Arriving in France with four close friends as her ladies-in-waiting, Mary has been sent to secure Scotland’s strategic alliance by formalizing her arranged engagement to the French king’s dashing son, Prince Francis. But the match isn’t signed and sealed, it depends more on politics, religion and secret agendas than affairs of the heart. Prince Francis is intrigued by the fiery Scot, but like most young men, he resists the idea of settling down into marriage, especially when he has a history with a lady of the court and his own point of view on the wisdom of an alliance with Scotland. Still, an attraction between Mary and Francis is ignited.
Further complicating things is Bash, Francis’ handsome, roguish half-brother, who has a history of his own ─ despite his illegitimate birth, Bash is his father’s favorite. Though he is all too aware that Francis is the heir to the throne and Mary’s intended, Bash soon develops his own feelings for Mary. None of the intrigue at Court is lost on Francis’ mother, Queen Catherine. The strong-willed Queen is aware of Mary’s inflammatory effect on her son and his half-brother, just as she is aware of the dalliances of her husband, King Henry, not only with his mistress, but with other ladies of the Court, as well. For guidance, Queen Catherine turns to her trusted advisor, the seer Nostradamus, who terrifies the Queen with his prophecy that marriage to Mary will cost Francis his life. Catherine is determined to save her son, no matter how many others have to pay with their lives.
The second season begins with Mary and Francis on the throne of a nation burning. France is rocked by the aftereffects of the plague – a disease that crept inside the castle walls, taking thousands upon thousands of lives across the land, and ravaging the stability of a nation. From the ashes, powerful lords will rise, carrying out personal, religious and political vendettas, taking lives, and tearing at Mary and Francis’ commitment to their people – and to each other. Though the plague will come to an end, famine will follow, and among the devastated survivors, there is a feeling that the dead still walk the earth. Reports of ghostly visitations will result in mass hysteria and lawlessness. Across all levels of society, there are people eager to exploit the fear and guilt of those who managed to live through the plague. Royals and commoners alike now face a future where friendships will be tested, loyalties betrayed and loved ones murdered.
No one knows this better than Francis, who is haunted by the part he played in his father’s death and by Henry’s final warning that betraying someone you love is a weight you will carry all your days. Francis’ guilt will tear at his relationship with Mary and his feelings about his own worth. While Francis struggles with his terrible secret, he is grateful that his half-brother Bash is standing by to help navigate the dangerous political waters. Even Catherine – now the Queen Mother – is still capable of plotting against Francis and Mary in order to regain her own power.
Despite the political and social upheaval, life at court continues to revolve around love, lust and arranged marriages. Among Mary’s ladies-in-waiting, Greer chose a suitor with social status over Leith, the kitchen servant-turned-soldier who begged her to marry him, while Kenna seems to have found happiness in her marriage to Bash. Mary herself must face the fact that her remaining lady-in-waiting, Lola, is the mother of Francis’ child. Though Mary does her best to have no animosity toward Lola, the child serves as a constant reminder that Mary has not yet produced an heir of her own. Her childless state diminishes Mary’s power in the eyes of the court and only adds to the danger she faces as she tries to control the nobles, maintain her marriage and rule over a nation forever changed by pestilence and famine.
The series stars Adelaide Kane (“Teen Wolf”) as Mary, Toby Regbo (“One Day”) as Prince Francis, Torrance Coombs (“The Tudors”) as Bash, Megan Follows (“Anne of Green Gables”) as Queen Catherine, Alan Van Sprang (“The Tudors”) as King Henry, Celina Sinden (newcomer) as Greer, Caitlin Stasey (newcomer) as Kenna, Anna Popplewell (“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”) as Lola, and Jenessa Grant (“Cyberbully”) as Aylee. REIGN is from CBS Television Studios and Warner Bros. Television with executive producers Laurie McCarthy (“Ghost Whisperer”) and Frank Siracusa (“Beauty And The Beast”). (CWTV)
Airs on Thursdays at 8pm on The CW Tucson.