Reign inches closer and closer to The End (say it ain’t so!), it’s lifting its foot off the brake and going for it, people. We got sex! We got death! We got… okay, so mainly just sex and death (and gorgeous costumes, obviously) for now, but it’s some extremely important sex and death. There are some big moments in “Coup de Grace.” Sure, my eyes glaze over every time we make a pit stop in England, and Catherine is really the only thing holding things down in France (old news, right?) but Scotland, you guys! SCOTLAND. There’s so much action happening in Scotland, I wish we could just spend all of our time in the highlands.
Instead, we’ll just kick off this recap there.
Well, John Knox has made good on his promise to Darnley to help sway the privy council over to the king consort’s side. Mainly by way of money, of course. Darnley’s paying the council to vote against Mary, stripping her of any real power, and they’ve also promised to vote to give him the crown matrimonial. I know, I know, it seems like Darnley is getting a lot out of this deal, and the privy council gets some money, sure, but also… they are willingly going to let Darnley be their monarch? Seems fishy.
Mary knows she must win back the privy council. If Darnley gets the crown matrimonial, the nobles will see him as her superior just because he’s a man. Don’t worry, the misogyny only gets worse throughout this episode. Mary’s plan is simple, but devastatingly effective. She finally announces to the world that she’s expecting. Those old rich dudes go gaga for the news of an impending babe. Okay, so really it’s because now they know there’s an heir on deck, but secretly don’t you think at least one member of the privy council is excited because he knows how warm and cuddly babies are?
Darnley, of course, eats up the praise of siring a child, which was Mary’s plan all along. She knew he wouldn’t deny paternity because the guy just wants to be loved. And thus, she wins back any leverage Darnley had over her. Only… not quite. Knox is livid that Darnley didn’t think big picture, and he wants to put his plan to get rid of Mary into hyperdrive.
Mary and Rizzio are sipping on some tea and celebrating the win. Most of the privy council has flipped, with the exception of one: the Lord Treasurer. Mary asks David to check the books and see if their treasurer has been up to no good. Anything that will get them leverage over him. Of course Rizzio will do it; he’d do anything for Mary. Mary gushes over how she is so grateful for David. She “treasures” him, she says. And that’s when you know Rizzio is a goner. No one gets a speech like that out of the blue and survives!
Yes, the treasurer is skimming funds from Scotland and his fellow nobles, but the threat of exposing that isn’t enough to turn this misogynistic fool over to Mary’s side. Rizzio takes matters into his own hands: He pulls the treasurer aside and lets him know that the two men share a secret… which is that they share a male lover. Rizzio doesn’t like using this knowledge against the guy, but he also knows it may be the only way to protect Mary. If both men have to burn, so be it.
Looks like the threat of outing him is enough to sway the treasurer. Knox fumes. He needs to kill Mary ASAP. Darnley swings by with a different suggestion: Why don’t they just accuse Mary of adultery with Bothwell? If they catch her in the act, she’ll be forced to abdicate and either be banished or tossed in prison. Darnley can take over as king, and Mary lives. It’s a win-win for the guy. An evil win-win, but still one nonetheless.
Here’s where it all goes very, very downhill.
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