Welcome back, TBXers. Did you spend the week declaring that things be “divided into serds” or was that just me? Gaveston! Putting another deliciously nasty bastard in The Bastard Executioner!
On the subject of Gaveston, we learn the truth about Lady Love’s startling announcement at the end of last week’s episode when she hands her bloody undergarments to Isabel and apologizes to her handmaiden for making her complicit in the deception. Ever the voice of reason, Isabel says there is time to turn that deception into the truth if the baroness opens “her fertile field” to another farmer now that the impotent Erik is no more. Love gives it some thought.
Meanwhile, Milus is plotting. Always plotting. This time it involves the manservant who opened his own field — this one decidedly unfertile — to Milus in the hallway way back in Season 1. Remember, he tells the young man, “you are in my debt.” Can’t be much worse than what he was required to do for dear departed Ventris. Or can it?
Meanwhile, Wilkin and little Luca walk through the bustling shire, where Wilkin spies Annora peddling her medicinal wares. She hands Luca a treat and father and son walk off, Jessamy trailing behind with the baby. Wilkin plops the boy on a wagon, tells him to wait and goes back to ask Annora if it’s wise of her to be here in the middle of town, her being her and all. They talk about the state of affairs for Wilkin, his unfortunate comrades — now held for 12 days in the Castle Ventris dungeon — and the creepy wing nut over there that he must pretend is his wife. Annora says Jessamy’s past abuses have led her to the brink of madness, but Jessamy gives her a stare that suggests shrewd calculation over insanity. This seemingly frail blossom has survived a lot, after all — and something was seriously up with that real husband of hers. Jessamy hurries off. How I worry for that baby.
In Wilkin’s office, he, Toran and Luca wait for the guards to leave, then wedge sustenance down the hole for Ash, Berber the Moor and Calo. Before the poor captives can enjoy the supplies, Luca reports that someone is coming. Milus. He tells the men that Pryce is about to court King Edward into giving him both shares of Ventrishire with a priceless relic. They are to intercept the deliverymen on their journey and destroy the gift, the wagon and the people. The blame will fall to the rebels in the woods. Charred remnants leave no clues to the contrary.
When Toran and Wilkin protest, Milus scoops crumbs from the bars above the captives’ heads and ask why the pair are offering their prisoners comfort. Wilkin says the men have yet to be found guilty. Milus does not cotton to that opinion. Let’s make a deal. They will retrieve Pryce’s relic if Milus will show the men mercy in return. They will become slaves at the castle. Wilkin caves. Oh, Wilkin. How is it that everyone but you knows that taking Milus at his word never ends well?
In her castle, Lady Love peers out the window and is mortified to see Gaveston arriving in the shire with a mystery companion. Time to eat like there’s no tomorrow, she tells Isabel, because she needs to bulk up somehow. She may need to do more than that.
Piers the Leerer brings with him a guy whose job it is to confirm her pregnancy and “declare the heir.” Yes, people, this episode’s title goes two ways. For here is the Piss Prophet — and there is so much to be gained or lost in what Lady Love hands him in her chamber pot. Keeping her cool, Love says that’s all just wonderful, but why don’t the travelers go inside and take a load off first. Piers leers at the twins on his way inside.
Ladyyyyyyy! You have some ’splainin’ to do! Or not. Milus clearly knows what is going on, though he doesn’t say so. He offers her his help — which she’s likely going to get whether she wants it or not. Milus walks off with the twins.
Gaveston confronts Lady Love in the chapel and tells her if she confesses to fibbing about the pregnancy right this minute, she will suffer no consequences. Love just raises her chin. He says he hopes God will forgive her, because the King will cut off her breasts, take out her uterus and then chop of her head. Eeegads. Leaving the Earl of Cornwall with her kingdom, Love reminds him.
And thus, she has until morning to score a pregnant lady’s piss. Are we’re about to get schooled in what the proverbial “rabbit test” entails. I’m not so sure I want to know.
Waiting on the road for Pryce’s caravan, Toran gives Wilkin grief for his growing familiarity with the Ventrishire nobility, while back at Castle Ventris, Piers the Leerer returns to his chamber to find the Lusty Twins going at it in his bed. They say they’re there at the Chamberlin’s behest to learn Gaveston’s intent for the shire. He looks at them somberly for a moment — but only a moment — then dives in the middle. PARTY TIME!!!
Meanwhile, Wilkin and Toran spot a wagon from Pryceshire and go about the business at hand — then discover that Milus has used them once again, and in the worst possible way. Killing the guards and setting the wagon they flanked aflame, the men are horrified to hear a woman’s screams coming from the burning carriage. They haven’t torched a relic; they’ve torched Baroness Pryce and her doctor.
