Pillars Of the Earth Episode 2 Recap: Redemption

In Winchester’s square, pigs are roasting, jugglers and tumblers and puppeteers are performing, and criminals are being horribly mutilated for the enjoyment of the crowd. Aliena and Richard wander in just as a thief is having his hands cut off. The crowd roars as they’re sprayed with blood. Man, Aliena’s really not looking too good, which is appropriate, all things considered. She’s hollow-cheeked, tanned, and heavy-eyed. Either Hayley Atwell went on a crash diet for a while right before filming this part, or the makeup artists did a really good job on her. There’s something different about her—a certain hardened look. Well done, Hayley. I think she’s starting to grow on me.

Inside the castle, the Hamleighs approach Waleran and exchange pleasantries, but when Waleran asks William if he’s still pining for Aliena, Regan shuts him right down by saying that they were pretty lucky they decided against that particular match. Right, they decided. Revisionist history is always marvelous.

Any further discussion is put on hold by the arrival of the king, who makes his way through the crowd of courtiers and emerges onto a balcony overlooking the square. The announcer up on the scaffold…announces him and the crowd cheers. Stephen announces that the executions and punishments meted out that day will mean the end of opposition to his rule in England—Maud and her followers are fleeing as he speaks, which is news to Percy Hamleigh. Regan fills him in on the basics of spin. The king’s only telling the ignorant peasants what they want to hear.

Bartholomew is brought out in his cage/cart, and the crowd pelts him with fruit and vegetables. He’s led to the scaffold, chained and humbled. As he ascends, Aliena turns and screams for the king to grant him mercy. The crowd quiets and William comes bursting onto the balcony at the sound of her voice. Aliena ignores his presence and continues to plead for her father’s life. Stephen’s not having it, and asks instead if Richard’s her brother. When he learns Richard’s sixteen, he offers to take him on as a soldier in his army, to prove his loyalty. Richard clearly doesn’t know what to do, and Aliena turns to her father, who places a hand over his heart, reminding her of her vow to get Shiring back for Richard.

She nods and turns back and asks Stephen to give Richard the knighthood and title he deserves. Stephen’s amused, calls her a bold woman, and says he should take her on as one of his soldiers instead. Do it, Stephen, Aliena kicks ass. Seriously, just ask that groom William left with his horses back at the castle.

Stephen tells Richard to find himself a horse and armor and report for duty, and he’ll see what to do with him then. Aliena thanks him, and now it’s time to get down to business. Bartholomew is told to kneel, and while Aliena watches and Richard turns away, his head is taken off in one stroke. The two children hold each other and cry as the crowd celebrates.

Later, Aliena and Richard are making their way down Winchester’s back alleys, Richard whining that he won’t fight for Stephen after what he did to their father. Aliena reminds him that Stephen’s the only one who can give Shiring back to Richard, so he has to play along, at least for now. And to do that, he needs the money their father left with the priest to buy armor and a horse.

At Kingsbridge, work is well underway on the cathedral. The monks chant as they work, Martha admonishes one of them for doing his work incorrectly, and Tom strolls through, observing and correcting as he goes. Jack struggles with a heavy, awkward-looking cart and Alfred gives him some attitude for it.

Near the building site, Philip’s got a desk set up, where he’s trying to work as Remigius bitches about the cathedral and Tom, who he says is too slow and too ambitious. He should be building a smaller church, according to Remigius. Philip mildly tells him to trust God, but Remigius starts to go a tad too far by saying that God’s none too pleased to see his monks used for labor on the cathedral instead of spending their days on their knees, praying. Work is prayer, Philip tells him, and Remigius backs off a little. Philip realizes he’s not dealing with a towering intellect here and slows down his speech accordingly to explain that he’s going to Winchester to sell the fleeces from their flock, which will bring in money, which can be used to pay skilled laborers, which means the monks can get back to their praying. Happy? Remigius tries to backpedal, but Philip shuts him down, calling him on prideful ignorance and making him bring water to the workers as penance.

