I’m a little outraged that after this episode, we have a two-week break before we get a new episode of The Bastard Executioner, but since the series is airing each installment in what ends up being over 60 minutes of story, I guess I can forgive Kurt Sutter.
Except that he totally just killed off Calo (Kyle Rees). Forgiveness is withheld, sir.
On episode seven of The Bastard Executioner, it’s all about the truth. Hiding it, finding it, and exposing it. We start with Milus (Stephen Moyer), the Archdeacon of Windsor (Trevor Sellers) and Lady Love (Flora Spencer-Longhurst) praying in the chapel. Wil (Lee Jones) leaves the morning’s services to find Toran (Sam Spruell), who has skipped it. Toran claims he cannot sit with God while he is struggling with his guilt, no matter how he justifies what he did to Sir Norton.
The citizens of Ventrishire talk excitedly as the Chamberlain’s men drag Berwyn Cairn (Paul Bullion), through the streets and to the castle – Lady Pryce’s self-confessed murderer has arrived. Milus tells Wil that his services are required and Wil stares after the prisoner, knowing that he is punishing an innocent man, one who will now take the blame for Wil’s sin, which was orchestrated by Milus.
Milus advises Lady Love that Cairn has arrived, along with the Baron Pryce (Richard Brake), who is here to see justice carried out against his wife’s murderer. The Chamberlain hints at a potential relationship between Pryceshire and Ventrishire as he leads her to the dungeon to speak with Cairn. Lady Love wishes to question him herself, knowing that his confession is false. She describes the Wolf, a fake account of what he is rumored to look like. The prisoner agrees with her description and it confirms what she already knows – his confession was coerced or forced.
Leon (Alec Newman) invites Toran to join three other men in a rebel hunt, where they will go above or below Manor Law to bring the rebels to justice while profiting from the spoils of what they find at the rebel camp. Toran agrees to go, but you can see he’s planning something in his head.
Milus and Wil discuss how Milus gained a confession from the prisoner – by clearing his debts and providing positions for his wife and children in Ventris. Milus views himself as a savior of sorts, sacrificing one life to save those of his family, who were already poor, starving, and sure to die. Wil leaves when Leon and Toran enter, to invite him to the raiding party at the rebel camp.
Meanwhile, Calo and Ash (Darren Evans) are removed from their chains by order of the Archdeacon, and led to the chapel. Lady Love meets Berber the Moor (Danny Sapani), and asks him for any documents he can find for the given name of the prisoner. Just as he is about to assist, the other scribe enters and says he will assist her. Berber is then also taken to the chapel, where the Archdeacon awaits. Father Ruskin (Timothy V. Murphy) watches as each slave is brought to his church and when he attempts to enter, the man with the leather book bearing the crown of thorns tells him that while he may run the chapel, he isn’t in charge at the moment.
Inside the chapel, the Archdeacon has the shirt of each slave shorn from them, obviously looking for more markings like the one he has taken from previous “heretics”. When he finds none, he sprinkles them with holy water.
Now at the rebel camp, Leon and his men, including Toran and Wil, search the encampment for men inside the shelters. One man kills a woman, planting a hide on her that displays a rebel sigil. He takes a bag full of loot from the tent, telling them that she attacked him. Soon, the men from the camp ride in and it’s a full-on battle. Though the team is outnumbered, they are able to win. One of the rebels gets away and manages to kill Sir Denley (James Rousseau) and take his horse. Wil is afraid that Denley’s death will appear to Milus as if the revenge agreement is now void. He knows Milus will punish them for it since no one was there to see that they did not kill Denley. When they arrive home, Leon offers their share of the loot, but neither Toran nor Wil take it.
Lady Love plays a violin inside the chapel for all her guests. The violin is a gift from Baron Pryce, who tells her that he sees a higher purpose for the tragedies they have experienced lately. He believes that Ventris and Pryce should rule in harmony. She agrees, though making it clear that they will each rule harmoniously from their separate shires, he in Pryceshire and she in Ventris. Milus and Pryce are not pleased when she leaves, and she confronts Milus for conspiring with Pryce to marry her off to the Baron.
Wil returns home to find Luca (Ethan Griffiths) and Jessamy (Sarah Sweeney) asleep, then heads outside. Calo and Ash are sleeping soundly in the hay, having been returned to their slave shackles. Ramona and Clara (Sophie and Eloise Lovell Anderson) appear, telling Wil that the Baroness has asked for him to come to her private quarters, but would give no reason. Wil rushes to the Lady’s aid, only to be turned away by Isabel (Sarah White), who states the giggle wenches do not serve her Lady. Wil realizes that Milus is most likely behind this and heads back home. Luca is missing from his bed and Wil panics until Luca appears, unharmed. He pulls the boy into his arms in relief.
Calo wakes and needs to relieve himself. He walks across the yard, still chained, and is hit from behind by a hooded man bearing an iron instrument. The hooded figure leans over a bloody Calo and we see that it’s Milus. He proceeds to tell a story to Calo, about when he was a boy. There was a cleric who taught them piety and patience with a hot wire. At night, the cleric would visit them, and Milus was his favorite. As the cleric abused him sexually, he would call Milus his “little lambie”. Milus tells Calo to call him this. Calo whimpers but does so. The Chamberlain, a mad gleam in his eye, beats Calo to death with the branding poker. He places the bloody poker in another slave’s hand and then leaves, knowing the slave will be blamed and killed for the murder. Ash cries out upon finding Calo, and Wil rushes from his home. He calls out to a hooded man striding toward the castle, but rushes towards Ash instead.
