Reign Series Finale Preview

Reign Boss Reflects on Mary's Legacy, Previews 'Painful' Series Finale

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.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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131 Comments
  1. Diane says:

    God, I will really miss this show. So special and underrated…

    • I also miss this show very much. These actors must go on to a spin-off of some kind. They all have the abilities and they have the looks for more period dramas, It is such a waste to under utilize these people. I mourn the passing of this show and want something more from this cast. The 20 years before the death of Mary would be interesting. Just seeing the life of Prince James.

      • Brennen says:

        I totallly agree with you. What really upset me was that they cut out the whole section from her age of 23-44. Those were crucial years for mary. She underwent a lot of stress, and suffering during those years. My cousin anthony Babington was her friend, and he and she conspired to assaassiante Queen elizabeth eventually, and got caught, leading to the death of Sir Anthony Babington, and then a few months later, Mary’s beheading. I feel that was a huge thing to just go and cut out of the storyline. They spent so much time focusing on other dramas instead of focusing on the number one main character, Mary. Especially at the brutal end. Google anthony Babington queen Mary of Scots. And see for yourself the articles about he and she. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babington_Plot

      • Jules Turgeon says:

        Agree!!! They should never have ended this series. So much more to tell

    • Jules Turgeon says:

      I agree!! Totally heart broken those chose to end this series now .

  2. Alyse says:

    I wish the show had gotten a 5th season, I liked what they had planned for it. I totally agree about Claude, Greer, and James being under serviced this season and in the finale. I really wanted Claude and Luc and Greer and James to be together and happy and we got no resolutions with them. I also wish we had gotten Mary’s marriage to Bothwell and it’s repercussions.

    • Lucile says:

      Totally agree.
      There is so much good historic events in Mary’s life that they could have explored, it’s really sad we won’t see it.
      And I really want a happy ending for Greer and Claude. Hope they manage to do it in the finale.

    • Fabrizia says:

      If anyone is interested in the story of mary there are many films about her life, including Elizabeth the Golden Age with Samantha Morton as Mary.

      For those who care about the plot that was mentioned above about Catherine i recommend 1994’s La Reine Margot which won almost everything that year at Cannes, including best actress for the fenomenal Virna Lisa as Caterina de Medici.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I’m commenting from Canada, where the finale aired last night. Such a lovely and satisfying ending! (or as satisfying as you can get when the title character loses her head) Tissues may be required, especially at the end. I’ll definitely be missing this show.

    • Shar says:

      I watch it from Canada too and started to watch it for Megan Follows and kept watching for the story, the settings and the modern twist telling of history.

    • Fabrizia says:

      You can’t say mary Queen of Scotts without mentioning the beheading!

  4. Sam says:

    Watched it from the beginning, loved it to the end. Sad to see it go!

  5. fernando933 says:

    I wish we would have gotten a season 5 but I’m so grateful that we even got 4 seasons. This show made me love Mary, change my mind about who she was back in high school I always prefer Elizabeth until this show it truly showed me who Mary was and explain her way better then history books make her out to be

  6. LK says:

    I wonder where they end the show? Is it with her killing her husband? Or does it flash forward to her being captured and beheaded?

  7. Jim says:

    I watched it last night (Canada), and it’s like they wrote and filmed the entire episode as a season finale, then found out they were cancelled and just cut off the last ten minutes to tack on a hastily filmed flash-forward to the end of Mary’s story instead. If you were expecting any kind of closure for any other character, at all, you won’t get it. All their storylines just end in the middle. And there’s so much in the finale that you won’t believe they’re spending time on and that is obviously set-up for stories that won’t be told. Oh well. That said, the very very end did make me emotional and remind me why I once really liked this series so much.

    • fernando933 says:

      Well that’s because it was never meant to be the final season, they didn’t find out it was the final season until the middle of their finale filming week that The CW decided it was to be the finale season. So they only had about 3 days left to film a conclusion

      • ? says:

        3 days, eh? Well that’s exactly what it looked like. I’m sure everyone involved was disappointed that this was the best they could manage.

    • Kel says:

      I totally agree. I loved this series. I did not know this episode was going to be the series finale until it did the odd fast forward thing and Mary lost her head. So disappointing. I really wanted more on Catherine and others. It felt exactly like you said watching a goid episode someone walkedin said wrap ut up for good and we hot a quicky unsatifing ending. Loved the series there should have been more.

