisse killed, but she declines, because Francis refuses to share his reasons while Narcisse was immediately honest with her that he's blackmailing Francis with his patricide. Mary, who was kept out of the loop, went to Louis for help. Also Catherine saw the ghosts of her two young daughters threaten to harm Claude, so Catherine orders Claude to leave court.

“The opposite of bravery is not cowardice but conformity.” - Robert Anthony

Character Contemplation


I’m elated that Bash finally knows the secret. I love that he did not judge Francis or scold him. Bash simply wanted to do whatever he could to help carry the burden of the secret. I’ve been waiting all season for this moment and it was all that I hoped for. As long time readers will know, I’ve been disappointed by the lack of brother bonding moments as of late. This episode marked the return of Bash and Francis against the world and I seriously couldn’t be happier. The lack of character development for and hid storyline has been driving me crazy but it appears to be on the upswing at the moment. Heck we even got a few adorable Benna moments as well as a what the hell moment with his sister Claude. They do love to make the boy a wild one in every sense of the phrase it seems. Glad to have this character back on track and right by his brother’s side (where he needs to stay).

So like, is haunting contagious or something? Is Catherine going mad? Is Clarissa lurking around dosing Catherine’s wine to make her hallucinate? Ever since we found out that Caroline was a hoax I no longer trust any seemingly supernatural occurrences. When it was announced Claude would be returning I thought I would get to see Mama Bear but no all I got was Catherine giving her daughter the cold shoulder. Drat! I fear the wheels have stopped spinning in the writers’ room in regards to Catherine but I hope that isn’t true. We all know Megan Follows slays and really gives the character of Catherine that je ne sais quoi. Catherine also brings an amazing dynamic to nearly every relationship she has with all other main characters. There are so many ways both big and small to put her to use so here’s hoping the well hasn’t run dry on that front.

I don’t know what to make of Conde. I don’t see his angle just yet. But I do like the character (which means he’s probably evil incarnate). Conde certainly does spice things up quite a bit and let’s be honest Sean Teale is very easy on the eyes. I enjoy the chemistry between Kane and Teale every single time they are on screen together. I don’t know if he will be Francis’ salvation or ruination but I do know I’m going to enjoy this character’s journey for as long as he is around. But I swear if beds Mary, I’ll be the first to demand his head go on a pike. Conde definitely gives off a ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ vibe and I think the writers would do best with moderate flirtations than doing the Full Monty.

The Francis in this episode was amazing. Toby Regbo nailed it and absolutely killed it. I literally cheered for Francis when was in the stables with Bash and basically said that he was ready to take responsibility for his actions. He finally sounded like a real king. He was worried about the integrity of his kingdom. He wants to be a man that Mary can be proud to call her husband and king and little did she know he was really trying. Francis finally has Bash back by his side and I having feeling together they will get stuff done and put an end to Narcisse. I feel for Francis he has not only managed to push Mary away but Lola as well. I can’t wait to see what else the writers have in store for Francis but the deeper and darker the better. But just so you know, I’m never going to be over that faux haunting. Missed opportunity.

Damn it, man! I only want nice things for Greer. I feel for the girl. Who steals a woman’s wedding dress? Barbarians, that’s who! Why do things like this keep happening to her? Is it because she is woman in medieval times who wishes to be more than the property of her husband? I just can’t figure it out. Being a founding member of Team Castleroy I thought when they got married we’d have very little to worry about other than maybe Greer backsliding on the Leith thing. But the stakes are way higher than that now. I didn’t know that if a woman married a man she had to take on his faith as well. That was a new one to me and quite a doozy. Not sure how this will play out but eventually a main cast member will have to die this season as the laws of writing a serial drama mandate it. No offense but if it comes down to it, off with Castleroy’s head and spare Greer. Am I right?

Is it just me or are the writers having trouble deciding what to do with the character of Kenna? I love whenever she is on screen but something is a bit off. I guess it has to do with how her husband and friends are always off doing more important things for the most part and while they continue to try and paint Kenna with some of the same brush strokes as last seasons. Kenna has grown so much since we first met her but sometimes that writing doesn’t support it and I’m borderline sick of it. For the love of all things lacey and beaded please get Kenna back into the fray.

