REIGN: A Chill in the Air (1x5)

Cool! The Darkness begins! As forecast by an ominous crow perched on a branch and a lone pipe sounding in the distance. “How can we communicate ‘dread’ on a cheap yet instant, wordless level to our thousands of rapt viewers?” was a question the REIGN writers must’ve posed to themselves right at the start of the season when they were breaking stories. Somebody probably wrote it on a whiteboard somewhere, and then some hapless office cleaning drone wiped it off in the night, maybe while chuckling to him/herself about the lame brainstorming habits of “creatives.” And then when the script came out for “A Chill in the Air,” they realized they'd left a “T/K” in the stage directions, indicating “to come,” and at the very last minute someone hastily pencilled “forest bird / pan flute” in the margin, where it stuck forevermore. Elegant solution to a real thorny problem.

I thought I’d have so much to say about this episode, but I really don’t. Olivia crawled out of the Blood Wood and caused a lot of commotion with her crazy hair and unplaceable “not from this world where the rest of us decided to talk British” accent. I like that I finally figured out she arrived at Catherine’s behest, though, that she was operating under Catherine’s evil thumb the whole time. I like that I can still be surprised by things that happened two years ago on a series I’ve seen every episode of multiple times yet clearly pay only sporadic attention to. It’s like finding a Christmas present in August that somebody wrapped in December and hid under the bed and sadly forgot all about, yet knew on some vague level was missing. I figure I’ve missed a good 30-40% of actual REIGN plot points, just by virtue of being so disinterested in any scene that doesn’t include Catherine, and then I learn most of it involved Catherine anyway. So this is good for me to catch up. Good for my spiritual development. Not as exciting as finding a brand new bike stuffed inside some guest bedroom closet, but a sack of marbles, maybe. A box of Cranium (the game for your whole brain™). Tube socks.

Lord Castleroy also made a first appearance in this episode and immediately bored Greer ’n the rest of us right out of our Harvest Festival gourds. I might have felt differently if they'd shown him riding Li'l Sebastian up to the castle gates (hello, fan fiction mashup). I give him a pass since I know what he turns into and where all this is going, but let’s admit it’s not an auspicious entrance. He has way too much mayhem happening in his own cranial & facial region, although I appreciate that he actually looks like a peppercorn. It’s not enough to just have a personal brand nowadays, you need to literally transform your whole physiognomy into your personal brand and then speak of nothing else. Massive props for following things through to their inevitable conclusion on that front. “All hail the Pepper King!” says the Pepper King to himself. I imagine he does a lot of his own cheerleading, the Pepper King, during his down time. I mean, with chops like that you would pretty much have to, even while counting all your spice-enabled gold doubloons.

One real handicap of this show is how badly it needs us to be on Mary’s side. They force this in the worst and most blatant way possible, which is by making her a goody-goody wet noodle with a heart of gold, then by having her behave in some regretful manner whenever she does let her guard down, which she ultimately cries over and files away under "personal growth for people who have no other choice." It’s a pretty basic variation on some “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” themes, only played totally straight, with zero nuance or humor. We see her straining too hard to be noble, always, when it would be way more interesting if she wasn't. But I guess that’s where Bash comes in to save the day, with his leather flask moonshine and sly smile and wispy carefree bangs. He’s here to remind us all that it’s okay to just let go once in a while and get hammered in the middle of the day on the edge of some marshy beach, then make out with your brother’s betrothed. Such a flouter of social conventions, this one. Such a renegade.

But man, this queen with her bird. There’s a tumblr devoted to Pete Campbell called “Just Pete Campbell Things,” which includes the expected “Jiminy Christmas” and “Pete Campbell eating cereal” gifs, and a QC-related equivalent of that exercise would obviously include not only this parakeet she fondles while blackmailing Braidy but also the honey facial bath she applies to herself while blackmailing Olivia:

Multitasking mindless domestic acts with threats against blonde girls in the service of destroying Mary is something she does so effortlessly. Playing all sides against the middle, that’s Catherine’s game, and she doesn’t care at all about the damage she does in order to win. The sign of a born kneecapper. She’d be a great mogul of some international mani/pedi chain, or the owner of an NFL team.

