Gandalf the Feminine
by ALEX CARNEVALE
The Bastard Executioner
creator Kurt Sutter
Gandalf (Katey Sagal) detects a prophecy that a white guy will free Wales of the English. She says the word shire quite frequently; her entire body is tattooed with what she is. She stabs the pregnant wife of the white guy (Lee Jones) with a knife right in the blonde babe’s swollen belly. Upon witnessing this tumultuous scene, Fox executives immediately greenlit The Bastard Executioner to series.
How bad is The Bastard Executioner? Miles Corbett (Stephen Moyer) plays the main villain. He has become older and more powerful than we could possibly imagine. Moyer stands about 5’5″ soaking wet, and he gets a cute scene where he is anally penetrating a servant. The man who discovers him — his brother — dies within the hour.
Sutter loves killing off characters, which explains why The Bastard Executioner has so many. It makes sense on the most basic level — with such a massive retinue, there must be one you will like. Unfortunately The Bastard Executioner often seems like a parody recasting of actors from Sons of Anarchy roleplaying at a Medieval Renaissance Fair.
I understand that Kurt has a marriage, and happy wife = happy life, but having Sagal write the terrible music for his shows and overact like crazy in every single scene she appears has gotten tiresome after a solid decade. I mean not even Rossellini put Ingrid Bergman in every single one of his movies.
The langorous boredom of The Bastard Executioner is intermittedly interrupted with bouts of ultraviolence — a man stabbed in the back of the head, a woman (Flora Spencer-Longhurst) taking penis doggystyle with an annoyed expression on her face, the disturbed visage of a completely burned man (Kurt Sutter) — but about an hour in, for just a moment, things begin to get truly interesting.
Gruffudd (Matthew Rhys) is far and away the best performer in the entire ensemble. Martha, his fake wife on The Americans, so frequently called out “Claaaaark!” and it is her siren song we hear when Rhys makes his appearance as a leader of a rebel group plotting violence against Edward II. This man packs more charisma into his soft facial hair than Kurt Sutter has in any single one of his protagonists.
The best bet would be to scupper the entire rest of whatever this bizarre pre-industrial Robert Altman mishmash that Sutter has created here, offer Rhys millions and make him the complete and central focus of The Bastard Executioner as he should have been from the word go. Keri Russell could play his prostitute.
As long we are just using entire casts to make different shows, Breaking Bad should be reimagined as a series adaptation of Robert’s Rebellion. I’ll show myself out.
Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.
“Every Time I Fall” – Holychild (mp3)