Well, I have to say I didn’t see Lola choosing Narcisse over Francis coming. My biggest question at the end of this episode was about whether or not Lola removed the cipher. She didn’t tell Narcisse her real reason for coming whilst she soaked in his tub (at least not on screen) so that could be reasoned out to assume she didn’t remove the envelope or tell Narcisse about it. Is Lola the new Caroline? Is she playing a role? I sure hope so. I mean Narcisse came right out and said that if he deploys his plan her son will get hurt in the crossfire to her face so it would probably be best to go with Francis on this one no matter how she felt about either of the men in her life. I really enjoyed Lola this week, she’s the best she’s ever been in a very long time. I see hints of the old Lola who was strong and fierce and definitely not one to be trifled with and I loved it. Glad to see they’re giving Anna Popplewell something to sink her teeth into.

The material they have been writing for Mary these last two weeks have been phenomenal. This the queen that I always knew she could be. I love that she is a fighter, compassionate, fierce and loyal. It breaks my heart about what she thinks of Francis at the moment. But watching her with Francis is bad times is far more beautiful to me than watching her with Francis during the good times (I’m a tad twisted, I’m aware). I don’t know what it is but the way the Reign writers depict royal turmoil is just awesome to me. Mary is at her best (and yes, sometimes her most naive) when she is following her heart and standing up for what she believes in and that also happens to be when Adelaide Kane shine brightest as well. All that ask of the writers on the Mary front is to keep up the good work.

I maintain my opinion that Narcisse’s head needs to be a pike as soon as possible. I didn’t think Narcisse could get any more smarmy or douchey. But I was wrong. I seriously do not believe that his interest in Lola is about anything other than annoying the living hell out of Francis. I think Narcisse does want his throne but without all that pesky responsibility. I’m just really over this character and I hope I don’t have to put up with this character much longer.

Grade: A-

Awards

Character of the Night
• Grand Prize Winner: Francis
•1 st Runner up: Mary
• 2nd Runner Up: Lola

Best Character Interactions
• Mary and Francis
• Mary and Conde
• Catherine and Claude

Scene of the Night
• Bash pulls the truth out of Francis
• Francis tells Bash that he wants to the right thing and doesn't want to sign the edict.

Line of the Night
• Lola: Do seek to take before I give.

Most Memorable Moment
•Lola slapping Narcisse

Favorite Lady-In-Waiting
• Lola

Lowlights

• Princess Claude won’t be staying
• Narcisse’s head is not on a pike

Miscellaneous

Burning Questions
• Did Bash really have full on sex with Claude?
• When are we going to see Narcisse take a bath?
• What would Montgomery have to gain by coming forward if Narcisse is dead? Why not just prove that he is loyal to the crown and get paid off?

Biggest Surprise of the Episode
• Lola appears to be trusting Narcisse over Francis.
It seems that is Catherine’s turn to be haunted.

Friendly Reminder
Don’t forget to live tweet with the show (@CWReign) and me (@lilithhellfire) every Thursday night at 9 pm EST.

Well, now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below. I look forward to reading your thoughts.

PS: Don't forget to promote this and all interesting ‘Reign’ articles in all the social media you can. For instance be sure to click the like button, retweet this and +1 this article if you like it and appreciate this reviewer's hard work

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Benched – 1x03 – Hooked & Booked – Review: "Rage our faces off"


Raise your hand if you’re pumped to talk about this week’s episode of Benched! I know I am. Last week’s installment was a little rocky and had me wondering if the pilot episode was a fluke or not. But this week saw the charm and funny come back with a vengeance. Nothing to it but to it but to do it so let’s get jump right into the review…

This week’s episode was written by Lindsey Shockley. In the director’s chair this week was Clair Scanlon who also directed last week’s episode as well. I found the writing to be pretty solid though some of the jokes were flat at times and at other times unnecessarily over the top. The male bonding was also a nice touch but I’ll be honest I find the ladies of the show to be much more funny so hopefully we get a ‘Ladies Night Out’ episode eventually (and by eventually I mean pretty freaking soon).

I love a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I also love that the writers of Benched seem to revel in harpooning Nina at every turn. I’m not sure if I’d even like Nina if any other actress besides Eliza Coupe played the character. I know it’s only the third episodes but Nina needs to get it together and realize it’s time to buckle down and let go of the past. This isn’t money law and after last week she’d be lucky to live down her infamy in ten years at this point.

I don’t know if it was just me as I’m not a shipper but I didn’t like the whole Nina and Phil situation. It felt like it was getting shoved down my throat. The key to a great TV romance (especially one billed as comedy) is the slow burn and above all else SUBTLY.

