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Reign: A Guilty Pleasure
Love. Lust. Power. Intrigue. Throw in a bit of history and a dash of a supernatural element and you have Reign.
Focusing on the life and reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, Reign takes place in mid 16th century France. While it is not historically accurate, the general plot does follow the history books. Mary, Queen of Scotland since she was only a few days old, is engaged to marry Francis, the Dauphin of France. Having grown up in a convent, she returns to French Court to fulfill her engagement and secure a much needed alliance for Scotland.
Not everyone in the castle wants to see the two young royals married, though. Francis' mother, Catherine de Medici, is apprehensive about having such a powerful daughter-in-law. When her friend and confidant Nostradamus predicts that the union will cost Francis his life, Catherine is determined to banish Mary. Mary, with the help of her four ladies in waiting, must navigate the treacherous French court in an effort to secure a marriage with Francis and therefore military protection for her country.
While historical facts are woven into the plot, the specifics of the show deviate from history at this point. It's hard to care much about that, though. Reign is full of intrigue and passion, romance and betrayal. Mary loves Francis, but finds herself attracted to his illegitimate half brother, Bash. Between Catherine's constant meddling and the young monarchs own turbulent emotions, Mary and Francis seem to face endless difficulties.
Mary's ladies in waiting have their own troubles. In reality, her ladies were all named Mary, but the show understandably had to change the names. The writers also embellished the girls' stories quite a bit. Lola is in love with a young boy from her home in Scotland, but is devastated when he follows her to France and is killed. Greer is the only non-noble of the group and is desperate to find a nobleman to marry to fulfill her father's demands. Kenna finds herself caught up in a passionate affair with the King, a relationship that may cost her more than her virtue. And young Aylee struggles with homesickness.
Along with the perils of court, Mary finds there are dangers lurking in the woods surrounding the castle. Pagans have been performing sacrifices and she inadvertently becomes a target. These Pagans believe there is a Darkness which they must serve in order to survive. Bash, whose mother is a former Pagan, is determined to put a stop to the killings. But, by doing so, he may release a greater danger: The Plague.
Reign is set against the gorgeous backdrop of the French countryside and is accented by stunning (if not quite accurate) costumes and modern music. The show is definitely not for anyone who plans to nitpick the inconsistencies. Actually, the show occasionally pokes fun at itself in this respect. Bash, the illegitimate son of King Henry and his mistress Diane de Poitiers (who was in fact real) comments men like him left out of the history books. Also, it is said that an incident with a Portuguese prince will be forgotten by history. If you are willing to overlook the inaccuracies, you'll be treated to a well written and well acted show that is sure to entertain you.
I didn't watch the show right away, but when I tuned in during episode six, I found myself quickly pulled in. By the end of the eighth episode, I was hooked. If you're looking for your next television addiction, watch Reign and I guarantee you'll be sucked in.