By Dru Hunsaker
Dubbed by many as Game of Thrones meets Gossip Girl, the CW’s new historically based drama Reign follows the teenage years of Mary, Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane), during her engagement to Francis II, Dauphin of France (Toby Regbo). Fleeing the convent where she was raised after an attempt by the English on her life, Mary Stewart is whisked away to the French court in anticipation of her impending marriage, one which will seal the tenuous, but much-needed, alliance between a reluctant France and an imperiled Scotland. As Mary attempts to navigate the dangerous French court, she discovers that threats lurk behind smiles and she has more enemies than friends. Even worse than the English who encroach on the Scottish borderlands and threaten Mary’s life, the French Queen Catherine (Megan Follows) becomes an unexpected enemy to Mary after the seer Nostradamus has a vision that predicts Mary’s unintentional involvement in the demise of her son.
Despite the dangers that haunt her, Mary finds refuge in the company of her ladies in waiting: Greer, Kenna, Aylee, and Lola, who she brings with her to the court. Although Mary is engaged to the French prince, Francis, who is set to inherit the throne, she finds an unlikely friend in Sebastian (Torrance Coombs), the King’s illegitimate but favored son from his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. The roguishly handsome Bash seems instantly smitten with the courageous, beautiful Scottish queen, but the match appears doomed, since Mary desperately needs to secure the French alliance to protect her country from the English. Additionally, Mary discovers an unknown ally in the form of a shrouded specter who stalks the hidden corridors of the court, trying to protect Mary as a kindred spirit whom many seek to harm.
Aside from the dangers of French court, Mary’s task is made even more difficult by Francis’s reluctance to marry her–not because he has any aversion to her personally but because he believes the Scottish alliance will prove harmful to his country. Though they were childhood friends and the gorgeous, charming prince also finds himself taken with the young queen, he spurns her friendly advances and tries to distance himself from her allure. However, despite all of his misgivings, Francis begins to fall headlong into a confusing and tumultuous relationship with Mary, though he still insists that they cannot be together until the alliance is right for France.
In addition to a series of constantly changing relationships, Mary also finds herself caught up in the political intrigue at court as the English queen waits at death’s door and the Catholics and Protestants fight to establish the line of succession from the numerous relationships of King Henry VIII, including one that would potentially make Mary the rightful heir to the throne of England.
Long may she Reign.
Tune into the CW’s Reign on Thursdays at 9/8c.