Warning: Spoilers for the season finale of Knightfall entitled “Do You See the Blue?” are discussed below.
The History Channel series concluded its season with a few surprising twists and one incredibly protracted death scene. Let’s get right into it. After nine episodes of privately flaunting their affair, Landry (Tom Cullen) and Joan’s despicable deception was revealed to Philip (Ed Stoppard) and pretty much every other character in Knightfall.
In a display of her utter disconnect with reality, Joan even begged Philip to let her and Landry leave to be together as if she and Landry had earned their happiness, which has come at everyone else’s expense.
As predicted, neither cheater was remorseful for their actions. They pitied themselves and pathetically lamented the future they could never have. Of course, there are no excuses for Landry and Joan’s actions, so when this love story’s merciful end came with Joan dying at the hands of Philip, it earned none of this viewer’s tears.
Philip’s turn to the “dark side” in no way redeems Landry and Joan (Olivia Ross) for their behavior. The rabid man who stepped into the soldier-supplied square and began beating Landry before finally stabbing the sanctimonious Joan was obviously meant to conjure sympathy for two of the vilest characters on TV, and it did not work.
As the series spent what felt like an eternity having Landry and Joan’s lust story end, it poured even more salt in the wound as viewers endured Landry speaking of his love for his married lover, in front of a brotherhood that is bound to a vow of celibacy. You see in the world of Knightfall, the rules do not apply to Landry, and he enjoys shoving that fact in other people’s faces.
How is Landry going to take care of a newborn? Are the Templars going to support Landry, a man supposed to be a monk and their leader, raising his daughter at the temple? Maybe so, it wouldn’t be out of the question, considering what transpired in the penultimate episode of the season.
Pope Boniface (Jim Carter) did a complete about-face with Landry, calling off his excommunication and execution due to what Landry’s mother revealed in a private audience with him. For some unknown reason, Landry is apparently untouchable, so much so that the Pope practically begged the lying cheat to forgive him for holding Landry accountable for his countless sins.
To watch Landry slither away from his punishment, having shown no remorse and continuing to dictate a narrative in which he is a victim instead of the villain was downright sickening to watch.
It is apparent that Knightfall wants Landry not only to survive, but thrive, and yet it has given viewers no reason to want this to happen and no rational reason for why this irredeemable man, who claims he needs no redemption, does not deserve to face the consequences for his behavior. This issue leads us to multiple questions raised by the season finale.
Why didn’t Philip kill Landry?
Philip keeps pummeling Landry, but cannot bring himself to finish off his former friend? Why? Philip shows his capacity to kill when Joan arrives, so why couldn’t he bring himself to do the same with the other traitor?
How could Landry justify using the Holy Grail, when he told Gawain that his injury was “God’s will” and should not be healed?
One of Landry’s worst traits and there are many, is that he is a hypocrite and the season finale provided a perfect example of this at work. He denied Gawain’s request to be healed from a wound he received saving Landry earlier this season citing “God’s will.” Then when his beloved Joan needs a sip from the Grail to keep from dying, Landry not only thinks up the idea to use it to save her but carries it out.
What happened to God’s plan? Oh, that’s right. When it doesn’t suit him and his selfish desires, Landry changes the rules. Why does this character deserve to live again?
Knightfall versus Game of Thrones
After Landry gave his speech, the slow-motion fight with Gawain’s mercenary army commenced. Knightfall‘s outnumbered “heroes” banning together against the enemy did not hit the same nerve as Game of Thrones did with its signature battle.
The main reason it did not succeed is that Landry is not Jon Snow. In fact, it’s painful to put the characters’ names in the same sentence considering the juxtaposition and to be clear, Gawain is not Ramsay Bolton.
The “Battle of the Bastards” presented a clash between a true hero and villain. “Do You See the Blue?” did not. Viewers had every reason to be rooting for the Starks. Knightfall gave them no reason to root for Landry or the men misguided enough to serve him.
In a promo for Knightfall that was posted on the series’ official Twitter account, comparisons were drawn between it and Game of Thrones. Unlike Game of Thrones, Knightfall is devoid of any authentic heroes. In this age of mightily flawed ones, Landry is not one of them either.
To say so would suggest that he has made minor mistakes, which he hasn’t, and that he could grow into a better man. To improve, one must show remorse and strive to be a better person.
When Season 1 concludes, Landry is as self-righteous as he has ever been and the show seems to treat him as though he has every right to be. Similarly, Knightfall handled Joan’s funeral as if its characters were laying a saint to rest, instead of a traitor.
Joan had no redeeming characteristics. She was utterly selfish to the bitter end. On Game of Thrones, Cersei does terrible things, but the show doesn’t pretend Cersei is a great person. They let you decide how you feel about what she does and who she is.
In the world of Knightfall, it is frowned upon to disagree with the narrative that Joan and Landry are anything other than wretched. Every character presented as “good” supports Joan and Landry, while anyone who disagrees is treated as a villain and sentenced to one of Landry’s screaming fits.
According to Spoiler TV, Knightfall will have a second season. Will Landry be able to redeem himself then? As written in the Season 1 finale, Landry is despicable, and if the series agrees with that sentiment, Knightfall needs to acknowledge his moral bankruptcy and have him repent.
The show is entertaining, nicely filmed, and well-paced. If the character at the center of all of its action could rise to its overall quality as a series, Knightfall Season 2 would have a fighting chance with this frustrated viewer.