An ex-lover of Francis’ arrives and brings danger with her, so Bash consoles an uneasy Mary.
Meanwhile, Queen Catherine persuades Aylee to snoop on Mary; and Bash lands in hot water with heretics, who accuse him of disrupting a sacred ritual.
Previously on Reign: There are forces that conspire, y’all. Forces of darkness. Forces of the heart. Seriously, I will never get over this voice over.
“A Chill In The Air” begins with Francis’ former lady love Olivia , whom we sorta met in last week’s preview, traveling on a road by carriage. Her driver is stopped by a man who claims that a river up ahead has flooded. He suggests a shortcut through the woods, which shoulda tipped that carriage driver off right away that something’s not right, but instead the guy decides to be a trusting idiot and take the advice.
Obviously the “shortcut” is a trap; Olivia’s driver and servant are killed (and some heathen-y sounding words chanted above their bodies), but Olivia is able to escape with her golden hair flowing elegantly behind her.
Back at the castle, Francis meets with Mary to “discuss where they’re at with one another.” Apparently where Francis is at, is declaring himself and his heart as belonging only to Mary. Which, you know, would be way more romantic if we didn’t already know Francis was going to rekindle an old flame like five minutes after this conversation. Oh well, at least Mary has Bash’s waiting arms to cry into.
Speaking of Bash, Mary and friends are hanging out when they’re approached by Bash who’s as suave as ever. When he leaves, Lola warns Mary that Bash has feelings for her – but Mary doesn’t think so. Greer, meanwhile, is getting eyed by some older Lord guy who’s supposedly a great catch because he’s made a fortune in the spice trade. You go, Greer! Secure your family’s future!
Except the guy is about as dry as the spices he sells, and cute baker boy Leith is standing like ten feet away smirking at Greer’s complete boredom. She gets a little skittish under Leith’s stare, causing an accident where Boring Spice Man spills wine down the front of her dress, and Greer storms off to take care of the mess. Leith follows, of course. They bicker-flirt shamelessly, as is their dynamic.
Meanwhile Francis has made a boat for Mary that he’s named after her. Mary is touched. Then a man comes up to tell Francis they found a woman running along the edge of the forest in a fright, and that she asked for Francis – and then Olivia comes in, and Francis rushes to her side to comfort her. Bash takes the opportunity to sidle up and tell Mary all about Olivia and Francis’ old romance. Man, this guy acts fast.
Later on, Francis comes to visit Olivia in the sick room where she’s been recuperating. She tells him about the bandits that killed her servant and driver, that they spoke in a strange tongue – she even remembers a few of the words they said. When they get to the topic of their past affair, Olivia tells Francis that a previous marriage offer fell through and she was disowned when word got out that she’s no longer a virgin. She has nowhere else to go.
Afterwards Francis comes to Mary and tells her about his relationship with Olivia. His face when he says “there was an incident. In… the boathouse. An incident where we were found. In the boathouse.” is hilarious. With Mary’s support, Francis plans to help Olivia regain her credibility.
That afternoon, Mary and her friends are joking around in the castle drawing room when Olivia walks in, looking shy and mortified. Catherine is seated at a different table and struts away with her nose in the air when she sees Olivia. Out of the friends, Greer is the most outspoken against Olivia, but (for obvious reasons) Kenna vocally sympathizes with her. Also feeling sorry for her, Mary brings Olivia to sit with them.
Bash is on a horse ride when Francis stomps up to ask him why he blabbed to Mary about Olivia. The conversation topic quickly switches to the carriage attack, which Francis believes to have been at the hands of pagans in the woods – he recognized one of the words Olivia remembered from the blood ritual Bash did a few episodes back. Francis is worried that the pagans are luring people into the Blood Wood.
Elsewhere in the castle, Catherine catches Aylee being a kleptomaniac when she steals one of Mary’s rings. Catherine decides to hold the information over Aylee’s head, to figure out how to best use it later.
Some of the guards have been dispatched to investigate Olivia’s carriage in the Blood Wood. The bodies have been strung up, upside down, and are bleeding out. The driver is still alive, and Bash, riding up, decides to save him – ignoring the advice of one of the guards who warns Bash that interrupting the heretics’ ritual is going to make them come after him. “Let them,” says Bash oh-so-bravely. Or brashly. Depends on how you look at it.
Olivia and Mary continue their friendship beginnings as Mary offers up some of her dresses for Olivia to wear to the Harvest Festival. Olivia tells Mary that Francis had spoken of marrying her once, and tries to shake Mary’s confidence in her partnership with Francis. “Perhaps now that I’m here offering myself as an option, he’ll choose to be with me once again,” says Olivia. Oops, looks like that friendship ended before it even began.
Meanwhile, Nostradamus is working to save the carriage driver’s life while berating Bash for being an idiot and interrupting a blood sacrifice, pretty much queuing himself up for sacrifice himself. Growly Nostradamus warns Bash to stay close to the castle, or he’ll be in grave danger.
Olivia makes a trip down to the kitchens to look for a wine cellar man, and asks for directions from one of the servants there. OH SHIT, guess who it is? It’s the pagan dude who “warned” Olivia’s driver about the “flooded road”! My my, that’s a mighty big knife he’s holding. Is he here to kill Olivia? Bash? Both?
