When we last left Mary Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane), she was finally back on her throne in her home country of Scotland, declaring that she would stop at nothing to take the English throne from her cousin and rival, Queen Elizabeth (Rachel Skarsten), especially since Elizabeth had Mary's best friend Lola (Anna Popplewell) executed for a foiled assassination at the shocking end of last season. Mary and her half-brother James (Dan Jeannotte), who has been acting in her stead on the Scottish throne for many years, work together (and sometimes apart) to come up with a plan to secure Mary's status on the Scottish throne and gain the English throne - Mary will marry Lord Darnley (Will Kemp), an Englishman with a claim of his own to the English throne. Needless to say, Elizabeth won't take this lying down and things won't go smoothly for Mary either, since Darnley is not only a childish and arrogant ass, but he's in love with someone else, however, before long, the draw of being a king pulls him in and Mary will find herself battling him, as well. Fortunately, she has a strong ally this season in Lord Bothwell (Adam Croasdell), but the path she is on is a dangerous and deadly one.
Meanwhile, back in England, Elizabeth is plotting against Mary, thinking she tried to have her killed, and is attempting to stop Darnley from heading to Scotland. She realizes Lord Narcisse (Craig Parker) is more beneficial out of prison (even though he killed some of her guards at Lola's execution) than in, so they become allies, especially once Gideon (Ben Guerens) discovers Mary isn't behind the assassination attempt, after all. Now, all Narcisse has on his mind is revenge for Lola's death.
As it turns out, radical Scottish Protestant leader John Knox (Jonathan Goad, Republic of Doyle) wants good Catholic Mary off the Scottish throne and isn't too keen on any female monarchs, in general, so he's gunning for Elizabeth as well. He'll continue to be a thorn in both Mary and Elizabeth's sides for quite some time. Meanwhile, Elizabeth and Gideon have kindled an affair, but with Mary marrying Lord Darnley, she is being pressured to take a strong husband, as well, for the sake of her throne. She and the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria (Steve Byers) begin courting and they could be quite mutually beneficial, but as we've seen before, Elizabeth has a hard time letting go of her lovers and Ferdinand won't be cool with Gideon hanging around.
France's court is having its own share of problems. King Charles (Spencer MacPherson) is not being very kingly and basically letting his duties completely slide, including getting Narcisse out of England, ever since his deadly encounter with the Red Knights last season. He's pretty much broken, so enter his big sister, Queen Leeza of Spain (Anastasia Phillips), who has set out to take control of France for Spain and for Catholicism. Needless to say, Catherine (Megan Follows) won't stand for this and must get Charles under control, although the boy is clearly suffering from some odd mental malady and the townspeople have begin talking. Claude (Rose Williams) is still grieving for the loss of Leith (Jonathan Keltz), but eventually finds herself married to Luc Narcisse (Steve Lund, Bitten), son of Lord Narcisse! As it turns out, Luc is pretty cool and gives Claude lots of space and even cares for her. Just when she discovers life with him could be good, she makes a shocking discovery that only leads to more heartbreak.
Charles flees to the countryside to heal and falls in with a poor farming family of Protestants, causing him to not only convert to Protestantism, but to fall in love with the daughter, Nicole (Ann Pirvu), who turns out to be a pretty power-hungry little wench. Once they are back at court, a battle will rage between Queen Leeza and King Charles, especially when Leeza brings Charles' younger and very Catholic brother, Henry (Nick Slater), back from war and he begins wooing Nicole and building up support to take Charles' throne. Poor Catherine, she never has a moment's rest with these children of hers. Although once she gets Narcisse back in France, they'll begin plotting to fix things, but Narcisse still has his own plans for revenge for Lola and he'll be carrying them out behind the scenes in grand fashion.
Needless to say, I have only scratched the surface of the goings on in Reign: The Complete Fourth and Final Season, and so it should be. You should watch the events unfold on their own and see the resolution for yourself. I was really disappointed that there were no special features on this release, however. For the end of a series, I would have loved to have seen some sort of wrap-up or gathering of the key cast members, because over the last four years, I have thoroughly enjoyed Reign and had really fallen in love with some of the characters. Sadly, there's none of that here.
If you've been watching the show, you won't want to miss Reign: The Complete Fourth and Final Season. Over the last four years, this show artfully combined historical facts and liberal artistic expression with a gorgeous cast, magnificent costuming, and all of the lascivious lifestyles and intrigue of a Gossip Girl marathon. I will truly miss the show and, as a fan of historical-based dramas such as this and other greats like The Tudors, I will be looking for the next big thing. If you've never seen Reign, it's a really fun show with some incredible acting and great storylines. You could always pick up the entire series and binge watch it all. I can say this - doing so will make the final closing scene all the more sweet, although longtime fans of the show will no doubt shed a tear as well.
Warner Brothers provided me with a copy of this DVD for review. The opinions I share are my own.