After Lady Love (Flora Spencer-Longhurst) dropped the bombshell in last week’s episode of The Bastard Executioner, I wondered what would push Wil (Lee Jones) over the edge to possibly begin a relationship with the Baroness. This week, we start to see the emotional strain his conscious is having on him and just how much relief he gets from talking to Lady Love.
The fifth episode of season one starts with the Baroness and her handmaiden trying to deal with the pregnancy lie. Isabel (Sarah White) is instructed to hide a bloody nightgown in the washing so as not to arouse any suspicions about the possibility of an heir.
Meanwhile, Milus (Stephen Moyer) reads a letter bearing the seal of Baron Pryce as a servant, Frenchie (Mattheu Charneau), enters the chamber. Milus asks him if he is enjoying his new position, having moved from wiping his Baron’s ass to serving meals to the Chamberlain. Having already discussed the relationship of this servant to the Chamberlain, it doesn’t surprise me that he wields his station over the servant, making him repeat the fact that he is now in the debt of Milus Corbett.
Wil and Luca (Ethan Griffiths) make their way through the streets of Ventrishire, where they spot Annora (Katey Sagal) peddling her potions and remedies. Jessamy (Sarah Sweeney) follows with the infant in her arms, all the while watching Wil interact with the healer. When Wil questions the safety of Annora selling her concoctions in the open, Annora assures him she is safe, even without the Dark Mute (Kurt Sutter) in her presence. She gives more oils to Wil for Berber, Ash, and Calo, who are still held prisoner and suffering. As Jessamy continues to watch them, Annora tells Wil to be careful with her because she has a crippled heart from all she has been through. She urges him to use gentle caution as angry ghosts push her towards madness.
After Wil returns to the dungeon, Luca acts as lookout during a guard change. Wil slips the oils to his friends and then Luca warns that he hears someone approaching. Milus enters and tells Luca to leave so that he can have an adult conversation with Wil. He tells Wil and Toran (Sam Spruell) that Baron Pryce is trying to woo the King to give him Ventrishire by sending religious relics, including a Bible, to the King, who is a collector. Milus wants Wil to attack the caravan carrying the items, killing the guards and burning all to ash. Before Wil can really refuse, he threatens the prisoners by advising Wil he knows he is slipping them oils, which is against the rules. If Wil does what Milus asks, he will offer mercy to the prisoners – releasing them from prison and into servitude to pay off their crimes. Toran is against it, but as Milus pretends to storm out, Wil says they’ll do it. The Chamberlain says he will have the release documents drawn up and Lady Love will sign them, with Wil’s friends to be released when the sun rises. When Toran leaves grumpily, Milus warns Wil against his friend. Wil says that Milus should look to himself, as he is drunk with power, and men rarely make good decisions while drunk.
Lady Love watches from her tower window in fear as soldiers bearing the King’s crest arrive in Ventris. She tells Isabel that she needs to do something to expand her waistline. Among the soldiers entering the city is the slick and sleezy Piers Gaveston (Tom Forbes), Earl of Cornwall. If you remember his attitude from the previous episode, you know this isn’t a visit to win over the Baroness.
Milus meets Gaveston and asks for the reason for his visit, only to be ignored as Lady Love makes her way to greet him. The pair trade shaded comments as Gaveston reveals his reason – to give a declaration of heirs. Once proof is given that the Lady is with child, the King can pronounce her heir, if male, the heir to Ventrishire. Milus is surprised to learn that his Baroness is pregnant and when Gaveston is taken to the guest chamber, Lady Love apologizes for not telling him. He tells her that he has heard the progeny testing is basically super uncomfortable and offers his assistance during that time, should she need it. He then sends the twins, Clara and Ramona (Sophie and Eloise Lovell Anderson), a gift to the Lady in her time of mourning from the King, to Sir Gaveston’s chambers because he saw the way the Earl was eyeing them as he passed.
Lady Love seeks answers in the church, thinking hard about her current situation. Gaveston, creeper that he is, finds her there and reveals that he knows she is lying. He calls her out, stating that he’s also concerned for her soul since she is lying before God as well as her King. He offers mercy if she admits her lie and says there will be no repercussions if she comes clean now. When she says nothing, he instead offers her bodily mutilation and the executioner’s axe.
At the same time, Wil and Toran have ridden to inner Ventrishire, South of Heaven’s Eye to meet Baron Pryce’s caravan carrying the relics to King Edward I. They look for a vantage point from which to attack, while Toran questions the relationships Wil seems to be building with the nobles. Toran says the weight of their lies will sink them if they continue.
Gaveston arrives in his bedchamber to find the twin girls under the covers and feigns piety. One of the girls kisses him and he smiles, jumping in bed with them both. This reminds us that Gaveston knows the girls, having sent them to the castle on his behalf without King Edward even knowing about it.
Wil and Toran attack the caravan, killing the soldiers and shooting flaming arrows at the carriage. As Toran tosses a jar of liquid at the carriage, they hear screams coming from inside. Wil races forward in horror and does what he can to get the people out and pat them down to put out the flames. Too late, however, as the woman he is able to pull from the wreckage is already dead and the rest of the people inside, if there were any, seem to be engulfed. A burned book lays next to the woman and Wil picks it up, reading the inscription inside. The woman is Lady Pryce, the Baron Pryce’s wife. Milus has just removed one barrier to his rise in stature, as discussed in last week’s episode.
Betrayed and beyond pissed, Wil returns to the castle and confronts Milus with his fists. They both land painful punches and Wil tosses Milus into a few walls before Frenchie enters and calls on guards to protect Milus. Before they arrive, Milus declares that now they both see each other truly for who they are. As the soldiers enter, Milus covers for Wil, stating they were just practicing combat. As Wil leaves, the twins enter, fawning over a beaten Milus. They bring news of Gaveston, telling Milus that Gaveston had no interest in them, but instead was interested in the Chamberlain. They told him to meet Gaveston in his chambers after supper.
