‘Reign’ Season 4, Episode 11 recap: It’s time to get rid of Darnley


Photo Credit: Reign/The CW Image Acquired from CW TV PR

Whoever told Darnley that threatening Mary in ‘Reign’ was a good idea needs to be fired. That is not the way to get the Crown Matrimonial.

We all know how it has to end for Darnley, right? Seriously, I cannot wait for him to get his comeuppance! He’s an egotistical, pain-in-the-proverbial for Mary.

Now I won’t say that Mary is a saint. She has made some disastrous decisions in the past. This fight for the English throne is a waste of time, although I do say that with hindsight. I’ve done my research and I know exactly how it works out for poor Mary, Queen of Scots. Spoiler warning: it’s really not good!

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But it’s Darnley we’re focused on right now. When he learns that Elizabeth is considering marriage to a Catholic to get the Vatican on side for her claim to her own throne, he tells Mary that they need to ride against Elizabeth right now. Once there’s a Catholic king, the Catholic support Mary currently has in England will be over.

It all seems well and good. Darnley offers his men to fight against the English queen. The only problem is Darnley learns that Bothwell has been invited back to court by Mary. This is the Loyal Watchman who ratted him out, so Darnley isn’t exactly best pleased with him. So, he threatens Mary.

Lord Darnley, threatening Mary is never ever a good idea! Mary knows how to deal with people who threaten her. She turns to Lord Bothwell, of course, who is more than happy to help where necessary. That means getting into England with Rizzio to stop the troops. They turn to one man in England who wants to protect both Elizabeth and Mary: Gideon.

Without telling Gideon exactly what is going on, they get him to help find Darnley’s Lord Barrett to stop the fight from happening. If the battle does happen while carrying Mary’s seal, it will be death for our beloved Scottish queen. Nobody really wants that. However, Gideon learns the full truth and is escorted back to Scotland to face Mary’s pleas for support not to tell Elizabeth the full truth.

It is a good thing that Darnley doesn’t have the Crown Matrimonial right now though. That’s what he’s after and all these threats are in place to make him get it. Why would a queen give that to someone she doesn’t trust at all?


Mary has friends in the right places, including Gideon who agrees not to tell Elizabeth the full plan. There are high chances that he understands Mary’s situation—or at least has sympathy for her. The only thing Gideon tells Elizabeth is that there was some type of Catholic plot but he doesn’t have the details. The only thing for certain is Elizabeth needs to marry a Catholic to secure her throne from any more plots.

Continuing with friends in the right places, Mary places Rizzio as her most trusted advisor, further angering Darnley. You would think it’s give up with this idea of annoying Mary right now, but no. Instead, he threatens to tell the world that her unborn child isn’t his. Even just the idea that Mary slept with someone else is disastrous for her and her heir.

If you know your history, you’ll know that Mary and Rizzio are rumored to have an affair. The future James VI of Scotland is rumored to be Rizzio’s and not Darnley’s child. Chances are she was smart and protected her throne (and her child’s throne) by not having an affair, but the rumor mill is a dangerous place.

Darnley knows just how damning it would be for Mary. The queen certainly takes his threats seriously. It’s time for him to go.

While all this happens, Catherine is dealing with two warring sons. Henri wants that French throne and is willing to show his dominance over Charles in all sorts of ways, including through humiliating him. She isn’t about to allow that to happen and threatens him with a book of witchcraft Henri brought back from the Turks. Even Spain wouldn’t support Henri if they believed him to be a witch.


For those hoping for a Catcisse reunion, it doesn’t look like it will happen yet. Narcisse is impressed with Henri’s fight for the throne and that’s even after Henri tries to blackmail Narcisse. Catherine is not about to back her younger son’s claim to the throne, knowing it would put Charles’ life at risk.

So, Catherine can do the only thing she has always ever done: turn to witchcraft to help get what she wants—or what her elder son wants. She whips up a spell to make Charles a stronger king, making sure everyone is scared of him. This cannot be good! Will this just make Charles’ crazier than he already is?

Next: 'Reign' Season 4, Episode 10 recap

It certainly is shaping up to be an exciting end to the series. Even if you know how Mary’s life will end and what happens to the French throne, there is something intriguing and enticing about the storyline. I am impressed that Darnley’s push for the Crown Matrimonial is being focused on so much, as it was something he pushed for in real life. It did play a part in the downfall of Mary, Queen of Scots. Just how long will Darnley live now, though?

Reign Season 4 continues on Friday at 9/8c on the CW.