Queer actors, sexually fluid characters and other reasons to watch “Reign”

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I knew I would like Reign even before it aired on October 17, 2013. I’m a sucker for period dramas, especially historical fiction. Also, Mary Queen of Scots, played by Adelaide Kane, and her Ladies in Waiting are all gorgeous, which certainly doesn’t hurt. As a matter of fact, I’m a very visual person in general which is why the elaborate and decadent art direction and vintage inspired, though technically anachronistic, costumes are also appealing to me.

reign promotional poster

But most of all, I knew I would fall in love with the show because I have a soft spot in my heart for couples who fall in love after growing up as friends and playmates. This explains why, no matter what people say, I will always consider Joey and Dawson on Dawson’s Creek the OTP of the show. Friends becoming lovers is a theme I revisit often in my own writing. So the relationship between Mary and Francis is intriguing to me.

But of course, I don’t expect you to have the same obsessions that I do. Therefore, I offer you five other reasons I think the soap about young royalty might have something to offer queer women.

1. Megan Follows

My first crush on a girl was when I fell in love with Anne of Green Gables at eight years old. Of course, at that time, I didn’t realize that my love and admiration for the smart and strong willed red-head was a crush. I had no idea that I liked girls or would identify as bisexual later in life. Yet, I did long for “bosom buddy’ and “kindred spirit” like Anne had in her bff, Diana. I mean if they met in 2014 instead of the turn of the last century, Anne would have ended up married to Diana instead of Gilbert, am I right?

Bosom Friends

My crush on Megan Follows lasted at least through both filmed sequels, if not longer. As a matter of fact, I’m not convinced that the fact that my first girlfriend happened to have long red hair was a coincidence. So imagine my delight when I discovered that Megan Follows was cast as King Henry II’s formidable wife, Catherine de’ Medici! Catherine is smart, strategic, and ambitious. Sure, she can be a bit ruthless. But, only because she is often stuck in impossible, life threatening situations. She’s a fighter. A survivor. And Megan Follows plays her perfectly. My crush is renewed! And this time, I am fully aware of what my feelings mean.

The Lamb & the Slaughter

2. Strong, feminist characters

Catherine de’ Medici is but one strong female character in a cast of several remarkable women. Mary Queen of Scots is quite a feminist is herself as she insists, in the first season of the show, that she is more than just Francis’ lover. She is the Queen of Scotland. She has her own country to worry about and won’t be treated like she is merely a jewel in his crown. When they marry, it is a marriage of equals, a true partnership. They consult each other on most major decisions, conspire and strategize together and rule as a united front.

Mary Queen of Scots

Mary’s ladies are not just a bunch of brainless, giggling girls either. Recently, Lola attempted to reclaim her dowry so that she would have money of her own and be financially independent. Although Kenna has always been the most sexual one of the group, none of the women went to their marriage bed a virgin. They all have healthy sex drives before and after marriage and the best part is, they never judged or slut-shamed each other.

3. Actors as allies

It must make it easier for the show’s star, Adelaide Kane, to play such a fearless but fair Queen since describes herself as a “pretty hardcore feminist” in this article in The Mary Sue. In fact, she and her male co-stars have tweeted support for He For She.

He for She

She also proves herself to be quite an ally when it comes to gay rights when she says that if she were truly Queen of the World for the day she would legalize same-sex marriage across the board.

4. Bisexual stars

Caitlin Stasey, the actress who plays Kenna, is a proud bisexual woman who has openly talked about her attraction to women in articles such as this one.

REIGN

If you don’t follow her on twitter, DO IT NOW. But, only if you’re into liberal, feminist, smart and witty tweets. My favorite is this one:

5. Sexually fluid characters

In the first season of Reign, all the lesbian sex was by order of the king. In the first season, King Henry enjoyed watching his mistress Kenna have sex with a prostitute. Then, during King Henry’s descent into madness, he tries to convince Mary to have sex with a servant girl so that he may watch. I have to admit I was pretty annoyed by these scenes. Reign seemed like just another show using sex between women to titillate viewers as if we are some kind of sexy zoo animals.

But then this season, we saw two servant girls going at it for their own pleasure instead of the benefit of the male gaze. In episode five, Kenna comes across two women getting it on in a public space. Although she does demand that they stop, she is clear that her objections have nothing to do with the fact that they are both women.

“Don’t mistake me. I do not judge your predilections. In fact, I’m rather impressed,” Kenna tells the two women. “But doing it out here in the open? What are you thinking?”

sex scene 1sex scene 2sex scene 3sex scene 4

Though it is still a long way off from having genuine lesbian or bisexual characters on the show with their own storyline, it is definitely an improvement. I am crossing my fingers that a queer character joins the French court very soon.

The seventh episode of the second season airs tomorrow on The CW. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for any indications that any of the characters will be soon getting a same-sex storyline. (p.s. I vote for Lola) Will you be watching?

Follow Eboni Rafus on Twitter: @EboniRafus

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