Less than halfway through its inaugural season, The CW’s “Reign” has barely scratched the surface of its narrative.
But in a testament to its engaging writing and performances, many viewers have already developed fervent support for specific characters and relationships.
Typically rewarding for a series that hopes to cultivate a loyal following and long run on television, such passion is not without negative consequences.
And if rumors are true, Thursday’s “Reign”–the show’s tenth episode–could endure one such consequence.
In last week’s episode, a strategic dilemma forced Mary (Adelaide Kane) to withdraw her intention to marry Francis (Toby Regbo), the French heir whom she had been set to marry since birth, and instead commit to marrying his half-brother Bash (Torrance Coombs). As part of the deal, King Henry (Alan van Sprang) would effectively cast aside Francis and seek to legitimize Bash, his bastard son, as his rightful heir.
Borne more out of strategic necessity than love, the decision nonetheless meant that “Frary” (Francis and Mary) ship would take a hiatus while “Mash” (Mary and Bash) prepared for impending nuptials.
It also meant that this Thursday’s episode, which sees Mary and Bash bond as they address a potential threat to his ascension, would be completely devoid of Francis.
Neither notion–that “Frary” was on hold or that Toby Regbo’s Francis would be absent from an episode–sat well with a portion of the audience. In retaliation, some “Reign” fans threatened to boycott Thursday’s episode.
Aware that her show remains on the bubble for a second season renewal, Adelaide Kane Tweeted a response to the supposed boycott.
“So I’m hearing some disturbing rumours that some of you are going to boycott the ep tonight because there’s no Francis in it,” wrote the Australian-born actress. “This is incredibly disrespectful to both the show AND the rest of the cast and crew who work so hard to bring you Reign every week.
“We NEED ratings. We NEED our loyal Royals to tune in EVERY WEEK regardless of whether your favourite character gets screen time or not. Without ratings the show will be cancelled. No second season means no OTP, no endgame and no more Reign. Be a true fan and support the show.”
After asking fans to “#KeepCalmandWatchReign,” Kane also promised a special treat for “Frary” shippers.
“Also I have a special treat for you Frary shippers tonight since I’m unfortunately on set and won’t be able to live tweet,” wrote Kane.
“Reign” has demonstrated remarkable ratings stability throughout its first season, but its viewership is not large enough, especially considering it airs after The CW flagship “The Vampire Diaries,” to assure a second season renewal.