TV Club: Reign keeps secrets from its secret history

A secret history is a tricky thing. The best secret histories, no matter how satirical, have a keen sense of the import of the events; they’re interesting because they change the way we think about those events—and, hopefully, more widely about how histories are presented. That doesn’t mean that a secret history can’t tear down sacred things; it just means that it brings together its pieces in a way that shifts our perspectives.

It’s this last, crucial thing that Reign is missing. And maybe that’s why the show’s glittering rollercoaster of a first season has stretched and pulled into the unease that hangs over it now. It could be that Mary’s rape storyline felt so awkward, as it hamfistedly introduced the second drawn-out Mary love triangle. It could be that as history catches up with the narrative (though God knows that narrative …

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