Spoilers hide in the Jewish baggage train!
The History Channel brings us an ancient overly-dramatized story of the Order of the Knights Templars, the power brokers of the church and occasionally state that dominated the world at the end of the 13thcentury.
So things are going along at a good clip, seeing a familiar face among the red-crossed is helping, the Knights are arguing amongst themselves like they do, alls mostly good, and then they broke out that awful major battle scene. If you want to be considered on the same level as ‘Vikings’, your battle scenes have to have the same care given them, not this slapdash fan nonsense. See, the reenactment fanatics and the scholars of history have mingled with the geek crowd and produced kids that know damned well that a trebuchet cannot fire that far, for example. But whatever, it’s more to emphasize the scale of the fighting for the city of Acre going on, and yes, despite everything tried including a negotiation with the Sultan’s men, the Knights Templars are about to be roundly defeated and sent packing. But there’s just one more thing they have to take care of before they go.
The OG Templars go on about their order being formed originally to protect pilgrims on the road, but not once is the holy grail mentioned. Yet of course they already had the holy grail somehow during the final siege of Acre, and they all thought the grail was lost when a fleeing ship sank.
Fast forward some fifteen years, and the Templars are growing restless in Paris, France. Some of the Order want to go back finally and retake Acre, some want to begin distributing the Templars’ collected wealth, some are insistent that protecting pilgrims on the road includes those wacky Jews, and there’s even a few Knights who are still interested in that dumb ole grail lore. The French King, already jealous of the collective power and serious wealth the Templar Knights sport, dooms history to repeat itself when on bad advice he decides to oust all the Jews from the entire city, once again. And yknow, gather all that money the Jews are purported to have as they exodus from another city, yet again – they won’t need it, right?
While all this external drama goes on, one of the seasoned Templars Godfrey (Sam Hazeldine) receives an odd message in the form of an orange, and off he goes to take care of whatever. In plain view of a common farmboy and his lady, poor Godfrey is taken down by a gang of highwaymen, and with his dying breath Godfrey begs Parsifal (Bobby Schofield) to take his sword to the city and give it to Landry, as he’d know what to do then.
Landry (Tom Cullen), left in charge and yet he is off taking some leisure time with his mistress, but upon hearing of Godfrey’s death, he insists on bringing the body home to be buried amongst his surviving brethren properly. The sword is given to a fellow Knight in preparation for cleaning, and its right there that ‘Knightfall’ takes a serious turn into ‘Assassins Creed’ territory, when a hidden what looks like a gem turns out to be a lens with a hidden message, Godfrey’s last legacy to his brothers the Templars.
Meanwhile the French King Phillip (Ed Stoppard) and his weasel of a lawyer, De Nogaret (Julian Ovenden), prepare to essentially wipe out the entire population of Jews from Paris, but not here in the city. On the road the Jews will be waylaid by highwaymen, there’s a shocker, and Landry and his fellow Knights are furious to learn of this. With the lives of a whole bunch of Jews literally on the line, stuck between the sword and the cross, Landry who was left in charge of the Knights Templar by Godfrey himself, has to make a choice what kind of order his men will continue to be (and thus, set the general tone for the show).
The drama of the show is great, it really is. It truly helps to have seasoned veteran Tancrede played by the familiar (to me anyway) Simon Merrells, and all the other actors and actresses are gamely attempting this anachronistic but historical show. The costumes are pretty nice and the fight scenes are well done, but the show is already suffering from what I termed the ‘Once Upon a Time’ syndrome, which is to say, great story most of the time, but all kinds of awful green screens and CGI used for the backgrounds, more often than not when just two characters are conversing and we know damned well that’s computer-generated. Badly, too. Deal with that, and we have a show I am happy to advertise to friends.
Join the search for the holy grail in Knightfall, on the History Channel Wednesdays @ 10/9c!