Nothing is ever easy at the 16th-century French court. Season 1 of “Reign” is winding down, and episode 17 revealed that Mary and her ladies have plenty more problems heading their way.
“Liege Lord” kicked off with Kenna moving into Bash’s chambers – against her wishes. Unfortunately, as a married woman, Kenna has no choice. But she made it clear to her new husband that he’s much less than she desired. Mary’s lady-in-waiting wanted a man with money and land, and Bash was only handed the title of Master of Horse and Hunt. The pair acknowledge that this is a less than stellar situation, but both make a pact to try to make the best of things. For Kenna, that means staying away from the king, and for Bash it means ending his feelings for Mary.
In usual French court fashion, a party is being thrown. And surprisingly, the “Queen for the day” Penelope is still around. The former kitchen help has crazy King Henry wrapped around her finger, and it’s making everyone – including Queen Catherine – a little worried.
Francis insists that all his dad needs is a little time to recover, but Catherine decides to take matters into her own hands by having Lady Charlotte, one of her “Flying Squad” ladies, swoop in to seduce Henry and leave Penelope behind. But once Lady Charlotte learns of Henry’s illness she has second doubts and turns to Mary for help.
Mary asks why she should help her, and Charlotte responds that she has information that will be very useful to her. Intrigued by this promise of information, Mary’s forced to enlist the help of Bash to get Charlotte out of the castle. And while Francis doesn’t find out about it, Kenna’s not pleased to see her husband jumping at Mary’s command.
So, what is the mysterious information that Charlotte had for Mary? She revealed that there is a secret clause in Mary’s marriage contract that promises Scotland to France if Mary dies without an heir.
“You’re worth more to them dead than alive,” Charlotte tells Mary before she drives away.
Mary confides in Francis, and the pair decide that they can’t trust Charlotte’s word. The only way to find out if she was telling the truth about the clause is to find the marriage contract. The only problem? It’s in King Henry’s chambers.
Mary and Francis realize that they can’t get into the king’s room. But they know one person who can – Kenna! Kenna refuses at first, not wanting to betray Bash and afraid of Henry. But she agrees when Mary reveals the secret clause that sells Scotland to France.
Kenna manages to get her hands on the contract, but unfortunately not before King Henry returns. Henry doesn’t suspect anything is up, though, and instead believes that Kenna snuck into his room for a steamy hookup.
Kenna doesn’t have sex with Henry, but the king has no problem boasting about having his hands all over Kenna … leading Bash to call her out. “We had an agreement,” Bash argues with her. But Kenna tells Bash that he went against their agreement when he followed Mary’s beck and call to help Charlotte.
Despite their bickering, Kenna reveals to Bash that she went to King Henry’s chambers at Mary’s request. And Bash is not pleased to hear that.
“His very touch makes me ill,” Kenna tells Bash of Henry. “My country was at stake.”
Bash settles down a little bit, but Kenna only gets riled up. “You’ll never be that knight for me,” she tells him, referring to the way he jumps for Mary.
As Bash and Kenna struggle with their relationship, Mary and Francis are trying to figure out how to fight the secret clause. Mary wants to turn to her mother for help, but Francis reveals that Marie de Guise was the one behind it. With all their parents conspiring against them, Mary makes a bold move to throw a party with the local Scottish noblemen in order to take her mother down.
With Queen Catherine kept in the dark during the party, Mary sets up a secret meeting with Lord Mackenzie, a man who fought alongside her father, James V of Scotland. Mary reveals that Marie de Guise sold Scotland to France, and asks Lord Mackenzie and his men to spread the word across Scotland – specifically to the Protestants who are rebelling against her mother.
Lord Mackenzie and his men agree to follow Mary, happy to see her rise to power and take control to protect the country. But unfortunately Queen Catherine discovers Mary’s secret meeting. When Lord Mackenzie and his men head to a brothel at the end of the night, Queen Catherine sends her guards after them … slaughtering all of them and setting the building on fire.
Meanwhile, Lola has managed to win the heart of the dreamy Lord Julian. But her plan of marrying him before her pregnancy begins to show has a major flaw. It turns out that Lord Julian was married twice before, but lost both of his wives during childbirth. With no need to have an heir, he vowed to never have children.
After dropping that bomb on Lola, he asks for her hand in marriage. And in a surprising move, Lola agrees. But her guilt gets the best of her. Later that evening she calls Julian into her chambers and reveals that she’s pregnant. And in an even more surprising move, Julian tells her that they better have a wedding before she starts to show.
Lola’s not the only one with a happy ending at the end of episode 17. Mary gets to slap Catherine after learning about the death of her countrymen. And when Catherine shows no remorse, Mary hatches another plan – force Catherine to hand over the marriage clause.
Mary threatens to tell France about the mad king, and tells Catherine that she's already sent out men with damning letters. When Catherine realizes she’s not bluffing she caves in and burns the marriage clause – freeing Scotland from France’s grasp.