      • Brennen says:

        This is how I see what happened.
        The ratings may have been starting to slowly plummet, and the writer saw an opportunity to wrap it up fast without it being canceled with no ending. In my opinion, that’s how I feel about what lead the writer to wrap it up so fast. I agree with all of you, there were many things that didn’t get proper endings. Bash, Catherine, the newest daughter we never saw before, more about Mary’s son and his upbringing, and most of all, the PLOT TO HAVE ELIZABETH I Murdored by Mary and Anthony Babington in England. How Mary got to england, why she never met her cousin, etc.. I found out how Mary was related to elizabeth. Mary’s father James V was King Henry the 8th nephew. James V’s mother Margaret was Henry the 8ths sister. So much vast and rich history, I love history.

    • Richard says:

      I hope that they can one day get a season 5 and make this season finale like a terrible dream of Mary’s because this ending was horrible. I’m highly disappointed I have loved this show for so long and waited for a season 4 to have it end like this. Tragic.

    • Fathima Paruk says:

      Totally agree. Ending was too abrupt and the other characters stories left untold . The flash forward spoilt the whole storyline and ended up making me feel short changed. Disappointing to say the least. Too many loose ends in Paris, Scotland and England. What happened to Bothwell, Catherine de Medici. Greer, James and Narcisse. Anti climax indeed!.

  8. ninergrl6 says:

    I’m glad that it sounds like the series finale doesn’t fast forward to the end of Mary’s life. That would be too sad. I’m going to miss this show so much! It has truly changed the way I think about history. I visited Edinburgh last year and still get chills thinking about walking in Mary’s footsteps. Thank you Laurie & everyone involved with Reign, and thank you CW for giving the show 4 seasons.

  9. JC says:

    Such a disappointing finale. If you expect a conclusion for any character besides Mary…

    NOPE.

  10. Suzanne Schreckengost says:

    Do not want it to end!! Love the characters and the history, even if all of it isn’t accurate. I love Mary, you could just draw out more of her life…

  11. Amanda Baker says:

    I’m going to miss this show so much. So much still goes untold.

  12. Lucia Chromik says:

    I am devasted that tonight is it!!!! I will mourn and then pick myself up and go on. Please please put enough hype out there when you put out Mary Queen of Scots comes out!

  13. Clyda Byrd says:

    Now i don’t know what to do with myself on Friday night.. Lol. I have always been a History buff, especially when it came to English-French history. This has been one of the most exciting and wonderful shows I’ve seen in a long time.

  14. ? says:

    If there’s any good to come out of this, it’s that I can’t wait to see what Megan Follows, Adelaide Kane, and Rachel Skarsten do next. The three of them are incredibly talented. Other than them and Craig Parker, I can’t say expect any of the rest of the cast to show up on my TV screen again, but that’s okay (well, fingers crossed it’s not the last we see of Rose Williams, but not because she has great acting skills, haha).

  15. Sarah says:

    Let’s be honest about something, though… This show survived as long as it did, because of the actors, not because of the writing. The entire cast was phenomenal, but the writing was crap. I don’t mind departures from history (it is fiction after all), but the pacing was always all over the place and many of the characters actions and motivations never made sense. I wish the cast all the best and hope they move on to new projects that are worthy of their talent.

  16. Cindy says:

    There isnt one tv show left that’s wirth a hoot!! No reason for Reign to be canceled. Great actors made this series worth keeping. Dumb decision makers.

  17. Ruthie says:

    I love history so I loved this show.
    Emotional season finale, Mary, I will miss you. Thank you CW for an amazing show!

  18. Barbara croucher says:

    Loved it,wanted more,so sad it’s had to end.you did well in the last show,pretty much as I thought you would do it.glad they got together in the afterlife.how else could you have gotten the happy ending.this will stick with me for a long time. I’ll buy the boxed set.lol. Bring it.thks,!

  19. Cc says:

    Ending was sweet. Mary gets to spent eternity with her true love. I wish there were more seasons, history is so fascinating. Characters were so good. And nice to look at . I want more…

  20. Nan Ewald says:

    Reign series finale was disappointing. They spent too much time on Charles and not enough storyline on Mary. This was, after all, about Mary Queen of Scots. I would have liked more about Elizabeth imprisoning Mary…what was that story? It felt rushed and, sadly, I lost interest.

