REVIEW: Knightfall, S1E10 – Do You See the Blue?

Knightfall‘s freshman season comes to a close in the most heartbreaking manner possible, and with many questions left unanswered in case of another go round. “Do You See the Blue?” is a visually stunning episode of television featuring excellently choreographed fight scenes, but unfortunately it also relies on one of the oldest storytelling tricks to usher Landry (Tom Cullen) into the next phase of his story.

The final battle.

Though last week’s episode left us with the cliffhanger of Landry’s leg, it seems he’s healed up enough to go to battle this week. The real issue lies in his lack of backing from the Grandmaster, meaning he must face the palace forces with only the few loyal Templars he has left. This suits Philip (Ed Stoppard) and De Nogaret’s (Julian Ovenden) purposes quite nicely, as personal vengeance against Landry is of the highest order now that they have possession of the Grail anyway.

Joan (Olivia Ross) is approached by Philip with a soft apology and an offer to raise her child as his own if she will only consent to treat him as she did when she first arrived. Considering how cruel and abusive he was the day before, it’s a good thing Joan is not weak enough to give in – especially as a simple refusal from her reverts him back to the monster he’s become. This scene really crystallizes why Joan chose to continue an affair with Landry despite all the pain she knew it would bring: her choices have been made for her since she was three years old, and the love she shared with Landry was the only time she could be free. To go back to the confinement of the palace now would be to throw her entire sense of self away, and it’s too bad “Do You See the Blue?” only has a short time to explore this before her story ends. Nevertheless, she shows a lot of gumption throughout, even knocking her husband out with a candlestick after he threatens to kill her child.

Meanwhile, Landry’s arc has been discovering that there is more to life than Holy Wars. It is rather easy for him to promise Tancrede (Simon Merrels) that he will not turn the Grail over to the Pope, but it also leaves me wondering what his plans are for both the holy symbol and the Order of the Templars. How many would follow in his footsteps? This line of questioning is interrupted by Joan’s arrival to warn her lover of the impending attack, and the clever Queen has brought the Grail with her which means Landry has little to lose at this point – or so he thinks.

Rookie mistake.

One inspiring speech later, he find ourselves at the scene of the long-awaited battle. Gawain (Pádraic Delaney) leads the charge on the side of the mercenaries, and the epic sequence is juxtaposed with Joan’s water breaking in a classic dichotomy of life and death. Amidst all the bloody swords and slow-mo, though, the real object of the fight are the various showdowns between those who were once brothers: Landry and Gawain, Gawain and Tancrede, and finally Landry and Philip. These forces of nature have been at odds about faith and friendhsip since nearly the beginning of Knightfall, and “Do You See the Blue?” finally lets them have it out. Landry never meant to cause his friends any pain, but the fact of the matter is that he caused a great deal and now he’s paying for it. Not that this gives Gawain or Philip the moral high ground, it just makes for a much more complicated climax.

The battle rages on around and inside Joan, but when she hears that Landry might she, she still rushes out to find him. Landry thinks of Joan as Philip beats him bloody, only to have her appear before them pleading for his life once more. If anything, Philip is merely spurred to more bloody vengeance by her presence. When she she brings up whether he ever loved her, he agrees to let Landry live and stabs her instead. It’s pretty gruesome, and beyond that it’s disappointing that Knightfall would choose to kill off one of the only important women in its cast. Especially because it’s so clear that her choices will now be reduced to fueling Landry’s pain as well as growth, in addition to furthering the enmity between him and Philip.

To the actors’ credit, they both deliver pitch-perfect performances in her final moments, which she uses to tell him about the spots she loves in Navarre and the future she imagined for him. Ross’ delivery is especially moving, but the scene loses some of its impact simply because we had so little contact with Navarre and the lovers spent a large time dithering in the middle of series. But Cullen plays the realization that the Grail is nothing compared to Joan’s love beautifully, and the moment that he decides to use the Grail to save her is a joyful one despite it not working in the end. He smashes the Grail in his grief but soon after is holding his living daughter in his arms, a scene which encapsulates the wild range of emotions that “Do You See the Blue?” plays with.

But does this mean that Landry has destroyed the holy relict? Or was the artifact they spent all season finding a red herring all along? Brother Berenger pulls out the broken Grail at the very end of the episode and uncovers a note hidden inside it, which will clearly be an important clue in the story’s potential second season. But for now, Landry must contemplate what is left of his love and decide how his daughter will live in the future.