Milus Musings: The Bastard Executioner Episode 4 “A Hunger/Newyn”

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Stephen Moyer as Milus Corbett knocked it out of the park again in the latest episode of The Bastard Executioner, episode 4 “A Hunger/Newyn”.

The biggest reveal in this episode was learning that Milus truly wants the best for Ventrishire and that he wishes the Baroness to rule (only with his guidance, of course). However, Milus will need all of his cunning to make this happen and in this installment, we see him sow the seeds to insure that these goals will be achieved.

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Baroness Lady Love has left for Windsor to see King Edward I in order to learn about the future of the shire. While she is away, Milus uses his wits to insure that the shire is safe by sending an invitation to neighboring Baron, Edwin Pryce under the Baroness Lady Love’s name.  Milus has devised a plan to convince Pryce that the joining of their two shires will benefit them all.

When Pryce arrives with his chancellor, Henry Dyer, at first they are not happy that the Baroness is not at home. Milus tells them that she had only departed yesterday (she really left over a week ago) and that he felt it was better to let them continue to Ventrishire instead of sending them word of her absence since they were already more than half way there. The real reason for the deception is that Milus wants time to meet with Pryce alone and hopefully, win him over to his plan that he knows will benefit them both.

When they do finally meet, Milus tells Pryce of his plan to join their shires. Even though Ventrishire has more debt than resources, Milus suggests that with additional men and resources, they could clear the rugged beach and build a port on their coast that would allow larger seafaring vessels to dock. This would make Ventrishire the center of all imports and exports west of the marshland and therefore, earn a tariff for them on all goods coming and going.

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While Pryce seems interested, he reminds Milus that it is a decision for the King. However, Milus knows of Pryce’s past similar plan and if, in addition, he weds the Baroness, the land will be his by right. Pryce reminds Milus that he is already married, but Milus points out that Pryce’s wife “has consumption and that her illness has grown beyond the prospect of a return to wellness.

When Pryce objects to his suggestion that his wife might die, Milus apologizes saying, “sometimes my love of a brighter future clouds my reason; I am, I confess a bit of a dreamer.”  Pryce accepts his apology and seems interested, but he mentions two obstacles to Milus’ plan, his chamberlain Henry Dyer has influence with the King and losing his position would wound his pride and therefore he would be no help. The other obstacle is that perhaps his wife will survive. Milus answers by nodding his head and saying he will “give both, deep thought.”  Note: Somehow I think Pryce’s wife is history, or soon will be at this point.

Now that Milus knows that Pryce has an appetite for his plan, he must begin to make it a reality by getting rid of the first obstacle, Pryce’s Chamberlain, Henry Dyer. Not only is Dyer standing in his way of becoming Pryce’s Chamberlain, but Dyer also knows that Brattle is not Maddox. So, not only is it to Milus’ benefit that he die, but it’s important to Brattle’s as well.

Milus spends the rest of the visit wooing Pryce further while he decides how he will get ride of Henry Dyer. He decides to get his “executioner” to do the deed.

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He brings chancellor, Henry Dyer, to the execution room where Brattle is having his meal. Milus warns Dyer to keep his suspicions about Maddox to himself, but he refuses, saying that the Baron will be informed. At this moment, Milus punches him in the face with a mighty blow and he goes down flat on the floor, unconscious.

This gives Milus time to order Brattle to finish the deed and kill him. He says that it’s imperative that he never be able to utter the truth about Brattle not being Maddox. But Brattle refuses saying, “I will not; this is your poison,” Milus takes him by the shirt saying “this is our mother’s milk, this is what we are, what we know.”  Brattle replies, “I’m not a man who does this.”  As Brattle opens the door to leave, he sees his three friends – Ash, Berber, and Calo – captured in the hallway below and being used as leverage against him. Milus tells Brattle that they have been “taken into the custody of manner law under the suspicion of a brutal and satanic murder.” He further tells Brattle that, “everyone you love or care about is either dead or in my grasp to make that so. He (Dyer) is a pompous annoyance; God will cheer when he drops down to Hell. Give it a natural twist, drunk, hit his head, something simple and I will make sure that his death is to be found as an unfortunate accident.

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Brattle decides he now has no choice and proceeds to kill Henry Dyer by choking him with a meat bone.

At the end of the episode we see Milus with Pryce saying goodbye. Milus has won today with Dyer now dead and Pryce in his pocket, too.

