If you were already under the impression that Milus Corbett's manipulative behavior knew no bounds, you have likely been left speechless after the events of series' the most recent installment.
The Bastard Executioner Season 1 Episode 4 picked up very shortly after The Bastard Executioner Season 1 Episode 3 left off, with Lady Love trying to prove the truth of her faux-pregnancy to the Earl (who just popped in unannounced for a pleasant little visit), and Milus attempting to fix things in order to (supposedly) protect the future of Ventrishire.
Unlike "A Hunger/Newyn," "Piss Profit/Proffidwyr Troeth" kept the lines of focus to a minimum. We followed the course of Wilkin's, Milus', Lady Love's and Sir Gaveston's stories, without excursions into the goings-on of side characters like Wilkin's villagers or the knights involved with Annora's secret religion, which commanded a large deal of the focus last time around.
For that reason, this was a more successful and gripping installment.
I think it is safe to say that Sir Gaveston has managed to trump Milus Corbett as the most hated character on the show (and possibly the worst character in all of TV this year). The man is entirely despicable!
Milus is obviously not a particularly good person by any means, but at minimum he gives recurring hints of doing what he does for the greater god of the shire. Whether or not you agree with the particulars of his choices, there is something admirable in the way he truly appears to want what's best for Ventrishire.
Milus: Now we are true. This is who we are, Wilkin Brattle.
Wilkin: You knew she was in that wagon. You don't make those kinds of mistakes.
Milus: I did what was required. As did you. We all share the burden to protect the shire.
We have gotten none of that from Gaveston. Instead, we are time and again reassured that Gaveston is an obnoxious, unpleasant person who is, to all appearances, solely looking out for his own benefit: what is best for him, personally, trumps all else. Also, he's a weirdo sister-kisser, so that's obviously coloring my judgment against him.
I won't deny that I actually did feel legitimately sorry for Milus for a brief moment, which I believe was the intention of the show-runners. Gaveston is proving to be a very effective foil to hold up against the villainous but noble-hearted Milus, to highlight the complexities of the latter character.
I'm specifically referring to the scene in which Gaveston uses the twins (who were revealed to be his half-sisters/planted agents inside the castle!) to lure Milus into a compromising position.
We'd gotten so used to seeing Milus three steps ahead of everyone else that it was legitimately uncomfortable to watch Gaveston set Milus up to engage in a sexual situation, only to reject and insult him at the very last second. I kept waiting for Milus to turn the tables on Gaveston, but that moment never came.
This being Milus, and Milus knowing that he needed to remain cordial with Gaveston for the sake of the shire, ended up redirecting his overflowing anger onto the poor French servant (who I think is just named 'Frenchie'?) that he'd had sex with in the premiere and later promoted to be his personal attendant. I cringed and looked away as Milus brutally beat Frenchie. Poor Frenchie didn't have it coming at all and hardly knew what hit him.
Meanwhile, Milus simultaneously moved forward with his already-established plan to secure the future of the shire by having Pryce marry Lady Love, thereby absorbing Ventrishire into his own land.
Milus' machinations were seriously impressive. After the way he forced Wilkin's hand in order to get rid of his prospective rival, Pryce's original Chamberlain, it wasn't clear how he could top that power play. But he absolutely did do so here, in spades.
In trying to convince Wilkin and Toran that they needed to intercept Pryce's carriage and destroy it (in order to prevent the king from receiving the religious relic that Milus assured Wilkin was in the carriage, en route from Pryce to the king), he even had me fooled into thinking that he had somewhere along the road decided against assisting Pryce and was now really trying to prevent him from absorbing the shire.
Of course, rather than a religious relic, Wilkin and Toran had been tricked into getting Pryce's wife out of the way – clearing the path for Pryce's potential marriage to Lady Love.
I'm still not particularly intrigued by the character of Wilkin Brattle. We've been repeatedly assured that he is very important and has many deep, dark secrets in his deep, dark past, but it's been more show then tell as of late.
On the other hand, watching Wilkin bond with Lady Love, seemingly against his own will (he is there to avenge his dead pregnant wife, after all!), was definitely moving. You could feel the desperation as the two clung to each other in the chapel – it didn't even come across as a sexual bond, they just each clearly needed the other, needed that connection at that moment.
They fit well together and have an excellent rapport that is especially noticeable given the fact that Brattle wears exactly one facial expression (dour) in every other scene he has aside from those with her.
Lady Love: This is foolish. I'm sorry, Master Gawain, this venture, my behavior... this is not who I am.
Wilkin: Perhaps it's that other life. The one you believe God intended. Trying to find its way and have a word with you.
They were spotted by Toran who, in his anger at Wilkin, pointed Jessamy right in the budding lovers' direction. Bad move, Toran. I understand why he did it – he is frustrated with Wilkin and feels that Wilkin is losing site of their joint goals (which is partly true, whether Brattle admits it or not) – but given Annora's very clear warning at the outset ("The true executioner's wife Jessamy is cuckoo bananas" – I"m paraphrasing) it is pretty clear that his is going to set off a very bad chain of events for Wilkin and Toran.
Now that Lady Love has "proven" her pregnancy to Gaveston and by extension the king, she'll just need to go about procuring the actual baby. Given all that bonding taking place between her and Wilkin, want to place bets how she'll take care of that issue?
- Lady Love delivered the papers freeing Wilkin's pals from their captivity. What will we be seeing of them now that they've been released into sentences of servitude?
- Toran deserves his own storyline! I'm getting tired of seeing him act as the Jiminy Cricket to Wilkin's Pinnochio.
- Isabel and Lady Love's friendship continues to be incredible, and I love the small moments shared between the two (such as when Lady Love reminded Isabel not to insult Gaveston to his face and Isabel gave her that "duh, m'Lady" look).
- Did anyone else read Annora's pausing at the seaside, holding Wilkin and Love's hands in hers, as a sort of mini-marriage moment? It certainly looked like she was somehow joining them in some kinds of spiritual union.
- Speaking of Annora, I still can't get an accurate read on her intentions. Is she a force of good? Of evil? What's up with her companion, the Dark Mute?
- Wilkin's vision seemed pretty clear: he is feeling torn between the light/goodness (represented by the specter of Petra) and darkness/evil (represented by Pryce's burned wife Trula).
What were your thoughts on "Piss Profit/Proffidwyr Troeth"? Do you think Milus' plan involving Pryce will be successful? What will become of Lady Love and Wilkin's budding relationship now that they've been spotted by Wilkin's faux-wife? Let us know what you think by commenting below and remember that you can watch The Bastard Executioner online right here at TV Fanatic to catch up on anything you might have missed.
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.