On a dark and stormy night, Tom rides up to Ellen’s cave to get laid and try to convince her to return to Kingsbridge. Not happening, she says. They probably wouldn’t let her return anyway. Oh, they would if she and Tom were married, he tells her. Dude, she peed on a bishop. And then stabbed him. I really think it’ll take more than a wedding to make that right.

Ellen reasonably points out that even if they did marry, she’s still an outlaw who’s ripe for burning, so it’s not happening anytime soon. They get back to business.

In a cavernous church, presumably in Winchester, Stephen’s confessing to Waleran. Or, rather, he’s complaining to Waleran that, even though Stephen confessed and was absolved for his sins, God’s still punishing him with persistent rumors at court that the shipwreck wasn’t an accident. Waleran tries to talk him down with the “God is on your side” line, but Stephen’s getting all wound up and asks why, if God is on his side, Maud’s still around, and now approaching Lincoln. Her capture of that city would be really bad for him. Waleran starts to play an angle and points out that Stephen’s not the only person in his kingdom, so maybe he’s not the one being punished here. Maybe someone else put God’s nose out of joint? Someone like, say, a prior up in Kingsbridge? Stephen seems willing to listen.

The Kingsbridge monks have gathered for a meeting in the chapter house, where Philip gives them a rundown of their finances. Things have improved since he took over, and now Philip’s getting ambitious—he wants Kingsbridge to become a market town, which would bring lots of people to Kingsbridge and to the cathedral, benefiting both. Remigius wet blankets that there will be no visitors because there is no longer any relic in the cathedral to draw them in, is there? As you’ll recall, the skull of St. Adolphus was crushed by a falling beam in the fire, witnessed only by Philip. Cuthbert busts in to say that Philip actually rescued the skull, and Philip agrees that yes, yes he did, and now it’s stashed in a safe place and will be brought out once a new statue is carved to house it. Tom’s already appointed a sculptor who’s working on the statue as they speak.

That sculptor is Jack, who’s chiseling away while Martha, sitting nearby, fingers his missing ring and looks guilty. She tells Jack the statue’s beautiful, and then she starts to cry. Jack asks her what’s wrong, and she starts to confess that she stole the ring, but before she can spit it out, she stops herself and tells him instead that Alfred wants him to get lost, because Jack and his mother took their father away from them. Jack sweetly tells her that love’s not a contest (although he’ll realize someday that, actually, it totally is), but Martha doesn’t seem to agree. She takes off, and Jack opens a pouch around his waist and pulls out a crude drawing of Aliena and a flower that fell out of her hair the day they met.

Down in Winchester, Aliena and Richard have carved a path through the city’s churches, searching for the priest their father handed his fifty gold pieces off to. They enter one church to find a priest belching and eating on the altar, which I’m pretty sure was a no-no, even in those days. He barks at them to come back in the morning for confessions, unless they can pay. Richard ignores this and asks if he was the confessor for Bartholomew of Shiring after his arrest. The priest asks what of it, and Richard introduces himself and says he wants the money his father left. The priest plays dumb and tells Richard he’s mistaken, and Richard starts to get hysterical, calling him a liar and a thief and telling him he’s seen the hands of thieves cut off. The priest points out that it’s now his word against the word of a dead traitor, and Aliena is just done. She charges over, draws Richard’s sword, and attacks the priest.

“You lying, godless heathen!” she screams, knocking the priest to the floor and holding the sword to his chest. The priest tries to talk his way out of it, saying it’s a sin to harm a man of the cloth.

“Not if he robs orphans,” says Aliena. God, I love this girl. I always did—no matter what happens to her, she manages to come back and kick the ass of everyone in the room twice as well as everyone else. Come to think of it, pretty much every woman in this story is pretty awesome, whereas the male characters run the gamut from stupid and ineffective to clever but evil to clever and good.

Back to the priest—Aliena tells Richard to cut off his nose, which gets the guy talking. He tells her the money’s under the altar, and she hands off the sword to Richard, telling him if the priest moves, push hard. She heaves a block of stone out from under the altar and retrieves ten gold pieces.