  21. Sheryl L Mason says:

    One of the most captivating series I have watched in a long time and I don’t want it to end. Great acting crew and they really get into their roles. Go on with the series let’s have number five.

  22. Mark Beck says:

    I watched the finale of Reign. I thought it was very satisfying. I always liked the glorious
    costumes, and was glad to see that Catherine, Mary, and Elizabeth had some strong
    final scenes. I thought a lot of material was packed into the finale, and that the beheading
    was truly sad, and the nice final moments truly romantic and a nice wrap up. I wish all the
    actors and actresses a happy future, as well as the tech people and writers.

  23. DANITA RAY says:

    I really wish there could have been a more “substantial” finish to the show! So many questions are left unanswered. It can’t possibly end this way! Please bring back another season, and cover what happens to everyone more thoroughly. I am an avid Reign watcher, and I am not happy with the end results!

  24. Vickyluv13 says:

    So sad it this show ended. Too bad it was such a quick unexpected and bad finale. Hope they change their mind and do a season 5. Wishful thinking

  25. Mari says:

    Noooooo!!!! I boo-hooed cried at the end with Mary and Francis😢 I loved the two of them together….. It’s soooooo sad that it is over….My Fridays are officially ruined……So much was left out….Goodbye Queen Mary of Scots……..

  26. Constance Sharp says:

    I think there should be a spin off to continue with queen mother Catherine and prince james also with queen Elisabeth as well.

  27. emina says:

    Is there anyone at the CW We could contact about a 5th season, maybe Netflix could work on it since they’ve partnered with the CW! I want more Mary and Bothwell, they separated too quickly in the finale.

  28. Mary Mikesell, PhD says:

    Would like to see more of the Reign cast in spin-offs like one on Elizabeth I and one on Catherine de Medici and family. Could have two going at once like it was with The Vampire Diaries and the Originals. Would like to see more accurate history as a general rule, but with all the same day-to-day fiction that could be, it’s OK (I think) because we don’t have much diary type daily detail except for that of Princess Margot (Margaret), Catherine de Medici’s daughter – this would be a great on-going series much like Dallas, etc. Through Princess Margot, later Queen of France, one could fill in the 21 year gap in the final episode of Reign with original cast of course. Her diaries are famous.

  29. Brennenjc says:

    I wish they had gone one more season, the war between England and spain, touched more on the newest addition, King Charles and Henrys other sister we just learned of, the whole thing about Queen Mary’s friend Anthony Babington teaming up with Queen Mary to assassinate Queen Elizabeth. Anthony Babington is my 6th cousin 3x removed. I was praying that they would include this very important factor in the last season. Sadly I was disappointed. The fast forwarding 21 years was uncalled for.

  30. An absolutely fabulous ending to an absolutely fabulous show. Really sad that its over. Learned so much even though there were a few things that were a little too contemporary. I don’t think anyone who watches this series … female viewers at least who won’t recognize the reference to women never being in power … that they don’t belong in power … that it goes against nature. Sure glad I did’t live in that time and hope that we don’t regress back into those darkest of ages.

  31. Mel Campbell says:

    pfft – they chose to put in a useless 3 some in there. They could have wiped that and actually closed off some more of the story for us. The last few minutes were wonderful and heartbreaking, but knowing that they had half a season to wrap and seeing how they did…they did an awful job! Introducing new characters and storylines and just letting them end.. SO badly done. I’m glad we got an end at all, but it could have been done so much better! Darnley should have been killed off episodes ago!

  32. Wendy says:

    I say redo the finale and pickup at Lord Darnley’s death and keep going. This a a fabulous series. One of my all-time favorites. There’s so much more of the story left to tell. It would have been nice to see the end of John Knox. It was a rich time in history. Whoever makes the decisions… please consider continuing this great series!

  33. Jennifer Sule says:

    Although I know that there are parts to the story that did not go with historical timeline and I live that they showed her troubled life. Will miss this show…NOT! because I have EVERY EPISODE on my DVR and I’m going to enjoy it as much as I like!! Thank you for making a wonderful show and I loved how you ended it with her reuniting in heaven with Francis.

