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TV Review: The Bastard Executioner 1.3 “Effigy / Delw”
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The Bastard Executioner 103-06

The Bastard Executioner
Season 1 Episode 1.3: “Effigy / Delw”
Directed by Paris Barclay
Written by Kurt Sutter, Charles Murray, Nichole Beattie
Created by Kurt Sutter
Starring Lee Jones, Stephen Moyer, Katey Sagal, Kurt Sutter, Sam Spruell, Darren Evans, Matthew Rhys, Timothy V. Murphy, Flora Spencer-Longhurst, Elen Rhys, Danny Sapani
FX
Air Date: Tuesday, September 22, 2015, 10:00pm

Last week during The Bastard Executioner’s premiere, we were sucked into the bloody violent 14th century world of Wilkin Brattle (Lee Jones), former knight who wants nothing to do with war, giddily happy with his pregnant wife in his little life. We all knew (even if we didn’t see all the trailers), that that meant her imminent death. It was more graphic than I have ever seen, even as the hope for her survival was snatched away at the end (we think by The Dark Mute – Kurt Sutter – but are not sure) That’s not the last we will see of Petra (Elen Rhys), as she haunts Brattle during at his most desperate moments during moral battles. She is slaughtered, as is the entire village, and the grief is palpable. The reason? The lord of the land in consultation with his chamberlain, Miles Corbett (Stephen Moyer), raised the already hefty taxes, and Brattle joined his fellow villagers to send a rebellious message. Brattle already had crossed their paths in battle, after they left him for dead. They attack Ventris, who is killed via sword through the head (works every time), but it is not over. Also killed during this fight is the real executioner, whose family was sent ahead to the castle. Brattle poses as he (thanks to Annora marking him as such), and is almost exposed, but the abused wife and child claim him. Corbett knows who he really is, and they are bound by this secret.

The Bastard Executioner 1.3 “Effigy / Delw” review: My expectations of a Sutter project have been met once again this week, as Wilkin Brattle has to punish a young girl for treasonous rebellion, in the form of breaking the Ventriss statue. Jones plays a good man who has to do bad things perfectly. He is secretly on the side of the rebels, but because of his vow for vengeance with his “brothers,” must act on the side of the nobles, even to the point of ripping out the girl’s fingernails. He is forced to do much much worse to her at the end, but I’ll have to let you see that for yourself. He is the picture of misery, almost the entire episode. The only moments of light are when he is speaking to Lady Love Ventris (Flora Spencer-Longhurst). She is the perfect setup as a love interest, given that Miles Corbett seems to be crushing on her (while also maintaining very versatile sexual preferences), and her views are more liberal than most nobles.

Lady Love is the surprise this episode. At first, I discounted her as a peaceful woman, who was naive to the ways her husband and his chamberlain dealt with the people. This episode highlighted her inner strength, coccooned in wisdom, as she seemed to want her people to be happy, and to rule in peace. She spoke to the young girl as a peer, and when visiting the girl’s mother in the fishing village in order to spare her life, still professed her love for the mother, as she emanated hatred.

Sam Spruell as Brattle’s man Toran is growing on me, as I alternately hate him for forcing Wilkin to keep up the farce, and admire him for his convictions.

Father Ruskin played by Timothy V. Murphy surprised Wilkin more than us, because we knew he could not play merely a man of God. His superior acting woud be wasted in that manner, and Sutter characters are always full of layers.

I still can’t get a read on Annora (Katey Sagal). She’s obviously orchestrating the rebellion, but her reasons are unclear. There is a vision of a boy Wilkin sword-fighting with a father-like figure looking on, whom fans will recognize. Annora guiding Wilkin with ulterior motives for the greater good of “the club,” is a familiar theme for Sutter fans. I feel like Lady Love will also follow a Jax-like path, as her ideals get tarnished and spiral more and more out of her control. To be fair, many shows have a Hamlet-ish theme, as it is a universal one. We can’t help compare the show to SOA, and why not? It was a damn good show.

And… is anyone else besides Brattle and me really creeped out by his fake wife’s delusions?

This episode of The Bastard Executioner was better than last week’s and I’ve no doubt of the trajectory from here.

The Bastard Executioner airs Tuesday nights at 10pm ET on FX.

Image Gallery

Videos

The Bastard Executioner – Next On: Effigy / Delw


When an unlikely suspect is charged with treason, Wilkin must carry out his duties as the new executioner.

The Bastard Executioner – Inside TBX: Creating A Medieval Epic


Tour the sets. Meet the cast. Experience the battles. See how the cast and crew created The Bastard Executioner.

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