Reign, S2 E9- Acts of War

Reign S2E9- "Acts of War"

Phew, okay! Where to begin with this episode of Reign, 2.09: “Acts of War“? This episode has left me with the inability to write. I’ve been sitting here trying to compose my thoughts on this jarring episode. Okay, enough wasting word count, I can tackle this.

Francis and Condé begin by trying to do damage control in the town after the murder of the Protestant Minister (which the townsfolk still think it was Francis’ doing).

Meanwhile, the ladies are learning the latest dance craze from Spain. But Claude enters asking about Narcisse (she got over Bash fast). With the Protestant/Catholic dispute still occurring (in fact worsening with each passing day), Mary has a crazy idea involving Claude that just might work. If Claude marries Condé, a known and respected Protestant, then surely this will solve the current feud. She passes this idea to Francis who at first is rather hesitant about the idea, but then eventually agrees.

The majority of the episode consists of everyone giving their opinions on the Claude/Condé pairing. Some viewers might have found this annoying or repetitive; I thought it was humorous. For some odd reason, it reminded me of a classic high school film where everyone is gossiping about the latest “it” couple at lunch (imagine Grease‘s “Summer Nights”, but without the singing and set in the 1500’s.)

Here’s a score card of the royal’s opinions for those curious:

  • Mary: Approves (obviously)
  • Francis: Approves
  • The potential groom himself, Condé: After realizing it’s not a joke he agrees to wed Claude, he’ll do anything for Mary after all
  • The potential bride herself, Claude: She refuses to marry anyone, but after meeting Condé, she approves.
  • Catherine: Disapproves, but Claude is able to make her own decisions and she will stand by her no matter what (can she please win Mother of the Year?)
  • Narcisse: Highly disapproves. He even offers himself to Claude as a better option!

It’s settled. They construct an engagement party that very night and announce the lovely news to the public.

Reign S2E9- "Acts of War"

Revenge never tasted so sweet.

While everyone is congratulating the new couple on the upcoming marriage, two things are taking place elsewhere. 1) Bash and Francis are trying to have their revenge on Narcisse (it involves a confession from the still kidnapped, Montgomery, the man that King Henry was jousting 10 episodes ago) and 2) A group of Protestants are planning on sneaking into the castle to kill the King.

The Protestants manage to make there way into the castle, Trojan Horse style. Only one problem, the King isn’t in the castle. But Mary is. The Protestants kill the royal guards and enter her bedroom. She tries to persuade them to leave by order of the Queen, but the guards don’t care. Mary knows her life is at risk. In this moment, without her throne to regally sit upon or her tiara resting on her head, she is just a scared teenage girl standing before strong armed men. One of the men being the Protestant Minister’s father, believing that the king had to do with his death. Wanting to cause as much pain to Mary as he was caused, he (with the help of a man holding Mary down) sexually assaults her.

Out of respect to those that are triggered by this delicate topic, I will not go into anymore detail on the specifics of Mary’s sexual assault. I will say though that the show and writers tackled this issue with the utmost care, from the way it was filmed to the marvelous acting done on Adelaide Kane’s behalf. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to decide whether or not to include this into the series and how to go about it.

Grabbing a sharp wooded object she manages to escape her attacker. She runs to safety which ends up being Catherine’s chambers. From the terrified look on her face, Catherine says to her, “I’m only going to ask this once. Were you raped?” Mary doesn’t need to answer. Her sobbing onto the floor will suffice. This exchanging of words between Catherine and Mary could easily be considered the strongest line of dialogue and the best acting on the show that its ever seen. We have to remember, Catherine is not supposed to be the antagonist. Sure maybe in the first few episodes of last season. But over the course of the show we’ve learned that Catherine is the way she is is because of how she grew up. She herself had to learn at an early age to be strong and to “not wait around for a man’s rescue”.
“They tried to destroy you by taking your pride and your strength,” Catherine advises to Mary, “but these things cannot be taken. Not from you. Not ever!”

Catherine also feels it’s best if the public believes that Mary was left untouched during the Protestants attack. If the royals can be assaulted and touched, anything could happen to a simple commoner.

Reign S2E9- "Acts of War"

“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within” – Maya Angelou

Taking Catherine’s words to heart, after a mere couple of hours of her attack, she dons her royal garb, stands before her people proudly and assures that everything and everyone is alright. No one has any sort of inkling not to believe otherwise.
Even Francis, who rushes home after hearing about the attack, believes Mary’s fine.

But instead of withholding her sexual assault from him to be kept secret until episodes later, she boldly tells her husband.

Mary reveals she wants her attackers found and dead.

I’m admitting this right now, this was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write. To put down into words, what Mary went through and what occurs in reality- everyday. Rape happens. Unfortunately, anyone can be sexually assaulted. It doesn’t matter what your age, gender, race, orientation, etc. are.

I know people are going to have different opinions on how the show handled it. I am eager to hear your thoughts.

Below is both the trailer for next week’s mid-season finale, 2.10: “Mercy”, as well as a PSA done by Adelaide Kane in regards to sexual assault. Remember, you are not alone.

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