Now let’s move on to something that I really did enjoy this week and that was the boys’ night out. It was great getting to see Phil and Oscar (and Larry) hang out get together outside of work. I swear, I’m going to make ‘Let’s rage our faces off’ a thing if it kills me. I liked the insight into to the character of Oscar. He’s another character that, like Nina is in transitional phase of life and is also dealing with the loss of a significant other.

I think the message of the episode got lost in translation. It is a fact that a lot of women in end up in jail and/or prison because they took the wrap for their significant other or just plain snapped and killed them after many years of abuse. But this week, unlike the pilot and last week the message didn’t resonate very well and Nina came off looking like a cold heartless witch at every turn. Or maybe that is the point of the show, I’m just not sure yet.

The theme however which was how you perceive yourself versus how others see you was spot on. While it should be no surprise to Nina how she comes off to others, it is to her and I think by going through with the ‘hooked and booked’ thing she was trying to fit in and combat her image issue as well as trying to impress Phil so let’s not make the whole thing about her mooning over a guy (even though she admitted as much).

In closing, I thought that this was a good episode but something was off and I can’t put my finger on it. I’m not sure which direction this show is going in. I do hope it keeps that savvy social commentary in tack as well as making Nina more likeable and less oblivious to her clients woes.
By, the way, I don’t know if it’s just me but I’d love to see more of Larry. Please and thank you.

Grade: B-

Final Thoughts: While this episode wasn’t as great as the pilot, it was leaps and bounds better than last week’s episode. I am eager to see the heart and the funny from the pilot return. I’m also not keen on having the romantic crap shoved down my throat. The writers need to learn how to be more subtle on that front. All in all, I’m still enjoying this show but Eliza Coupe is definitely still the only reason I’m around. I want to be here for everyone so hopefully the writers step their game up and let an ensemble cast be an ensemble cast.

Episode Awards


Character of the Night
• Carlos

Best Character Interactions
• Baby Jones and Nina

Scene of the Night
• Baby Jones and Nina bond over being in jail because of a guy.

Line of the Night
• Nina: As your lawyer, I need to advise you not to bust my white meat.

Most Memorable Moment
• Nina getting shocked by the Taser

Benched airs every Tuesday night at 10:30/9:30 central


The show’s hashtag is: #BenchedUSA
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Arrow - 3.06 - Guilty - Review: A Vigilante's Arsenal


When a body is found strung up in the Wildcat gym, Ted Grant (J.R. Ramirez) becomes the main suspect. Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Laurel (Katie Cassidy) argue over Ted’s innocence. Meanwhile, Roy (Colton Haynes) becomes convinced he was the one who killed Sara.

To read more click here.

Episode Awards


Character of the Night
Ted Grant

Best Character Interactions
Oliver & Akio

Scene of the Night
Oliver gives Roy the official code name of Arsenal

Line of the Night
Roy: Don't abandon me.
Oliver: Never

Most Memorable Moment
The boxing glove trick arrow finally making its debut.

Best Action
Ted Grant and The Arrow fight

Screenshot of the Night




If you'd like to hear more of my thoughts I have a podcast dedicated to Arrow and it's called Queen Consolidated. Give it a listen, if you like it please be sure to rate, review and subscribe.

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Arrow - 3.05 - The Secret Origins of Felicity Smoak - Review: A Blast from the Past


A cyber terrorist attacks Starling City. While Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Roy (Colton Haynes) attempt to keep the peace on the streets, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) works to locate the virus that is attacking the city's infrastructure. Felicity quickly realizes that she designed the virus five years earlier, and that it is unstoppable. Felicity's mother Donna (Charlotte Ross) shows up unannounced. Laurel (Katie Cassidy) continues to train with Ted Grant (J.R. Ramirez) and reveals to him the real reason that she is learning to fight. Meanwhile, Roy (Colton Haynes) begins having nightmares that he was the one who killed Sara (Caity Lotz).

To read more click here.

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Reign – 2.05 – Blood for Blood – Review: “The Hunter with the Butterfly Tattoo”


Hey, Royals! It’s time to discuss another episode of Reign. There were quite a few twists and turns that left me scratching my head as well as clutching my pearls. I found it to be another solid outing. Shout out to the Frary folk, it’s always darkest before the dawn and as a member of Team Castelroy I’m happy to say it looks like we have scored the definitive win (for now). Well, let’s just jump straight into the review.