This is my favorite scene of the episode, though, and one of my favorites of the series, where she tells Mary about her miserable marriage to Horndog and how they actually did love each other once. I think about this scene a lot, and about how she plays it, how she squares her shoulders when she’s about to say something she knows will make her seem vulnerable and how she uses eye contact and wine glasses strategically. Also, have you noticed that she's 10 times scarier when she laughs about something, or smiles? Everybody else on this show has such valuable acting lessons to learn from this Megan Follows master class scene. The whole thing is a total manipulation that, while ultimately successful vis-à-vis planting doubts about Francis in Mary’s mind, also does reveal or at least hint at the reveal of something true about herself. She can lie about a lot of things, but like she tells her old lover Richard in “Inquisition,” sometimes the truth holds more power. Also, that crown is just the best and really makes up for whatever that golden scarab thing is that's shackling her tinfoil cape together.

Five favorites


1. I saw the documentary Dior and I yesterday at one of the theaters at Lincoln Center, which not incidentally is a fantastic moviegoing spot. Heads and shoulders above the gross Lincoln Plaza basement atmosphere across the street, where they show some great pictures but where I inevitably exit feeling sour and exhausted by the experience. Something about the audience there has a real "death's door" feel to it, so I avoid it at all costs whenever possible. Dior and I is about the start of Raf Simons' tenure at Christian Dior and the eight weeks he and the couture team had to prepare for their first show. I got a little antsy about it approximately halfway through, because amidst all the drama and tension and Paris I still had to stop and say to myself "Oh for fuck's sake it's just dresses!" But it's never just dresses, is it? Not if you remember that important Meryl Streep "belt speech" in The Devil Wears Prada. I won't recap it here because of course you do. It's very famous. I spent the other half of this movie waiting for Anna Wintour to show up, btw, and she did not disappoint.

Ultimately, though, it's a movie about watching people work, which is something I recently discovered I'm fascinated by. And seeing how completely these people devoted themselves to their jobs, and how much pride they took in the process and how much all of it depends not only on technique and experience and artistry but teamwork, it was really inspiring. Near the end there's a scene where Raf Simons and some other guy sit out on the balcony of this gorgeous townhouse in Paris, where the show is being prepped below and where they can hear people out on the street screaming for celebrities as they arrive, and the enormity of the whole thing hits him, the lifetime of preparation he's devoted to this critical impending moment, and he finally chokes up and starts to cry. And I've never accomplished or even attempted anything of that magnitude, obviously, nor would I care to, but I really connected with him there. Under all this insane glitz and glamour and corporate pressure was just a guy wanting to succeed and please people, and to do it by making something beautiful.

2 & 3. The Ivan Orkin episode of "The Moment" podcast with Brian Koppelman and episodes of Chef's Table on Netflix. Both of these dial into the theme I mentioned above, of observing how people do their jobs. Regardless of how little interest I have in fussy dining, I of course love to eat and absolutely respect a pro. I can also handle aggressive A-type personalities so much better at a remove than I can in real life, where I'm both easily intimidated and constantly tempted to roll my eyes at prima donna behavior. But these shows go deep into obsessions and craft, as well as losses and sacrifices and making the thousand big and small hard choices that are necessary to believing in and fighting for your own worth. 

4. This book The Circle by Dave Eggers. I actually hate-read most of it, something I seldom do because it's such a waste of time and effort when there are so many other things waiting for me to read and love, but I had to find out where it was going. A real nail-biter, it was! The whole thing is a not-at-all-concealed dystopian view of the endgame if a company exactly like Google is able to successfully "close the circle" in getting us to upload every inch of our private lives to their cloud (ugh, clouds). I didn't quite buy the ending, which felt very simplistic and obvious, but I didn't sleep all that well after finishing it, either. Way to succeed at creeping me out re: the future, Dave Eggers. Applause applause.

5. The entire second season of "Silicon Valley" and every single character on "Silicon Valley," but especially the through-line of Erlich's devotion and continual vexation vis-à-vis Fage packaged yogurt on "Silicon Valley." "Half the yogurt is gonna go unused because one quarter of the jam can't come out!" Everything Erlich says makes me laugh, because it's so "Erlich," but I also have a dedicated Fage yogurt spoon so I am 100% behind him on this one.

