In The Bastard Executioner recap, Wilkin is tested in his new duties right away but somebody already knows his secret but what are they going to do with it…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The first two episodes of The Bastard Executioner that aired a week ago played like a sprawling epic with a ton of exposition into this new world in 14th century Wales. Characters were introduced and then murdered. Stories were started and then stamped out. And in the end we were left with a hooded hero unmasked left to play a ‘punisher’ to the very people who ordered his village burned and his wife and unborn son murdered.
So as we pick up in episode three titled ‘Effigy/Delw’ this week, Wilkin Brattle is beginning to settle into his new life role playing an executioner named Gawain Maddox, complete with a wife that is so into her new husband that she refuses to break character and a son who waits on his every command.
Wilkin also has a new boss following the death of Baron Ventris as his wife the Baroness Lady Love Ventris is now in charge — at least for two more weeks until she visits King Edward II and he makes a ruling on this little kingdom of Ventrishire and who will rule now that Baron Ventris is dead and buried.
Thankfully, Wilkin has his trusted friend Toran by his side and his friends hiding in the caves just outside of Ventrishire, but inside the castle walls he’s haunted by visions of his dead wife Petra and a real life snake named Milus Corbett, who knows a lot more about our bastard executioner than he’s letting on.
With that let’s recap the latest episode of The Bastard Executioner titled ‘Effigy/Delw’:
Tools of the Trade
Wilkin may be an experienced warrior, well versed in killing other soldiers on the battlefield, but as witnessed in the debut episode when it comes to butchering defenseless prisoners, he’s not exactly quick to pull the trigger.
Thankfully, Wilkin has a teacher in Annora of the Alders, who knows all about skinning animals and the exact placement of every vital organ. She’s acting as a guide to help navigate Wilkin through this new life of his while also serving as a spiritual guide to assist with the questions he has about the past, present and future.
Annora is able to give Wilkin a brief glimpse at his life as a child where he was already being trained as a future soldier while being overseen by a teacher played by Kurt Sutter. She later reveals that Wilkin’s mother was a nun who gave him up to monks at a monestary to be raised and it immediately begs the question — were Annora and her dark mute Ludwig (also played by Kurt Sutter) instrumental in his upbringing as a child?
When Ludwig (who isn’t very mute by the way) asks how Wilkin is dealing with his new life and the transition from almost father to full time executioner, Annora says he still needs time to find his way.
Annora: “Lost, full of doubt”
Ludwig: “And so were we.”
Meanwhile, Wilkin is also dealing with his own need for revenge weighed against the needs of the group. Everybody who left his village lost somebody when Baron Ventris invaded, butchered everyone and burned the city to the ground, but Wilkin knows in his heart that the new reeve Leon Tell (the guy who took his wife’s cross) is responsible for Petra’s death and he wants to avenge her right now, not later.
Toran and the others aren’t too happy to hear Wilkin plotting Leon’s death, but eventually Annora is able to talk him back from the ledge and make him realize that killing one man is short sighted when he was only told to wield his blade — the person really responsible is the one who gave the order and there are more people who deserve to feel the same vengeance.
“At least he listens to the witch.”
Wilkin and Toran get ready to head back into the castle where business is about to pick up.
Meanwhile, the rest of the group is forced to head out into the woods to look for Ash, who has disappeared while hunting rabbits for their food. When they make it deep into the darkest part of the forest, Berber and the others discover rabbits and other creatures torn to shreds. They suggest that a wolf did it, but the way these animals were slaughtered reveal that it wasn’t just some random attack.
Annora goes along with them and spots a human body sprawled out in the woods besides the animals, but it’s only a head and a torso while the arms and legs have been severed and are laying on the ground on opposite ends of the body. Annora pours some kind of liquid on the wounds and from out of nowhere she pulls a giant snake out from the mouth of the dead man. A moment later she stabs the reptile with a dagger through the head but what is she going to do with that snake? Stay tuned.
In another village far away from Castle Ventris, a statue is being constructed in Baron Ventris’ likeness and it will stand in the city bearing his name as a tribute to the fallen king. Unfortunately, Ventris wasn’t a very popular ruler so while the status is being transported to the castle, a band of rebels from a local fishing village decide to trash the stone tribute before it can ever actually stand.
A local fisherman and his friends plot to take down the statue, but the boy’s sister insists on being part of the plot no matter how much he tells her to return home.
When the convoy rolls through their part of the woods, the rebels attack long enough to leave the cart with the statue all alone. The sister jumps out of the woods and releases the cart, but fails to notice the two guards that are standing nearby ready to capture her. The statue escapes nearly unscathed with only the stone nose broke off of the tribute to Baron Ventris, but the prisoner will have to give up her friends or risk a whole lot more being taken from her.
Back at the castle, Milus tells the Baroness what happened while also explaining that the girl isn’t giving up any information on her cohorts. He’s already order the punisher to get the information out of her, but the Baroness wants to go another way. She tells Milus that the girl isn’t to be harmed and she will personally speak to her to get some answers.
Unfortunately for the girl, Wilkin has already been called upon to do his best (or worst) to get the information. By the time Milus arrives, the girl is already screaming, her fingernails have been ripped out and Wilkin is that much more tortured that he’s harming a poor girl who is doing far less than he’s done over the last few months.
