Reign, S3 E5- In a Clearing

Reign S3E05- "In a Clearing"
Reign S3E05- "In a Clearing"

“We have been given a miraculous second chance. I won’t waste it.”

We all knew it was coming, Reigners. If you haven’t seen Reign‘s 3.05: “In a Clearing” episode, stop reading this instant! It’s official: France is king-less. But even though I knew it was coming, I didn’t expect the pain of Francis’ demise to hurt so damn much.

News has spread throughout the French court of Mary’s mother’s, Marie De Guise, death. Her mother’s passing hasn’t affected Mary one bit. Marie was in terrible pain from her illness and Mary has already made peace with her impending death. Besides, her husband is remarkably alive and well. What could possibly go wrong? Just about everything.

Since Francis is in good spirits again, Nicholas thinks it best to explain the latest offerings from Queen Elizabeth. To put it bluntly, if Mary withdraws her claim to England, the forever-rivaling queens call a truce. England is Mary’s birthright. But Scotland’s current war is causing havoc by the minute. Turning England completely over to Elizabeth could perhaps send peace Scotland’s way. Even with Francis hesitant on the idea, Mary jumps at the offer. Who cares about a birthright when Mary can hold a living, breathing Francis in her arms? The royal pair sign the peace accord and Mary is down to ruling two countries (well, once Elizabeth signs it, of course). To make it official, Mary’s English banners are switched out in the throne room; France is Mary’s forever home.

Reign S3E05- "In a Clearing"

“I see dead people. Well, a dead King to be precise.”

Meanwhile, Catherine is overjoyed at the revival of her son. This means Nostradamus’ vision was inaccurate in telling Francis’ fate.  Just as she’s redecorating chambers and talking about Mary’s future heirs, in walks Nostradamus to suck the happiness from the air. He has had another vision/dream this very day. Francis’ ultimate downfall is not over. According to his dream, it will all go down beside a tree bearing white flowers. Wait for it: in a clearing. Thanks Reign writers, I can’t even look at/say this episode title without feeling sad. Catherine immediately explains the new visions to Francis, but he doesn’t believe them to be true. Of course he appreciates her concern and he’ll be careful, but he’s not going to waste his life worrying over it. Before Catherine can do anything else, Francis and Mary are on their way to Paris for a mini vacation. Now that Francis is alive and well, the two have a lot of love making to be done.

Reign S3E05- "In a Clearing"

“If I could, then I would. I’ll go wherever you will go.”

Mary can’t even make the entire trek to Paris without a little rendezvous in the forest. She orders the carriage to pull over so they can gallivant around the woods, which eventually leads into the idea of skinny dipping. The amount of extra work they had to do in the 1500’s to undress versus now is crazy. It’s clear the writers tried to jam pack as many ‘Frary’ romantic moments in as they possibly could. After skinny dipping and mandatory sex, Mary leaves Francis to rest while she goes back to the carriage for food and beverages. But before she makes her way there, Mary’s grabbed by a group of men! The end is near and I’m not ready for it.

Sensing something isn’t right based on Mary’s prolonged absence, Francis heads back himself. A moment later, he hears her cries for help. Following the sound of her voice, Francis is lead to – you guessed it, a clearing containing a single tree adorned with white flowers. Gulp. He mustn’t think about the vision at this moment; Mary needs rescuing! Once arrived at the scene, Francis takes on each dangerous man pretty flawlessly. That is, until the second-to-last fellow slams Francis’ head against the ground several times! It looked, sounded, and just feels painful. This is it! The damage has been done. Francis fights off the remaining culprit, but falls to the ground immediately afterwards. He knows (and the audience) knows nothing can save him now. My eyes never leave the TV screen after this point. Mary screams and runs to her love’s aid. Francis sputters out his parting wishes: take care of John, stay in France until Catherine becomes regent, and lastly love again. After a gut wrenching clip show of Francis and Mary occurrences throughout the season, Francis Valois is no more. Mary’s crying. I’m crying.

Reign S3E05- "In a Clearing"

“Wherever I may be,
In the woods or in the fields. In work or in repose,
We are forever close.” -Mary, Queen of Scots

Word quickly gets out to Bash, Catherine, and Francis’ many other loved ones. Catherine and Mary have had their differences many, many, many times. But Francis was their single common denominator. The person they both equally loved. “I can’t let him go,” a grief stricken Mary says. “Let go and hold on to me,” Catherine replies, while doing just that. It takes quite a lot of strength from others to pull Mary away from Francis’ body.  Let the grieving process begin.

Mary storms in to see Nicholas, wearing her now blood-stained gown. She just knows Elizabeth had something to do with the attack. Nicholas tries to sway her opinion, stating the peace accord was all Elizabeth wanted. Having lost her most precious possession (Francis), she rips up the accord and throws the remains in the fire. She’s not having her claim on England taken away from her, too. Mary runs to the throne room, tearing the newly placed banners down. She lets out a heart wrenching scream of pain, and my eyes are watering just from the mere memory of this episode.

Two weeks later, the funeral takes place and all is silent. Mary may not be lashing out in hysterics, but she’s still hurting. Francis receives one last kiss from her (via his casket). Narcisse finds out that those men in the woods were Scots, not English. They wanted to kill Mary before she found a regent for her homeland. Not only did the physical elements of Nostradamus’ vision come true, but so did the figurative. Mary was the cause of Francis’ death, just like from the very beginning.

Mary later apologizes to Catherine and hands over her crown. Cat refuses to accept it. Mary made her son happy, why would she be angry or blame Mary? Catherine advises Mary to be strong, especially with Elizabeth right at her heels now. The English want a vulnerable Mary so they can take her down. If they think they’re going to be dealing with a saddened Mary, they’re terribly mistaken. The episode closes with Mary successfully sailing Francis’ boat solo.

Toby Regbo, you were easily my favorite male character and you will be missed by many. Forever may you reign.

Anyone have a favorite Toby/Francis moment? Leave them in the comments.

Next episode: “Your sovereign King has left us.” The show must go on. And so is Elizabeth’s quest to take down Mary.

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