“Where’re the rest?” she asks. The priest weakly responds that he spent it. Richard asks if he should kill him, but she just sniffs that hell’s too good for him. As she swirls out, she calmly informs the priest that she may come back and kill him someday. This guy will be looking over his shoulder every minute of every day for the rest of his life. That’s my girl.

Outside, Aliena wonders aloud what they can do with ten gold pieces. It’s not enough to buy a horse and armor for Richard, but she might be able to increase their money if they’re smart, she muses as she watches some men unloading large bales of fleece from a cart and handing them off to a buyer.

Tom, Alfred, and Jack arrive at the quarry and meet up with a man named Otto Blackface, who’s brought his entire extended family with him to work at the quarry. Introductions are made, and then they descend into the quarry proper, where Tom asks who’s in charge, so they can get to work. Walter emerges from a hut off to the side, near a shallow, muddy pool of water at the quarry’s bottom, and Tom introduces himself and says he’s there for the stone the king promised the priory. Seems Stephen’s had a change of heart, though, and now Kingsbridge can’t quarry there. He’s even sent William and a bunch of guards to scare the Kingsbridge workers off.

“I know you,” William says to Tom, emerging from the hut. Tom jogs his memory—he was once in charge of building William’s wedding house. William coldly tells them all to clear off, but Tom stands firm and asks what proof he has that the king has really refused permission for Kingsbridge to get the stone. William says the soldiers should be proof enough, so Tom switches tactics and tells William that if the soldiers attack them, they’re attacking both the throne and God, which means he’ll burn in hell for eternity. As we know, William’s got a pathological fear of hell, something Tom’s wife Agnes accidentally touched on in the first episode. Either Tom just got lucky there, or he’s got a great memory.

William blanches and looks uncertain, so Walter steps in, turns to William, and gestures to himself. William gets control of himself and challenges Tom to a duel—one of Tom’s men armed with a mason’s hammer against an unarmed Walter. Tom’s no idiot and says he’ll take his chances with the king, but William reminds him it’ll be months before Stephen even hears his claim, but the whole thing can be settled right then and there. Tom tries the God tactic again, saying that God wants the cathedral, and William retorts that if God wants it, why did he burn it down? Well, he didn’t, he burned down the crappy old church to make way for the cathedral. Nobody points that out, though, and Jack volunteers to fight. The rules are simple—whoever cries out first loses. Tom tries to stop Jack, but he’s plowing ahead. He trembles as Walter approaches him.

Walter begins by jumping at Jack and yelling, getting Jack even jumpier. He then picks Jack up and tosses him into the muddy pool. Jack gets his feet back under him, and the two men circle each other in the pool. On a completely unrelated note, I just noticed that the guy who plays Walter looks a lot like Sean Bean.

Jack swings the hammer wildly, and Walter ducks it easily, finally getting a hand on Jack’s throat. Jack manages to land a blow, but Walter doesn’t even flinch and responds by backhanding Jack, sending him sprawling. Walter grins triumphantly at William and Tom is almost jumping out of his skin. Jack stands again, and manages to land another blow that sends Walter to his hands and knees. While he’s recovering, Walter grabs a handful of stones from the quarry floor and throws them in Jack’s face, blinding him long enough for Walter to pin him down and wrench the hammer from Jack’s hand. Tom can’t contain himself as Walter raises the hammer over his head, but the guards restrain the builder and William sneers that Jack needs to cry out, not Tom. William tells Walter not to murder Jack, but to break something instead. Walter brings the hammer down on Jack’s left hand and Jack screams in agony. I really, really hope Jack’s right handed, because that looked terrible.

Later, Tom’s told Philip the whole story, and Philip is outraged (well, as outraged as Philip ever gets). Cuthbert tells Philip to go to the king and ask him to enforce his own decision, but Philip’s fast learning the way this whole thing works and points out that the king is just as likely to side with the Hamleighs—more likely, now, in fact, because the king needs the soldiers the Hamleighs can provide. Philip’s not quite sure what to do here.

