The third episode of Kurt Sutter’s Bastard Executioner, “Effigy/Delw,” aired last night, and while the main storyline was straightforward — a Welsh peasant girl had her nose sliced off for breaking off the nose of the Baron’s effigy — there were a lot of moving parts in the background that may have been more difficult to follow. Hopefully we can help clear up that confusion by answering a few questions viewers may have had after the episode.
1. What exactly is the historical backdrop driving the narrative?
Good question, because if you were looking at your phone in the first minute of the pilot, or if you have only been half-watching The Bastard Executioner, the alliances may be confusing. There’s a lot of Welsh people and a lot of English people, and it might be difficult to discern who is on what side.
In short, King Edward II (who we have not yet met) is the English king running the the nation at the time, and he’s trying to quell a Welsh rebellion.
The English also rule Ventrishire (where the Baroness rules), and the now deceased Baron Ventris was English. However, Baroness Lady Love (Flora Spencer-Longhurst) is Welsh-born, and she clearly has sympathy for the Welsh, or, at the very least, she wants to end the bloodshed.
The other wrinkle here is that Wilkin Brattle is English. In fact, he originally fought for King Edwards’ army, but when he put down his sword and tried to start a family, he got fed up with the taxes and oppression of King Edward, which politically put him on the same side as the Welsh. So, Wilkin Brattle is being pulled in a lot of directions. He’s English, and he’s serving as the Executioner for the English Ventrishire, but he’s sympathetic to the Welsh, he’s grown increasingly cozy with the Welsh-born Lady Love, and he owes a debt to the leader of the Welsh resistance, The Wolf, even though he’s also protecting Lady Love from The Wolf’s Welsh rebellion.
2. Wait! Who is the Wolf again?
Right! His name was mentioned several times last night. The Baroness is intent on having a meeting with him. He’s being presented as a shadowy, hard-to-find figure, but recall, we met him last week. He’s played by Matthew Rhys from The Americans. He’s nearly unrecognizable.