REIGN: Snakes in the Garden (1x2)
Man, this episode is such a snore. And not a relaxed, boozy, convivial snore, but a super-sized mega snore. The Sam's Club of snores. It spends way too much time explaining and not enough time doing. Nobody sleeps with anybody and only one person is beheaded and only one person gets strung up by their ankles and only one person is poisoned by a purloined royal gown, and even that’s just a fake-out orchestrated by some lame English people at the behest of Catherine. Nice try, show, but no sale.
I miss the Nostradamus edition of the opening credits so much. I wonder if his background thesis would have been included on any network besides the CW or if they just went ahead and preemptively figured we were all dum-dums. I’ll cop to my own previous knowledge of Mary Stuart coming almost exclusively from Janet McTeer playing Mary Stuart in “Mary Stuart” on Broadway, which only tangentially mentioned her early life in France, but I had higher hopes for the rest of you smarties. Rossif (insert sound of roaring lion) Sutherland sure sells it, though. He swings for the fences and knocks it right out of the ballpark. He’s like the ’57 Yankees of opening credits narration, or whatever team would be appropriate in terms of historic victories here. Nosty would be that whole entire team.
Overall there’s so much dramatically going on in the creds but I especially love this goofy closeup of this horse eye, which I laugh at every week and then instantly forget about:
Why is there a closeup of a horse eye? In hindsight, that should have been a clue: nobody knows why anything is anything on this show. Nor do they care, nor do I care, nor does it matter. I mean why not: enormous horse eyes for all my friends. Horse eyes for everybody. Step right up and get your horse eyes.
This is Bash’s reaction to being dissed by Catherine in the giraffe scene, when she reminds little Charles that Bash isn’t a real brother, only his father’s son. What a burn! Although this is news to nobody, not even little Charles. These people all know who each other are, because they're all related. It would be like me going home at Christmas and my mother saying, "You remember your brother Todd." Unnecessary.
It’s a shame that Catherine and Bash hardly ever interact, though, because they seem like the only cast members who understand that these roles require a sense of humor and frequent eye rolling, but she’s never shy about insulting him when he’s standing right there in the room. Out of all the things I admire about Catherine, it’s her ability to say what she’s thinking at any time without giving two shits about anybody’s feelings that I admire the most. No pussyfooting around for QC, she’ll call a bastard a bastard at the drop of a hat and damn the consequences (there are never consequences).
And it’s not like Bash cares or is trying to conceal his status; he seems pretty secure with who he is as a person and in relation to his royal half family. In fact he reminds me a lot of this recent Daily Puppy, helpfully called Tracy Jordan the Mixed Breed: “Tracy Jordan, or Jordan for short, is an adorable, loving, playful mixed breed puppy. His favorite activities include snuggling, meeting new people, and exploring the neighborhood. He’s the life of the party (he loves to be around big groups of people) and is an unwavering bundle of joy. He’s a smarty—he’s learned to come, sit, stay, lie down, shake, play dead, roll over, and dance so far, and he’s eager to learn more! We are so lucky to have him in our lives!” I ask you, is that Bash or is that Bash? Isn’t Bash/Tracy Jordan/Jordan-for-short the best? We are lucky to have him in our lives!
Holy smokes. Catherine! THIS IS OFFICIALLY THE WORST COSTUME OF YOUR REIGN. It pains me to say this, because I have Catherine's back against all comers, but she looks like that animated version of Maid Marian as portrayed by a cartoon fox, only not in a good foxy way but in a way that looks like she plucked it out of a bargain bin at Filene’s Basement or found it at a garage sale for cartoon chickens. I wonder if anybody got fired over this dress, that’s how bad it is. And it’s doubly unfortunate, because this is where she’s strolling thru the fairgrounds with Henry and they seem so at ease together, and then right as she goes to say something to him some random broad catches his eye and Catherine has to turn her head away and wait for him to finish flirting. What a humiliation. Approximately 75% of her life is spent standing by his side and being ignored. And it’s heartbreaking, but to a lesser degree than it might have been thanks to her outfit. Maybe I'm too sensitive to external stimuli but this whole uggo costume really cuts the pathos off at the knees for me.
Semi-related season 2 aside: Did you see this tumblr pic the tumblr-ers posted as evidence that Adelaide Kane and Sean Teale are dating IRL? Not cool that AK’s phone was hacked but cool if it’s true, bros; go with love and peace, etc. Wear matching hotel robes in a hammock if you want to! But everybody must have known they were together already from the Instagram below that she posted in the spring: look at the proud impish look on his face at being stuck in an elevator with her! How sexy is he? (not a question; he's categorically, dictionary-definition sexy). They exhibit more chemistry in these two one-dimensional phone pictures than they did in nine whole months worth of screen time together. The tragedy of that is way worse than any crap outfit they’re putting Megan Follows in. She can still act no matter what.
And what did the fans label this skeevy twosome? Kenry? Henna? This week’s terrible secret is how much I loathe couple mashup names. It’s such a lazy played-out trope, like thinking it’s still witty to say you shop at “Tar-zhay” or “Whole Paycheck.” What a waste of imagination and creative energy to just stick two names together and tell yourself, well, my work here is done. Not everything needs a shortcut. Not everything needs to be a hashtag. J/k, nothing ever needs to be a hashtag.
I do appreciate how they negotiate over Kenna’s virginity, though. She’s savvy enough to lay out her terms instead of hopping straight into his crib, which is probably how most chicks play it with Henry. Out of Mary’s four ladies, I would dub her REIGN’s Amy March, aka keeping her eye on the prize at all times. Braidy is obviously Beth (imminent RIP), Greer is scrappy Jo, not afraid to get her hands dirty and do a job, and Lola is so dutiful, dull-as-dishwater Meg it's not even funny. I don’t think Lola even had a line this week, which should immediately move this episode into a top spot for me. But it fails to reach even that low bar.
And then this. What could it mean, Lord? QC is shockingly sloppy in terms of schematic efficiency at this point in the series and ends up having to clean up a lot of messes she herself has created. I just don’t feel like she’s giving it her all in terms of machinations and what-not. Her heart’s not quite in it. I guess she doesn't know yet there's a creeper living in the walls but that seems like the kind of thing she'd be tuned into, just on a molecular level. Also I didn’t realize until today that the true culprit behind this X and the beheading of that bozo in the opening was actually Baghead. There are a handful of episodes I’ve watched only once or twice and only pay attention to when Catherine is on the screen, and sadly this is one of them. It’s boring, as I mentioned. Or should I say snoring.