I was saddened to hear that FX’s The Bastard Executioner (TBX) will not be moving forward for a second season. Show creator Kurt Sutter announced on Twitter last week of the shows future, stating he didn’t want to extend the inevitable and keep the cast and crew obligated to a show no one wanted to watch.
I’m one of the few million that actually wanted to watch, but that was not enough for the network. I love historical fiction and I was excited to see what Sutter had to offer after his hugely successful Sons of Anarchy ended in 2014.
It’s sad news but I get it. It took about 4 episodes in before I was sold on the storyline… at least enough for me to want to see more.
TBX was about the Welsh rebellion, which I knew nothing about. It has all of Sutter’s favorite actors including his wife, Katey Sagal playing one of the main characters, Annora. Her accent was kind of off so it took some getting used to. The story starts with a farmer, Wilkin Brattle played by Lee Jones (unknown to me), and all the abled bodied men of his village going off to rob the Baron’s tax collector with a Robin Hood plan to give the treasure back the villages it was taken from. They return only to find that the Baron, who was on to them, had killed everyone left in their village. He finds his unborn baby ripped out of his wife’s womb and laid in a pile of bodies with her. Wilkin Brattle and the rest of the men go on a quest for revenge to kill everyone responsible.
It turns out Wilkin is not just a simple farmer. He was a knight for King Longshanks, presumed dead after he was sent to fight a doomed battle by the very same Baron who killed the people in his village. He teams up with Welsh rebels to kill the Baron. After they win the fight and kill the Baron, Wilkins assumes the identity of the Baron’s punisher (killed in the battle) in order to gain entrance into the castle to kill the rest of them.
One man claims Wilkin is one of the men who killed the Baron but the punisher’s wife comes forward and says that the man present is her husband Gawain Maddox, The Punisher. They are safe for now, but the Chamberlain (played by Stephen Moyer of True Blood) recognizes Wilkin and uses him to do his dirty deeds in exchange for protecting his secret identity.
Here’s where the story lost me. It wasn’t believable that Wilkin and his men would do any of the Chamberlain’s bidding just to protect their identities. At first, they all had a death wish, revenge and/or death, but now it seemed they were scheming to stay alive. I didn’t get that part but I think it was supposed to give segway to start other plotlines.
Wilkin falls for the Baroness “Lady Love”. Annora turns out to be his mother. Wilkin and his men no longer seek revenge. Turns out the knight he had it in for was not the one who killed his wife. His mother, Annora, is the one that kills her to keep him on a religious “righteous” path for something. The guy porking the barnyard animals turns out to be the guy mutilating bodies and posing them ritualistically. The challenge may have been to explain how they got into the castle and why they started working for the “evil” Chamberlain, who turns out to not be so evil after all. Thus, kind of boring slow start.
I may have spoiled it for you but it’s worth a binge watch since there are only 10 episodes. Binge watching usually works better for shows of this type because you might lose interest if you have to wait a week to see what happens next, especially when there is too much going on at once. The actors were all great. They all played their roles very well and although I recognized some of them, that recognition didn’t detract from the roles they were playing. Katey Sagal, however, I couldn’t get past it because she’s Gemma Teller Morrow to me. She played Gemma so well I couldn’t help but think, why is Gemma speaking with this weird Turkish accent?
If you’re into any of the things I like I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one too. You can watch all the episodes on FXNow