The Bastard Executioner Recap 9/22/15 Season 1 Ep. 2 “Effigy”
Even from the first sequence, The Bastard Executioner has progressed in a huge way. This show is deftly done, to be sure. The parallels are clear and identifiable. The first three scenes unify the three central characters by showing the craftsmanship that relates to each person.
Annora, the woods witch, teaches Wilk how to flay flesh. He asks about his parents and Annora knows far too much about this topic for some reason. They might pass it off as her vague supernatural powers, but she just knows too much. This might just be for expositional purposes, or Annora could very well be Wilk’s mother.
Wilk’s pretend wife is one of the more mysterious characters. Even when they’re alone, she still addresses him as her dead husband. Wilk tells her that when they’re alone she doesn’t have to do that. It’s unclear whether she’s just committed to the charade or something else is going on.
While the late baron’s effigy is being transported, a Welsh fishing tribe sabotages the road. A young girl Nia is caught and brought back to the castle to be interrogated. Apparently they have ways to torture women as well as men. At least they’re equal opportunity torturers. The Baroness gets tot he girl and deduces where the girl is from her wits. She is a regular medieval Sherlock. She decides that she will go visit the girl’s village to get more information.
Wilk sees Nia’s mother hitting the brother, Mabon. Respect to her for punishing her son for not realizing that his own sister was missing. Parenting done right. Care about your children, friends. The women in this episode are very well developed as opposed to the past episode. Lady Love’s backstory is embellished on and the mother of Nia isn’t just a mother. She’s a human character that has many concerns, not just one motivation. Pilots are notoriously difficult to establish the world and be interesting. Perhaps this season really will be better later on.
While they did murder a village full of women last episode, they also killed the leading male in the first episode, elevating a woman to power when there wouldn’t otherwise be a position for her. Her men are loyal to her as though she is ruling in her own right.
Despite the fact that there are these female characters that are working for the show and believable, there is also the strange supernatural effect that has not yet been explained. Wilk deals with visions of reptiles tormenting him as well as angelic visions of his dead wife. She is over idealized and serves to support Wilk when he really doesn’t need to. Wilk and Lady Love’s future romance is very evident and far too heavy handed. It is obvious that they are going to get together ala Braveheart. It’s been done and interests no one.
While Lady Love wanted to spare the girls life, the Chamberlain wants to execute her since the rebels attacked the Baroness. Instead of being executed, Nia’s nose is cut off. It is paralleled to the beginning of the episode when the baron’s effigy had the nose snapped off. Nia does get to keep her life, but will be disfigured for her entire life. In some ways, that’s less humane.
Kurt Sutter has a long resume of successful shows and it seems that this show knows what it wants to be. Impressive, with only the second episode and almost an entire season to go.