Warning: Spoilers for Knightfall Season 1 Episode 8 are mentioned below.
Knightfall is not a bad show. It just has an awful lead protagonist. Landry, the master of the Templar Knights, is one of the more loathsome characters to populate a recent series.
As his subordinate Gawain (Padraic Delaney) astutely pointed out in Season 1, Episode 7, Landry is a liar, a traitor, an adulterer, and a hypocrite, among many other horrible things. His response to these factual allegations was to say that he was better than his accuser because he spared the man’s life after he spoke the truth.
The ease with which Landry tyrannically destroys other people’s lives and then blames God for all of his problems is painful to watch. Is that the point? Is the audience supposed to be hoping that every deadly confrontation Landry (Tom Cullen) encounters leads to his demise? It seems doubtful, and yet Knightfall gives you no reason to feel differently.
Landry whines in every episode over the state of his life, taking no personal accountability for how his decisions are solely responsible for his suffering. He chooses to blame God instead.
Landry is engaged in a despicable affair with his best friend/King’s wife, has sired a child with her, and still pretends he is a great guy. Or at least adamantly denies he is a bad guy when confronted with the facts.
Early in Season 1, King Philip (Ed Stoppard) acknowledges his marital rough patch and confides his confusion and hurt to his best friend, blissfully clueless that Landry is one of the sources of his distress. How could Landry be so cruel?
There is no evidence that King Philip is an evil man. He loves his wife and their family and tries to do what is best for them. He just trusts the wrong people to make that happen.
Queen Joan (Olivia Ross) is just as bad as Landry, betraying a husband, who is gentle and kind. Her affair is clearly born out of lust and not the emotional alienation of her spouse.
In a disgusting scene justifying her behavior, she claims that when they were on their honeymoon, Philip had a musician’s fingers broken because she didn’t want to spend time with him. This scenario is impossible to imagine, as Philip’s dark side has had seven episodes to emerge and there is not even the slightest inkling of malicious intent lurking beneath the King’s noble exterior.
These are baseless accusations that she prefers to believe when the truth is her husband has given her no provocation for such deception and betrayal. Despite withholding physical intimacy for 2 years, Philip did not take a lover in between, choosing instead to wait for his wife’s affections to return. He is loyal, which is an attribute missing from everyone around him.
Knowing all of this is the sniveling Landry, who has been crying nonstop about losing out on raising his child with Joan, claiming he is the victim in this sordid tale. Not the man he has betrayed, but Landry.
Because of his blatant narcissism, he cannot connect the dots. The reason he cannot be with the woman he loves and raise their child is that she is someone else’s wife. He has known that from the get-go and let’s be clear, Joan is no prize.
Not only is she a philanderer, but in Episode 8, she became a murderer when she slipped a blade between her own cousin’s ribs. The same cousin, whose son was murdered by Joan’s daughter and who was in the midst of showing remorse for an understandable ultimatum she had given Joan.
Knightfall is clearly setting us up for a big reveal, wherein Landry and Joan will be publically unmasked. Just don’t expect either of them to express any remorse when they are confronted.
There will probably be a cacophony of self-righteous justifications for their behavior, including the classic “we fell in love” excuse. As if forgetting one’s marriage vows is as innocently explained as slipping on a wet floor, and to which, Philip will hopefully reply with “who cares that you’re in love?”
He is in love with Joan, and she has not cared about that. Why should he care about who she loves? Plus, it is not as if love automatically washes away any and all wrongdoing.
This is assuming Landry and Joan will even attempt to “defend” their behavior, which is a stretch considering neither of them feels guilty or remorseful for what they have done, nor do they feel as though Philip deserves any better.
There is no justification for their betrayal. In Joan and Landry’s minds, they are the ones suffering because they cannot be together. They will probably fail to acknowledge that they should never have been together in the first place. For Philip’s sake and the child, they have placed in the middle.
There is no room to sympathize with Landry or Joan, as their actions are irredeemable. Landry has lamented his child growing up fatherless, when in fact they would grow up with a loving father and a better man to shepherd them through life than the one their DNA has provided them with.
Philip is a superior person to Landry. That Landry cannot see that is why he is the downfall of Knightfall.
Find out if Landry and Joan get their just desserts when Knightfall Season 1 continues. Spoiler TV is reporting that History has renewed the freshman series for a second season. Episode 9 airs on History Channel, January 31 at 10 p.m. EST.