This week’s episode was written by P.K. Simonds & Nancy Won, who are brand spanking new writing team it seems. I thought they did a great job, no character felt off and there was a great variety in types of scenes as well as emotional highs and lows. Not to mention every single character got a chance to shine. The directorial reigns were handed over to Norma Bailey who always does a wonderful job and this week no exception. Both the scoring and the soundtrack were pleasantly well done once again this week. The song that kept playing in my head after the episode ended was “Starts” by Charles William.

If I had to make a long story short here’s how I would sum up the episode’s course of events: Tensions rose between Catholics and Protestants. During one confrontation Louis' Protestant nephew was killed. It's revealed that Caroline was in the pay of Narcisse, and she faked being possessed in order to get Francis to confess to his father's murder. Narcisse heard the confession and used it to blackmail Francis into letting the Catholic murderers of Louis' nephew go free. Mary demanded to know why Francis was acting strange, and Francis lied to her and told her that it's because he believes she will never give him an heir, which hurt Mary deeply. Greer learned that Castleroy is close to converting to Protestantism, but she accepts this and the pair are wed. Lola is surprised when she's approached by Narcisse, who wishes to pursue her as a potential partner.

“Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.”

Character Contemplation

OK, let’s be real, Bash’s storyline has stalled and I hope I’m not the only that is disappointed. I love Torrance Comb to pieces (just in case you haven’t gathered that information for yourself at my umpteenth time saying it). I thought being the king’s deputy would be a great opportunity for the character. So far it has not been. It keeps Bash on the fringes of the story, out of the castle and away from the two characters (Kenna and Francis) that shine best when he is around them and vice versa. While I am a fan of the potential the new characters have, if they weren’t going to do anything with the old characters they should have just killed them during the plague. There is nothing worse than having a bloated ensemble cast that is primarily for fan service.

OK, it’s been awhile since I have said this… criminal underuse of Megan Follows. Now the little we did see of Catherine was awesome. It was great getting to see Catherine as the comedic relief. I like the light and sarcastic side of Catherine. I really appreciate that even though Catherine is an older woman they still show her as relevant, capable and desirable.

While I am still very much smitten with Sean Teale, I am completely over Louis Conde for now. He has been nothing but duplicitous trouble since he showed up. I know this show is “historical” drama but can we focus more on the historical and just a smidge less on the drama. It’s interesting that Conde now possesses the mark but this character is very ho hum right now. I liked that spark his character first interjected into Francis but much like Bash he has been pushed to the fringes of the current arc and I’m losing interest fast.

I am so happy for Greer. She is married to a man who loves her and wants her to be his full partner in life. I’ve been on Team Castleroy for quite some time. I’ve actually never really been a fan Leith’s (unless he’s spending time with Francis). The wedding was so cute and her dress was fabulous. It’s odd how we never got to see her mother for as much as she was mentioned. But now I’m worried about the thrice scorned Leith being vindictive and outing Castleroy as a secret Protestant. It’s nice to see one of the ladies having a slice of happiness though with it being Reign, you know it can’t last for long.

Finally, some substantive use of the character of Kenna and it quite a fun use of her to boot. The Kenna’s dressing dowdy than ever her spirits seem to be better than most of her friends. I love how Kenna just wants her friends to be happy. It was also refreshing to see them remind us that Kenna is smart and cunning in her own way (we haven’t seen that in a while). Much like Catherine, Kenna is at her best when she is being lighthearted.

Being a single mother in any time period is hard but when you’re the mother of a royal bastard and not the king’s actual mistress I couldn’t even fathom the burden. I’m not sure that I really want to see Lola dating. I love the glow that Anna Popplewell gives to the character of Lola when she is the baby. I would love to see the focus for Lola shift there. But hey, every character has to have a little titillation about them or what’s the point. Am I right?

When Mary hurts, I hurt. This was a brutal episode for Mary. Mary actually wasn’t in this episode very much and I’m OK with that. Her absence makes since story wise and it also allowed for a lot of other things to happen and more character interactions that we haven’t got to see much of as of late. I love that Mary can still hold onto her ideals but I’m going to need her to be more shrewd and pragmatic. You can’t rule with your heart all the time, especially if you want to keep your throne and your head off a pike.

