Three If By Space

Knightfall: Grail Fever Rises In Ep. 102 – Review

Pádraic Delaney as Gawain and Simon Merrells as Tancrede in HISTORY's New Drama Series Knightfall.

The reality that the Holy Grail may not be at the bottom of the sea, but located somewhere in France, drives much of episode 2 of “Knightfall.” But as this episode, titled “Find Us The Grail,” plays out, we see that there are others out there with an interest in the Grail. It would appear that after last week’s tease, the race is now on to find the Grail. But who besides the Templars knows it’s in France? And how did it get there? I’m particularly interested in the story of the Grail’s rescue from the sea bed. Hopefully that question is answered at some point. But is the Grail really in France? Seems a lot of folks think so by the end of episode 2.

In the end, Godfrey’s body turned out to be a “key” to the mystery. Okay, okay, a cheap turn of phrase there, but this episode quickly morphs into an obsession with Godfrey’s corpse. As you recall, he was killed by highwaymen in Ep. 1 and apparently laid to rest near the farm where he was cut down. However, once the Templars, who want to return the master’s body to the temple in France, discovered the body missing, things escalated quickly.

Landry deduced that the Grail and Godfrey’s missing body were somehow linked and the race was on to find it.

Sadly, young Parsifal’s intended honey was violated and murdered in his absence, which sent our young farm boy into a headlong hunt for vengeance. I’m all for a little payback under the circumstances, but Parsifal’s unwillingness to listen to his elders, elders who were accomplished warriors, was irritating. I grasp desperate sorrow, but when a Templar tells you to stay where you are, it seems to me it behooves you to heed that advice. Honestly, he should have been killed several times, but managed to avoid it. I’m always a little dismayed by these “I’ll find a way” greenhorns bent on revenge who clearly have no legitimate way to make it happen.

Pope Boniface III (Jim Carter) arrives in Paris.

On a positive note, though he got his butt kicked a bit, he showed some fighting moxie with the cross-down-the-throat final maneuver to put a cap on his one-one-one battle. Maybe there’s a little mettle in that farm boy frame? The fighting at the Abbey re-introduced us to bad guy Roland, whom we see furtively in one scene reminding his underlings “No witnesses,” after sending a note by bird to an accomplice. The conspiracy, and its relationship to the Grail hunt, is something I’m tremendously curious about. How deeply or how far does this conspiracy range? The answers to that should be fun to get as we move along.

Pope Boniface makes his appearance, ostensibly to honor Godfrey, but in reality to bear witness to the blue stone with the Grail carving. An expected development, to be sure, but one that had the pleasant side benefit of his confounding the machinations of our erstwhile counselor to the king – De Nogaret. I enjoyed the heart-to-heart the pair engaged in at the chapel about the pope’s decision on who Princess Isabella should marry.

It was a moment in which skilled antagonists let down their guards to deliver some hard-bitten honesty. As usual De Nogaret smells opportunity and betrayal, while Pope Boniface intuitively understands the motivations of the man in front of him. It was a small scene, yet one that told you plenty about the capabilities of both men. It was subtle, yet powerful work by Julian Ovenden (De Nogaret) and Jim Carter (Pope Boniface) in their respective roles. I rewatched the scene a couple times just to enjoy the nuanced messages each sent the other.

Gawain (Pedraic Delaney) searches Parsifal’s home.

Sure, De Nogaret tried to have the Pope assassinated before he could render a decision on whom Isabella should marry (Our counselor favored England, while the young princess preferred a Catalonian marriage), but that’s what men of influence do, I suppose. And it gave us a chance to see that all of De Nogaret’s plotting and scheming doesn’t necessarily come to fruition. The Catalonian ambassador presenting the assassin’s head in a gift box was a nice touch and sent a message that you cross the Catalonians and the Pope at your own risk. As messages go, it was a good one, I thought.

It also makes one imagine there are eyes and ears within the court that have other loyalties. Two episodes in and you get the distinct feeling that Court is not always a civil or trustworthy place. Lots going on there, which makes me wonder how long the relationship between Landry and the Queen will remain silent? There’s gonna be hell to pay there, folks. Particularly is De Nogaret comes across that intel. One has to almost smile at how he might use that information down the road.

There was a nice twist after Landry is made master of the Paris Temple. He demotes his long-time comrade Gawain to train the initiates due to the arrow wound Gawain suffered 15 years ago in Acre in saving Landry’s life. Gawain is a liability in battle Landry has surmised after the Abbey fighting and while he’s trying to let his brother down easily, it’s not the warrior’s way.

Princess Isabella (Sabrina Bartlett) talks with the king’s counselor, William De Nogaret (Julian Ovenden) about marriage.

It wasn’t hard to make the leap from Gawain’s obvious unhappiness to De Nogaret sniffing him out at some point. And we got to see De Nogaret’s formidable manipulation abilities as he wines and dines Gawain at a seedy little pub. Intrigue, jealousy, anger, opportunity, promises and more opportunity spill out over their short conversation. Where does it lead? Well, now we have De Nogaret involved in the Grail hunt on some level. What that level is remains to be seen, but for a man with such a thirst for power and opportunity, possessing the Grail has to be irresistible.

But in the end, this episode was all about Godfrey’s body and what, after some minor belly surgery, Landry pulled out of Godfrey’s digestive system. A key to what? More clues or the Grail itself? Landry and his brother Templars are now set on finding the Grail, but to do so it would seem they will have to overcome some competition. That should lead to a few interesting encounters moving forward, wouldn’t you agree?

Two episodes in and I’m impressed with the writing and storytelling “Knightfall” brings to the table. The acting is superb and the writing interesting while being entertaining. The show is off to a good start and I’m nicely hooked already, which I view as a good sign. My hope is you’re getting the same vibe, too. Let’s see what comes next.

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