Knightfall: Find Us The Grail | Season 1, Episode 2 | Air Date: December 13, 2017 | Rating: 8/11 |
*SPOILERS AHEAD* If you didn’t know that this space is where episode recaps (with random bits of commentary) occur, now you do. So if your mind’s not ready to know exactly what happened in this week’s episode of Knightfall, avert your eyes. Now. You’ve been warned.
Ready? Let’s roll.
With the show’s general framework for the search for the Holy Grail in 14th century Paris having been built in last week’s premiere episode, it’s time to move on to the show’s furnishings: The art of royal courtship, grave robbing and the Pope comes to town.
Flashback: A young Landry and Godfrey pay their respects to a fallen knight. Death is still foreign to this young Landry; a thing to fear. In his role of guiding him, Godfrey explains a knight’s role in protecting others and that death is merely a part of life….
Pope of Hope:
Landry arrives at French court and receives condolences from King Philip and Queen Joan for the death of Godfrey. Once offers of assistance from the Philip to find Godfrey’s murderers are given, we get to see Landry and Queen Joan interact together in public for the first time and it’s awkward and stilted; after all, they are secret lovers. He requests that Joan meet him later that night in order to tell her of the extraordinary happenings. Announcing that honored guest, Pope Boniface (Jim Carter), will be arriving at the temple, De Nogaret takes note (and seems none too pleased), and Landry takes his leave.
It’s inside the chapel that Landry shows Pope Boniface the clue about the Grail and – exhibiting as much uninhibited joy as a Pope can – Pope Boniface imparts how important it is that the sacred relic be recovered. Search the temple, Godfrey’s belongings and even his person, but find us that Grail. The fewer who know about this endeavor, the better and – in the meantime – there’s one additional bit of business to attend to: invoking Pope’s privilege and appointing a reluctant, “not ready” Landry the new Master of the Temple. Medieval upward mobility.
Gawain, on a mission to bring Godfrey’s body back to the temple for a proper burial, returns to Parsifal’s farm only to find said body missing: Godfrey’s been stolen. After Gawain sends word of this latest wrinkle, he and a grief-stricken, revenge-wanting Parsifal bury poor Marie. Back at the temple, Tancrede relays Gawain’s message (sent via carrier pigeon, folks) to Landry about Godfrey’s body. Accurately assuming that it has something to do with the Grail, they head to the farm. Landry clues Gawain in on the Grail news and wants to talk to Parsifal since he’s the only person who knows what the killers look like. Unfortunately, Parsifal believes he knows where the bastards were headed, is in angry testosterone-mode and takes off after Marie’s killers on his own. Of course, nothing good can come from that so the three warrior knights hurriedly mount up to ride after Parsifal, but Gawain struggles as his injured leg fails him, testing Landry’s patience. Riding off after Parsifal alone, Landry leaves Gawain and Tancrede to catch up with him later…and Gawain’s bitterness to fester over the fact that his damaged leg is the result of saving Landry’s life on that fateful day in Acre years ago.
Landry chewing out Parsifal over his hot-headedness not doing anyone any good and Parsifal all full of still-a-boy/not-quite-a-man angst occur, all leading up to finding the killers (one brags about raping Marie before killing her), Godfrey’s body about to be desecrated, and quite a bit of extra battle violence when Gawain and Tancrede finally arrive. The leader, Roland, dispatches a message (also via carrier pigeon) to a secret someone about carrying out “the procedure” and Parsifal takes some creative revenge when killing the bad guy who raped Marie, but he finds it a hollow victory. Meanwhile Landry, Gawain and Tancrede take on the rest. Once again Gawain’s leg causes him to falter and, this time, it’s Landry who saves him. Landry confronts Gawain about his limitations, practically telling him that he’s no longer fit for battle and relegating him to training the initiates. Now the wound in Gawain’s pride is so deep that he actually lashes out at Landry telling him he wishes that he’d let him die in Acre. Cold blooded and, yes, we saw that coming.
When they return to the temple, this Grail business causes Landry to miss his rendezvous with Queen Joan as he, the Pope and Draper come to an understanding: they must also search inside Godfrey’s body.
And inside Godfrey is where they find another clue: a key.
Alliances, strength and power are made through marriage and King Philip and Queen Joan’s daughter, Princess Isabella (Sabrina Bartlett), is of marrying age and being courted by England and Catalonia. Both English and Catalonian emissaries come to court to make their case for marrying Isabella (bearing gifts and pretty words) and that’s all good and well except for the fact that while England is fiercely adamant (to the point of threatening war) that their Prince Edward and Isabella wed, Isabella and Catalonia’s Prince Luis have been romantic pen pals and are, you know, in love. Queen Joan advocates for Catalonia while, of course, our smarmy De Nogaret prefers an alliance with England arguing that the strength of a French/English union would stave off impending threats. Torn between the two, King Philip decides to put the decision in the Pope’s hands since the Pope is suddenly in town. A bit of holy intervention, if you will.
It’s during a private audience with the Pope that Queen Joan uses her own unhappiness as leverage in favor of Isabella marrying the Catalonian prince and the Pope promises that it will be done. But De Nogaret has other plans such as giving his henchman another mission: kill the Pope before he can return to court to render his decision. How difficult can that be?
Apparently extremely difficult as the Pope – albeit late – makes it to court and declares, much to Isabella’s delight, that she will wed Prince Luis and the Catalonian ambassador delivers the henchman’s head to De Nogaret in a box. Literally.
Keep It Tight:
We were given some low hanging fruit in this episode (like Gawain’s heavy-handed bitterness and Parsifal annoyingly out of control), but also a few sharp notes such as the conflict and snide quips between De Nogaret and the Pope being delicious on so many levels, mostly due to Jim Carter’s sturdy and paternal portrayal of Pope Boniface. May the gods of dialogue continue to write Pope Boniface with such fluid ease.
If the Catalonians wanted to make a statement or send a message, mission accomplished. For future better or worse, their title of “powerful ally” is established.
And – of course – we now have a key, but to what or where?
- Knightfall really has a thing for objects going in and coming out of people’s mouths.
- It’s safe to say that Landry now has a purpose; something that he has sorely lacked for the past 15 years. Finally such fire in the belly for something other than Queen Joan.
- Parsifal now carries sweet Marie’s ring around his neck. Big deal, you say? Yes, it is.
- It’s somewhat adorable to watch this real (albeit highly fictionalized) Princess Isabella in her charming innocence that in no way resembles the Queen/She Wolf of France that history knows her to become.
- A Templar Knight and the king’s lawyer walk into a bar… Instead of a classic joke, it’s potentially the beginning of Gawain becoming a difficult thorn in the Pope and/or the Templar Knights’ side as De Nogaret plies his weakness: his injured leg. After all, the king does have the finest doctors at his disposal…
- One would assume that with all of the hanging out in hallways and whispery conversations that he engages in that De Nogaret would have some clue as to the state of marital affairs between the King and Queen. Especially since Queen Joan isn’t very good at feigning true love for Philip.
- I don’t know why the writers decided to inject a feeling of creepiness in Princess Isabella and De Nogaret’s scene, but please don’t do that again. Eww. Thanks in advance.
- “Death is not the end; it’s just a passing. Like going through a door to somewhere new.” (Godfrey)
- “Wicked men always see wickedness in others.” (Pope Boniface)
- “If a brother is calling, I should answer.” (Landry)
- “Found God yet, De Nogaret?” (Pope Boniface)
- “And yet the eloquence with which you say that nothing.” (De Nogaret to Pope Boniface)
Next week’s episode: “The Black Wolf and the White Wolf”