Pillars of the Earth recap: dirty, sexy clergy, episode 2

Pillars of the Earth recap: dirty, sexy clergy, episode 2

Ian McShane as the conniving Bishop Waleran 

A second week of smut, scandal and sex, 1100s style, offers further proof that Medieval Times would have made a better soap opera than restaurant. This week’s episode focused on a massive fire that will mean a new cathedral must be built, and thus provide the overarching plot for the entire series. Of course, we’re a lot more interested in what’s going on behind the scenes, so with that in mind, a few life lessons that are as relevant today as they were in 10th-century England.

Lesson 1: Never trust a man with a bob haircut
It was true of Javier Bardem’s character in No Country for Old Men, and it’s definitely true of Ian McShane’s conniving Bishop Waleran. This week, the hell-bound holy man convinced the very naive Prior Philip to ask King Steven for help building a new cathedral. Of course, Waleran has his own evil interests at heart.

Lesson 2: The help always has better sex
Call it one of life’s great equalizers. The noble classes may get all the money and privilege, but when it comes to getting it on, there’s no contest. Exhibit A: Tom Builder, a penniless master builder, and his witchy woman take a very literal roll in the hay one night while sleeping in a barn. It’s like they can’t tear each other’s clothes off fast enough. Meanwhile, Lord Percy Hamleigh and his scheming wife have a coital encounter that’s reminiscent of two people doing the horizontal robot.

Lesson 3: Sometimes a skull is just a skull
Prior Philip almost dies trying to save his church’s precious relic (the skull of Saint Adolphus) in the fire, then later learns that the whole thing is probably religious mumbo-jumbo and that the skull should simply be replaced by another dead man’s noggin. Wise up, Philip, before Bishop Waleran walks all over you.