The madness of Prince Louis is one of this season’s surprising narrative strengths. His scenes are not easy to watch — the guy is a murderer — yet I can easily imagine how an actor would relish the chance to play a character who sways on the edge of sanity one moment, then earnestly displays his love and devotion to his wife the next. His soliloquy of torment was sincere, the weight he felt as the heir and unquestioning soldier real, then the camera cut to the solitary audience, the terrified mother of the child he murdered. This is a case of good writing finding the perfect actor, and Tom Forbes delivers every episode.
The murderous effort to find the child of Landry and Queen Joan served a dual purpose of erasing proof of their infidelity and ruining the reputation of the Templars. Prince Louis and his men wore Templar uniforms. In an effort to more widely discredit the Templars, King Philip opened his audience to the public. The mother of the child who was murdered in the previous episode, along with her husband, testified against the Templars. When she spotted Prince Louis, however, she recognised him and immediately tried to loudly accuse him. Prince Louis silenced the poor woman with a suffocating embrace and a promise of justice. Later, whilst she was strapped to a chair, Louis let loose of his torment, then shattered the woman once more by presenting her with the blood of her murdered child. Louis regaining his virility after this encounter rang false to me, but overall, so far, Louis’s characterisation walked the fine line of melodrama without being annoying (though, from a human being’s perspective, certainly appalling).
Princess Isabella’s story with Princess Margaret appears to be moving in the direction of a highly fictionalised version of the Tour de Nesle Affair. Isabella got Margaret to confide in her during a hunt, and the two of them got drunk. Later, Margaret saw Isabella leaving the camp with two men at arms. Genevieve Gaunt has had far too few scenes so far, yet she makes every second on camera count.
‘Equal Before God’ was likely a reference to the relationship between the Templar knights and the members of the Order of Saint Lazarus. Young Rhone was used as the vehicle to showcase the paranoia and dangerous lack of understanding of society back then about leprosy. He told the story of how a someone with leprosy killed his little sister; he carried his sister home and later, she died of fever. Rhone, along with the other new initiates, had to face their fear of leprosy when an injured Gabriel, a Knight of Saint Lazarus, arrived at the temple with news that the King had a hand in the murder of Pope Boniface. Gabriel was the only survivor of the attack led by Gawain, aimed at preventing the Knights of Saint Lazarus from spreading the truth about Pope Boniface’s death. Though the master of the Chartres Temple decided that they would wait for instructions from the yet to be named new pope, Landry (now a templar knight once more), Tancrede, Master Talus, Rhone, Vasant, and Kelton escorted Gabriel back to the Church of Saint Lazarus.
The quiet night and warmth of friendship at the church was interrupted with the arrival of Gawain and the King’s men. Landry used fire and the disorienting effect of thick smoke to prevail against greater numbers, and Gawain was forced to retreat. Nonetheless, Master Talus knew that war had come. He would spread the word to other temples himself. Landry and Tacrede were to visit baby Eve before the King found her.
This is another packed, well paced episode of Knightfall. I may have a few quibbles about it, but four episodes in, I can say that this is a stronger season than the one that came before. As of this writing, I have not seen a definitive answer to the question of whether there will be a third season. If there is, then that’s great. If there isn’t, then at least the series ended on a high note.
⚔︎ I don’t necessarily get why Master Talus was suddenly nice about Landry’s daughter, but in a strong (so far) season, it is one of those I choose to let go.
⚔︎ Tancrede spoke to Landry about his love for a nun, the woman he was supposed to marry and who now takes care of baby Eve.
⚔︎ Gawain was training an army to fight against the Templars.
⚔︎ Louis on his knees, earnestly praying for a child with his wife, was a good show of the duality of monster and religious family man.
⚔︎ De Nogaret wanted to initiate a legal campaign against the Templars for murdering infants. The sharp De Nogaret now knew Louis was the true culprit.
⚔︎ Gabriel was a nobleman with a wife and son; he left them because of his condition. Unspoken in the conversation between Gabriel, Tancrede and Landry was the Holy Grail Landry broke that could have cured Gabriel and innumerable others.