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FINAL MUSINGS

Before the episode ends, we see the Baroness who is about to leave Windsor. Having made no headway at all, before she exits, she is greeted by the King’s man who has met with the King’s Chancellor.  He tells her that the Chancellor will draft a decree of division and Ventrishire will be divided with territories going to the neighboring shires and the coastal area will fall under his own authority. Lady Love asks if that is final and she is told it is “most final.” He bids her a good journey and tells her she may keep the gown she wore to visit with the King as a gesture of good will. She tells him that the gown will soon be of no use to her since she is with “heir,” and that that this was the news she wished to share with the King.

I know that she isn’t pregnant and that she just thought of it on the spur of the moment, but nonetheless it sent a clear message that the King won’t appreciate since if there is an heir, the shire will remain in the family. So, we find that both the Baroness and Milus seem to be working toward similar goals. But, since the baroness is not with “heir” as she claims, she will need some help to make this come about. It will be interesting to learn how she and Milus work together or, more likely, against each other in future episodes to save Ventrishire.

I was glad to see so much intrigue in this episode and that the show seems to be finding it’s way.  I read an article that called it a Medieval “House of Cards.”  I somewhat agree and would welcome that.  At any rate, I’m certainly going to continue watching; what about you?

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9 Comments

  1. Thanks, Lynn! This was definitely the strongest episode so far. Not perfect, but it feels like pieces are coming together. I could do without Wilkin’s merry band and Annora altogether (sorry Katey), but Milus and his charismatic shenanigans make it all worthwhile. Stephen is so good at playing bad! Now that Wilkin is even more under Milus’ thumb, I’m anxious to see where things go.

  2. Thanks, Lynn, for an excellent Musings.  I enjoyed watching Milus at work, laying out his plan to combine Pryceshire and Ventrishire into one to benefit both men.  It was evident rather early on that Pryce’s chamberlain would have to go.  Sadly, Maddox had to be the one to do him in, but he had little choice in the matter.  For now his executioner status remains intact.  Will he be able to free his fellow revenge seekers, newly captured and used by Milus to force him to kill Pryce’s chamberlain? 

    Lady Love’s trip to Windsor certainly did not go as planned, and she was left to the mercies of Edward II’s foppish, favored courtier, Piers Gaveston.  Now that she sprang the “with heir” on Gaveston, which will ensure that she keeps Ventrishire, I’m wondering who will be her baby daddy.  Maddox, perhaps.  His wife continues to descend further into madness.
    I had difficulties with the religious subtext.  I’m not sure who the Seraphim are, and why the Archdeacon wants their tattooed skins.  It has to do with a holy text of some sort.  That’s what I got out of it.  Having them hung up on the wall made for a grisly scene.  I could have done without the torture of the last in what appears to be a long line of Seraphim sufferers.  It’s not clear to me how Annora is connected to the bearers of these tattoos but she seems to be in some fashion.  I could handily do without the mysticism at this point.

    Watching Milus’ machinations, and following Lady Love’s adventures and struggles to keep control of her shire are story enough for me.  The more Stephen on view, the better IMO.

  3. I thought the episode was great.  I love the political intrigue and how Milus manipulated everyone.  Very clever writing, and Steve was excellent.  Milus got rid of Dyer without getting his own hands dirty.   I don’t know how much more Wilkin can take of Milus forcing him to do such terrible things.  Stephen looked so hot in that scene with pen in hand.

  4. love_lillia  Yes … Milus needed Dyer gone as part of his consolidation plan with Pryce.  So he worked it round that Maddox was forced to kill Dyer.  Cleverly done on Milus’ part.

  5. Thank you, Lynn.  I enjoyed reading the recap.

    Milus is the freaking man.  He’s a genius and I loved him punching the other arrogant chamberlain right the hell out.  Boom.  Every word that comes out of his mouth is magnificent. What I love about his conversations with Wilkin is the absolute bluntless.  He just tells it like it is.  I would love to see Milus and Lady Love working together, rather than against each other for the good of the shire.  I am on the edge of my seat until the next episode.

  6. Milus reveals himself as a master schemer, but I think he wants what’s best for Milus and a ruler of his choice for Ventrishire is in his best interest so he can be chamberlain of a powerful man again.
    Best episode so far, Steve gave a very strong performance in all his scenes. He is carrying the show so far.

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