It’s too early to say if Kurt Sutter’s Sons of Anarchy follow-up, The Bastard Executioner, will be a solid hit for FX. The premiere had modest overnight ratings (of about 2 million viewers), but bounced up 71 percent in DVR viewership. However, the second episode lost roughly half its viewers in the overnight ratings. How far it will bounce on DVR remains to be seen. With Kurt Sutter extending his episodes well into the night, there’s probably a bigger DVR audience for The Bastard Executioner than most shows.
On the other hand, with the rest of the new fall shows joining the schedule, I can sense attention beginning to drift from the series. Twitter and Reddit discussions have definitely faded, and last night’s aimless episode didn’t help matters. The episode essentially sidelined one of its best characters (Flora Spencer-Longhurst’s Lady Love), didn’t advance the plot much with Wilkin Brattle, and spent too much time on the subplot concerning Katey Sagal’s Annora. Thus far, her mystical storyline has proven to be the least intriguing and the most incoherent of the series.
It does, however, involve seraphims and a back tattoo written in an Ancient language no one else can read. One such seraphim was captured in last night’s episode and tortured for information on the tattoo. Spoiler, it ended in his brutal, bloody death, after his arms were chopped off. Before his demise, however, musician Ed Sheeran made his first appearance as Sir Cormac, the right-hand man to a powerful priest under King Edward. Sheeran — who also performs the theme song to The Bastard Executioner — had the seraphim’s eye gouged out. Sir Cormac is the quiet, sadistic type.
You can watch that scene here, though it is not for the squeamish.
Believe it or not, that was only the third most gruesome scene in the episode. One of the two scenes that topped it involved a chicken bone. Depending on your opinion of Sheeran’s music, however, that scene may or may not have been as torturous as his appearance a few months ago on Bill Lawrence’s Undateable.
It remains to be seen whether it was a one-off appearance for The Bastard Executioner, or if Sheeran will return in future episodes. On screen or off, however, his character will undoubtedly continue his good work.