Reign may be wrapping up its final chapter tonight (The CW, 9/8c), but fans will be pleased to know that Mary Queen of Scots is not going out quietly.
Even though the show was already “about halfway” through production when word came that Season 4 would be its last, series creator Laurie McCarthy tells TVLine that enough groundwork had been laid to result in a satisfying ending.
“We got as far as we needed to go to set up a paradigm that we’d been hinting at from the very beginning of the show, which was how incredibly unheard of and difficult it was for women to hold power in this day and age,” she explains, adding that some of the political frustrations were “definitely influenced” by the 2016 presidential election. “It was an incredibly painful season if you were rooting for women in power.”
McCarthy admits there are “so many things” she wishes she could have included in the already packed finale, most of which stem from stories she wishes she could have devoted more time to throughout the season.
“There were three characters who I felt were really under-serviced this season,” she says. “For Claude, we had really wanted to show the interesting dynamic of her giving up this first passion, her first love with Leith, and where she would go moving forward. Greer and James were also characters where every day there were just pages in and pages out. It was excruciating not to service those characters more.”
These storylines, among others, would have been explored in a potential fifth season, one McCarthy admits she “really wanted.”
“You could just go on and on, particularly with Elizabeth and Catherine,” she says. “And there could have been a very strong fifth season with Mary, following the trajectory of her third marriage, which was to Bothwell. In Scotland, we would have told a tale that was as much as a western as a political drama; she’d be on the run, there would be sieges, there would be a falling out with her brother — there’s a lot that we would have loved to have gotten our arms around. And with Catherine, there was a daughter we had yet to meet whose wedding left Paris running with blood. There was truly a lot.”
Ultimately, no matter how the show ends nor how close it stuck to history along the way, McCarthy knows exactly how she wants Reign‘s Mary to be remembered:
“She was resourceful and she was a fighter. She made choices we could look back on centuries later and think, ‘Well, that was foolish.’ But you would realize in the moment that she was a capable, thoughtful, compassionate person who couldn’t make any other choice.”
What are your hopes for tonight’s finale? Thoughts on the final season, or the series as a whole? Whatever’s on your mind, drop it in a comment below.