'Reign,' 'Game of Thrones' Return, 'Bates Motel' and 'Blacklist' Prep for a Reckoning

Reign: Season 3, Episode 11 – “Succession”

What Happened: Mary (Adelaide Kane) bonded with Gideon (Ben Geurens). Catherine (Megan Fellows) meticulously planned Charles’ (Spencer MacPherson) coronation. The identity of the serial killer stalking the castle halls was revealed. Lola (Anna Popplewell) proved useful to Elizabeth (Rachel Skarsten) in an important way.

The Rundown: The regal series finally returned and in as high a fashion as it left. Tying up loose ends and beginning new strands of story, “Reign” featured its three queens learning shocking truths about the people around them and discovering deeper ones about themselves, in the process. As Mary contemplated a marriage to a prominent Protestant to calm tensions in Scotland, issues of personal politics quickly arose. Her idealism dashed upon the rocks of reality’s need for compromise.

Despite there being a substantial break between the winter finale and the spring premiere, it still feels incredibly fast for Mary to be developing romantic feelings for Gideon given how distraught she was following Francis' (Toby Regbo) death. Plus, Gideon and Mary's burgeoning bond was hardly established before the hiatus and whatever feelings they had developed to that point were mainly contentious. While it is true to the urgency of the times for Mary to be working towards a new marriage, the search for her new husband should be contingent on his viability to the crown and it is highly unlikely Gideon would be a candidate as a potential king.

The chilling reveal of the serial murderer's identity was a bit expected, though the scene it created was not. Catherine learned that her torrid lover, Christophe (Nathaniel Middleton) was the culprit and he declared in a bold monologue that she was at his mercy. The ensuing showdown might have seen crazy Christophe walk away victorious but it was clear his reign of terror would be short-lived with Catherine on his heels.

Catherine was not the only one who discovered that an enemy was closer than expected in "Successor". Elizabeth learned the perpetrator who poisoned her, causing her to miscarry, was none other than her chief advisor, William (Tom Everett Scott). It also came to light that he had a romantic fixation on her. Elizabeth promptly ordered his exile and reasserted her power to the council. Adding to the character parallels between Catherine and Elizabeth is that both have proven neither will suffer a fool for very long. Hopefully fans will not have to suffer another unceremoniously long hiatus from this marvelous show. Episode Rating: 8.5/10

Side Notes/Burning Questions: Are Mary and Gideon working for you? Where were Claude (Rose Williams) and Leith (Jonathan Keltz)? "Reign" is doing better than ever balancing the English and French storylines. Correction Edit: It is in the following episode ("No Way Out") that Elizabeth names her successor and extends her offer. Catherine's advice to Mary also takes place in that episode.
Game of Thrones: Season 6, Episode 1 – “The Red Woman”
What Happened: Bloody reprisals, plots of retribution, an erstwhile queen and a shocking visualization of evil’s true face were just a few of the plots tackled in the return of HBO’s most-buzzed about series.

The Rundown: There was a lot more action to be found in the sixth season premiere of “Game of Thrones” than there has been in previous season openers, excluding the series premiere. The unseemly coup d’รฉtat in Dorne was hard to ignore as anything more than a chance for the series to show women acting violently towards men.

If the imagery was supposed to quell any of the controversy surrounding last season’s highly criticized violence against women, it was a disturbing choice. Violence against anyone should be at the core of viewer outrage, not which gender it occurs to and sadly, if you were paying attention to the response surrounding the season premiere, you did not hear a trickle of outrage at the women of House Martell’s vicious slaughter of the men they usurped. Episode Rating: 7/10

Side Notes/Burning Questions: Not enough Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and too much Dorne. Snow has not fallen. Who will rise?
Bates Motel: Season 4, Episode 7 – “There’s No Place Like Home”

What Happened: Fueled by the knowledge of Norma’s (Vera Farmiga) marriage to Romero (Nestor Carbonell), Norman (Freddie Highmore) plotted an escape from the mental institution with the aid of psychological warfare. Norma found herself conflicted over Norman’s desire to return home. Dylan (Max Thieriot) began investigating the disappearance of Emma’s (Olivia Cooke) mother.

The Rundown: After “The Vault”, “Bates” showed no signs of slowing down; ramping up the uneasy feeling of happiness slipping away from our favorite characters, as Norman dug his heels in about coming home. All of the newfound joy his mother and brother have carved out for themselves in his absence appears to be disintegrating, even if they do not realize it yet. Even Dylan’s impending happy ending with Emma feels as doomed as the fate of Miss Watson (Keegan Connor Tracy) and Bradley Martin (Nicola Peltz). When Norman pled with Norma to return home at the sanitarium you could feel the weight of her decision, as she unwittingly closed the inevitably catastrophic chapter of her family’s fate. Episode Rating: 9.5/10

Side Notes/Burning Questions: The bright side to a rather dark and foreshadowing hour was Dylan’s proclamation of love to Emma. Why she did not immediately reciprocate is anyone’s guess. Romero and Norma are hurtling towards untold disaster but the love and understanding between them in this episode makes you almost believe they can beat the odds. Do you believe Dylan will survive the season?

The Blacklist: Season 3, Episode 20 – “The Artax Network (No. 41)”

What Happened: There was no rest for the weary as the task force commenced to bring Liz’s (Megan Boone) true killer to justice. Red (James Spader) delivered the news of Liz’s demise to the grandfather (guest star Brian Dennehy) she never met. Tom (Ryan Eggold) adjusted to life as a single dad. Aram (Amir Arison) continued pulling at the heartstrings, as the computer whiz confronted a despondent Red’s apathetic response for a call to arms.

The Rundown: Like “Cape May” last week, Red continued to be a dismantled version of his usual self; crushed by grief and surprisingly disillusioned with the notion of seeking justice for Liz. To punish himself further for his perceived guilt, he spent time with Katarina Rostova’s prickly father. To say there was bad blood between the two would be a vast understatement. Their dynamic was very much akin to that of disgruntled in-laws. Now who does that remind us of? 

At Liz’s funeral, all of her friends and loved ones gathered to remember her. Harold’s (Harry Lennox) emotional eulogy, full heartedly summed up a pretty special character. It is a testament to Liz that everyone’s response to her death feels so genuine. She is one of the rarely beloved central characters, worthy of all the fuss. Taking her death especially hard was Aram, who balanced grief with seeking justice for his friend. The rousing speech he gave Red was classic Aram: emotional and well-articulated with a biting sense of adamant determination. Well done, Agent Mojtabai. Episode Rating: 8/10

Side Notes/Burning Questions: Can we all agree that Tom and Liz’s baby’s nickname should be Ruby? Is it realistic that Tom would have trouble caring for his newborn daughter, when he previously had a very convincing run as a pre-school teacher? With Liz absent, are Red and Aram set to be the series’ interim dynamic duo? They get my vote.

Photo Credit: "Reign"/CW, "Game of Thrones"/CW, "Bates Motel"/A&E