‘Reign’ Season 4: Relishing TV’s Top Royal Drama [Opinion]

The CW’s answer to Game of Thrones has always been a wildly entertaining ride, and as Reign cruises towards the final stretch of what TV Guide has confirmed is its fourth and final season, it is treating fans to one last marvelous installment. What Season 4 has been so adept at is what Reign has classically exceeded with, its balance between operatic storytelling that takes on surrealistic aspects and its sometimes shocking bouts of unyielding realism with regard to its depiction of the time period’s unrelenting brutality.

Reign knows when to find humor in the darkness while also presenting the gravity of dire situations. Like its leading ladies, Reign is not afraid of taking chances, and never backs down from taking its story in bold directions. It is these traits that have enabled Reign to earn a devoted fan following. Whether it is dealing with romance or court intrigue, Reign is always ready to pull out all of the stops as TV’s top royal drama.

Reign Season 4 and romance.

When the popular pairing between Princess Claude (Rose Williams) and Leith (Jonathan Lippert Keltz) appeared to end with Leith’s violent death in the Season 3 finale, fans were left to mourn for a few episodes of Season 4, as Claude believed her valiant fiancee had died. Not one to make things easier on the audience, Reign introduced Narcisse’s son Luc (Steve Lund) into the equation.

In yet another clever bit of storytelling, Claude was forced to marry Luc at her sister’s behest and his father’s clever arranging. Right after the wedding, it was revealed that Leith was not dead after all, and his return to French court immediately set the stage for a complicated love triangle.

While most TV shows would have made Luc an unlikable despot, who provided an unpleasant, road bump to Claude and Leith’s reunion, Reign took a more daring route by giving Leith a likable rival for Claude’s affections. Far from the usual mustache-twirling villain, Luc is a kind, likable guy trying to step outside of his father’s devious shadow.

Things are never cut and dry on Reign, and this romance just got pretty murky. Will Claude and Leith end up together? On any other show, that answer would be obvious, but not on Reign.

Reign Season 4 - Relishing TV's Top Royal Drama - Episode 6

On Reign, there are no easy answers.

Reign has constantly surprised with its romantic entanglements, and that is because Reign‘s writers never go for the easy answers. They allow the audience to agonize along with its characters as they try to decide who to be with. Look no further than Mary’s love life.

Early in Season 4, Reign introduced the Queen of Scots’ new love interest, Lord Darnley (Will Kemp), with a twist. He is not an awful person. Or at least he does not appear to be. When it seemed as though they could not be any less compatible, Reign gave viewers “Highland Games” an upbeat episode that saw the engaged couple start to develop a real connection. Was it expected? No. Was it appreciated? Yes.

Reign heads towards its darkest chapters.

Even as Reign hurdles towards a sure-to-be dark series finale, it is doing so with a sense of humor and a compelling look at each of its central monarch’s complicated relationship with power. We all know the fate of each woman, and yet Mary’s (Adelaide Kane) destiny seems far from certain.

It is another layer of unexpected suspense that makes Reign, a royal drama, worth relishing. The reason it is easy to wish for a different outcome is because Reign‘s Mary makes you want to.

Reign Season 4 - Relishing TV's Top Royal Drama - Episode 6 Elizabeth

Season 4 means less time for endgames.

While many couples have embarked on a hopeful turn, Greer (Celina Sinden) and her husband Lord Castleroy (Michael Therriault) have not been as fortunate in Season 4. In Episode 5, Castleroy revealed he had fallen in love with another, and Greer agreed to step aside, paving the way for them to maintain their marriage in name only. It was a bittersweet moment, albeit one that was entirely earned.

Poor Castleroy has been one of the longest-suffering characters in the series. He was wrongfully thrown in a horrific prison, where he languished for an extended period of time. He lost his family and his original spirit.

Greer strayed from the marriage, eventually having a baby by one of the men she had an affair with. The ever-compassionate Castleroy forgave his wife for her infidelity, and agreed to give the baby his name and raise her together. At the end of Reign Season 3, things seemed to be looking up for the couple. As of early Season 4, it does not appear they will be an endgame couple.

Greer and Castleroy are one of those couples other shows rarely give viewers a chance to see. What their love story represents is a powerful lesson in how one can grow to love someone. It is a rare virtue to behold in current depictions of romance.

Greer learned from time, and age, that a man like Castleroy was more than she had originally thought. As Greer justly pointed out in Episode 5, he deserves to be happy, and while some would have liked it to have been with Greer, it is apparently not meant to be. That said, there are still more episodes of Reign Season 4 left to air. Stay tuned to learn if they reunite. New episodes of Reign air Fridays at 9 p.m. EST on The CW.

[Featured Image by Ben Mark Holzberg/The CW]