REIGN: Hearts and Minds (1x4)
I honestly have never once found Francis even the slightest bit attractive but he’s really growing on me in the course of this REIGN rewatch project for THANKS, TV. What a world! What sealed it for me was this “Where are my Ray-Bans” expression right at the beginning, when he’s going mano-a-mano with our nemesis Tomasz for top prize in some random Baghead Archery Tourney:
So cute! It's so "no doy, Tomasz, I know how to hit a target." Although ultimately he loses this totally insignificant match, I like a fellow who can smolder with jealousy one minute yet still woo a lady on a picnic blanket a couple of scenes later. He’s a real Renaissance man, our Francis. A real polymath royal. It occurs to me that I’m suddenly drawn to his hair these days, too, which is mildly disconcerting. As a rule this is a style I abhor on both gents and ladies (i.e., no bangs, middle part), but I guess the times are changing. Apparently all my opinions are now open for revision, so congrats from me to me on such amazing personal growth. And points to ol' Francis for acting as a Detective for Love in this episode, which is a true hallmark of the Valois Boys (dauphin & bastard alike), and one of their best fraternal qualities. They’re always so ready to go to the mat for a mystery! Uncovering Portuguese shenanigans in the midst of all your other quotidian duties is such a charming side hobby to have.
Goddamn this show is dark. Sometimes I can't read my own stupid screencaps. But oh hey, Henry’s turtlenecks! They make not one but two appearances during this episode, and props to him for making no effort to conceal himself during the whole Michaelmas banquet nonsense, where Braidy, if you hadn't noticed, is literally dressed as a court jester. Another invitation she should have RSVP'd "no thanks" to. Poor dumb Braidy. I don't begrudge her any life choices but it's like she's asking to be shoved over a balcony.
However, rewinding re: turtlenecks. What a surprising, out-of-left-field sartorial choice for a king! Henry is such a dick always, but I can see him being all gung-ho to ship his wormholey worn knitwear back to Patagonia.com for use in their recycling program. Leading by example, that’s the mark of a good ruler, and of Henry. Only wait, is Henry a good ruler? Do we know this for sure? He leads with gusto and confidence, and maybe that’s enough. Maybe “has the air of a ruler about him” is really what it comes down to, in the end. We'd like to believe otherwise but most of us are sheep who just want to be led by someone who seems to know what they’re doing. I'll cop to this on behalf of myself anyway. The rest of you are encouraged to go off and do some soul searching of your own.
And here we go finally! This scene feels like the first glimpse we get of the real Catherine I've come to know and love. And this screencap is an example of one of my favorite baller moves of hers, which is when she hears something that displeases her and goes instantly dead in the eyes, like a shark. Her whole face goes slack and she'll stare off into the abyss and check out mentally while imagining committing some heinous poisonous act or stabbing. It usually happens when someone is talking about 1) Mary Queen of Scots, 2) Scotland, or 3) love. She hates feelings so much! Right now she’s even wearing a pointy shark-tooth crown-and-matching-necklace set, in case we were missing the subtlety behind this classic Queen Catherine behavior. A little on the nose in terms of obvious danger costuming, IMO, but I’m so glad they’re finally dialing things up for her. Enough of this swimming around in the shallows waiting for a chance to feed. Get out there and stir up some chum already.
Jesus, Beezus, look at these two gorgeous golden-hour babes in the woods! As with my unexpected affinity for Francis, I am likewise seeing this couple in a new light and deciding I enjoy them together. On their own each of them is a bit of a dope, to be honest. I mean, they make terrible decisions most of the time anyway, but they're definitely more successful when working in concert, which is probably a theme of REIGN, if you're looking for themes from REIGN (spoiler: I am not.). They’re both so into being idealistic and hopeful and doing the right thing for their respective countries, not just lying around on chaises somewhere eating petit fours or whatever, which is how I picture most royals (I learned most of my biases from Marie Antoinette, obviously, and I also visited Versailles once and was completely grossed out by it). I like how they discuss his reputation around Europe as a frail and sickly weenie. Shout out to the REIGN writing crew for occasionally spinning random Wikipedia bits and pieces into dialogue so we the audience can learn an actual thing or two whilst being passively entertained.
Here I'd just like to point out that Bash and I have almost the exact same wash-n-go haircut. A sign of real sense on both our parts. We also know how to recover from a near-fatal side wound by immediately jumping into the middle of a sword fight. Be scrappy and never say die, that's our motto. Together we're like the James Bonds of sixteenth century France.
And to close we have…ALERT ALERT! a look of great alarm. She's so fabulously bad at hiding her outrage, it just seeps right out through her posture. She never even tries to pretend otherwise. This episode is notable for featuring two of my favorite Catherine costumes (this is one), which in this day and age believe me is nothing to sneeze at.