TV Club: Reign ends as it began: Terribly, gloriously itself

“Let us hope he inherits a better world than we do.”

Reign has always been two shows. The ideal is a history-adjacent drama with Mary Queen of Scots, about the nature of women in power: how to get there, who will stop you, what it costs you, how easy it is to lose. The reality tended to be a no-holds-barred collection of gonzo nonsense that picked up speed the longer we went. Each of these could be entertaining separately. When forced together, the imbalance could make Reign hard to watch.

This finale was ostensibly part of a design to give the series closure, even though the coda feels more like someone was shoving set pieces into place the last day they had studio rental so they could cover everything before wrap. In all its abrupted subplots, baffling story beats, and unnecessary asides (thank god James settled that land dispute in …

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