Last week I wrote about two of my favourite TV programmes which are coming to a close; now to discuss one that’s already ended, Reign. Spoilers ahead!
As a teen historical soap loosely based on the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, I resisted watching any episodes of this for years. Finally I gave in, much as I did with The Tudors, as I can’t get enough of this period of history whether it’s factual or not.
My feelings towards Mary, Queen of Scots, the historical figure, are mixed. She had such an incredible life and was beset by tragedy. A successful monarch she was not. Mary, as depicted in Reign, is a character designed to appeal to young viewers as a heroine, and one that I suspect is nothing like the real Mary.
This series is a frothy look at Mary’s early years in France, via love, murder and witchcraft. The first three seasons continue in this vein, until Mary’s husband King Francis dies and it loses its way. An announcement came that season 4 would be the final one, and the writers seemed to panic. During Season 4, Mary goes back to Scotland, but we also continue to follow the (boring) French court and Queen Elizabeth in England. The season progresses painfully slowly and everything happens in the last 15 minutes of the final episode.
I could not believe how long they put off killing Darnley, Mary’s second husband, as per historical truth; he should have been gone long before the final episode. Mary is arrested and suddenly we spring forward 21 years to her execution. WHAT! In the afterlife, Mary wakes next to Francis. WHAT! I had to rewind to make sure my brain wasn’t playing tricks on me. All of the other characters in France and England and even Scotland are abandoned, their fates unknown, including Mary’s best friend Greer and her half-brother James. Did Mary marry Bothwell as she did in history or did they just leave that out!
I know that ‘ships’ as they’re called are big in the fandom world, and many young fans idealised ‘Frary’ ie Francis and Mary. I have no idea why. They both cheated on the other and Mary had fallen in love at least twice since Francis’ death. He was not mentioned all season!
When the credits rolled I had to pick my chin up from the ground. That’s it? That’s the finale?
Have you ever felt like that when a series which you had mostly enjoyed ends?