[For The Bastard Executioner‘s “Piss Profit/Proffidwyr Troeth” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
Piss Profit/Proffidwyr Troeth. The King’s right hand visits Ventrishire on royal business; Wilkin goes on a covert mission.
When we left the troubled landscape of Ventrishire…
- Milus Corbett (aka Vampire Bill) was scheming with a rival Baron…
- Wilkin (masquerading as executioner Gawain Maddox) was being forced to do things he didn’t want to do, and…
- Widowed Baroness Ventress (our Lady Love) was telling scumbag French Earl of Cornwall Lord Gaveston she was pregnant (she isn’t) [in order to prove and heir and keep a hold of her little kingdom]
As “Piss Profit/Proffidwyr Troeth” opens, Love is in her chambers with best friend / loyal servant Isabel, handing her some very obviously bloodstained white clothes. She tells Isabel that they must be laundered separately, in secret; I suppose we know what the blood is from! (Love, remember, is supposed to be pregnant.) She is concerned about her lie, what it means, and perhaps most importantly, how to carry it through.
Isabel says maybe it isn’t / doesn’t have to be a lie:
“Every fertile field needs a serving of more than one seed to bear a good harvest.”
Love asks if that means she should open up her field for a good seed sowing; to which Isabel says that giving the Baroness advice is above her station (but that she will always be at Love’s service). Love and Isabel really seem as close as sisters [more on the closeness of sisters in a minute] but this being a Kurt Sutter show, I can’t help but be terrified that this is some cockeyed foreshadowing 🙁
Wilkin, with fake-son Luca Maddox, encounter witch / healer Annora at a local market. Annora gives Luca some “sweet calamus*” which lights the lad up like a christmas tree. The sweet calamus basically looks like a stick. But Luca sure seemed happy to be chewing on it!
We learn that Wilkin’s crew has been “lock knee’d” for twelve days in tight cells, but that “oils” provided by Annora (and smuggled in by Wilkin) has helped alleviate their pain.
Back at the castle, Vampire Bill catches Wilkin and Toran sneaking provisions to their imprisoned buddies. He offers to trade their freedom for a task accomplished by the fake executioner / fake tradesman. Just stop a caravan from Baron Pryce to the King (supposedly carrying a rare holy relic) to prevent him from gaining royal favor and your friends will be freed!
Of course the prospect of murdering Pryce’s soldiers and burning down their caravan doesn’t sit well with Wilkin and Toran, but they’ll do it anyway to free their friends. Oh Wilkin! What are you doing buddy? You already know that Corbett is the real “bastard” of this show!
Before we leave the castle we jump to Love, who sees a royal procession arriving. Visitors! That other bastard Lord Gaveston has ventured to Ventrishire to preside over “the declaration of heirs”. Basically, Gaveston, with a “progeny prophet” (“piss prophet”, or the “piss profit” in this week’s title) will test Love’s, you know, piss to scientifically** determine her pregnancy. Gaveston knows — or at least suspects — that Love was lying last week, having heard she is a barren Baroness.
Gaveston echoes the sentiments of Love and Isabel last week, proclaiming he hates the Welsh (remember, they both said, while visiting the King, that they hate the French). Gaveston notices Corbett’s twins, and Corbett notices Gaveston noticing the twins. They are sent on a mission.
Gaveston confronts Love in the chapel:
“Let us hope God will take pity. For when you are found to be a fraud the King will have your breasts cleaved off, your barren womb severed, and your head taken by sword.”
-Gaveston, to Love
What a pleasant visitor!
And then… The twins.
“What brings this horrid display of bacchanal*** to my chamber?”
-Gaveston, to the twins
Gaveston leaves Love to find the twins making love in his chambers. That seemed really weird to me. I mean, it was weird when the twins were making out with each other while menage-ing trois-style with Corbett; but maybe in the moment that was meant to be a turn-on for him in the moment? It is just weird in “Piss Profit/Proffidwyr Troeth” that they would be actively woohoo-ing before Gaveston even got there. No coy seduction. No “check out this novel fantasy experience we are offering up, collectively, to you, big boy” … More “well we were already hitting it incest-like, but there is plenty of room in this bed and our boss told us to so I guess you can join in”.
What might be weirder is that one of the twins openly tells Gaveston that they are there to loosen his tongue… WITH THEIRS (and then she Frenches the Frenchman)
Weird-est? Gaveston declares them “my girls” before diving between the two.
Out in the wilderness, Toran and Wilkin prepare to waylay Baron Pryce’s caravan. Toran starts to say, basically, that Wilkin is being too nice to Love (can’t be too serious about being civil to these nobles after all) but then it is time to get a-murdering.
Wilkin and Toran stick knives and arrows into the soldiers and their horses, then set the caravan on fire. They declare the “dirty deed complete” … Until they hear pained female screams from inside.