The next morning, Milus puts up another decree in the town square. Wil tells Milus that he has to believe him, that they did not kill Denley. Milus says no one saw Denley’s death, and the consequences of their actions are swift. He admits to killing Calo in return for Denley’s demise. Toran starts to unravel.
Father Ruskin talks to Berber, asking what happened when he was pulled into the chapel by the Archdeacon. Berber talks in hushed tones as his scribe co-worker listens behind a wall. He tells Father Ruskin they were made to remove their shirts while they looked for heretical markings, then splashed with holy water and told not to reveal what had taken place. The two men speak of Annora (Katey Sagal), knowing she is marked. Berber tells Ruskin that he must warn the healer and gives him the location of their caves.
Milus meets once again with Lady Love. She questions the validity of the prisoner, stating no documents showing his history of crime exist and wonders why Baron Pryce is so willing to forgive the man all his debts. Milus tells her it is not her concern and that her only concern should be Ventrishire. He calls her out, telling her she needs to be concerned with the baby she isn’t really carrying since they all know that the Baron was barren. She slaps him, hard, and they both look surprised. Both immediately apologize to one another. Milus says his only concern is Ventris and keeping her and the shire protected. The only way to do this is to join with Baron Pryce. Lady Love says she will not be married off and asks him if he had a hand in the death of Lady Pryce. He denies it, telling her that the prisoner is but a representation of the rebels attacking the shire.
The Archdeacon and his assistant hear the scribes tale regarding Annora and they plan to go there to discover who she is.
Wil apologizes to Toran for getting them involved in the shire business with Milus. Toran says he forgives him. Luca offers to help Wil, who says he doesn’t need to. Luca says he wants to be just like Wil, and Toran, seeing only his own son, takes the boy to help him instead. Wil closes his eyes for a moment, we assume, thinking about what he lost when his child was slain.
An unexpected knock on Lady Love’s door has Isabel and the Baroness confused. Wil appears when Isabel opens the door, and he asks for a private moment with the Baroness. Isabel says when pigs learn to dance, and Lady Love says she’ll allow it. Isabel says she is going to the garden to dance with the pigs. Wil stands across from Lady Love and admits that he is not Gawain Maddox; that he was there when her husband was killed; and that he has been lying. She is shocked by his confession. She asks about Jessamy and the children, to which Wil replies that he was what they needed after it turns out Maddox was an abusive husband and father. He then further explains that he was a knight under Baron Ventris, who sent him and his legion into an ambush. He said he survived and put that behind him until death was once more brought to him, rousing his vengeance.
Lady Love asks why he tells her all this. He says he does so to save an innocent man, Berwyn Cairn, who confessed falsely that he murdered Lady Pryce to save his own family. He hands her a scroll, his written confession, and asks for a bit of time to finish things before she tells Baron Pryce the truth. He also asks her to spare his friends, who had nothing to do with what is happening. Wil looks desperately on Lady Love’s face, telling her that every bit of punishment he is set to receive was worth it because he was able to spend time with her and then …
THEY KISS!!! Wil admits that he also saw the vision, calling her “my love” and saying that he believes the boy child in the vision to be their son. A single tear slips down her cheek as she reads his confession and Wil leaves the room.
Wil returns to Jessamy, who is busy kneading bread. He tells her the things he knows she wants to hear, presumably because he knows he is going to die soon. Wil takes her to bed, where he kisses her. She also cries a single tear, because this gentle touch from him is what she has been waiting for: for him to be close to her. Did they have sex or didn’t they? His shirt was off, but we never actually saw the deed. I’m sure this tidbit will be bandied about while we debate if this means Jessamy will suddenly end up preggers next season. Am I right?
Toran and Wil go to rescue Cairn, but Leon and the other knights fight them. Lady Love enters and stops the fight, telling Leon to take the prisoner away. Toran leaves them alone and Lady Love tells Wil that he cannot trade his life for another. She asks who gave him the order to kill Lady Pryce. Wil refuses to give a name, saying it doesn’t matter because he is only paying for his sins. She tosses his written confession into the fire, watching it burn. Wil falls to his knees, saying his soul is heavy and he wants it to be over. She says she feels the same burden, but God put them together for a reason. Lady Love says she needs him to help her find the truth of the girl she used to be. He leans in to kiss her and she stops him, telling him that they will also find the truth of what they mean to one another, but for now, he needs to be Maddox.
Meanwhile, Father Ruskin meets Annora in her cave, where she shows him some of her tattoos when he warns her of the Archdeacon. She hands him a book in Latin, of which he translates only the title: Book of the Nazarene. Annora leaves him to read the book and meets the Dark Mute (Kurt Sutter) on the hill overlooking the cave. He is dressed in his Crusader’s uniform and chainmail, watching over her and their home. She knows they are being watched and he confirms that while for now it is only one man, others are near.
Back at Ventris, the prisoner is strapped to a cart. Lady Love gives the go-ahead to Wil, who signals the riders. Horses have been chained to the cart and they begin to gallop away from it at Wil’s urging. Chain piled on the ground quickly begins to uncoil while Cairn begins to scream in terror. When the chain reaches its end, Cairn is quartered, his arms and legs ripped from his body. Wil, his face now splattered with the innocent man’s blood, closes the dead man’s eyes. Lady Love, Baron Pryce and even Milus Corbett look stunned at the violence of the death before them. Ah, Berwyn Cairn, we hardly knew ye. Another one bites the dust.
As I mentioned, we have to wait two whole weeks before we get a new episode, in which the preview shows Lady Love tearing up her bedroom in anger (or frustration) and Milus looking all smug and self-satisfied. You know what that means. Kurt Sutter has another damned plot twist in store for us!
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