Reign – Co-creator talks Season 1 and shocking finale
TV Guide Canada: Mary has really hardened the past couple of episodes. What consequences will that have for her?
Laurie McCarthy: I think you saw a Mary who made some really difficult choices. I think the immediate consequence is that she and Francis have enormous secrets from each other. She had to operate independently, she had to do things to save herself, she had to make choices that, surprisingly, are the kind of choices one could imagine Catherine de Medici (Megan Follows) might have made over the course of being a woman in power, but also being a woman whose power was not necessarily stable and was often threatened. That’s not to say Mary’s going to wind up like Catherine de Medici but she has really struggled with balancing her heart over her duty. There’s a line in the script where she says “It’s always the woman who must bow to the queen” and I think she realizes that within herself that’s true.
TVGC: You mention her becoming quite a bit like Catherine, and Catherine was quite influential in that. Did we see a reverse where Mary softened Catherine?
LM: I don’t see Catherine as hard as everyone else does. I think being a parent always softens her and I think for all the troubles that she and Mary have had, she has been a substitute parent for her over the course of her younger years, and she’s tried to guide her as a young adult. Obviously when anyone’s a foe of Catherine’s, she’ll take them down. Her position—even though she’s the queen of France—it’s not a secure position. We saw that threatened this year, because at any turn you realize the king is game to get rid of her and then where would she be? So I think that their relationship is complex, but I wouldn’t look for a softer Catherine in Season 2 by any means.
TVGC: Before Henry died, we saw this fantastic journey of him going completely insane. Why did you decide to do that with him?
LM: We did it because we knew the actor, Alan Van Sprang, could pull it off. It felt like it was a great time to shake things up at court, and truthfully, when you look back at the historical figure of Henry there were things he did that you could argue were mad. When you put them in the context of the time, they don’t look so crazy but he was a pretty violent guy himself. But honestly, it felt like the most interesting story to tell while we were telling a story about there being potential monsters in the woods and monsters outside the castle, it felt like a great time to tell the story of what it would be like if the monster was actually inside the castle and he had absolute power.