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TV ReviewsKnightfall Season 2 Episode 1: God’s Executioners Review

History Channel may not have many scripted series, but they certainly don’t skimp on the production value for the few they have. Knightfall and its medieval mayhem is back!

Synopsis: Banished from the Knights Templar after the discovery of his affair with Queen Joan, Landry must work to redeem himself under the watchful eye of a mysterious veteran of the Crusades. King Philip formulates a plan to take action against the Templars, while dealing with the return of his erratic, eldest son, Prince Louis. (History)

Writers: Aaron Helbing

Director: Rick Jacobson

Rating: TV-MA

Running Time: 60mins

Airs: Mondays at 10pm on History

After the success of Vikings, History channel took its time to release another big-budget historical drama. Rather than focus on a time before pirates, they moved a few centuries ahead and dove head first into The Crusades. The first season was a strong freshman showing by this series as it blended the character drama of TV with top grade action sequences. Now it returns with its second season with a slew of new characters and fresh story arcs.

The last season ended on a major turning point for the main character Landry (Tom Cullen) who say his love, Queen Joan (Olivia Ross), cut down by her husband King Philip (Ed Stoppard) after he learns of her infidelity with the former. The fallout of these events and the birth of Landry’s daughter play a vital role in the narrative of season two giving a tale of redemption, revenge and a struggle for power and control over medieval Europe. Here’s what went down in “God’s Executioners.”

Landry entrusts his daughter’s life with his still loyal friend Tancrede (Sam Merrells) who takes the girl, named Eve, away from those who could hurt her. Without needing to look over his shoulder to protect his daughter, Landry can shift his focus to his next quest and the focus of this season’s story. The Templars are aware of Landry’s affair and have expelled him from the order forcing him to atone for his sins and seek redemption from his brothers.

After weeks of banging at the Stronghold’s door, Tancrede returns and gets Landry an audience with the Grandmaster. He pleads his case and by a single vote is allowed back into the Order. The only stipulation is he must start from the bottom as an initiate. This storyline allows Landry to regain his spirituality and follow the Templar code after a season of vow breaking.

Landry finds himself trained by Talus (Mark Hamill) who is one of the Templars that avidly voted against Landry’s return. He makes training a living hell for Landry and his fellow initiates including new character Magnus (Dean Ridge). The Templar initiates are sent to retrieve treasures from the old Paris Temple as part of their training. While Landry is able to save them from a massacre, he is flogged for his brash decision making.

Meanwhile, the other major storyline revolves around the French royal court. A bearded King Philip finds himself trying to find closure with the death of his wife and her infidelity. He is continually prodded by William De Nogaret (Julian Ovenden) and Princess Isabella (Genevieve Gaunt) to find Landry and make him pay for his crimes. Philip is initially hesitant, but has a change of heart when his son Prince Louis (Tom Forbes) returns.

He is enraged at the news of his mother’s death giving Philip the perfect way to rid himself of Landry. Philip spins a story of Queen Joan’s death at the hands of Landry giving Louis enough hatred to seek revenge. That isn’t before he exhumes her body and they discover she had a baby cut from her stomach. This gives King Philip two goals now: to kill Landry and find Joan’s missing child.

And finally, Gawaine (Padric Delaney) is still alive and doing… alright? He goes by the name The Crusader and takes part in the medieval version of Fight Club. He is confronted by De Nogaret with a proposition which most likely revolves around finding Landry and, or the child. That conversation will become clear in next week’s episode!

Templar’s Journal

  • How long until Talus comes to respect and mentor Landry?
  • Will Landry be able to protect his daughter from King Philip?
  • What was De Nogaret’s proposition to Gawaine?
  • Will Prince Louis discover the truth of his mother’s death?
  • How long until Landry is re-knighted as part of the Order?

Overall, God’s Executioners was a great episode. The new season starts with some fresh storylines that bring the characters to some new crossroads. Landry is forced to rediscover himself after losing his way providing a strong moral backbone for this season. Meanwhile, the French Royals and their revenge narrative will play nicely as a huge obstacle that Landry must overcome from his past. The best part of this episode is the addition of Mark Hamill who steals every scene he is in. His character is disgruntled and narcissistic, but wise and reserved. He is no longer the Jedi Knight, but the Yoda of medieval Europe. 

Score: 9.5/10

What did you think of “God’s Executioners ”? Let me know in the comments below!

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