Out in the woods, Ellen’s tending to Jack’s hand. It’s broken all right. She tells him he needs to leave it to heal for at least a month. When he protests that he has a statue to make, she tells him he’ll be crippled for life if he doesn’t rest the damn hand. That gets through to him. She starts putting a salve on the hand and asks if he wants to come home to the cave, with her, but he seems to be enjoying what he’s doing at the cathedral too much to leave now. So, Ellen starts to tell him a story of a dream she had the night he was born: she was in a dark room, and he opened a box that was full of light. This is, apparently, a story she’s told him several times, as he eye-rollingly reminds her, but she tells him she never told him the rest of the story. In the room was a grave, filled with hundreds of dead soldiers, kings, workers…She’s worried about him.Thanks for that cheery story, mom!

Aliena and Richard watch a farmer shear his sheep, and Aliena asks him how much he gets per fleece at market. A penny, he tells her. But, she reminds him, the market is a day’s walk from his farm, which means he loses two days getting there and back to sell his fleeces. Can’t be helped, the man says. Ahh, but it can. Sell the fleeces to Aliena and she’ll take them to market for him! Richard protests but she ignores him. Didn’t she discuss this plan with him earlier? Seems strange that they’d be arguing about this now, in front of the guy they’re trying to bargain with.

The farmer’s smart enough to know there’s got to be a catch somewhere, and it turns out he’s right—Aliena can only offer twopence for four fleeces. Not worth it, the farmer says, so she ups her bid to threepence. He loses a penny and gains back two days. The man’s looking a bit confused by all this—the futures market was a bit new in the 12th century—but finally he agrees. As Aliena and Richard haul the wool away, Richard wonders what the hell they’re going to do with it. Take it to Winchester and sell it, Aliena tells him. Richard points out that a penny profit isn’t much, considering all the effort, and Aliena says that it won’t just be a penny profit if they buy wool from 50 farmers. It won’t be much, but it’ll be a start.

Philip’s leading the monks out of one of their services when something occurs to him. He goes dashing into Tom’s workshop, where the builder is staring at plans, and tells him he has an idea. He tells Tom to have his workers ready to leave at midnight the following night.

Cut to the quarry at night, where the hammer-bearing masons are walking with the hooded monks. Philip asks Cuthbert how long until sunrise, and Cuthbert estimates just a few minutes. Man, how long did it take them to walk from Kingsbridge to the quarry?

Inside the hut, William, Walter, and their men are asleep with a number of nubile, naked women, oblivious to the fact that a bunch of monks with lanterns are picturesquely lining up in neat rows on two levels of the quarry. Philip begins one of the monks’ chants, and at Tom’s signal, the masons begin quarrying stone, keeping time with the music. The racket wakes the men in the hut, and they emerge and take in the sight of the chanting monks, and Philip approaching, arm outstretched, holding a gold cross. William draws a sword and tries to threaten Philip, but Philip continues the chant, unfazed, and at that moment the sun rises, bathing him in light that glints off the gold cross in his hand. This, of course, freaks William out, as if Philip called up the sun or something, and he slowly lowers the sword as everyone watches to see what’ll happen. Philip tells William that this is God’s work and God’s will, and then, raising his voice, he tells everyone there that he plans to hire all the quarry workers at the standard rate, and as an added bonus, he throws in plenary indulgences for working on the cathedral. What say you? he asks.

“Praise God,” one quarry worker answers, earning him a cuff from Walter. The quarry workers all join in the quarrying, which starts back up again as the monks recommence chanting. There’s something about the old church chants—I love them. I can see why the Gregorian Chants CD sold so well.

Stones for the foundation start to arrive at the building site as monks pack up the fleeces for Philip to take to market in Winchester.