The most succinct manner to describe my feelings about Narcisse is to imagine me letting out the longest and loudest sigh you can imagine. Last week, we learned that he was just unlucky in love and not an actual wife killing monster. This week we get hit with two other ice filled snowballs. The first being that he hired Caroline and it has been a long con, this whole time. The second was that he is interested in Lola. My verdict for this character? Off with his head. Craig Parker is doing the most with this character but the writers are all over the place. Let a bad guy be an unredeemable bad guy. I think those are the kinds that work best for this show, unless it’s Catherine. Actually, to be honest, I think that is what is rubbing me the wrong way, he is very much the male Catherine and well we already have a Catherine and it’s played by Megan Fellows so that space doesn’t need to be filled or retread.

Grade: B-

Awards

Character of the Night
• Francis

Best Character Interactions
• Lola and Kenna
• Greer and Castleroy
• Francis and Mary

Line of the Night
• Kenna: This is smut.

Scene of the Night
• The girls enjoying Greer’s last day as a single woman

Favorite Lady-In-Waiting
• Kenna


Lowlights

• Francis wasn’t being haunted by his father after all.

Miscellaneous


Biggest Surprise of the Episode
• Narcisse expressing interest in Lola.

Friendly Reminder
Don’t forget to live tweet with the show (@CWReign) and me (@lilithhellfire) every Thursday night at 9 pm EST.

Well, now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below. I look forward to reading your thoughts.

PS: Don't forget to promote this and all interesting ‘Reign’ articles in all the social media you can. For instance be sure to click the like button, retweet this and +1 this article if you like it and appreciate this reviewer's hard work

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Benched - 1.01 - Pilot - Review: This show sure is something.



I don't know about you but I am in love with USA's latest offering in the comedy department, Benched. I found Benched to be one of the best comedy pilots of the 2014 Fall TV season. The casting is phenomenal. The characters are colorful, memorable and relatable, especially Nina which great considering she is the main character.

I will admit that one name in particular, which was of course Eliza Coupe, was my main reason for initially checking this show out. Eliza Coupe as Nina Whitley is superb. It's no secret I've been a huge fan of Coupe's for quite some time. I love that she has great comedic timing as well as a penchant for physical comedy as well. While it's true that the the story of Nina Whitley isn't breaking any new ground (a successful, driven woman tries to have it all but focuses more on her work and loses touch with everything else. She eventually looses her job, in this it is due to being passed over for a promotion and not taking it very well and begins a journey of self-discovery and redemption);the fact that it is funny, has heart as a well a carefully buried message is what sets it apart for me personally.

The thing that made me a little hesitant at first was the fact that it was yet another female led legal drama which seems to be all the rage this TV season. But I took a chance and this show really wowed me. I'm talking serious deep belly laughs. This show is playful on every level, right down to the soundtrack and sound design. The show is full of spirited (and sometimes spite filled) and sarcastic characters so naturally that means it most definitely my kind of party. The first five minutes alone nearly had my sides in stitches. There is nothing like a good old-fashioned emotional meltdown, am I right?

This show reminds me of Judging Amy, only it's on steroids and it's told from the public defenders side of things. I'm pretty sure that's why I'm so smitten. The cast chemistry is through the roof already and everyone has great comedic timing and really sold their character. Even Trent, who didn't get a ton of screen time. Is it just me or does Benched feel like the best of all worlds when it comes to shows about lawyers? I mean we have that fish out water vibe because she was a well-paid corporate lawyer who will now probably have to downsize her life who entering the underdog of all legal professions --being a public defender (I'm pretty sure public defender is even a notch below pro bono lawyer because pro bono lawyers choose to do so and want to affect some positive change into the world in most cases).

Then we get the obvious undertones of a workplace comedy as well as the mundane procedural element of having to deal with cases every week. Although, I also noticed a strong undercurrent of style that seems to being leaning towards an Orange is the New Black vibe but that could just be the show unapologetic coarseness giving off that particular vibe. Only time will tell for sure.

As I mentioned in the Advanced Preview Review, I'm not a shipper at all. But I totally am OK with them setting up the 'will they or won't they' dynamics between Jay Harrington's character and Coupe's. The actors play well of each other and the chemistry is definitely there. As long as the show keeps giving me funny I'm OK with a slow burn between these two. I'm actually looking forward to the evolution of that relationship in particular to be honest.

Another thing that I was excited to see was Maria Bamford. I have waited ages to see her in a TV show. I love her stand up routines. Actually, the whole supporting cast is awesome and I love that they threw in Oscar Nuñez for kicks and giggles. While his character didn't get much screen time in the pilot I have a feeling they are going to eventually let this character shine (and it would awesome if he gave a little Office reference by staring into the camera when someone does something ridiculous at least just one time, am I right?).

