Reign – 2.02 – Drawn and Quartered – Review: “Return of the King.”
Hey Royals! It’s time once again to dissect and discuss a brand new episode of Reign. I thought this episode was great. I don't mind the slow build up of the season either. We are really getting a good hard look at our characters, their motivations and their coming trials and tribulations. So many interesting things are being put into place and I'm eager to see our cast react to what's going on. Hopefully, they'll be a cohesive unit and come out of it ever stronger.
With that said, I guess, I'll just get right into this review...
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: In the aftermath of the plague, a powerful lord discovers that Mary was responsible for the death of his son and demands vengeance, testing the loyalties of Mary, Francis and Catherine. Francis returns to the castle with Lola and their newborn son, creating tension with Mary. Greer is torn by her loyalty to her fiancé, Lord Castleroy, who blames Leith for his daughter’s demise. Meanwhile, Kenna urges Bash to be formally recognized in his new role.
I enjoy the writing team of Wendy Riss Gatsiounis & Drew Lindo. I am an especially huge fan of the last episode they wrote together which was episode 1x21: Long Live the King so I was pleasantly surprised that were back so early in the season. Gatisionis and Lindo are the type of writing partners that really seem to balance each other out and work well together. I’m not sure who does what but what I do know is that they do it well together. Most of all I appreciate that there weren’t flashbacks (or what I call recapping) in this episode. The writers trusted the viewers were paying attention and aren’t complete idiots.
This was yet another well-paced episode. I enjoyed the character interactions between everyone but most of all between Francis and Mary. I found the dialog to be ominous and riddled with foreshadowing and in case you’re wondering, that’s not a bad thing at all. I love a good mystery and intrigue even more. I’m really loving this glimpse into the under belly of royal politics and how the kingdom of France is really run.
This episode saw a return of Jeff Renfroe to the director’s chair. Episode 1x16: Monsters was the last time we heard from him and oddly enough it was an episode that Gatisionis and Lindo wrote as well. Renfroe has a very simplistic directorial aesthetic. I’ve noticed he’s not one for tracking shots and a lot pans and zooms. Instead he is master of the medium shot and subtly detached close-ups. Renfroe definitely has a varied and fantastic repertoire in the aesthetics department. I did notice a nice angle shot during the Castleroy and Leith confrontation scene and found the use of it very interesting. I love the way he uses space and lighting as an enhancement to a scene. The episodes he shoots seem a lot more vibrant than others. The composition of a lot of early scenes in this with Mary and Francis were very purposefully blocked with a lot of space between. I especially love how the sex scene between Francis and Mary was shot both during and afterwards.
I thought Renfroe did a fantastic job in getting the actors to emote in a very regal manner and subdued manner which of course is necessary when at court because all eyes are on the royals and gossip spreads like wildfire. Also the composition of the scenes with Francis, Mary, Lola and Bash were blocked nicely and maybe were a tad bit suggestive about where these characters allegiances lie right now or will lie eventually. While we didn’t linger in the moments and every scene ended on a strong note. I appreciate that the transition between scenes, they weren’t jarring and the episode flowed very nicely.
I am really enjoying the soundtrack and general sound design of the season. This episode only featured one song which was ‘Fuel to the Fire’ by Agnes Obel. The scoring was muted and really enhanced the emotional as well as tense scenes. The season thus far has been really thoughtful and a step up from last season with its use of “jump scare” noises and other ambient noises as well. It seems like this season there will be a bigger focus on some kind of supernatural element and the scoring is really laying that ground work so it seems. I hope I’m right because ‘Reign’ needs to start blending into the new CW (which is heavily based around action oriented Sci-Fi & Fantasy) if stands any chance at a renewal and drawing in new viewers to make it to a season 3.
“At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.” - Aristotle
Final Thoughts: This was a terrific follow up to the season opener. There was just the right amount of angst, drama, tension and intrigue. I’m really enjoying Kane’s performance this season as Mary and her determination to be a fair and just queen. I very much look forward to witnessing all of the growing pains that come along with this journey.
Character of the Night
Best Character Interactions
• Francis and Mary
• Francis and Bash
• Catherine and Nostradamus
Line of the Night
• Lola: I just want to be with my child.
Scene of the Night
• Francis and Mary work together to trick Lord Narcisse
• Francis’s face when the wet nurse gets possessed by his father’s ghost
• Lord Narcisse discovers a survivor in the catacombs and learns the truth about what happened to his son
• Mary puts all the pieces of the puzzle together about what Narcisse has been up to
• Catherine realizes what Mary and Nostradamus did to her
• Francis: Your kisses are more easily attained than your words.
• Catherine: Bring us some whiskey!
• Mary: I let my anger get the best of me.
• Lord Conde challenges Francis to rule righteously as Lord Narcisse accuses him of being a radical protestant.
• Mary tells Francis to recognize his child
• Mary tries to express her hurt over the fact that Francis has a child with Lola
Biggest Surprise of the Episode
• No Kenna
• Nostradamus running away
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.
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