Reign “Three Queens, Two Tigers” Review (Season 3, Episode 1)

Reign "Three Queens, Two Tigers" Season 3 Premiere 2015 (4)

It’s rare, if not unheard of, for a show to begin its season with the audience in full knowledge of who’s going to die. Yes, Francis isn’t long for this world, and the third season of Reign will tackle the shaky position of a widowed woman with plenty of enemies and an already questionable claim to the throne.

So the stakes are somehow even higher on a show that churns out season finale-quality episodes on a weekly basis. Not only does Mary have to deal with Catherine’s betrayal, Elizabeth’s crusade and the revolving door of men intent on wedding her ladies, she must also work out how she will survive in this cut-throat world without a husband. My guess is that she’ll be pregnant before he ducks out entirely (history be damned!), but things certainly look bleak.

After getting our first glimpse of Elizabeth at the end of last season, the show quickly gets to developing her beyond myths and hushed whispers. She, like everyone, has a forbidden love and, sensing weakness, Catherine plays on her affections for a married man. She sets up a marriage with Charles, the next son in line, and plans to out Mary’s brief infidelity with Louis to the Pope himself.

Meanwhile, Catherine’s attempt at a decoy while scheming with Elizabeth is quickly rumbled when, apparently guilt-stricken after her ‘lover’ is hilariously killed via dismemberment, Mary detects bullshit. They then – I kid you not – lock her in a cage adjacent to a live tiger. Oh, Reign, it’s good to have you back.

The remaining ladies (Kenna is still off being pregnant) are navigating the many marriage proposals that seem to come their way fortnightly – Greer with a visiting pirate and Lola with an increasingly determined Narcisse. It seems Lola and Narcisse are being set up as a proper couple we can root for but, with this show, you never know how long the men are going to last.

The one bum note of this otherwise fun premiere is the show’s complete inability to find something compelling to do with Bash. This year he’ll be flirting with the supernatural world as Delphine remains at large. I wonder of course if Reign will actually pull the trigger, as it’s always flirted with magic and such but never actually gone all the way with it. It’d be an interesting choice, though also possibly a dead end.

I’m also not completely sold on the idea of Elizabeth as a dual protagonist, as Reign is often at its strongest when it’s focused entirely on Mary and her struggles. It’ll be interesting to see them come face to face, of course, and we can start the countdown to Francis’ demise (my money’s on the mid-season finale).

What did you think of the episode? Will Bash’s storyline intersect with the rest of the show? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.