All in all the pilot was a great first outing that really showcased this series potential. I am very much looking forward seeing how this show progresses and where it goes from here.

Benched airs every Tuesday at 10:30/9:30 CST

What did you think of this episode? Will you be tuning in for episode 2? On a scale of 1 to 10 how much do you love Eliza Coup? Feel free to leave your thoughts below.

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Arrow - 3x04 - The Magician - Review: Enter the Demon


This week’s episode of Arrow, 3x04: The Magician was very interesting and what might prove to be a pivotal turning point in the series. Last week, I briefly discussed how at episode three the season finally felt like it was beginning. Well, this week’s episode subtly kicked into high gear and is back on track to being the Arrow that I’ve come to know and love with some slight improvements.

Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law) returns to Starling City. Thea (Willa Holland) begins to rebuild her life and regains control of Verdant. Team Arrow learns that Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) is alive and he becomes strong suspect in the murder of Sara. Meanwhile, Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) remains in the dark about his daughter’s death. Also in flashback land Oliver completes his first assassination, and learns that Amanda Waller was behind Edward Fyers' actions on the island

To read more click here.

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Arrow - 3.03 - Corto Maltese - Review: Finally Setting the Stage


If you are a die hard DC comics fan like me then Corto Maltese probably rang some bells. Batman is my everything and Frank Miller is king when it comes to telling a tale involving the world’s greatest detective. My first encounter with this mysterious little island was when I was reading a Frank Miller tale, ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ and the island is even featured in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns. In DC comic book lore Corto Maltese is an island that is jam packed with adventure, mystery, intrigue and suffering. So in other words Arrow really captured its essence this week.

To read more please follow the link to read it on Voice of TV.

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Benched - 1.01 - Pilot - Advanced Preview: 10 Reasons You Should watch.


A few days ago, a ton of buzz swept across the internet about USA’s Benched. I’m not a huge fan of the comedy genre as of late but since it was on USA I thought I’d give it a try as I really enjoyed their other comedy offerings they debuted over the summer which were Sirens and Playing House. So here are my 10 reasons as to why you should watch Benched.

To read more please be sure to follow the link and read the article in full over on Voice of TV.

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Reign – 2.03 – Coronation – Review: “Kneel before Frary.”


Hey Royals! It’s time once again to dissect and discuss a brand new episode of Reign. The ratings may be low but the writing quality has really kicked it up a notch. Along with costume design and overall production value. There's so much to love about Reign (especially the talented cast and crew) and this season its potential is so great that I just wish more people would tune in and I'm doing everything I can to encourage others to watch. I hope other Royals are out there doing the same (read: HINT!). But enough of that let's get to the review, shall we?

If I had to make a long story short here's the rundown of what I would say happened over the course of this episode: With France in a state of famine, as well as religious and political unrest, Mary looked for a way to feed the people and risked the wrath of a vengeful Lord Narcisse in doing so. Francis was preoccupied by the harrowing suspicion that his dead father’s spirit can possess the living and is haunting Francis as revenge for his murder. Meanwhile, Catherine made excessive and lavish preparations for a coronation ceremony to give the impression of stability to the realm. Also, Bash was confronted by the harsh realities of a country plagued by fear, bankruptcy, and murder and resolved to stay above reproach.

This episode introduced us to a new collaborator in the writers’ room, a Mr. Harley Peyton. After a little research I must say am impressed with his resume as well as how fast he grasped all the facets of our characters and their interactions. I consider Peyton to be a welcome addition (let me know if you agree in the comments, k?).

After a 19 episode absence I was pleased as ever to see the name Holly Dale beside the designation of ‘directed by’ in the credits this week. Episode 1x03: Kissed was the last time we heard from her. The cinematography featured in this episode was excellent. I do love when we get to do exterior shots in the day time.


The soundtrack for this episode was so pitch perfect and apropos I could die. The song that was my absolute favorite was the song that was used when Francis and Mary were crowned king and queen. It was ‘Hills to Climb’ by Tim Myers. The title alone really just sums up the relationship between Francis and Mary as well how they want to rule and how they plan on getting there. The other song was ‘Wraggle Taggle Gypsies’ by Domnic Ashworth. That song had a very Renaissance Fair vibe going which of course is what makes it blend so well with the show. As for the sound design itself this week, the scoring was subdued and subtle. It had very little ambient noise incorporated into it. The scene where the scoring really stood out as well as enhanced the mood was when Mary went to go speak to Conde.

