'Reign' and 'Vampire Diaries' Return, 'The Blacklist' Ignites

The royal drama kicked off its third season in powerful fashion. Now split between the happenings of the French court and the English, the series widened the scope of its setting as it narrowed its focus to the three queens at the center of the conflict; Mary, Catherine, and Elizabeth.

Catherine’s mentorship of her daughter-in-law’s rival made for compelling drama and Elizabeth made a strong first impression as a complicated queen, torn between her heart and her country.

Unfortunately, Catherine’s coaching only lasted for the episode, as Francis and Mary learned of her plot and promptly returned her home. With Catherine’s job of ushering her on-screen completed, Elizabeth will now be anchoring her side of the story by herself and she seems more than up to the task.

Back in France, Francis was embracing the time he had left, spending quality time with Mary and building a boat. In the interest of full disclosure, he shared his dire diagnosis with Mary and the two worked towards a strategy to protect her, following his death. The scene on the boat following his revelation was particularly moving. If the level of emotion that scene elicited is any indication, viewers are in for a lot of sorrow.

Side Notes/Burning Questions: Rachel Skarsten gave a bravado performance as the crimson-haired “Virgin Queen”. Mary’s punishment of having Catherine share a cage near a tiger was a bit overzealous. Catherine isn’t the one who broke Francis’ heart so badly that he’s come down with a lethal illness. Greer used to be a lot more pragmatic than hooking up with a guy just because he proposed. Lola and Narcisse’s scenes were fantastic.

The Blacklist
Now we’re talking! After last week’s less than stellar season opener, “The Blacklist” kicked things into high gear, delivering a magnificent episode that bore the trademarks of the series. Red confronted a lowlife, devised a brilliant getaway, and shared an odd but touching personal vignette with Liz before the doors of their room opened to reveal they were in a container aboard a ship.

The visual and Liz’s wonder made the scene hit with sheer perfection. This episode exemplifies what “The Blacklist” can be when it is on top of its game, extreme brilliance. The cherry on top of the sundae was when Tom showed up at the end of the episode, ready to collaborate with Ressler and save Liz. Things are really looking up. 

Side Notes/Burning Questions: How much longer until Dembe can kick some major tail? Liz couldn’t have gone berserk on a better guy. The series continues its streak of wonderful soundtrack selections, closing out the episode with Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s “Our House”.

[Image by The CW]
The Vampire Diaries
The CW’s veteran series returned for its seventh season and its first without former star Nina Dobrev as the show’s perennial heroine. Well, her absence was certainly felt. The constant mentions of her by the ensemble managed to keep her presence front and center though. The series’ attention now lies on the brothers Salvatore as they attempt to save Mystic Falls from their evil mother and her “family”, a group of vampire/witches named heretics.

Viewers were treated to hearing about them ad nauseam last season and they finally got to see what all the fuss was about. Damon and Stefan’s mom is a maniac and not a fun one to watch, at all. She is callous, cruel, and lacks any redeemable characteristics. She is an out-and-out villain, who believes she will never be stopped. It will be impossible for her to receive the comeuppance she deserves at this point, though Damon and Bonnie got off to a great start in handing her one.

Enzo, so promising in his early days on the show, has grown tedious and quite frankly, predictable. Damon spent 90% of the episode whining and trying to make Bonnie feel bad for living her life. Even after all she’s done for him and Elena, he still resents her having a natural life cycle. The guy is truly twisted and so far removed from the witty, wild rogue he used to be that he has become downright detestable. It’s a shame because he used to be one of the main reasons to watch the show. 

Side Notes/Burning Questions: Can Damon make it through an entire scene without swigging alcohol? Alaric actually did something unexpected when he faked his inebriation in an apparent search for a necromancer to bring back his dead would-be wife. This brings us to the next annoying thing about this show: no one stays dead. Enough already! There are no valid stakes anymore.

[Featured Image by The CW]