“In a Clearing" was a powerful installment of the series that gave its cast the chance to bring their A-game in an episode filled with vast tonality. Adelaide Kane and Toby Regbo ran a gamut of emotion, from Mary and Francis' luminously blissful disposition at the start of the hour to their grief stricken despair by the end. Kane and Regbo's final scenes were rife with an aching poignancy that put the finishing touches on their indelible portrayal of Mary and Francis’ doomed love. Neither actor had held back in the episode’s prior close call but when the actual moment came to say goodbye, there was no mistaking it.
Then there was Megan Fellows, who worked her way through Catherine’s relief, ramped up concern, short-lived peace and quiet devastation with a terrifically commanding performance and Torrance Coombs’s impressive rendering of Bash’s resolute grief when he delivered the bad news to his stepmother.
All in all, it was a really gripping and sad end to a landmark chapter for “Reign”. The series must now find a way to keep going without its headlining supercouple and one if its most popular characters/actors, an obstacle most shows only have to face when one of its star’s contracts expires, not when a history dictated storyline does so. Fans have known Francis’ death was in the cards ever since the series begun, allowing them time to brace for the impact. Unfortunately for fans who hoped it would turn out otherwise, the groundwork was already laid beforehand and while “Reign” has toyed with its play of history (the portrayal of Francis' death wasn't historically accurate), this was one general fact they had to stay true to.