Camelot: Waiting, Wishing, Watching

Previously on Camelot: Morgan hated her stepmom and dabbled in shape-shifting magic, while also quietly gathering supporters to her cause and scheming to take the throne.

Morgan floats at the bottom of her tub for a bit, looking briefly like Igraine again. As she gets up and starts to towel off, we see someone—a young man—observing her through a crack in the door. He doesn’t get any full-frontal action, but let’s just say her bottom could give Pippa Middleton’s a run for its money. He clearly, uh, appreciates what he’s seeing. A lot. Morgan gives some instructions to Vivien, then disappears from the young man’s line of sight. A moment later, she’s beside him, a knife to his throat, asking pleasantly if he’s enjoying the view. He sinks to his knees and tells her he loves her. He swears he’ll do anything for her. She tells him to follow her and takes him into the hall to introduce him to Sybil. His name’s Harwell, I think. He looks mighty uncomfortable to be talking to the nun. Morgan tells Sybil to get the man prepared and sends him away before confirming that everything is ready for Arthur’s impending visit. She orders Vivien to double salt the meat and make sure the ale’s strong, because she wants the boys thirsty and drunk.

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Camelot: Sex on the Beach

Previously on Camelot: King Uther died, and his only legitimate child, Morgan, claimed the throne. Merlin, the sorcerer who doesn’t do magic, didn’t like that one bit, so he pulled Uther’s previously unknown illegitimate son, Arthur, out of obscurity and installed him in an artistic ruin known as Camelot. Although he’s fairly useless, Arthur did manage to pull a rigged sword out of the top of a waterfall, so he’s a legend now. Morgan, meanwhile, attempted an alliance with King Lot, who ended up getting himself killed, so she’s looking for a new angle now. Oh, and Arthur had a sex dream about Guinevere.

A group of horsemen sit on a bluff and discuss how few guards there are at the place they’re about to attack. The leader declares the place easy pickings and they gallop towards it.

Guinevere and her cousin, Bridget, kick around their bedroom and talk about Guen’s upcoming marriage to Leontes. Guen stresses about him not being “the one.” Ergh. Even by this show’s standards, that dialogue stuck out like a sore thumb. Did people really think about such things back then? I highly doubt it. Bridget tells Guen she’s just nervous and reminds her that young, good-looking, kickass guys are pretty thin on the ground these days. Plus, Guen’s mom always wanted her to marry the guy, so there’s that.

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Camelot: The Original He-Man Woman Hater’s Club

It’s April, which means my stretch of recapping insanity has begun. Over the next several weeks I’ll be attempting to cover Camelot, The Borgias, Mildred Pierce, Upstairs Downstairs, and Game of Thrones. If we’re lucky, I won’t go completely insane. We’re kicking off with Camelot, another project brought to us by Michael Hirst, which makes me wary, because he was also behind the Tudors, and we all know how well that turned out. But as with everything, I’m willing to give it a try, so here we go.

We open with an exterior shot of a fortified town, followed by an interior shot of a great hall being prepared for a feast. A young woman is announced to King Uther, no name given. Uther emerges from the inner sanctum and the young woman lowers the hood of her cloak, revealing Eva Green, here playing Morgan, Uther’s daughter. Uther’s followed by his wife, Igraine, and Morgan observed that his “whore still lives,” which earns her a nasty backslap from her father that lays her flat on the floor. He tells her she’s to respect her stepmother. Morgan gets to her feet and tells her father she’s there to forgive him for the death of her mother, which was done so he could install Igraine. He tries to hit her again, but she’s ready for him and stays his hand. She goes on to say that he then banished her for years to a nunnery, allegedly for her education. He turns his back on her and tells her she’s not welcome there. Igraine, a little regretfully, follows him, and Morgan glares after them.

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Trivia Thursday: We Three Kings

But first, the answer to last week’s question: Q: In what year did the British Parliament first meet at the Palace of Westminster? A: 1265. January 20, to be exact. On that day, Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester and 1st Earl of Chester called the first directly elected parliament medieval Europe had ever seen while he served as de facto ruler of England … Continue reading Trivia Thursday: We Three Kings

Happy Birthday!

…to Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, saint, and tragic murder victim. Becket was born around 1118 in Cheapside, London and educated at Merton Priory in England, then in Paris, Bologna, and Auxerre. He was an assistant to Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, and was made Archdeacon of Canterbury and Provost of Beverley. On Theobald’s recommendation, King Henry II named Becked Lord Chancellor in 1155.

Becket and Henry became fast friends but a rift developed between them after Thomas became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1162. Henry wanted more power for himself, but Becket refused to cede any clerical independence to the king. After several years of fighting, during which excommunications were flung around and the Pope even got involved, Henry, in a rage, allegedly said: “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” He failed to realize that, since he was king and all, someone was bound to take him seriously.

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Cadfael: The Sanctuary Sparrow

Those of you who read the Pillars of the Earth recaps may recall me mentioning Cadfael at some point. If you were confused by that, this should help clear it up. The Brother Cadfael Mysteries were written by Ellis Peters and brought to life by the great Derek Jacobi, who played the 12th century monk/ex-crusader/herbalist to perfection. Judging from PBS’s 2011 lineup, I’ll be delving pretty deeply into the Edwardian and interwar periods for a while, so I thought I’d give myself a break and dip into the war-and-wimple period instead, at least until Netflix sends me the first disk of The Duchess of Duke Street. So, on with the recap!

Party time! A wedding, to be exact. A young man who looks like he’s only got about sixpence to the shilling, if you know what I mean, peeks in on the festivities from another room. He’s played by Toby Jones, who’s a platinum diamond member of the British “Hey! It’s that guy!” club. He just shows up everywhere, in a baffling range of roles that runs the gamut from lead actor to featured to glorified scenery. It’s too bad his Truman Capote movie came out right at the same time as Capote (and therefore got much less attention), because he was actually really good in it and that probably would have gotten him more recognizable roles, if Philip Seymour Hoffman hadn’t come along and kicked ass. Oh well, c’est la vie. Anyway, he’s joined by a bearded man who looks at him silently for a moment, then peeks into the wedding himself.

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Pillars of the Earth: A New Beginning, The Work of Angels

So, we’ve come to it. And by “it,” I mean the two hour finale. Judging from how long the previous recaps have taken to write up, I don’t anticipate getting to bed before 4 a.m. Thanks, Starz!

Previously on Pillars of the Earth: Well, a lot happened. You might be better off just reading the recaps, but essentially, Kingsbridge wanted to build a cathedral, Bishop Waleran and the Hamleighs caused a lot of trouble, and Aliena and Jack fell in love. Oh, and there was a civil war.

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Pillars of the Earth: Witchcraft

Previously on Pillars of the Earth: Jack and Alfred ogled Aliena before beating the crap out of each other, which led to Tom firing Jack for not being a blood relative. William takes obsessive assholishness to a new level by burning Kingsbridge’s Fleece fair, killing Tom, and sending Aliena’s entire year’s profit up in flames.

Kingsbridge’s cemetery has several new occupants, and it’s about to get another one: Tom Builder. His shrouded body is accompanied by all the monks, Ellen, Aliena, Alfred, a sobbing Martha, and a number of townspeople. Philip says prayers over the body before paying a moving tribute to Tom, his friend, and the reason the cathedral exists. As he finishes, Richard rides into the still smoldering ruins, looking bewildered.

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