Reign Season 1 Review “Dirty Laundry”

Dirty Laundry

After the traumatic experience (both for Bash and for a large section of viewers) of ‘The Consummation’, this week’s episode of Reign, ‘Dirty Laundry’, marked the beginning of phase two. Done are we with the business of Mary’s hand in marriage, Bash’s legitimacy and Catherine’s imminent beheading and, after finding its feet early on and securing a very welcome second season renewal, the show can now do whatever the heck it likes. That was obvious here for, as well as giving us the wonderful gift of a Catherine/Henry comedy double act, the soap opera elements were ranked up to eleven.

It’s likely that Mary cannot conceive, as we learned from Nostradamus’ confused mumblings last week, but Francis has had no problem creating a mini-royal with Lola instead. This led to a particularly horrifying historical abortion plotline, with Lola learning from one of the servants where and who to go to for such things but, as Mary and Bash rode to prevent the life-threatening procedure from taking place, the secret came out and a can of worms were opened. Would Lola now be Francis’ mistress, as Kenna gleefully presumed? Or will the baby be raised by Mary once nine months have passed and no heir is produced?

These are royal people problems, completely ridiculous to the audience both because of the pseudo-historical setting and the fantastical situations these characters find themselves in but, with the love triangle on hiatus until Bash and Francis come face to face again, Lola’s pregnancy feels like little more than a predictable placeholder. Her conversations with Kenna and her last desperate, attempt not to become trapped at court in the same manner as Diane fit in nicely with the overarching themes of female subordination of Reign, however, and that makes it more interesting than it really has any right to be.

Much more ludicrous (in the best kind of way) was this week’s B-plot, where Henry risked an international incident by indulging in his window-sex fetish and accidentally let his latest floozy drop to her death. What followed just added to the insanity and, if Reign would like to create a spin-off in which Henry and Catherine cover up crimes, I’d most certainly be on board. I’ve never laughed so much during this show and, although it’s at its best when indulging in the fantasy and drama inherent to CW French court, there’s always room for a little black comedy.

What did you think of the episode? Were you surprised by Lola’s announcement? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.