"Show respect to all people, but grovel to none." - Tecumseh

Character Contemplation

Bash has come so far in such a small amount of time. Back in the middle of the first season there were times when I struggled to find nice things to say about him. So far this season, I haven’t witnessed a thing I don’t like. Every week he just gets better and better. The conversation about Lola’s baby between he and Kenna was a nice little touch to give us some insight into both his and Kenna’s frame of mind (even it was a bit obvious). Bash’s sense of duty is so damn endearing. I’m really enjoying his role as the King’s Deputy so far. Bash’s role is great because we get to see an even seedier side of life at court that Francis and Mary are not experiencing.

Catherine is a saucy little minx who has an endless amount of tricks up her sleeve. Just when you think you can count Catherine down and out she’s starting her shenanigans all over again. I like that they are staying true to the history books about Catherine and her scheming ways to get and maintain power and relevancy. I love her interactions with Francis but they grow more and more suspect by the episode. Another interaction I’m here for is between Catherine and Narcisse. Do I smell another crack ship forming in the ether? The two actors play well off one another and the characters themselves seem like perfect foils for each other. Megan Follows continues to slay in this role and I say she should get a spin off based on an alternate timeline (as long as she takes one of her younger sons, Nostradamus and Clarissa with her).

Conde is such a wonderfully complicated guy. I don’t know what to make of him. I like him which of course means he can’t be trusted. He’s a fast talker and a manipulator. I think he might be this season’s Tomas; which is actually something I don’t want to happen. I think that he could really help shape Francis into being the kind of man I need him to be (if he doesn’t turn out evil that is). I liken Conde to Sir Thomas More (Jeremy Northam) in The Tudors. I loved that relationship until it turned sour and when it turned sour it got even more interesting. Nothing like a bittersweet relationship and it’s kind of even more interesting when both parties are of the same gender (less angst in most cases).

Toby Regbo is nailing it in the tortured and haunted soul department. I don’t like that he is keeping secrets from everyone but it’s a king’s prerogative. I was floored with the twist that it was Francis who killed his father at tournament and never expected this twist. While I think Bash and his history lends itself better to the supernatural, I’m all for shaking things up and letting other characters wander into something outside of their normal boundaries. Maybe it will be Francis who brings back Nostradamus. It this is case that will earn Francis a ton of brownie points. I don’t know if I’m the only one or not but I’m having a super hard time emotionally connecting with Francis. I think the end of this episode was a good push in the right direction. I enjoy the complicated relationship between Francis and Mary but I’m really invested in him being an excellent AND a better man than his father.

Greer got to be the smart and loyal one this episode. Though she did little else besides look fabulous and question Mary on her certainty about her course of action. I’m actually kind of glad they we’ve been able to take a step back from her drama. I liked Greer before the writers wrote her into a love triangle. It’s something about how no matter what show it is, if it’s on The CW an awesome female character is going to get roped into a love triangle and knocked down a peg or two. While I am team Castleroy I’m sure she’ll end up with his money and Leith’s ring on her finger when it’s all said and done. I miss the relationship between Mary and her ladies from the beginning of the series. They drifted so far apart and every last one of them has brought some form of shame on Mary and I’m just not OK with that. So when I get glimpses of the ‘old days’ I cling to them fiercely.

Poor Kenna! This character is just a lovable mess. I don’t begrudge her wanting the finer things in life but come on she’s married to Bash, I take him over a chateau any day. He has the love of his brother the king and she has the love of Mary the queen. If I was Kenna I wouldn’t want to live at court after the messes I’d made their either but things could be worse, a whole lot worse. And did anybody else go, ‘What the hell?’ when Pascal wasn’t brought up? I know we are a few weeks removed but still, come on. I guess we’re glossing over that so that we can “forget” the pagans and The Darkness storyline altogether. I’m bummed but I’ll go along to get along. I like this whole reckoning thing along with Francis being haunted by his father.