Wil is in the castle garden, thinking about the atrocity he’s just committed in killing Lady Pryce and how Milus was behind it the whole time. Lady Love has also come to the garden to think about her situation and they sit together for a time. He asks about the release of the prisoners, to which the Lady responds she wasn’t aware but would have the servitude papers drawn immediately. She notices his wounds and he tells her he will go to the healer for a remedy. She asks about the healer and then says she could use some different wisdom. Wil watches her intently, his entire demeanor changes from tense to tender as Lady Love describes feeling as though she is living someone else’s life. He relates, then offers to arrange a meeting with the healer for her.
Night has fallen and we find Gaveston and Milus having a drink in Gaveston’s chambers. Gaveston wishes to discuss Milus’ rise to power in Ventris as well as the rumors surrounding Lady Love and her barren womb. Milus admits he is not noble but has earned his way to his position. He also doesn’t confirm the rumors about Lady Love and seems to genuinely want to protect his Baroness. He turns the topic to Ventris, asking why, when he has many more appealing places he could try to rule, would the Earl of Cornwall want Ventris? Milus suggests that Gaveston is trying to hide from something. Gaveston says he has stirred the pot and now bees are looking to sting. Milus ask whose faces are on the other end of the stingers and Gaveston says he will tell him and his lips will loosen if Milus gives him a blow job, then proceeds to drop his pants. Milus stands and says they have a lot in common, gesturing for the Earl to lay on the bed. Gaveston tells him it will be much more pleasurable if he is on his knees. While Milus doesn’t like it, as obviously it lessens his power in the situation, he still drops to his knees. He hesitates and it is then that Gaveston slaps him away, stating that he would never let anyone without a drop of noble blood put his lips on his person. Milus is a complete opportunist, but even I feel bad for him in this moment – it’s a vulnerable and heartbreaking scene brought to a seemingly villainous character by talented actor Stephen Moyer. Milus is clearly shaken from the encounter and heads back to his own chambers. Frenchie awaits, asking if he can do anything to make him more comfortable and Milus raises his hand to beat the poor man. He has to gain back the power after being utterly humiliated by Gaveston and beats the servant to a pulp.
Lady Love and Wil head to the beach under the cover of night to meet with Annora. As they reach the end of the hill that leads to the waiting healer, the Baroness has second thoughts. Wil convinces her to meet with Annora and if she doesn’t do anything to make her feel better, they will leave. Lady Love agrees and they make their way to Annora, while the Dark Mute watches from a rock down the beach. Wil leaves the women alone to talk. Annora offers a shivering Lady Love her jacket and her kindness breaks down the wall the Baroness has put up. She cries in Annora’s arms and says that her shame now equals her piety. The healer assures her that she is pious and that God holds her closer than even she knows.
Wil, meanwhile, is sitting on a rock and looks up to find night morphed to day and a woman coming out of the splashing waves. Petra (Elen Rhys) emerges, asking him to follow her, that he deserves this. She disrobes and he follows. As he nears, she turns to face him, then falls backward into a dark hole in the ground. He hears her scream and reaches for her. A hand rises from the hole and as he grabs it, the burned Lady Pryce pulls herself up from the depths.
As Wil recoils from the vision in horror, Lady Love interrupts the vision and suddenly he is back on the beach and night still surrounds them. Annora tells the Baroness to send her maiden Isabel to her at sun up. The healer holds both Wil and Lady Love’s hands, looking from one to the other. Lady Love asks why she is sad, to which she replies that it is not sadness. She turns to Wil, telling him to keep the Lady safe. The pair leave the beach and Annora looks to the Dark Mute with a knowing smile.
In the morning, Isabel brings the remedy to Lady Love, who looks up and tells God that she hopes he knows what he’s doing. She mixes the powder with some dog urine and then presents it to the tester brought by Gaveston. He commences the progeny test, explaining that if the blood swirls, the pins turn rusty or the phallic bone of a goat turns soft, then she’s preggers.
Gaveston meets the twins in one of the castle hallways and says no brother could ask for better sisters, to which they say they are only half-sisters. Still creepy, no matter the percentage!
The Lady awaits the results, with Milus, Isabel, and Gaveston. The tester brings in the items and declares the Baroness to be with child. Milus looks sincerely happy while Gaveston loses his cool. He spits in the bowl of blood before stomping from the chamber, while Milus and Lady Love smirk.
Back in the chapel, Wil sits and prays, his hands worrying the cross about his neck as the Baroness enters. She sits next to him, asking him to tell Annora that she is grateful for her assistance and then hands him the servitude papers for the prisoners. He stands and says he will take care of it right away and she stops him by saying his fake name. Wil responds without thinking, saying, “Yes, my love?” The Lady stands, shocked. Wil still has no idea what he has said and she tells him. He apologizes, saying it was a slip of words. She says she was not insulted, and that she enjoys his company. She doesn’t want them to grow apart. They hold hands, then embrace one another, taking comfort and giving peace. Toran spies them from the cracked chapel doors, turning away in disgust. He meets Jessamy on his way out, who is looking for her “husband”. Toran tells them he is in the chapel, practicing his devotion. She also spies the Lady embracing Wil and the look on her face, once again, spells trouble.
The preview for next week’s episode doesn’t tell us much except that Lady Love and Isabel are in danger and that a fight is brewing. Now that Wil has finally given in to the warm and fuzzy feelings he has been having around Lady Love, will he risk everything to save her from her captors? Find out next week when The Bastard Executioner returns!!!
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