Reign, the CW network’s historical fantasy television series, follows Mary, Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane) during the years she spent in France. While seasons one and two focused on Mary becoming queen of France and ruling alongside her husband, King Francis II (Toby Regbo), season three took a different turn in events when Francis died due to illness.
Season three focuses on the aftermath of Francis’ death within the French Royal Court. In the wake of Francis’ absence, the show’s writers, led by showrunner Laurie McCarthy, introduced new plots, character developments, and new characters such as the Queen of England, Elizabeth I (Rachel Skarsten).
Queen Elizabeth’s addition to the show creates more conflict and suspense, allowing the audience to see Reign’s story being told outside of France. Skarsten portrays Queen Elizabeth’s strong and independent personality well but also does a great job in allowing the audience to see her vulnerabilities. That being said, although it was interesting to see a softer side of Elizabeth this season, I was hoping to see more of Elizabeth as a ruler and how she managed being queen of England during a time when women were considered inferior to men. Even though the female characters in Reign have stood up for themselves countless times, it is easy to see that the men are the ones who have the final say in any decisions to be made about their daughters and wives.
After two seasons of seeing many of the female characters being controlled, used, objectified, and influenced by the male characters, it was refreshing to see Queen Elizabeth rule England as an independent woman away from the control and influence of men. However, her independent nature can not always be seen, as she is constantly invested in her feelings for her lover, Robert Dudley (Charlie Carrick). With Robert in Elizabeth’s life, she is portrayed as a lovesick teenage girl rather than a powerful ruler — by the last episode though, there is the realization that she must always put her country first.
Another character who, in my opinion, has alway kept this show alive is Catherine de Medici (Megan Follows), mother of Francis alongside her husband King Henry II (Alan Van Sprang). Catherine has always added excitement, interest, and comic relief through her formidable, manipulative, and conflicted character. This season, Catherine grieves for her son, while also earning the right to be queen regent of France through manipulation and secrecy.
Although season three was filled with excitement, grief, and suspense, I am excited to see what the next one brings to the table when Reign’s story will unfold in not only France and England, but hopefully Scotland as well.