Shiring Castle, which, now the Hamleighs are in residence, is hereby named Castle Creepy until I can come up with something better. Unlike the days of Bartholomew, when the place was all light and happy music, now it’s shrouded in thick fog that’s not symbolic at all. Regan strides purposefully through the corridors and finds William moping in the room where he raped Aliena. He’s looking for comfort from his mommy, and she gives it, telling him occasional defeats are the norm and he just has to get over it, because they make the victories that much nicer. William’s freaked that he’ll burn in hell, but she tells him God’s on their side and he shouldn’t pay any attention to that mean old Prior Philip. She asks him what he would do if he could get his hands on Philip, and William gets into the game, telling her he’d cut out his heart, roast it on a spit, and eat it. Charming. Regan promises her wittle baby that he’ll get to do just that.

Switching back to Jocasta mode, Regan asks whom he loves the most, and of course he says he loves mommy bestest. Thankfully, they’re interrupted by Walter, announcing Waleran.

Waleran mildly observes that some months ago, the Hamleighs helped Philip double cross him, and Regan calmly tells him it was because he never keeps his promises. All differences aside, though, after the stunt at the quarry, it seems that they now have a mutual enemy in the good prior. Percy calls Philip a political rat, and Waleran points out that rats can be easily eradicated once their nests are found. Where’s Philip’s nest? Kingsbridge, what of it? says Regan. Why should Kingsbridge get a cathedral at all? Waleran poses. Percy’s confused, of course, so Regan reminds him that Kingsbridge is a fairly small, unimportant town, whereas Shiring is a large market town. The cathedral should be built in Shiring instead, and where the cathedral goes, the cathedral lands and revenues go as well, which would leave Kingsbridge priory to shrivel up and die. All they need is the king’s approval, and to get that, Waleran suggests bringing the king to Kingsbridge so he can see what little progress is being made. Serendipitously, the feast of St. Adolphus is right around the corner. Perfect opportunity for a royal visit.

King Stephen is woken from a sound sleep by the late king, who warns Stephen he’ll rule for ill good, till saintly skulls weep tears of blood, as blood trickles down his head. Sounds good, I’ll rule forever, then, says Stephen. How long until the war ends? At this point, the late king breaks into rhyming couplets, for ultimate Shakespearean impact. I’ll transcribe the whole thing here:

The peace survive and war depart
When arrows pierce my daughter’s heart.

Who’s my greatest enemy? Stephen asks next. This whole time, he doesn’t even seem to notice that the late king’s dripping blood all over Stephen’s bare chest.

Who’s hair aflame? An artist boy’s.
One king he crowns, one king destroys.

And with that, the late king disappears and Stephen wakes from his nightmare. When did this show become Macbeth? Thanks a lot, King Banquo.

Aliena and Richard arrive at the Winchester Fleece Fair with a cart piled high with wool, excitedly imagining the profits they’ll reap that day. Seems Richard’s finally gotten on board with this plan.

They stop at the booth of one fleece dealer, who tells the man ahead of them that the wool quality’s poor, so he’ll only get a pound. He splits a coin with an axe, weighs it out, and hands the money over. Aliena and Richard are up next. The man examines the wool, declares it mixed quality, and offers half a pound. Pardon? Aliena points out that he paid more than that to the last guy, who had inferior wool. After a lot of back and forth, he admits that nobody’s going to pay a girl what they pay a man. He says this just as Jack and Philip roll up with their own full cart. Jack notices Aliena and is dumbstruck as she momentarily gets the Slo Mo Camera of True Love again. He doesn’t even hear the dealer ask him how many sacks there are. Philip, whose judgment isn’t clouded by a hot woman standing nearby, pipes up that there are eleven sacks, and tells Jack to unload them. Aliena’s starting to look defeated, but she gets indignant when the dealer hands over primo prices for Philip’s wool without even testing it. The guy’s a monk, so the dealer will take his word for it. Well, that’s a nice perk of the job. Richard, meanwhile, is buzzing around Philip’s cart and points out there are only ten sacks on the cart. True, Philip admits, and this is eleven—he points to Aliena’s wool. The dealer’s not keen on this and tells him he already offered for the wool, but Philip stands firm, tells him he’s buying Aliena’s wool from her for a pound, and then selling it along to the dealer with the rest of his wool. There’s not much the dealer can do here, and Aliena looks both grateful and thunderstruck to finally, finally! meet up with someone who’s somewhat honorable.

