The Bastard Executioner premiere set a lot up. By the end, our friend Wilkin Brattle was posing as the executioner in the enemy’s castle. So can he keep it up during this episode, “Effigy / Delw”?
The episode starts with Wilkin and Annora practicing cutting dead animals open. Annora brings up having past lives and Wilkin asks if she can see his past life. She takes his hand and sees a bunch of kids play-fighting. A little girl wins. Back in the present, Wilkin says that a young woman left him with monks and said he was fatherless, but that girl was his mother. Annora says she’s with the angels now. Annora goes back and talks to the Dark Mute and says that Wilkin’s full of doubt, but he points out that they were too at one point. But this brings up an interesting point about who Wilkin’s parents are.
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Soldiers are coming in the woods with the effigy of the Baron. One girl wants to join her brother in attacking the soldiers, but he says she has to stay and watch. But she’s not going to let him talk to her like that. She’s a rebel too. “I hold for no one,” she says and runs off.
The fight breaks out in the woods. The girl sees the wagon the soldiers and effigy were on and tries to jump on, but she falls off and is quickly surrounded. “Shit,” she says.
Milus Corbett tells Lady Love about the girl and says that this could be looked at as treason with a penalty of death. He suggests sending the punisher, but she says she wants to talk to her first.
Wilkin meets up with his friends. They debate about whether they should keep hiding or try to get their revenge. Wilkin’s having a hard time controlling himself. He wants to act now, but Annora tells them to stop fighting amongst themselves. They need each other.
While Wilkin leaves, the group travels through the woods and finds a dead body. At first, they think wolves did it, but when they get closer, it looks like a gruesome sacrifice.
Annora starts to do some weird religious stuff to the body. She opens the man’s mouth and pulls a huge snake out of it, which is so creepy. She chants something and stabs the snake.
Later, they get ready to eat and Annora catches Berber the Moor praying. He’s a Muslim, which is considered heresy, but she says that his beliefs are his own concerns.
Wilkin’s New Life
Wilkin has a problem with the punisher’s wife. He doesn’t want to pretend when they’re alone, but she calls him her husband and the son calls him father. He’s quickly called out of the house, though, because they need him to punish someone.
Wilkin is sent down to meet the rebel girl. Someone suggests that he pull her fingernail out, which is horrifying. This is Wilkin’s first big test as punisher on The Bastard Executioner. Can he do it? “God in heaven,” he says. He puts the instrument down and goes to talk to the girl. He says this isn’t a game and that they want him to torture her. But she holds strong. She just spits at him and says, “You don’t know truth. Mine or anyone’s.”
So Wilkin has no choice but to torture her. While the guards tell Milus Corbett that the punisher’s with her and that Lady Love doesn’t want any harm to come to her, they hear a horrible scream.
Lady Love, of course, hears and goes down. They say they hadn’t heard Lady Love’s orders but stopped when they heard. She doesn’t look like she buys it. Then she goes to talk to the girl herself. The girl refuses to tell her anything, even her name. “You can torture me all you want,” she says. She finally says she wants to take her country back. When Lady Love asks what she wants for Wales, she says, “I want it to be quiet.” “As do I,” Lady Love replies.
Milus wants to keep torturing her, but Lady Love already figured out where the girl was from based on her dress and wants to go to the village to find her family.
Who is The Wolf?
Lady Love, Wilkin and more arrive at the village. The girl’s mother is pissed at her son for causing all this, but he says he just wanted to prove himself. Lady Love says she wants to make a trade. She’ll give the girl back if the woman can introduce her to The Wolf, the leader of the revolution, but the woman refuses. She’d even sacrifice the life of her own child for the cause.
The woman calls Lady Love out for siding with the English, but Lady Love just wants to “stop the bloodshed” and says the woman doesn’t “understand my love for you.”
Wilkin points out the woman’s son and thinks that he might speak out to save his sister, so Lady Love sends him to question the boy. Wilkin tells him that his sister is going to be executed and he freaks out. “Be the big brother she needs,” Wilkin says. He says he doesn’t know anything, though. “Let her death haunt your soul,” Wilkin says. That gets him talking, on the condition that his mother doesn’t find out. So he tells them about a secret hiding spot where the rebels keep supplies.
Wilkin also sends someone to find The Wolf. He thinks that if he finds out that a girl’s life is in jeopardy, he’ll come in willingly.
Wilkin and the others head out and ride right into a trap. A tree falls down and the rebels appear, and an incredibly gory and brutal fight breaks out. They manage to fight the rebels off, though, and head out again.
Whose Side is Lady Love On?
Lady Love gets home safe and her maid chastises her for acting so risky. She tells her she’s not her mother. Then Milus comes in and they fight over whether or not they should still kill the girl. Lady Love says they made that deal, but Milus points out that the rebels attacked later, voiding the deal.
Milus also questions Lady Love’s decision to meet The Wolf. Some may suspect she has Welsh leanings, which is becoming increasingly clear. She’s been fighting for power and control with Milus, trying to find a peaceful solution, and has been very sympathetic to the Welsh.
Wilkin, meanwhile, is talking to the priest. He notices that the priest has a “strong hand,” which means he probably has a dark past we’ll learn about. However, Lady Love comes in to talk to Wilkin. She questions him because he proved he was a good swordsman in the fight and a punisher just needs to swing an ax. “You are a mystery to me,” she says. Then she hands him her decision about what to do with the girl. She says it was “a judgment forced by obligation,” which is really sad.
While Wilkin contemplates punishing the girl, Petra comes back to haunt him yet again. He asks if she came “to help me or to haunt me?” But she says that’s his decision and that he’s totally able to do the right thing if he wants. Then she disappears. She’s not the most helpful ghost.
Wilkin starts freaking out, and suddenly Lady Love’s decision on the execution turns into a snake and attacks him. I would assume it’s the same snake Annora had. It turns out it was just a hallucination, though.
He runs to Annora and asks if she can see his demons. “We make our own demons,” she replies. He says he’s about to make another and shows her Lady Love’s order. She ultimately gives Wilkin something to give the girl to “ease the pain.”
Wilkin gives the girl the drink right before Milus shows up. He says not to give Lady Love opinions ever again and that Wilkin should come to him first. “I will shred you,” Milus tells him. He even calls him Wilkin. They could both lose a lot for keeping this secret. I guess I missed that Milus knew who he was.
Finally, it’s time for the punishment. While I was expecting a beheading, Wilkin slits the girl’s nose off. It’s pretty disgusting, but definitely better. This calls Lady Love’s true motives into question even more and Milus looks pissed. Lady Love later reveals that she had kept the nose from her husband’s effigy.
By the end of the episode, Wilkin and his friend talk with some soldiers. It’s pretty clear they’re the ones who attacked their village. They pretend to get along with them but make an oath that “the devil will die.”
The Bastard Executioner airs Tuesday nights at 10pm on FX.
(Image courtesy of FX)