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TV Rundown: March 8 - 13 | Part 2: Romances are Torn Apart on 'Reign' & 'Vikings' Shocks

Reign | “Tasting Revenge” was an episode filled with relationship turmoil, as some couples came together and others broke apart. First off there was the dissolution of Frary. Despite a beyond noble gesture from Francis; Mary remained obstinate in her choice to be with Conde. There are so many troubling elements to this storyline and the main problem with it is that Mary has come across rather negatively in it. While it’s understandable that she is not herself given the trauma she is recovering from, who she has chosen to rely on is entirely irresponsible.

She is risking everything for a man who has only offered her sweet nothings and taken advantage of a horrendous act of violence to sabotage his own cousin’s marriage. Translation: He’s not a loyal guy. Conde even allowing her to make a life altering decision in her current mental state demonstrates the calculated and deceptive nature of his affections.

Why she blames Francis for the indirect role he played in her attack feels tediously cruel at this point. He is being punished for something he could have never foreseen. Why she can’t separate his intentions from what occurred is confounding and out of character for her. She showed leniency to Greer and Castleroy.

Also uncharacteristic of Mary, is the lack of empathy she’s shown for the affect the assault has had on Francis. They should be sorting through this together. Why isn’t Catherine stepping in to act as a sort emissary between the two? She knows both of them and is familiar with what Mary is experiencing. Frary desperately needs the council of a third party.

Conde’s behavior has been outright despicable and about as far from any romantic hero, as you can get. After learning of Francis’ agonizing sacrifice for Mary, Conde quickly accused Francis of using it as a ploy to win back his wife. Conde’s self-righteousness truly knows no bounds. First of all, it’s tacky that he dared to utter such a speculation and secondly, even if Francis had been attempting that, why would he be in the wrong to do so?

Mary is Francis’ wife (not Conde’s), his queen (not Conde’s), why isn’t he within his rights to fight for her by any means necessary? Conde has certainly shown no restraint in exploiting every tragic circumstance to his favor aka playing dirty. Francis could never stoop as low as Conde has set the bar.

The standout moments of the episode, performance wise, belonged to Toby Regbo (Francis) as he conveyed the heavy soul of a broken hearted king to impressive depth. Lovelorn and powerless to keep Mary’s loyalty, Regbo portrayed Francis’ agony at relinquishing her into the arms of his viperous rival. He was emotional without being overstated and crushed without seeming fragile, a well maneuvered thin line.

Also worthy of mention is Celina Sinden, who’s been playing the comical notes of Greer’s downfall with aplomb before pulling at the heartstrings with her turn in “Tasting Revenge”. As Greer stood up for one of her “girls”, Sinden displayed a touch of melancholy that turned to ferocious determination and one couldn’t help cheer for Greer, all the more.

Side Notes: Shaking up the Kenna/Bash relationship was her latest betrayal. Conde and his brother have successfully managed to ruin both Bash and his brother’s marriages. We’ll just have to wait and see if the newlyweds can eventually reconcile. The sad revelation that Castleroy is rotting away in prison made way for a Greer/Leith reunion.

 It was tough to swallow their hook-up given Castleroy’s circumstances but it was hard to begrudge Greer a moment of well-deserved happiness. It would have been greatly preferred for Castleroy to have given his blessing for her to move on, first. Warning: “Vikings” spoilers lie ahead…
Vikings | Death on History Channel’s gritty drama is a brutal commonality, though it doesn’t usually befall a well-known character. The show broke that pattern by parting with an original, the much beleaguered Siggy. Her journey had been one of the series’ most transformative and it came to a close with her last act being one of true heroism.

Since the pilot she’d been widowed, lost her only surviving child to a plague, had her status stripped away and made into the household servant of her husband’s killer. To say Siggy was a survivor would be an understatement. One of the series’ most fascinating characters, her storyline seemed fated to come full circle in an eventual retribution and with her death comes the shocking blow that she’ll never be restored. 

It’s these jarringly harsh plot turns that keep “Vikings” so authentic and viewers anxiously awaiting what lies ahead. Showrunner Michael Hirst never pulls any punches and did so again by abruptly killing Siggy off in the middle of the episode and not showing a lot of reactionary response to her demise within the community. It was strange and hauntingly realistic at the same time. Siggy’s portrayer, the stupendous Jessalyn Gilsig will be incredibly missed. Her subtle performance filled the series with a regality and feminine warmth that masterfully balanced the masculine side of the equation. 

Side Notes: Ragnar’s behavior following Kwenthrith’s “medical intervention” was bizarreness to the hilt. Why does Kwenthrith always look on in pained horror when the people she wants to kill actually die? Kudos to Lagertha for seeing through the charming rascal that is King Ecbert and his attempts at seduction. Will he take “no” for an answer? Athelstan’s affair seemed out of character for the once righteous priest. Aslaug's hookup with "the wanderer" came out of left field. There was zero sexual tension between the two beforehand. Here’s hoping Rollo seeks answers following Siggy’s mysterious death.