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History Channel’s Knightfall: Ambitious yet cowardly writing

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History Channels Knightfall ambitious yet cowardly writing

The age old first world struggle of finding a new show on Netflix to watch had me taking a risk on a show that looked like a foreign production period piece. But to my pleasant surprise it had the same quality of production one could expect from Vikings. Knightfall brought a level of excitement that one does not simply stop binging. So while the bulk of this review will focus on season two, this review will encompass the entirety of the show’s run to date. Spoiler Warning as I make no promises otherwise.

This show did to me in season 2 what Dexter did in the final episode, raising bigger issues about risks with storytelling. Dexter famously had a happy ending that they took major logical gaps to subvert. A happy ending, in Dexter, would have brought a finality to the series, but once they killed Deb off randomly in order to subvert the ending, the self-imposed exile and pity was an irrational turn of events that gave the series a famously bad ending. In subverting a happy ending, the show ending with an ending that as final as the ending for any other season. Knightfall does the opposite in a bad way. They take a perfectly good somber ending and add an entire episode that came out of a script written by the Game of Thrones writers.

The first season of Knightfall is fifteen years after losing the Siege of Acre 1291 and what they thought was the Holy Grail. The show begins with the death of a temple master which leads the protagonist, Landry, on a quest to uncover a mystery that leads to the location of the true grail. But Landry is no hero. In fact, having lost his faith after the siege, he has descended into an adulterous affair with Queen Joan, all while being good friends with the King whom he is cuckholding. It’s worth emphasizing that the Knights Templar is a monastic order. So our unworthy hero, Landry, has a renewed purpose in life which contradicts his fornicating. Meanwhile the seed of his treachery has consequences, becoming conspicuous. This ultimately leads Landry to alienate much of the Templar order including Gawain, his best friend who departs the order to work with De Nogaret, the Iago-like figure advising the King. The first season ends with great battle sequences and Landry’s final decent into darkness.

While the first season is about the fall, season two was about the repentance. Having betrayed the Templars, Landry must atone, working hard to earn back his standing with the order. It’s truly rare to see the atonement part of a story be so gritty, every bit of progress feeling earned to the viewer. But, alas King Phillip has a vendetta against the Templars and will have them destroyed. Landry then is forced to confront Gawain leading the charge against the Templars. But after defeating the Templars, Gawain is unable to reconcile working for an evil king, and is imprisoned with the Templars. Episode seven was the best episode in the series by far, featuring a diverse array of medieval torture instruments. The climactic episode is where Landry and Gawain face each other and the Templars, in facing death, choose to forgive Gawain reciting the Lord’s Prayer. The episode ends with a fire pitching as the main heroes begin to burn at the stake.

Episode seven should have featured five more minutes where Landry and others burn to death. Episode eight should not have been made. Instead, the heroes escape death. Instead they escape search.

A note on historical fiction

This story is fiction but uses real life figures as characters such as King Phillip IV The Fair, De Nogeret, Pope Boniface, while the Templar characters are inspired by the actual Templars, Landry not being a real figure. That being said, we should not judge the show by its historical accuracy rather we should judge this period piece on realism within the confines of the time period the story takes place.

Bad Ending

The escape, coincidentally timed without foreshadow and wholly dependent on the mistakes of the villains, was just some bad television. I dreaded watching this cliché turn of events. This turn of events was disappointingly passable because of how predictable it was. The overall ending of the season was garbage. The boss fight at the end featured a student-master dynamic that Knightfall established as evenly matched in season 1. Yet, this boss fight was extremely onesided, despite Landry being wounded, exhausted, and magically appearing in a place he had no business being in. Garbage story telling. A better ending would be starting the next season with new protagonists who take revenge on the King and Pope who according to legend were summoned in a tribunal before God by the late Templar Grand Master because both died a year or so after the Friday the 13th, 1307. That would be daring and good story telling.

The first season of Game of Thrones kills Eddard Stark in episode nine, according to the book. This was a plot twist as every character expected Ned Stark to live as planned. This twist set up only by the cruelty and idiocy of King Joffrey, was effective storytelling that enabled the plot to move forward. In contrast, Knightfall has little to move forward to, other than killing off King Louis X, moving onto Philip V, and then Charles IV. The events take place prior to the Hundred Years War, as alluded to in season one with the marriage of Isabella to Edward II. There is very little foreseeable plot for Landry and the Templars surviving to cross paths with the King of France. So either way, replacing one set of characters was inevitable, so they should have gone the more realistic path.