Wilkin doesn’t take it well at all. Returning to Castle Ventris, he commences to beat the living snot out of Milus (I am 9,000-percent certain these two gents had the best time ever filming this sequence and I wish I had been there to see it) until Milus’s servant boy interrupts the proceedings. “Now we are true,” snarls Milus to his opponent, “This is who we are, Wilkin Brattle!” (Dude, did you just call him Brattle in front of two other people?) Wilkin accuses him of the plot and Milus says Wilkin knew as well as anyone that this was what was needed to protect the shire. When the boy returns with the guards to arrest Wilkin, Milus tells them it was all in good fun. Just … grappling.
The twins come in next and dab at Milus’ owies, but he isn’t interested in their attentions. Speaking of that, turns out that for all his slobbery, Piers the Leerer wasn’t interested in their “wetted slots,” either (and we”ll find out soon that that’s a mighty good thing). Seems Milus is more his type. Piers will be in room later if that compels the Chamberlin to make use of the information. Wink. Nudge.
Lady Love comes upon Wilkin stewing in the garden and she inquires about his injuries. He fibs a bit, then asks about his friends in the dungeon and Lady Love assures him she will have them freed post-haste. But she remains intrigued by a punisher who is concerned for those he punishes. Yes. Well. Off to find the healer to get something to treat his wounds.
About that healer, says Lady Love before he can rush off. She could possibly use her services, too. <Er, pregnant pause.> “Do you ever feel like you’re living the life of another,” she says then. “That God intended you to be someone else? No greater or more prestige. But truer?” Wilkin says he will arrange for her to meet with Annora.
Chewing the fat over food and drink, Gaveston and Milus trade war stories about their less-than-noble upbringings and agree that they have much in common. Then Milus cuts to the chase: Why so much interest in Ventrishire? Why not a more prestigious assignment? Looking for a place to hide, perchance?
“Like you, sweet Milus,” says Piers, “I was forced to stir the hive to get the honey, and now the bees, they come to sting.” (I’m totally cribbing that. I do not know when I’ll have use for, but I am totally cribbing that.) What kind of bees, Milus wants to know. Scottish? Or what?
Dropping trou, Piers says he will reveal it for the small price of some oral gratification. So kneel, Chamberlin. I’m shocked when Milus does. Piers slaps him away. His is a mouth of too modest origins to earn the honor. Milus skulks away … and takes out his frustration with the French by beating the houseboy what appears to be to death.
Under cover of darkness, Wilkin brings Lady Love to Annora. She gets cold feet at the last moment, but Wilkin suggests it’s the other life she mentioned causing her confusion. With the Dark Mute stationed near by just in case, Annora and Lady Love come face to face on the rocky shore. Annora notes that Love’s are the hands of a girl and the baroness cries in her arms. Annora tells her that God holds her closer than she knows. Like, right-this-minute close? Cause THAT would be something.
Wilkin, meanwhile, is having one of his sunshiny dreams of Petra, who wades toward him out of the sea. Dropping her gown, she commands him to follow, but before he can reach her, she turns, crosses her arms and falls backward, screaming, into some sort of abyss. Wilkin reaches for her outstretched hand, but it turns out the hand really belongs to the horribly burnt-up and blue-eyed Baroness Pryce.
When he comes to, he finds Lady Love ready to go home. Send your maiden at sun up, Annora instructs her solemnly. Love asks if she’s made the healer sad, and Annora says it’s not sadness that she feels. She turns to her husband as Wilkin and the baroness leave, the merest hint of a smile on her lips.
And in the morning, it’s time for the piss test. Isabel returns with some gifts from Annora and the pair work quickly to fool the Piss Prophet. Lady Love looks to the heavens and says. “I hope you know what I’m doing.”
Finally the pot is presented to the piss tester, who begins his terribly solemn — and terribly gross — duties in the name of King Edward. And at the expense of one very unfortunate male goat.
More familial revelations to be had: Turns out the twins were not only working in concert with Piers the Leerer, it’s one big, happy, incestuous family, right there. They’re his half-sisters, gifted to Ventrishire for far greater purpose than to please the Chamberlin’s whims.
Finally the Declarer of the Heir returns with his verdict: Lady Love is, indeed, with child (or, you know, Annora’s version of that). Gaveston, predictably, goes off the rails … and out the door.
Again, Lady Love finds Wilkin in the chapel. She tells him to thank Annora for her help, then hands him the letters freeing Ash, Berber and Calo. Wilkin stands to leave but she calls him back. “Yes, my love,” he responds absentmindedly, surprising them both. He apologizes and his Love says she is not insulted because she enjoys his company so and doesn’t want him to feel awkward around her. He reaches for her and the two cling to each other for dear life as Toran looks on. Then Jessamy, too.
What is it they say about hell having no fury … ?
New episodes of The Bastard Executioner premiere Tuesday nights at 10/9CT on FX.