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 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.

The school of life

I used to always get sort of cagey when somebody asked me "What did you do this weekend?" or "What have you been up to?" or "What's new?" because usually the answer is "nothing." Not literally "nothing," because everything is something, but nothing I deem worthy of recounting for the edification of others' lackadaisical curiosity (outside of this riveting blogspace, yo). It's not news that from an external perspective my life is a total snore, and I used to feel guilty about that. Or not so much guilty as lame. Look at where I live and how exciting that should be 24 hours a day! Except it isn't. And I don't want it to be; 24-hour-a-day excitement is probably my worst nightmare. I would be dead within 14 hours, tops. And it only recently occurred to me that this is fine (not the dead part); it's fine if my life is boring to others. "Is my life boring to others?" is not a question I need to spend even a second of my own boring time pondering. Nobody has to like my life but me. Nobody gets to have an opinion on how it takes me three hours to read the paper on a Saturday morning because I'm also watching TV and typing on this laptop and dialing up Youtubes and have zero other ambitions for the day. I don't have to wait for anybody's say-so on my business. And maybe you've known about this trick for decades, but for me it was very freeing, that knowledge. I am now free.

On James Salter

From a 2009 interview at

When I asked him about his detached narrative style he responded, "I have never written a book in the first person that I can think of and I think that is a rich field of opportunity for writers. Philip Roth is an example; it is too late for me to start. It is not that I can't do it, I never felt impelled to do it. Speaking of it as a gauge of temperament, I suppose I tend towards the cool side and perhaps my writing tends to the cool side as well. I do not mean anything judgmental by that. I think the writing is tempered with not what I call a pitiless eye, but an eye that is not clouded with sentiment."

From Light Years:

There is no happiness like this happiness: quiet mornings, light from the river, the weekend ahead. They lived a Russian life, a rich life, interwoven, in which the misfortune of one, a failure, illness, would stagger them all. It was like a garment, this life. Its beauty was outside, its warmth within.

From Burning the Days:

I like men who have known the best and the worst, whose life has been anything but a smooth trip. Storms have battered them, they have lain, sometimes for months on end, becalmed. There is a residue even if they fail. It has not all been tinkling; there have been grand chords.

From The Paris Review:

To write? Because all this is going to vanish. The only thing left will be the prose and poems, the books, what is written down. Man was very fortunate to have invented the book. Without it the past would completely vanish, and we would be left with nothing, we would be naked on earth.

Cool, unsentimental, detached, removed, reserved: adore. I adored him. He was, and is, my favorite Voice of Men.

+ James Salter dies at 90


REIGN: Kissed (1x3)

I’m sad that this summer project is starting off on such a downer note and that these early episodes are so lame, which I take as a personal affront to my investment as a fan and as a regular joe trying to pen a blog post. I'll carry on but I just have nothing meaningful to say about an hour of TV that could have so much more Megan Follows in it and consciously chooses not to take advantage of that. Especially when I see this "Written by" credit right at the beginning and am automatically psyched, since I know what kind of champ Doris Egan is and what she has in store for us as the season rolls. Here it’s a letdown in every way possible.

Fashion-wise, I’m giving this week’s prize to this Portuguese toolbox, who makes his first appearance literally dressed as a snake:

Way to mask your intentions as an evil friend to the realm. I can't bother to look up the spelling of his name, because come on, but I feel like it would have a Z at the end: “Tomasz.” Sketchy. His whole sexy (sexx-ayyy) party dance with Mary is so obvious and awkward, not "hot" as I assume it was intended to be. It’s amazing how many generically handsome jokers they throw at Mary as potential suitors and how little chemistry she has with any of them. Not that Tomasz is doing anybody any favors in that department. “They just need you to show up, weasel into your snake garb and use whatever kind of accent seems Portuguese to you,” that’s the casting note this guy got from his agent. On all those points he scores pretty high. Chemistry with his costar was just never part of the equation.

