Kurt Sutter is often known as the man who wrote and directed some, if not most, of the best and most memorable episodes of FX’s The Shield (which helped set the standards for adult content regarding non premium cable television shows). And of course, there’s his modern age Hamlet with motorcycles, Sons of Anarchy, which after 7 Seasons had come to an end.
Now from the mad but brilliant mind of Sutter comes The Bastard Executioner.
Here’s the synopsis based on the 2-Hour Pilot: Wilkin Brattle (played by Lee Jones) formerly of King Edward’s knights, becomes disillusioned due to traumatic experiences during an epic battle five years ago. As “Wilky” attempts to live a peaceful existence with his wife and unborn child, a horrific series of events, or shall I say “event” occurs that will change his destiny forever.
Yes, there is that familiar trope about a war veteran that out of personal tragedy is forced to enter conflict however, it is a necessary plot device in order to define the antagonist’s purpose. And it works brilliantly in this episode directed by Paris Barclay of SOA.
There are quite a few noticeable faces not only from the aforementioned Sons of Anarchy (such as Katey Sagal) but other notable series as well. It’s kind of like the who’s who of cable TV most notably, Stephen Moyer of True Blood who stars as the cunning douchewipe Milus Corbett and is certain to be the primary antagonist of the show.
The fight scenes are very graphic, that will make Braveheart look like Fraggle Rock (Ok, I exaggerated a bit but you get the idea!). And needless to say, TBX does not shy away from “shagging” as there were scenes where for a second I thought I was watching HBO, and speaking of which, most people will immediately compare this to their golden ticket that is Game of Thrones, but it’s far different than that venerable series.
The locales and setting is more enclosed, the sword battles are not full scale epic, nor is it meant to be. And I give TBX some kind of credit for being original and not being based on some series of novels. This was clearly Sutter’s brainchild and with all the attention GOT has been getting I’m sure he wants in on that medieval money!
The intro is somewhat familiar if you have seen Sons of Anarchy but I really like the outro for its instrumental theme that fits the series overall. Within the 3rd act of the Pilot, there is a big reveal of why the traumatic event that altered Brattle’s persona came to be and I for one can’t wait to see how it further develops.
Prior to that, there were a few flashbacks that were needed to fill Brattle’s backstory during his servitude for King Edward the 3rd. If you’re looking for a medieval series with copious amounts of blood, sex & magic, and a sprinkle of political intrigue, you can do no worse than The Bastard Executioner.
As the news kid on the “Block” I highly recommend this series!