“Ahh well, guess we blame the new reeve”
~ Milus Corbett after hearing the girl screaming
When the Baroness arrives, she questions the girl but the prisoner isn’t saying anything no matter how many promises she receives about no harm coming to her. Finally, the Baroness gives up but not before getting the answers she wanted even if the girl never spoke.
The Baroness tells Milus that judging by the salt stains on the girl’s clothing and a familiar smell, she must be from one of the smaller fishing villages and that’s where the investigation should go instead of torturing a 15-year old girl.
A New World Order
The Baroness requests to go along to the fishing village with her soldiers to get some answers about these rebels who attacked her husband’s statue. When they arrive, the elder in the village admonishes her son, who was clearly behind the attack, but the Baroness doesn’t ask her to give up the people responsible for the attack.
Instead, the Baroness just wants to sit down with the rebel leader known as ‘The Wolf’ to hopefully come to some kind of peaceful accord to stop all the bloodshed. The woman refuses the request and it appears the poor girl back at Castle Ventris is doomed.
Finally, Wilkin and Toran talk to the wayward son and explain that if he gives them something as a sign of good faith, they can help to save his sister’s life before things get any messier. The boy tearfully spits out the location of a weapons cache hidden on the outskirts of the fishing village that they can ransack as reward instead of killing his sister for treason.
On the way to find the weapons, the convoy is attacked by a much larger group of rebels as Wilkin spirits the Baroness to safety while Milus and the other soldiers fight back the attacking forces.
Wilkin might be playing an executioner, but the Baroness recognizes right away that this man is very skilled with his sword. Also surprising is how Father Ruskin is rather handy with a mace and a dagger after he kills a few of the rebel attackers.
With the uprising thwarted, Wilkin and the rest go back to Castle Ventris to make a final decision on what happens to the girl who helped deface the statue of their beloved Baron.
Angels and Demons
As much as the Baroness wants to give the girl a pass for attacking the caravan with her husband’s memorial statue, Milus reminds her that any sign of weakness could give King Edward II the necessary means to tear Ventrishire apart and start all over again with new leadership. Finally, the Baroness makes her plans and ventures off to the church to meet with Wilkin to hand over the orders.
Inside the church, Wilkin is seated for prayer and has a brief conversation with the priest, who didn’t learn about fighting with a mace and a dagger in the seminary.
“We all live a past life good Maddy.”
~ Father Ruskin
The Baroness arrives and passes over the order and Wilkin knows what must be done, but once again he sees a vision of his wife Petra standing before him. Seeing her is both pleasure and torture because he knows he’ll never see her or touch her for real again so these brief moments are like pure elation. On the other hand, seeing Petra just reminds Wilkin how he failed her as a husband and as a father to their unborn child.
Wilkin: “Do you show yourself to help me or to haunt me?
Petra: “We are given that chance with every encounter my love. You must decide.”
Wilkin rushes back to see Annora again after he sees a vision of a snake on the church pew that crawls up his arm and tries to choke him. Wilkin is convinced that seeing his wife is the vision of an angel — but he’s also being haunted by plenty of demons as well.
Wilkin: “I know you see my angels but do you see my demons as well? The ones that wrap me in fear nearly everyday now.”
Annora: “We make our own demons.”
It leads me to believe that all of Wilkin’s visions are part of some shared psychosis in his own mind. Seeing his wife is his way of holding onto his former life but the creatures like the snake that attacked him is the guilt he’s riddled with because he couldn’t save his family and now he’s forced to do even more evil in the cause of revenge.
Secrets and Lies
Finally, Wilkin is forced to carry out his duty as executioner, but the order from the Baroness won’t cost the poor girl her life — only her nose as comeuppance for breaking the same nose off the statue of Baron Ventris.
Back inside after cutting off the girl’s nose, Wilkin runs into his old pal Milus, who has some friendly advice for the new executioner. He informs him that he will no longer go directly to the Baroness with any thoughts or ideas he has about how this city should be governed and will instead bring anything he has to say to Milus directly and if it’s worthy of the boss’ ear, he’ll pass it along.
Wilkin plays his hand and says that he doesn’t work for Milus — he works for the Baroness. Little does he know, Milus has an even bigger trump card he’s been hiding away.
Milus: “Gawain Maddox serves the baroness. Wilkin Brattle belongs to me. You don’t challenge me, simple man. I will shred you, body and mind.”
Wilkin: “I sense a growing fear putting on a face of boldness”
Milus: “Boldness is my most desirable vice.”
Wilkin: “I have nothing to fear. A deep secret can cut both ways.”
It seems Milus has been aware of Wilkin’s true identity this whole time but why is he keeping it a secret? To what end does he feel this information benefits him?
Finally at the end of a hard day’s work, Milus retires to his chamber for a three way with a set of twins who were sent to the castle as a gift from King Edward II after Baron Ventris passed away while Wilkin and Toran knock back a few pints of ale with their fellow soldiers. When the topic of the burning of their village comes up, a few of the soldiers celebrate their handy work but it’s the new reeve Leon, who shuts them down and says this is business that shouldn’t be discussed.
After they leave the table, Wilkin finally tells Toran that he won’t kill Leon until they find out the full extent of the raiding party that killed their families and burnt the village to the ground. This news makes Toran very happy because know he can get some closure as well after his wife was murdered and his son’s throat was slit.
“Yay, the reeve will live. His devil will die.”
Tune into the next episode of The Bastard Executioner on Tuesday night at 10pm ET on FX!