Now that they’re not encumbered by wool, Philip, Jack, Richard, and Aliena can stroll through the streets. Philip reminds them that the last time they met was at Shiring Castle. He tells her he asked the Hamleighs to watch over her, and Aliena, horrified, tells him she hope God forgives him for it. Poor Philip has no idea of what he’s done, and apologizes sincerely before handing over her share of the wool money. He also invites her to visit Kingsbridge at the end of the month—they’re planning on holding a fleece fair on St. Adolphus’s day, and she’d probably do well there.

Aliena finally notices Jack when Philip introduces him, and she also remembers that they’d met before. After a brief, loaded moment, she collects Richard and heads off, thanking Philip, who promises to look out for her. Quietly, so nobody else can hear, Jack promises to do so too.

Winchester at night is pretty much like Winchester during the day, except with more prostitutes and fewer executions. In their lodgings, Philip asks Jack to pray with him. Jack, however, is distracted by the sights of the goings-on outside. As soon as he can, he emerges into the square, where he wondrously watches firebreathers and jugglers and card games. He passes the time sketching caricatures of people before spotting a young woman with long, dark hair like Aliena’s. She’s facing away from him, so it’s not until he approaches and calls her:

“Milady” that he realizes it isn’t her. She and her friend pull him down onto a bench and begin showing him their breasts and teasing him. Clueless, Jack asks if he can sketch them, but the dark-haired one takes charge and kisses him. We next catch up with him emerging from her little lean-to as she tells him to come again soon. As he passes a group of men lined up to pee on a nearby wall, Jack overhears Percy Hamleigh loudly talking about the whole plan to have Stephen move the cathedral to Shiring. Oh, Percy. Pretty soon they’re not going to let you in the room anymore when they’re plotting, what with your dumb questions and loose lips.

Jack evidently passes the word along to Philip, because as soon as they get back to Kingsbridge Philip lines the monks, workers, and I guess some townsfolk up to tell them that Stephen’s going to come a-calling on St. Adolphus’s Day. What they’ll need that day is some serious volunteer work, which doesn’t get an enthusiastic response, even when Philip tells everyone they’ll be blessed for their generosity. Tom, meanwhile, tells Jack the statue has to be finished, even though Jack insists there isn’t enough time. Plus, his hand’s still busted, not that Tom really seems to care. I guess he’s got bigger things on his mind right now, but still, you think he might have a little more of a care for his own stepson (as he calls Jack), who also happens to be one of the most talented artisans Tom’s got.

Undaunted by the pitiful response at the building site, Philip’s taken his case to the town, and is standing in the square, telling everyone that he really appreciates everything they’ve done so far, but he just needs a little tiny bit more. As he speaks, back at the building site, Jack unwraps his hand, puts a chisel in it, and uses his right hand to clamp the left one around the chisel with a horrible, crunching sound. He gets back to work on the statue, painfully.

Philip makes an impassioned plea, but the townsfolk aren’t interested, so he switches to bribery. He’ll give them bread and ale, and absolution for all their sins in exchange for one day’s labor. That gets everyone’s attention—get into heaven free card!

Late at night, Philip makes his way down to the crypt and randomly grabs a skull, asking St. Adolphus for forgiveness as he does so. Someone follows him partway down, but we only see a shadow. As Philip emerges from the crypt, Remigius watches from behind a pile of wood, where he’s lurking like the little rat he is.

Early in the morning, Jack’s mixing paint, and Philip’s bemoaning the fact that there was such a bad response from the townsfolk. Tom tries to play Mary Sunshine, but Philip’s in Debbie Downer mode and says the king’s just going to show up and laugh. That’s the spirit!

Tom indicates two new arrivals—Aliena and Richard, with yet another cart of wool. Philip greets them happily and asks Jack to stable Aliena’s donkey. I’m not even going to touch that one—too easy.

On the road with the royal entourage, Stephen bitches that his piles are killing him. TMI, your majesty.

