Reign: The Complete Third Season opens with Queen Mary and her husband, King Francis (Toby Regbo) finally in a good place with one another. Although Francis is dying, Mary doesn't know it and the two spend every moment together. Their happiness is fleeting, however, as Francis does pass away, leaving Mary a queen without a country as Scotland is in turmoil, and now without a husband or true place in France. She'll spend a great deal of time searching for a husband that will empower her position and it won't be an easy time for her, but she will have another chance for love along the way. Young Charles (Spencer Macpherson) assumes the throne upon Francis' death, but naturally, there is a grand battle for the role of regent until he comes of age, and Catherine de Medici (Megan Follows) will have more than one battle royale with her ex-lover/nemesis Lord Stephan Narcisse (Craig Parker) where this and other things are concerned. However, as of late, Catherine has taken a lover in the dangerously wild young castle fire-stoker Christophe (Nathaniel Middleton), who has her embers burning brighter than usual. But all is not what it seems with Christophe and as he uses Catherine to climb the ladder of success, he may have darker motives than a rise in status.
Meanwhile, Narcisse's machinations have finally landed naive Lady Lola (Anna Popplewell) as his wife, but when some of her family members are captured by the British and she is called to England by Elizabeth to act as a hostage, she gladly accepts the chance to get away from Stephan after discovering his true nature, only to later find herself becoming both a friend and a pawn to Queen Elizabeth. With Kenna having left last season, Greer (Celina Sinden) is Mary's only remaining lady near court, and she finds herself quite successful as the town madam, but also finds herself pregnant after a dalliance with a handsome pirate. Even as Mary is making plans to return to Scotland to retake her throne, Greer finds herself scrambling to find a good home for her child, one where it won't be ridiculed for its parents' professions. A familiar face might have the answer she is looking for.
Bash (Torrance Coombs) is busily hunting a heart-stealing murderer as the King's Deputy, but also finds love with Delphine (Alexandra Ordolis), a woman he met last season, now branded a witch and accused of the murders. As he hunts the killer and works to clear Delphine's name, he'll find himself traveling all over, in search of the both of them. Once the killer is caught, he once again devotes himself to Mary and the task of getting her home to Scotland, even as the Protestant John Knox (Jonathan Goad, Republic of Doyle) seeks to dissolve her throne. Leith (Jonathan Keltz) finds himself tending to the whims of Princess Claude (Rose Williams), but as the pair develop feelings for one another, he desires to rise in station in the hopes of one day marrying her. In doing so, he undertakes a dangerous mission as a King's Guard member and we are left wondering about his future in the season finale.
Initially, over in England, we get to see what Catherine was up to when she went to seek Queen Elizabeth's assistance with Mary's destruction. We also see Elizabeth's own personal struggles as the season progresses, including her long-term love affair with a married member of her Privy Council named Robert Dudley (Charlie Carrick). This relationship will plague her on a regular basis, but will also cause her to realize how very alone she is as queen. This is part of why she becomes friends with Lola, despite Lola's status as a hostage. Elizabeth will also send Gideon Blackburn (Ben Guerens) to act as the English Ambassador at French court, but things will get complicated very quickly between Mary and Gideon, since his job is to seduce her and thwart any marriage alliance, but he finds himself taking the job a bit too seriously.
The season bounces between the happenings in France and England, but eventually makes its way to Scotland, where I imagine next season will primarily take place as Mary fights for her throne.
All in all, Reign: The Complete Third Season is a tumultuous season that almost feels like two or three seasons packed into one because of the sheer number of things that happen in these 18 episodes. The clothes and sets are magnificent as always, but it's fun to see the different styles Elizabeth wears versus the ladies at the French court. While there are no special features in this release, it is still must-see if you have been following the show. Watching Mary and Elizabeth square off time and again is a treat and Catherine is probably at her best in this season, although she is always a pleasure to watch. Highly recommended.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the DVD. The opinions I share are my own.