Final Judgement

As a Christian, I am unopposed to being catered to by entertainment wanting to produce high quality content sparing me from feminist and intersectional BS. The show has 92.5% accomplished this. It’s incredibly rare to see a show depict people wrestling with faith, forgiveness, and repentance. It’s even rarer for these concepts to be wrestled with in storytelling in an overtly Christian way. While History Channel is not a Christian organization, the higher ups are still willing to cater to a Christian audience. I would love to slap a huge recommendation on this show, but its season finale prevent me from doing so. It’s all too common for showrunners to go out of their way to maintain a level of normalcy that undermines a superior story. Knightfall is an instance of good that could have been great.

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Entertainment and Sports

NBA’s bad week just got the Steve Kerr treatment

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NBAs bad week just got the Steve Kerr treatment

The NBA is in trouble. They’ve bowed to Communist China. They quashed their own players and coaches. They’ve shown the backbone they displayed when being social justice warriors over transgender bathroom rights was a virtue signaling act, nothing more. Then yesterday, their chief social justice warrior, who happens to coach a team named Warriors, gave a response that was off the rails.

When he received a question wondering if he’s ever been asked about human rights while visiting China, he answered by condemning America. Seriously.

By comparing the atrocities that have been taking place in China for decades to our 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms is ludicrous. China has killed more of their own people over the last 70 years than there are AR-15s in existence. For Kerr to make the false equivalence that America’s human rights abuses are somehow comparable to China’s is a perfect example of why politics and sports shouldn’t mix.

Twitter wasn’t happy with his comments.

In case there’s ever a shortage of off-base whataboutisms, we can store Steve Kerr’s comparison of China’s atrocities to AR-15s as a never-ending supply to replay again and again. The NBA has become a cesspool of communist idiocy.

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Ted Cruz blasts NBA for pandering to Communist China

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Ted Cruz blasts NBA for pandering to Communist China

It’s not the first time it’s happened. In fact, it seems to be becoming a trend. Conservative firebrand Senator Ted Cruz and socialist provocateur Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez agree on something. This time, it’s the way the NBA is bending over backwards to cater to demands made by China, silencing their players and pressuring a general manager who Tweeted about Hong Kong independence.

When Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey Tweeted support for Hong Kong protesters, he likely didn’t realize he was stepping into a firestorm. He was probably unaware that Beijing is extremely paranoid, overly protective, and that their authoritarianism spreads well beyond their own borders. They didn’t like it and let the NBA know it. And the NBA caved to many of their demands.

Now, Cruz and Ocasio-Cortez are joining together to blast both the Chinese government and the NBA for their weak moves.

The Hill: Ocasio-Cortez, Ted Cruz join colleagues blasting NBA for ‘outrageous’ response to China

https://www.tedcruz.org/news/the-hill-ocasio-cortez-ted-cruz-join-colleagues-blasting-nba-for-outrageous-response-to-china/A bipartisan group of eight lawmakers fiercely criticized the NBA in a Wednesday letter to commissioner Adam Silver, demanding the league scale back its operations in China and take a stronger stand against Chinese government pressure.

The ideologically diverse coalition of lawmakers — including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) — blasted Silver for the NBA’s initial response to China after the Houston Rockets’ general manager expressed support for demonstrators in Hong Kong.

I love the NBA. Correction: I loved the NBA. This is ridiculous and needs to be called out for the betrayal of American values that it is. It’s good to see both sides of the political aisle recognizing and condemning this outrageous debacle.

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Liz Wheeler has a message to Steph Curry and the NBA about China

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Liz Wheeler has a message to Steph Curry and the NBA about China

Some say the NBA is making a mistake by being so feeble against China while playing social justice warriors in the transgender bathroom debate. This isn’t a mistake. This is exactly what the NBA wants, and those who say it’s all about money are missing the point.

One America News host Liz Wheeler gets it. In her commentary, she lambastes future Hall of Fame point guard Steph Curry for playing ignorant about China’s offenses. And this is the real takeaway from the whole China-NBA debacle, that everyone from players to owners to coaches to the media realizes this is wrong and they just don’t care. They’d rather pretend to be ignorant of the decades of atrocities committed by Communist China rather than address the issues meaningfully.

As my colleague noted yesterday, it’s time to boycott the NBA. And as Liz Wheeler notes, either the education Steph Curry received in school was terribly lacking or the desire to cater to China is so overwhelming, the NBA will lie to save face.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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