After not being a tremendous fan of the last episode, I hoped this one would be a lot better, but I still felt annoyed with a few story decisions that I feel like I need to talk about. Overall, my views are probably along the lines of "It's complicated" because maybe the show will surprise me and actually make something good come from what they've done so far, but I'm becoming less optimistic.
They seem to be focusing on transitioning the show from France to Scotland, and I think it's clear that they're trying to figure out the specifics of how that's going to work. While I've been unbelievably excited about the possibility of Mary going back to Scotland for more than a season, I'm not sure if I'm pleased with some of the decisions they're making that seem to have come about because of that move.
For one thing, I do hope we continue to see France once Mary leaves for Scotland, and there's no way to be certain if we will. It's true that Mary is the main character, and if she isn't in France, it could make sense for them to pay less attention to the characters still in France. But the Red Knights storyline would, at the very least, need to be tied up before that happens, and they've been showing England for a while now in a way that I think is very effective. I think they could do a good job of keeping France tied enough to Mary that continuing to show events there would make sense. Plus, the audience is attached to certain characters in France, which is another reason for them to not suddenly drop those characters from the show.
What I do think they're doing is whittling down the number of characters in France that they need to worry about, thereby making it easier to incorporate them into the story when Scotland becomes a focal point as well. I think that's why we saw Greer leave in this episode, which is the decision that leaves me the most frustrated out of all the decisions made in this episode.
I think it's safe to assume that we won't be seeing Greer again, which means that three of my five favorite characters have left the show. I think Mary and Catherine are safe, but that's still a lot of characters gone. It's not so much that I expect all of the characters to stick around forever. There is a bit of sadness over losing one of my personal favorite characters, but I also feel annoyed that Mary has lost all of her ladies. That's what's making this a bigger problem to me.
From what I can tell, the show is trying to play the decision as Mary not needing her ladies anymore. Supposedly, she's stronger now, so she just doesn't need friends? I don't understand that, and it seems to contradict previous depictions of friendship on this show and the importance Elizabeth's newly formed friendship with Lola to the current storyline. Yes, Mary has other friends. Namely Sebastian who seems to be the only familiar face she'll have in Scotland (more on that in a minute), but I don't like the show trying to play it like, "Mary's ladies are gone because she has no use for their friendship anymore."
Would the particular dynamics of their friendships change over time? Yes, but the way their departures are being played like Mary is strong enough to not need her past friendships at all seems like the wrong way to go to me. She needs more support than just Sebastian in Scotland, especially when Sebastian's motivations seems at least partially (but actually almost entirely as far as I can see) driven by his romantic feelings for Mary.
Which is another thing that annoys me. So, Mary is losing her friends except for the guy that has feelings for her? That annoys me even more than Mary just losing her friends. Look, I like Bash. I want him and Mary to remain friends. But this sudden return of his romantic feelings that haven't come up for about two seasons annoys me. It's like: Francis is dead, Mary's going to Scotland, and we need at least one familiar character to go along with her on that journey. Who should be choose? Not one of her oldest friends. Let's have her bring along the guy who used to have feelings for her, and even though he hasn't seemed to have those feelings for the longest time, we'll bring them back up like they've been there the whole time. Then we'll have a nice new romance plot too. Just as we've gotten rid of Mary's last love interest. Brilliant!
Except it's not. To me at least. I don't like any of those story decisions, and despite enjoying other, smaller aspects of the episode (Lola and Elizabeth's story in England is going great in my opinion because I love the friendship developing between them, and the scene with Lola seeing her son again was adorable. Big surprise that I'm more enthralled by them than anything else on the show right now.), Greer's sudden departure (when I was so excited to see what would happen to her storyline too) and Bash suddenly tagging along with Mary (more the way they did that than that Sebastian is coming along at all) have just left me feeling even more annoyed with the show than I was this time last week.
What's most disappointing about the way the story is going is that I've been looking forward to Mary returning to Scotland for the longest time, but while I knew that would necessitate certain changes on the show, I don't like the direction they have decided to make in an attempt to make that change. They really do feel, to me, to go against a lot of what the show has been about in the past, including my personal favorite parts of the show, and I'm worried about what is coming next after the events of the past couple of episodes.