Here’s a prime example of why they don’t use more period-appropriate clothing on this show. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen, like an artist’s smock made for a very pregnant lady that for some reason they thought would be okay for a king who’s not actually Henry VIII. He looks so confused by it, like what set did I wander onto. They probably hoped his neck chain would distract from the horror, but it doesn’t. It makes everything ten times worse. And I know he isn’t getting any action from Kenna yet, but I don’t think that should divert him from his first and most important task, which is to walk around in leather pants. Horndogs should only ever dress in leather. That should be a law. Pretty good episode all around, though, for ol’ Horndog. He got to engage in sword fighting with two of his sons, take a free cruise on a floating pavilion surrounded by flaming torches, and impart some royal wisdom. Things are really moving in his direction.

This is the most appealing Francis has ever been to me, this “vulnerable early morning devastation” look he has nailed here. He’s just learned all sorts of lessons about the consequences of making reckless decisions regarding Scotland based on his burgeoning feelings for Mary (gross phrase, I know), although he’ll forget them almost immediately. Of course something stupid is afoot in Scotland, that country has so many problems! One thing this show has definitely excelled at is making me hate Scotland. I check out mentally every time somebody mentions sending troops to Scotland and then wastes a whole episode whining about it and ultimately failing to do so. I’d turn it into a drinking game but becoming an alcoholic is not on my summer agenda. Sorry. Goal for 2016 maybe.

Even with limited screen time, QC and the Bear run the best sideshow in town. They should not be the sideshow, however, as previously stated. They should be the main act always, just standing around commenting on the incompetence of others. What a full-time job that would be. I do like how Henry finally calls them out on it, their constant reconnoitering in public, and then puts him to work sealing poor Braidy’s fate. Like that was a surprise to anybody but Braidy. She should start saying no to these castle gatherings, I feel. Just hole up in her room and work out some way to braid herself back home to Scotland, Rapunzel-style.

Recent moviegoing experiences

I'm four weeks into my cool new summer routine of seeing a movie in an actual movie theater every weekend instead of sitting in my apartment cursing about the weather. So far I've seen Pitch Perfect, Iris, Mad Max: Fury Road, and now SPY. Out of all of them Mad Max was my fav, because it's wildly inventive and expertly made and I had no clue what was happening most of the time yet that had zero impact on my enjoyment of the film. It felt like a pure experience, somehow, just adrenaline and noise and confusion and the magical combo of surly Tom Hardy and an even surlier Charlize Theron, who uses axle grease for makeup/war paint and made me feel when I left the theater that I could be anybody and do anything. I stopped short of setting anything aflame but strode home like a real cock o' the walk that day. The first female character who ever made me believe such a thing was Princess Leia, when I was seven years old and Star Wars was released. It's a powerful thing to give a kid (or adult), that sense of wide possibility and endless confidence that you can almost literally feel driving up through the ground into your feet, even if it lasts just the amount of time it takes to walk 20 blocks or approximately one city mile. In my case about 20 minutes, give or take, depending on how well or poorly pedestrian traffic is flowing and whether or not I check in at Gray's Papaya for a hot dog. There's some complicated math involved.

Anyway, SPY. Whilst I was waiting in the snack line (peanut M&Ms) I heard the guy behind the counter tell another customer that Paul Feig had been in earlier that day to check out a screening. Paul Feig!! I knew this was extra special, me and Paul Feig seeing his movie in the same theater on the same day. I patted myself on the back for being so proactive and for once in step with the zeitgeist, since that's not my usual style at all. I usually don't catch up with things until long after the circus has left town. The theater at 4:00 was packed with adults, a good mixture of ladies and gents, not seeming to fall too heavily one way or the other, but it's the first movie I can remember sitting through where I could hear women laughing as loudly as the men. Historically the only times women are louder than men in public is when they comprise the studio audience of some raucous daytime talk show or if the movie is a "women's picture"; i.e., weepie. I myself have contributed more than a fair share of extremely vocal sobbing in movie theaters over the years, since I'm such a deep and sensitive soul. But I strolled home after SPY with that sound still ringing in my ears and felt equally powerful just for the memory of all of these women yukking it up around me, like real proud motherfucking maniacs, and it made me think maybe things are on the right track for a change. No doubt somewhere trouble was brewing, but I was immune.

p.s. I wrote this whole post on a phone, another new thing I'm attempting this summer. Look at me, breaking all this ground.

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.