How to digest an episode like “Acts of War” ??? Rape and child abuse are two of the most difficult issues to portray and handle on TV. I mean that are 2 really delicate issues and Reign did a fine job by handling Mary’s rape! But there is an other dilemma, was it necessary!?
Let’s break things from the beginning. Mary and Francis’s main focus this week was to calm down the passions raising between the protestants and the catholics. Mary’s idea of catholic-protestant marriage between Conde and Claude was a great idea. I like how the portray Mary to be so resourceful and make moves on her. Mary convincing Conde to agree to the marriage was like watching Elena Gilbert selling sex to Stefan Salvatore during the first 2-3 seasons of The Vampire Diaries. The thing that was even more weird is that Conde actor Sean Teale looks even like Paul Wesley.
The connection between Mary and Conde is so real and a great part of their development. As Mary and Francis started drifting apart Conde was there to give Mary support and calm her down in her moments of struggle.
Mary’s wooing of Claude wasn’t going that smoothly but Conde and Claude’s introduction on the other hand was really fun to watch and true to their characters. Besides the scene where Francis convinced Claude to do the right thing for her family and her country and marry Conde instead of Narcisse was quite moving. The overall set up was great and I hope to see more Claude-Francis scenes as the show progresses.
After Mary announced the marriage at the annual Saint Nicholas celebration things escalated. A group of protestants, disguised as soldiers, entered the castle in a desire to kill the King. As Francis wasn’t at court, they only encountered a frightened Mary. Among the protestants was the father of the priest that was hanged in the previous episode. He couldn’t leave the castle without conducting any kind of revenge and he raped the helpless Queen of France.
The set up was quite naive as the protestants entered the castle pretty easy and overhanded the king’s guard to easy but let’s say it could happen.
But the real strength of the episode lays in what happened after the rape. A delusional Mary exited her chambers and encountered a worried Catherine. Right off Catherine suspected what could’ve happened to Mary. She sent her guards away and helped Mary. Catherine’s speech was inspiring, profound and moving. Big kudos to both Megan Follows and Adelaide Kane for their performance this week,
Catherine helped Mary get ready and Mary as a powerful ruller came in front her people and gave them the strength and believe into the crown they needed. Later Francis returned and was shocked after finding out what really happened. The guilt that erupted on his face was heartbreaking and Mary’s plea to kill those man was hitting him so hard.
Francis felt guilty cause he wasn’t at the castle. But he was handling his biggest worry at the moment, Narcisse. After Bash found the priest that Narcisse intended to testify against Catherine and Mary for trying to poison, they had enough information to set Narcisse up and find Montgomery. In a great scene Francis convinced Narcisse he was going mad and recklace. This forced Narcisse to make moves against Francis and sent one of his guards to bring Montgomery to the castle.
ICYMI Montgomery was the guard pardon for killing Henry, but Narcisse held him captive to testify against Francis. Fracis forced Montgomery to sign one more confession and Bash killed Montgomery afterwards. Cutting down the loose ends.
Narcisse later was shocked when he saw what his moves made. The desperation he brought to the people, made him rethink his moves. Narcisse sought out Lola and shared a emotional scene with her. As said in earlier reviews I really enjoy Craig Parker here and for a gay dude he really does a great job by googly eying women.
In the most surprising development of the night Castleroy and Greer were revealed as the one to finance the protestants that made a move against the crown. Castleroy thought he was funding a school but the money went into the wrong hands.
A good episode with some extreme moves concluded with some interesting cliffhangers. Next weeks mid-season final will be more than interesting with Francis finally confessing Mary his sins.