Knightfall: The Pilgrimage of Chains | Season 1, Episode 6 | Air Date: January 10, 2018 | Rating: 8.5/11 |
*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.
Flashbacks are fun even if they only dip 15 hours in the past…
Thanks to a scrappy Adelina who – apparently – can take a punch as well as any medieval (or modern day) man, Roland (Cengiz Dervis) winds up in the custody of the Templars, but that’s a minor victory moment as a disheveled, dazed and confused Landry (who has been missing since being abducted by the Saracens) stumbles back into the Temple. This Landry is so out of sorts, out of control and out of patience that even the small quantity of rage that he unleashes upon Roland is enough to inject some serious concern in the Knights for their Master. Particularly Tancrede who – even after being permanently expelled from the Temple – implores Gawain to watch over Landry because “something’s wrong.”
All In The Family:
Nothing says “family time” like gathering with a few hundred French locals to watch the hanging (actually, slow strangulation) executions of the Earl of Oxford’s servants for crimes they didn’t commit. While King Philip waxes gratitude on De Nogaret, bestowing lands and an impending knighthood upon his simpering counselor for foiling the sham assassination plot of the royal family, Isabella is much less composed as the guilt for her part in the whole affair (and watching innocent men die) makes her flee the scene, giving De Nogaret cause to worry that she might break and tell someone the truth.
But it all comes undone in spectacular form when Isabella accidentally finds De Nogaret’s secret corridor with its special view into her bedroom. It’s a flash of “A + B = C” as Isabella realizes her horrible error in blaming Lluis for revealing their one night together when it was actually De Nogaret. The confrontation goes down and truth comes out about Lluis, Oxford and the poisoning in front of everyone, as Julian Ovenden marvelously shifts his duplicitous De Nogaret from placid panic denials to a confession of annoyed exasperation and all but calling Philip too weak to handle France’s business. After landing a few well-placed blows on De Nogaret’s face, Philip levels a not-so-weak death sentence.
After appearing as the bad guy in Landry’s vision quest into the past (see “He Who Discovers His Own Self, Discovers God”) Malraux is back. Back as De Nogaret’s uncle (yep) and co-conspirator in taking down the Templar Knights. He’s assembling an anti-Templar army on De Nogaret’s dime and Malraux’s skills come in handy when he rescues De Nogaret from his own execution…which means that our plotter-in-chief will live to scheme another day.
Turn Back Time…15 Hours:
The interspersed flashbacks which we spend watching the Brotherhood of Light at work physically and psychologically interrogating Landy make you wonder, historically, what the Saracens were truly capable of in the realm of coercion (aka torture). Dunking, a box on fire, dropping knowledge about Joan’s pregnancy and “oops, I strangled myself” combined with the mental beating that he is taking while being questioned and confronted with the depth of what he did not know about Godfrey continues to exacerbate Landry’s crisis of faith, level of “WTF is going on?” and his refusal to cooperate; he’s even hallucinating about Joan between lucid moments. It’s a reverse game of Password and a creative fake escape with Khalil (Vikash Bhai) almost successfully psyching answers out of Landry, but things get bargained down to exchanging Tancrede (who killed Rashid’s son, Nassir) for telling Landry what he needs to know in order to find the Grail for them all.
But back in the present, Tancrede has been kicked out of the Temple; not for his crime, but because Landry refuses to surrender his brother knight to Rashid’s revenge, not even for the recovery of the Grail (even if Tancrede doesn’t know it, the weight of losing another person that he loves is the last thing that Tancrede sees on Landry’s face as the temple gates close behind him). Landry offers up his life to Rashid, instead, but Tancrede won’t allow it, willingly submits himself to Rashid and even gives Landry the grace of the one thing he steadfastly refused to do: he repented for his sins.
In return, Rashid gives Landry clue #13 to finding the Grail: return to the place where he first met Godfrey.
Revelations & Motivations:
- We gather from their conversation that what’s driving Malraux and De Nogaret’s hatred for/plot to destroy the Templars stems from the death of Malraux’s brother, De Nogaret’s father.
- De Nogaret is so fixated on Isabella because he believes that she is the only member of the royal family who has the potential to become a great ruler …of France and beyond. Yeah, there’s probably a wee bit of lust in there as well.
- Rashid breaks down another one of Landry’s long-held certainties that an unknown traitor let the Saracens into the tunnel during the battle of Acre: it was Godfrey. He sacrificed the lives of thousands in order to save the lives of millions.
- A dead Pope is also on De Nogaret’s to-do list.
- The status of “traitor” becomes less and less black and white for Landry as he constantly winds up weighing Christian fealty vs infidels vs actions vs intent vs consequences vs the greater good.
- King Philip literally punching the crown off of his head.
- It was little adorable seeing Isabella’s excitement at finding and exploring the secret passageway. Who wouldn’t want to find one of those?
- In his cell, Isabella asked De Nogaret the uncomfortable questions and got an uncomfortable answer, but handled it like a boss.
- Adelina hands Roland’s mystery message over to Parsifal.
- Is there a best “Face Meets Mack Truck” award for makeup? Because if there is, Tancrede (and his makeup artist) is a contender.
- “After all these years, William, it’s time you call me Philip.” (King Philip to De Nogaret)
- “Your defiance proves you have no idea what the Grail is, what it can do, why it must be protected.” (Rashid to Landry)
- “You will hang tomorrow and I will have a peaceful night’s sleep knowing that no one’s watching.” (Princess Isabella)
- “I was ready to die when I took my oath and I am ready to die now.” (Tancrede to Landry)
- “Even to the last, weasel words to justify your crimes.” (King Philip to De Nogaret)
Where last week’s episode felt like an overdose on shock and awe, this week’s was a welcome curation of psyche and emotion. Isabella is (understandably) a wreck and Philip finally showed that he can do more than ponder while a way-out-on-a-limb Adelina went there in order to right a wrong (and with a sense of humor). Landry is emotionally bleeding and it’s affecting all aspects of his existence while Tancrede has surpassed merely being a steadfast and loyal soldier. Knightfall is reaching the point where individual character layers are getting peeled back and story-woven; two good things that – where this show is concerned – will continue to make one of Bette Davis’ most iconic movie lines come to mind:
“Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.” That’s from All About Eve, if you didn’t know.
Next week’s episode: “And Certainly Not the Cripple”