In many ways, The CW’s Reign ended exactly as it lived — full of bloody murder, bloody sex and more syphilitic visions than you could shake a bloody stick at.
Let’s start with the murder: Not only did Friday’s series finale claim the lives of Darnley (at the hands of Bothwell), Jane (at the
hands scepter of Elizabeth) and Nicole (death by soup!), but it also jumped ahead 21 years to the night of Mary’s beheading. Series creator Laurie McCarthy tells TVLine she always knew that Reign would end with Mary’s death, no matter how much else of her life story the show was able to tell.
“From the beginning of the show, we knew we were meeting Mary before she even wed her first husband, and her life didn’t end until she was in her forties,” McCarthy reminds us. “So there was going to be a time jump no matter what. In some ways, that gave me creative solace.”
McCarthy also knew all along that Mary would reunite with Francis in the afterlife, so before Toby Regbo departed midway through Season 3, she asked him to film the scenes you saw in the series finale.
“I asked him to do it before he left, not knowing when we were going to use it,” McCarthy reveals. “And he very graciously agreed to do it. … We’d invested so much in that relationship, and those two have such extraordinary chemistry. I felt like that was where the show began, with their unexpected love story, and I knew that’s how I wanted it to end.”
And then there’s the matter of Mary’s actual beheading. McCarthy tells us there was never talk of showing the graphic act, as she simply “never wanted to see it.”
“We did it with Lola, where you saw it from a distance, and I even regret that, to be frank,” she says. “I didn’t think it was necessary. I wanted to believe that Mary went to a better place, that she went there quickly and that we got to go there with her. Whatever was going on in the last moments that took her away, that’s where I wanted to be. Not with an objective view of her corpse.”
We should also probably discuss the craziest part of the finale — yes, even crazier than the leading lady losing her damn head — which was, of course, Catherine and Narcisse’s “witchy three-way” (McCarthy’s words, not mine) with Emanuelle. Though McCarthy laments not being present for the finale table read, she notes that Megan Follows was, and has always been, “game to do anything.”
“She’s not only a great emotional and cerebral access, she’s a great physical actress, too,” McCarthy says of Follows. “She likes the sexy stuff. And, obviously, Craig Parker is amazing. … You always have a pot of ideas at the beginning of every season, and I think ‘witchy three-way’ came up pretty early this year.”
Reign fans, were you satisfied by Friday’s fatal finale? Grade the show’s conclusion below, then drop a comment with your full review.