sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Bastard Executioner (Series Review)

“God made the vittles, but the devil made the cook,” was a popular saying used by seafaring men in the last century when salted beef was staple diet aboard ship.

This tough, cured beef, suitable only for long voyages when nothing else was as cheap or would keep as well, required prolonged chewing to make it edible. Since men often chewed one chunk for hours, just as if it were chewing gum, they referred to this practice as chewing the fat.

Today this term is used to describe a conversation, and I wanted to share a review today of a new television series, which (Warning) does show very graphic violence -- however, there is a reason for the violence that is 'fleshed out' in the series. Thus, while it is graphic, it is not necessary senseless.

The Bastard Executioner (Series Review)

There have only been two episodes of this new series on FX (technically three because the pilot was officially two episodes), however I will offer a few thoughts on the latest work by Kurt Sutter, who created of the popular television series, Sons of Anarchy. (website)

In short, I like it. The series is very violent and very graphic as it follows the development of the 'savior of the Welch people,' who are living in what was called the Welsh Marches at the time. From the days of William the Conqueror until the early 1300's, the area had been fraught with rebellion and the English barons who controlled the territory were required by necessity of control to exercise harsh measures. The Welsh were naturally not happy about that.

The plot involves the somewhat mystical destiny of Wilkin Brattle (Lee Jones), a knight in the service of Edward I, who ends up living the humble life of a farmer on the Welsh Coast after he and his men were intentionally led into an ambush. He is guided by Annora of the Alders (Katy Sagal), a witch, who acts as a spiritual advisor. Wilkin is guided to assume the identity of Maddox, a traveling/journeyman executioner and punisher as part of God's plan. 

There are hints that Wilkin's mother and father may be Annora and her badly burned traveling companion, but that has yet to be explored, possibly in future episodes.

The arms and armor in the television series are exceptionally well done as is the period representation of the sets. I'm accustomed to seeing these things done "half-assed" but credit goes to Sutter for research and effort to get it right and to have his characters act the way people would have acted in 1300, without the political correctness of 2015. 

16 comments:

  1. Having already had this recommended to me by your good self, I have already downloaded the first two episodes ready for my Saturday evening entertainment. I'm sure I'm going to like it from what I know and have seen so far. I shall dutifully, report back.

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  2. The Welsh can be very difficult. I know this from experience.

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    1. The English (sassanacks) are the bad guys. The Welsh, don't think that of themselves.

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    2. Jules (above) is English, which makes me wonder what her take will be on her rampaging ancestors...

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    3. The English are always the bad guys ;)

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    4. Even in Disney films...the bad guys have English accents.

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    5. The English are pretty bad, but I do remember "Corporal Bat" who was Welsh, (RRW) even though he took a baseball bat, which is American, to the parade square! Thwack.

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    6. Maybe better a bat - than a sword, mace or morning star (chain flail)...

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  3. Replies
    1. I hate revisionist history either written or in films.

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  4. OK. I did a three episode marathon. Loved it. Very graphic but necessary and yes, the English Barons were bastards, I mean they even persecuted their own people. Greed and power. However, a lot of them were French derivatives, you know. I blame them. I think the tone, the set and costume are all really well done and I'm hooked.
    Favourite characters are: The Bastard Executioner, of course, The Chamberlain (much better in this than he was a sVampire Bill) and the Baroness who I think will be having liaisons with the punisher himself.

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    1. I'm happy that you enjoyed the season so far. It has a lot of potential. Tonight the Baroness travels to London to meet Edward II. The Chamberlain remains behind to run the place.

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  5. I look forward to further discussions!

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    1. Now we know that the Baroness needs to either have an heir or Edward's Court will lop off her head. The natural joining will be with Wilkin (The Executioner). The ambitious chamberlain is unlikely to find that comforting. Will the Wolf come to her aid if the other Baron decides to storm her keep?

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