  34. Soffía says:

    Can you please make a spin off in France, the story there ended on a cliffhanger! Need more! Love the show!

  35. Daniele says:

    I really wish that wasn’t the end!
    I enjoyed this show tremendously!!
    Never really thought I’d like this type of show but I did and I’m very sad to see it go. There so much more story!!!!!

  36. Cayla Arthur says:

    Well very disappointed on how you took Marys ending really was not wanting what happened and there were so many characters you started new stuff with and ended with it not finished must say definitely rushed this show off tv was looking for to more seasons

  37. Julia says:

    So sad to see it all end. A spin off would be great on some of the characters whether it’s the French court or James. Show left want more.

  38. Erica Klein says:

    Reign was amazing! I love when history is made into TV, especially Royal history. I’m so sad Mary’s story was cut short. She had so much more to tell us and she should have gotten that chance. We all know how history played out, but to watch it on TV work actors makes it so much more exciting even though we can’t change the outcome. Sad to see Reign go. 😢

  39. Em-em says:

    Season 5.. Please….
    Continue the story… Plzzzz 😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢

  40. Rosemarie Ash says:

    Loved all seasons. Please make season 5 happen!

  41. Swvilla says:

    I LOVE reign, I literally watched all four seasons this year, I had never heard of it before. I really hope that somehow there will be a season 5 there was so much i wanted to see. I was waiting for Bash to return and so much more.

  42. I think this is the most painful cancellation of a TV show that has really hurt me. The show had not even started and it gets a red flag!!! Its not fair. I loved this show more than words could describe. So disappointed.

  43. Jewell Hill says:

    It must have been excruciating to wrap that all up in such a short time! I know it was for me. What I will miss the most though, is the ‘love against all odds’ or ‘star-crossed lovers’ story with Mary and Bothwell. (Which makes for great ratings!! Hint) It’s my sincere belief that he is a huge hero who has gone unsung or slandered in history, since he and she ‘lost’ the battle, hence didn’t get to write the history. I have read the lines and between the lines of this chapter of history, and I am sure they had a great love, that he was a true patriot and devoted to his Queen and beloved and that fate and snakes in the grass double crossed them. What a sexy love story! The queen surrounded by spies, murderers, misogynists and corruption, the brave Lord who is willing to look like a monster in the eyes of the world to save her, their defiant kiss at Carberry (sp?), her willingness to make a deal with the traitors if they let Bothwell go unharmed, the double cross, her constant tearful response when his name came up during her imprisonment, the fact that the casket letters could have easily been (and many say are) forgeries….the tale of Bothwell and Mary reads like a top notch romance novel if you study it well enough. Sort of a Romeo and Juliette in the sense that they both took a fall out of love for each other. Not to mention Adam Croasdell in this role is completely dashing and delicious. PLEASE, if you do another season, we beg of you, do justice to these two great lovers and their tragic but beautiful story! Thanks very much- Jewell Hill

  44. Me says:

    What in the “H” hapened to bash??? Dude just fell off the earth

    • JJ says:

      Yes Bash is also a favorite character of mine, after watching him on the Showtimes the Tudors, I have kept an eye out for him since.

      With so much Story left to tell your must wonder why they are not going with Season 5 yet…

  45. JJ says:

    Season 5! Come one CW don’t be a coward, I am sickened by the fact the CW and other networks run shows that are just dum, but Reign has been done so well that it should not end if ratings are low, WHY? RATING PICK UP AGAIN for God sakes….

    I’ll hope against hope that they will come to their senses and order a 5th Season.

    Thank you,
    JJ

  46. Heather says:

    There has got to be a way to get another season going. What can be done to keep this wonderful show on TV?

  47. Lisa T says:

    Wow a sudden end to what I was hoping would lead I to a season 5.
    So much yet to learn about those times.

  48. Katie Edwards says:

    Reign is one of those shows that I just couldn’t get enough of. Very sad that there won’t be anymore of it.

  49. Patti Coffin says:

    Loved everything about this superbly cast series and will miss it. So little quality TV of late. Thought the wrap up was as well done as possible, but hate not seeing the future of so many wonderful story lines.
    If there is a glimmer of hope for a spin off, I vote, whole heartedly, YES! Thank you for the series! It was marvelous!

  50. Karrie Hostetler says:

    We want more