Olivia vaguely recognizes his voice, which prompts pagan dude to ask Leith about her. Turns out he had no idea someone had escaped from the carriage. The way his eyes zero in on Olivia when he finds out that little nugget of information makes me think she’s not going to outlive this episode.
That night, Mary asks Francis about his talk of marriage to Olivia, and he admits that in a moment of weakness he had considered it. However, as he reiterates, he has promised himself to Mary now and intends to keep that promise. To help him with that, Mary has arranged a suitable arrangement for Olivia in Paris – and is it just me or does Francis look a little disappointed by that info?
Catherine, by the way, is finally cashing in her blackmail material on Aylee by getting her to bring Mary’s letters to her mother to Catherine before they’re posted.
The next day Olivia pays Francis a visit, and brings him wine along with memories of their trysts. He tells her of the arrangement in Paris, and she is disappointed to hear that he doesn’t want her to stay with him in court. Olivia confesses that she still has feelings for him, and that if it takes her staying on as his mistress to be with him, that’s what she’ll do. “I would rather have some small part of you than none of you at all.” She kisses him before leaving.
Greer and Leith meet again so he can return her soiled dress to her. Greer tells him (again) that they can’t be messing about like this – her family is counting on her to make a good match in society. Leith cares for her, but agrees to leave her alone.
Later, Kenna comes to Mary during castle festivities and tells her that a servant saw Olivia’s things being unpacked in the East Wing. Apparently Olivia isn’t leaving after all. Confused, Mary thinks her friend must be mistaken, but Kenna is adamant that’s what she heard. Catherine sidles over once Kenna’s left to remark on the new bling Mary’s friend is showing off: a necklace that was given to Catherine once by the King. So the affair hasn’t gone unnoticed by Catherine after all.
Catherine opens up to Mary about her marriage, and what it used to be like – which also serves as a warning to Mary and what she’s to expect from a marriage to a King whose “indiscretions” must go ignored. Mary begins to get really, really drunk, and asks Kenna about her affair with the King, only to have Kenna confirm it. She tries to advise Kenna to stop her affair, but Kenna has already been accepted by the King as an official mistress – she answers to Mary’s commands no longer.
Not two seconds later, because this is the type of day Mary is having, Francis comes and double confirms that Olivia is moving into the castle. Francis claims that the arrangement in Paris is no longer an option, and that he’s looking for another option but it’ll take some time.
Mary realizes something has happened between Olivia and Francis. She tells him to make Olivia go away, only for Francis to tell her that “this is my court, and I’m the future King of France.” He also threatens to make Olivia his mistress, and Mary storms off chugging wine.
At the other corner of the festivities, Nostradamus tells Bash that the driver has died, and that the man told him the pagans spoke of a fresh blood sacrifice to a creature in the woods.
Bash and Mary bump into each other by the lake, where Mary takes several swigs of his wine flask, get plastered, and hang out. Platonically. Wait, nope, not platonically anymore because they’re MAKING OUT, YOU GUYS. Francis goes looking for her, and finds them kissing.
Mary leaves, flustered and apologizing to Bash. When it comes time for them to take part in the sending-of-regrets-down-the-river-by-toy-boat ceremony, Mary confesses to Francis her regrets, but Francis is cold to her. Their boats go down separate paths in the lake (symbolizing the break in their relationship) as Francis leaves Mary’s side to join Olivia.
Because regret is the theme of this episode, Greer tracks down Leith and tells him that she doesn’t want to regret what they could have had. And then they make out against a wall.
The end of the episode shows off a twisty twist that even I didn’t suspect: Olivia came back to the castle at Catherine’s behest! The whole pagan blood sacrifice thing was an accident, but Catherine had every intention of bringing Olivia back safely in order to separate Francis and Mary. Despite her feelings for Francis which are very much true, Olivia doesn’t want to do this at all, especially knowing that she’s hurting Mary. But much like how she threatened Colin, Catherine promises to make things very difficult for her family.
She also promises to make Olivia the next Queen of France. Catherine doesn’t like Olivia, sure, but she likes her “better than a Queen I can’t control. Hurry along now and get pregnant.” Catherine, you wily, wily woman.
Meanwhile, Mary has her own plotting in motion; Aylee has told her of Catherine’s blackmailing, and the letters Mary sent to her mother, she sent knowing full well that Catherine would read them.
And then Bash is accosted in the castle by the pagan servant, who tells him he owes a debt and it must be paid. “Choose someone to sacrifice, or we will choose for you.” And then he launches himself off the balcony.
Bash: To see your smile is to feel the sun, Your Grace.
Mary: Do you flirt with everyone?
Bash: Absolutely everyone.
Greer: I’m not a lady.
Leith: Well, I know that.
Greer: Stop it!
Greer: It’s a talent, really. No matter what the topic he can wind it back to pepper.
Francis: What exactly the hell did you tell Mary about Olivia?
Bash: Just that she was your first. Never said out of how many.
Mary: I always knew Francis had a past. Men are allowed to have them, whereas we have our reputations ruined. Hardly seems fair.
Catherine: We loved each other. But that love can turn, especially the love of a King, who is loved by so many.