Scandal is not the only juicy, sexy, political drama on Thursday nights. The CW’s Reign reveals running a country has always been a dirty business.
Last season, young Mary Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane) dealt with a mother-in-law who wanted to kill her, her commitment to Prince Francis (Toby Regbo) and her attraction to his bastard half-brother. This season, the stakes are much higher.
Thanks to Francis offing his father in the Season One finale, Mary and Francis are now ruling France. Their first order of business: grapple with an epidemic of bubonic plague. There's also the fact that Francis fathered a child with one of Mary’s ladies-in-waiting. Take, that Fitzgerald Grant.
At a press screening of the premiere, star Kane and creator Laurie McCarthy dished the epic premiere and previewed the upcoming season.
The Plague Hits The Palace
With no way of treating the plague, or even a real understanding of how it was spread, the palace’s solution is to go on lockdown while thousands of citizens die. Since Francis has left the royal compound in search of his baby, Mary must handle the epidemic on her own.
The situation grows more dire when it turns out someone in the castle in infected and the disease quickly spreads. Some characters lives are in jeopardy, while others attempt to use the crisis to their advantage.
Mary ends up making a ruthless decision that will have unexpected consequences in future episodes. McCarthy explains, “In the wake of plague comes famine and with famine comes unrest. We just dealt with a good deal of the population dying and on top of that there’s no more food. Anyone who’s recovering is weak from disease or starvation because they’re relying on stores which are sometimes rotten, they’re done. they’re used up ,or the lords have stolen everything. Without food, the farmers can’t work the land. Famine doesn’t just last a year. The next crop is [weak].”
Mary and Francis Have To Deal With Lola’s Baby
Francis will find Lola (Anna Popplewell) and his baby during the premiere and ultimately will bring them back to the palace, creating an extremely awkward situation for everyone involved. Kane reveals, “It’s uncomfortable and it’s going to be weird. But I think as the season progresses, it becomes more and more of an unspoken pressure that she fails to conceive. It’s a glaring reminder of her only duty as a royal and as a queen, which is to bear sons to continue the succession. The longer she goes without a child, the more heavily it weighs on her.” McCarthy reveals that Catherine (Megan Follows), who dealt with similar Baby Mama Drama with King Henry, will be the most understanding. “The weird thing about Katherine is she loves babies.” Adds Kane, “And it is her son’s kid. I think she could do without Lola but she’s like, “Child of my blood.” I think that she’s all about the baby.”
Mary and Francis Learn That Being Royal Ain’t Easy
Mary and Francis approach their new roles with the naievte of Obama in 2008. Kane explains, “They have an idealistic vision of how they want to rule and it’s quite unrealistic… Henry and Catherine ruled with a mixture of bargaining and fear... But Francis is approaching things very differently and it’s going to be seen as weakness. They’re going to be seen as being weak. Whenever [the throne] turned over there always was a mad scramble to see who [could take advantage of] the instability.” The young royals will have to deal with tensions between the Catholics and Protestants. McCarthy jokes, “They inherit a nation that turns out to be on fire. Congratulations.”
Catherine Misses Being Queen
Catherine is in a difficult position. She is happy that her son is fulfilling his royal destiny, but resents her loss of power. Kane explains, “She’s still one of the most powerful people in France. By what she’s done, by what she’s capable of, she defines the realm. She isn’t necessarily on the throne, but she still holds the purse strings.”
McCarthy reveals Catherine will not spend the whole season meddling in her son’s life. “A little later in the season one of her daughters that’s been off-camera is going to return, her daughter Claude. That’s a very fraught relationship.” She also revealed that Catherine will get a new love interest.
The Show Will Continue to Bring The Sexy
Last season Reign was one of the sexiest shows on the CW. This year, it will continue to push the envelope. Kane teased, “I spend a lot of the first three episodes naked. I’ve got real familiar with nipple petals and awkward underwear that you tape to yourself…. Francis and Mary having a helpful and respectful sex life within their marriage and it’s not just being the providence of affairs or the initial honeymoon period”. Said McCarthy, “Sexuality is a huge part of this show. It’s just a part of life and these are people who don’t really have jobs and are just kind of hanging out. It’s tied in with power and the dynamics between men and women. Everything in life is about sex, except sex.”
Photo credit: The CW