Pillars of the Earth recap: dirty, sexy clergy, episode 3

Pillars of the Earth recap: dirty, sexy clergy, episode 3

Ellen, played by Natalia Wörner (Image: Starz)

Things really started to steam up on this week’s Pillars of the Earth (which we found particularly funny, given that Skins was supposed to be the most scandalous small screen event of the week). Episode three centred on Tom Builder’s quest to get the cathedral started already, as well as the beautiful Aliena’s quest to win back her dead father’s land and title (Donald Sutherland, leaving so soon?). Of course, she must do so in the name of her mildly milquetoast brother Richard, because back in the 1100s, nice women didn’t go around avenging anything. This brings us to this week’s observation: in spite of the male-dominated backdrop, most of the powerful Pillars characters so far have been equipped with two X chromosomes. (Insert appropriate Beyoncé anthem here.) Ken Follett is obviously a feminist. The evidence below.

Ellen (the witchy woman)
Whether she really is a witch or not, this lady knows how to get what she wants. She also knows how to make the men in her life look like a bunch of bumbling idiots. See Tom Builder risking everything for just one more after-dark booty call in a cave. Or the Bishop Waleran, upon whom she defiantly urinates before escaping his capture.

Lady Hamleigh (the mommy dearest)
This forceful female plays puppetmaster to both of the supposedly powerful men in her life. First, there is her husband, Lord Percy, who seems to have the comprehension skills of a gadfly given that he’s constantly asking his wife to explain the politics of a given situation (if he does become earl, it will be all thanks to the missus). And there is her son William, who is willing to do anything—steal, kill, pillage, what have you—to please Mommy. And after that Oedipal bathtub scene, we know why.

Princess Maude (the survivor)
We haven’t seen much of Maude so far, but we included her on this list because, 1) she’s a woman raising an army to attack King Stephen’s kingdom, and 2) her armour looked like something Dolce and Gabbana designed for Donna Summers.