I guess I should enjoy this Lola light episode in light of this week’s sneak peak for 2x04: The Lamb and the Slaughter. I really hate this “love” triangle. Babies complicate modern day stories. Throw in a bastard child of a king and well things can easily get derailed and end up hopelessly soapy and never get back on the right track. While I trust the writers of this show that doesn’t mean I’m not nervous every step of the way until we reach our final destination on this particular journey. I know Mary as a queen has to make some personal sacrifices but what really drew me into this show was the girls’ friendship and standing together (and also the relationship between Bash and Francis). Seeing them married off, broken and fractured hurts a little. I thought once they were all paired off we could get back to some female bonding. I guess I was wrong. I think they really cut off the budding friendship between Francis and Lola too soon as well. In that one episode we learned a lot about Lola and their scene really softened Francis in my eyes. Now everything is just awkward and stifled.

I hope I’m not the only one who has mixed emotions about Mary this week. I love her flaws and all. I love that in the end she usually tempers Francis and gives him hope and shows him there is a better way to lead. She is kind, compassionate and head strong. I love that she is a queen in her right; but man sometimes I just want to slap her. She’s a reactionary and that’s dangerous. She needs to learn to be more diplomatic and aware of her surroundings. I’m aware she didn’t have the luxury of learning these things because she was hidden away due to threats on her life but sometimes it feels like life at court hasn’t taught her a damn thing. I feel like she was very lucky that this incident with the German Protestants worked out but I think Francis was right and that some will see it as him losing control of his nobles. Adelaide Kane still brought depth and complexity to the character of Mary and even when things felt dire she still managed to carry an air of regal elegance. I love the infusion of stoicism and burning passion that Kane brings to the role every week and I’m really excited to see Mary go off emotionally next week.

What can I say about Lord Narcisse other than state the fact he’s the pain in my ass that won’t go away. I think the actor who plays Narcisse, Craig Parker, is absolutely killing it when it comes to playing the vengeful, arrogant and maniacal noble. But I think that his goals are a little over the top and I just want Reign to tone it down on the soapy elements a little bit.

Grade: B+

Final Thoughts: Reign just keeps heating up. Every week I'm sitting in front of my TV at 9 PM with bated breath. This season holds a lot of promise and is shaping up to be quite a roller coaster ride. I'm enjoying the build up and I can't even fathom what the climax of this season is going to be. Every week just keeps getting better on every level. This was a show that I definitely thought might be hit with a sophomore slump in terms of writing because of the time frame they are working with but they surprised me and even brought back a factor I thought was a moot point at this stage in the game. They are rebuilding bonds and learning the lessons from what worked and what didn't last season. And as a fan that all you can ever really hope for. It's amazing to feel like you've been heard and that the writers, execs and showrunner think that your opinion matters.

Awards

Character of the Night
• Catherine

Best Character Interactions
• Mary and Conde
• Bash and Kenna
• Catherine and Lord Narcisse

Line of the Night
• Francis: This is not a coronation for a king. This is a coronation for king AND queen.

Scene of the Night
• Francis and Mary are crowned king and queen of France

Favorite Lady-In-Waiting
• Kenna

New Crack Ship Alert
• Tell me I wasn’t the only one who felt the palpable chemistry between Adelaide Kane and Sean Teale (and you guys know I am so NOT a shipper so that’s saying something).

All Kinds of Awkward Award
That awkward moment when you fear Reign is about to turn into Game of Thrones and attempt child murder.

Highlights

Memorable Moments
• Frary love scene (don’t you judge me, you know you liked it too)
• Conde explains to Mary that he was sending his mistress back to her husband and children.
• Francis has a chat with his father via the possessed nanny.

Superb Scenes
• Lord Narcisse and Catherine have a chat over wine when they should be at the post-coronation festivities.
• Mary confronts Conde about the German prisoners
• Francis and Mary rub Lord Narcisse’s nose in the fact that got grain without his help



Lowlights

• No update on Nostradamus.
• There was a miniscule amount of Greer.
• There was also no Leith at court. I want to see more interaction between him and Francis.
• A reminder of the ill-conceived love triangle from last season reared its ugly little head.
• For the love of all things good and sweet, give me some actual Bash and Francis bonding time!

Miscellaneous

Biggest Surprise of the Episode
• It was Lord Conde who took the prisoners.

Side Note: Should I bring back ‘Ratings Round-Up’?


Friendly Reminder
Don’t forget to live tweet with the show (@CWReign) and me (@lilithhellfire) every Thursday night at 9 pm EST.

Well, now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below. I look forward to reading your thoughts.

PS: Don't forget to promote this and all interesting ‘Reign’ articles in all the social media you can. For instance be sure to click the like button, retweet this and +1 this article if you like it and appreciate this reviewer's hard work.

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