Wikkin busts up the wagon, and out pops a mortally burned woman. It is Pryce’s wife!
Oh Wilkin! You knew Knew KNEW Corbett was the wily one already!
Last week we pointed out that one of the barriers to Corbett’s plan was the existence of Pryce’s current wife. Well, I guess that is out of the way now.
Wilkin and Toran are understandably distraught. I mean they knew ahead of time that they were going to pull a drive-by on someone else’s soldiers, but apparently the death of a woman — and being used as assassins rather than regular-old murderers — was not on the planned menu. Wilkin and Corbett get into it back at the castle, which looks violent to us, but is apparently an exhilirating exchange of rasslin’ that Corbett was always in the market for.
The twins attend to the bloodied Corbett, and give him some allegedly uplifting news. According to the twins, Gaveston was not interested in their “wetted slots” but rather the handsome chamberlain only. Which sets up something like the third-of-n huge conflicts of “Piss Profit/Proffidwyr Troeth”.
Gaveston: You sure have risen high for a poor village boy.
Corbett: I’m hitting my head on the commoner glass ceiling.
Gaveston: You are handsome and clever!
Corbett: “You flatter like a highly polished courtesan.”
Gaveston: Well enough small talk. How about you fallate me now? (also make sure you’re on your knees)
Corbett: Um… okay
Gaveston: Just kidding! “You honestly think I would let dirt-born lips tough a rod that knows only the holes of beautiful things? I’m sure there is a shit-scraper in need of a suckling.”
An understandably dejected Corbett takes his rejection out on his servant, apparently beating him to death.
Wilkin hooks Love up with Annora; and Annora figures out how to trick the piss prophet’s test, providing her with the urine of “a very pregnant wolf”
Wilkin has one of his regular hallucinations, which involves a VRERY naked**** Petra transforming into the dead, horrifically burned, zombie body of Baroness Pryce. Love brings him back to reality; Annora conducts a huge foreshadowing moment that seems to imply that there will be a substantial something between the two (which I’m sure no audience members predicted at any point before this).
Annora’s wolf-piss mixture (supposedly Love’s piss) is provided to the piss prophet, and applied to pins (to rust), blood (to swirl), and “the phallic bone of a goat” because science.
“The science arts continue to amaze me.”
So what is up with the twins? Apparently, all that ostensible incest makes perfect sense. The twins are Gaveston’s sisters (or at least half-sisters)! They are loyal to him (and apparently were all raised in a very strange household).
Annora’s magic wolf pee beats the test, which has Gaveston upset. He has to leave Ventrishire in a huff (instead of being put in charge of it and getting to cut up Love) but at least he got to have sex with his sisters.
The episode ends with a grateful, if troubled, Love embracing a still heavy hearted Wilkin in the chapel. Wilkin calls Love “my love” which is only a little bit weird (as her name is actually Love) but is set up as being awkward. They hug it out. Theis warm exchange is witnessed by Toran (already on record REE: Wilkin being too buddy-buddy with the Baroness) and Mrs. Maddox (already upset at the lack of romantic intimacy in her not-marriage, in addition to being possibly unhinged).
What a crazy episode! There is always a lot going on on The Bastard Executioner but there was actually a good bit of mystery revealing and plot resolution in “Piss Profit/Proffidwyr Troeth”; the most important of which has to be the macro characterization of Wilkin. The narrative given to the audience is that Wilkin is a good man driven into terrible but necessary circumstances; but the reality is he has ceased to be a good man (if ever he was one) already. At this point he is masquerading as an executioner solely to get revenge. So far he has executed an innocent man (if douchebag), chopped off the nose of a sweet young girl, choked a man to death with his dinner, and now unwittingly assassinated an infirm Baroness from the neighboring shire via the particularly grisly vehicle of “burning wagon”. We can infer from the descent of Jax Teller in Sons of Anarchy that Sutter’s position is that, however he started and whatever his original intentions, Sutter would likely ultimately call Wilkin irredeemable, but give him a glimmer of two or hope, just so he can get a little more leverage on the dagger-twist when his end finally does arrive. Wilkin seems completely aware of all this by the way; he was much more sulky than usual throughout.
* I looked it up and it can be used as a “substitute for ginger, cinnamon, or nutmeg” … That is, something with some level of flavor for the medieval palate.
** Not that scientifically, it turns out.
*** “Bacchanal” is one of my all-time favorite high school vocab words; I am not sure that Gaveston used it appropriately here; the twins may or may not have been wild, but there was no indication of drunkenness, no nod, specifically, to Bacchus. And horrid?
**** She was quite naked for basic cable and a lens flare from being well past the median episode of Game of Thrones. The camera came at her from a distance, and there was some weird Instagram filtering going on, but Petra was pretty shockingly full-frontal; heavy, in my mind, for basic cable.