Here at EW, we have a series in which we — and readers — weigh in on ways to rehab much-maligned characters on some of our favorite shows.
When we first met Sebastian in Reign‘s pilot, I thought I knew what to expect from the bastard son of the castle. He was Francis’ brother, the one without all of the royal expectations weighing on him. He had a sense of freedom, and therefore, an edge. He was the “bad boy” who more than likely had a heart of gold. But most importantly, he had eyes for his brother’s girl. I was immediately intrigued by the possibilities.
However, with every passing episode of Reign, I have become more and more confused with Bash’s role. It’s not that I dislike him. It’s that I don’t know how to feel about him, because I don’t know who he is. For the most part, Bash has remained a secondary character. We see him in every episode, but it’s rare that he’s central to a story (unless it involves Pagans). And that lack of interaction with him has made it hard for the show to fully develop his character. So far, I feel like Bash fills whatever role the writers need him to fill each week. That’s not to say that his character has been inconsistent. He’s just been consistently under-developed.
From what I know of him, he seems like a good brother and a good son. But what are his character traits? The one time he kissed Mary — which felt rushed to me — he seemed sarcastic and playful. When he’s with his mother, he seems very sensitive but also strong. He’s portrayed as a bit of a jokester, but not to an extreme. And I have no idea if he’s supposed to have kept up his “bad boy” image that I detected in the pilot. Other than him being hated by Catherine, I don’t see anything bad about him. And, so far, the only intriguing storyline for Bash was the idea that he might have a history with the Pagans, but that turned out to be a plot point for his mother more so than him.
I know we’re only halfway through the first season, but based on the way that the show is using Bash, I feel like I should know him better, or at least that the show thinks I know him in a way that I don’t. So here’s how I think the show could fix his character moving forward:
Give him more screen time, particularly on his own: Considering Bash and Mary ended the mid-season finale by riding away from the castle together, I would suspect that we will be getting more Bash time when the show returns. And that’s exciting for me, because I think the first step in developing Bash is showcasing him a bit more. That being said, I’d really love it if they allowed Bash some time on his own. Where does he go when he rides away from the castle? Does he have a bunch of local buddies he goes hunting with? I’d love to meet them and get to know Bash outside the castle walls. Inside the castle, he always seems to be playing a particular role and/or conforming to the opinions of those around him, and I want to see him in a completely carefree state. I want to see Bash just being Bash. Is he sarcastic? Does he like animals? Who are his ex-girlfriends? I sort of know Bash’s world within the royal family, but that tells me nothing of who he is within his own world, or even what he thinks of himself.
Give him a girlfriend who isn’t Mary: Alright ‘shippers, hear me out. I’m not saying that Bash and Mary can’t have a thing in the future, but in order for me to root for a couple, I first have to like both members on their own. And watching Bash interact with a girlfriend would tell me a lot about him. Plus, Bash having a girlfriend would make Mary incredibly jealous, and before we knew it, the love triangle would be more than just a drunk Mary stumbling into Bash’s lips every now and then.
Let him be the bad brother: Nothing on any television show should be black and white. Every character needs complexity, but on the surface, I’m not against letting Bash be the “bad” brother. Obviously, the bad brother can have a good side and a great heart — Hello, Damon Salvatore — but right now, Bash is too bland for me. They’ve shown snippets of him sneaking alcohol to royal events and making witty remarks about the world in which he lives, but that’s all we’ve gotten — snippets. I want Bash’s personality to shine. If he’s snarky, I want him to have at least one memorable one-liner every episode. And if he’s a drinker, then let him get drunk and say something he might later regret to Mary. Let this boy have a little adventure!
Stop having others speak for him: So far, Bash’s mother has told him how much he loves Mary, but we haven’t heard Bash speak for himself on the matter. If you combine two of my earlier suggestions, you could have him get a little drunk with his hunting buddies and end up spilling all his feelings sitting around a campfire. I don’t really care what the scenario is, as long as it comes from Bash. He needs to step out of the background and assert himself and his feelings. Does he even want to live in the castle? What does he want to do with his life? I have so many questions!
Let him enjoy his brother (especially in flashbacks): The biggest role that Bash has played thus far is the role of Francis’ brother, which makes me want to know more about their relationship. They seem close, but did they grow up that way? Give me some flashbacks of the two of them having fun as kids. Heck, let them go have some fun now! Get away from the women and the castle and go be boys for a bit. And no, I don’t count hunting Pagans in the woods as having fun. Let them play poker (or some time-appropriate game), and laugh. You really get to know someone when they let their guard down, and there’s no better way to get to know a big brother than to watch him hang out with his little brother.