In the stable, Aliena chats with Jack about their first meeting. She’s much friendlier to him now than she was then. She asks him what he did to his hand, and he tells her he hurt it, and then had to use it to finish a sculpture. Martha, followed by Alfred, comes running in and happily greets Aliena before filling her in on all the insanity that’s gone down to that point.

Outside, Johnny, with the baby, climbs up a high ladder, even as Philip protests him climbing so high with the kid. Johnny ignores him and instead tells Philip to come up. Tom freaks and monks come running as Philip carefully climbs up the ladder and begs Johnny to hand him the baby so he can take him back to the nice, safe, firm earth. But Johnny’s too busy staring at the huge crowd of people walking towards the building site, bringing tools and oxen, ready to pitch in. Remigius looks vaguely disappointed but everyone else is jubilant.

Soon, the building site is humming with activity, and Aliena’s successfully selling her wool. A hunchbacked old woman in a cloak approaches Tom, asking for alms, and when he blows her off, she smacks him smartly on the ass. It’s Ellen, of course, and she laughs. He grabs her and they take off to make out like teenagers, because it’s not like today is an important day for the master builder to be around and all. Meanwhile, Jack puts the finishing touches on his statue, touching up some of the red paint on the saint’s robes.

One of the monks begins frantically ringing a bell to announce the arrival of the king. Everyone stops what they’re doing, including Tom and Ellen, and Tom hurries to join Philip as the king and his followers canter into the site. Waleran and the Hamleighs are shocked at what they see, although I honestly don’t know why they’re shocked at anything Philip manages to pull off anymore.

Stephen dismounts and asks for the man in charge. Tom introduces himself, and Stephen asks to see the plans. Tom leads him to a table, where they’re spread out. Stephen glances at them, then seems to lose interest and asks to be shown the building site instead. He’s given the grand tour, and after seeing all the busy little bees at work, finally tells Philip and Tom he’s looking forward to visiting again when the church is completed. Oh, but what about the statue of St. Adolphus? Waleran asks, like this whole project would actually hinge on a single statue, whether or not it’s one of the church’s patron saint.

Anyway, the statue’s done, and Jack unveils it dramatically, drawing a curtain and everything. The brightly painted statue depicts the saint holding his own head, with the skull between his feet. There are a bunch of candles around the statue to give it maximum effect. Everyone is astonished, and several people kneel at the sight. Stephen looks enchanted and approaches the statue, kneeling himself. Aliena joins the crowd, curious at the fuss, and smiles first at the sight of the statue, and then at Jack. For a few happy moments she doesn’t notice William there, but then he approaches her, and she freaks and takes off. Right about then, red paint starts to drip off the statue’s robes and onto the skull, making it look like the skull’s crying bloody tears. Stephen blanches and starts to back away, remembering his dream.

‘Till saintly skulls weep tears of blood

Just then, a messenger rides up to inform Stephen that there’s been a battle at Lincoln, and Maud took an arrow to the chest. Stephen looks downright chipper when he gets this news, and asks if this means she’s dead?

The peace survive and war depart
When arrows pierce my daughter’s heart.

Sadly, he’s out of luck here. Maud survived, and took Lincoln. Stephen reels at the news, and finally seems to notice flame-haired Jack, standing nearby.

Who’s hair aflame? An artist boy’s.
One king he crowns, one king destroys.

Overcome, Stephen collapses in a full-blown seizure. Guess those piles are the least of his problems now. As he thrashes on the ground, Waleran looks up and catches sight of Ellen, watching the proceedings from behind some nearby scaffolding.

So, we’re a little more than a third of the way in and things are moving along nicely. The plots, the war, and the cathedral are all well underway and the previews promise lots more fun to come. I am a little curious about this whole Macbeth turn the story’s taken. I’m pretty sure none of that was in the book, but it looks like it might end up causing problems for Jack. We’ll just have to see how this all pans out.

Until next week!



5 thoughts on “Pillars Of the Earth Episode 2 Recap: Redemption

  1. Excellent summation of this episode! I am hooked on this miniseries but with so many characters and storylines intersecting I needed to find a place that does recaps so I’m glad I found your blog.

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