Pillars of the Earth recap: dirty, sexy clergy, episode 7

Pillars of the Earth recap: dirty, sexy clergy, episode 7

(Image: Starz)

This week marked the penultimate installment of the Pillars of the Earth series, so it makes sense that the hour was full of action-taking rather than the plotting and posturing that has dominated the series until now. Our thoughts on the three best blow-ups below.

1. I curse thee with a blood-spurting chicken
When Ellen cursed Bishop Waleran in episode three, she did so by squatting down and urinating right in front of him. Based on that incident, we knew to expect something nasty when the time came to curse Alfred and Aliena’s wedding (apparently, marrying Alfred isn’t enough of a curse). Ellen walks into the church clutching a live chicken and promptly slits the poor thing’s throat before allowing it to spurt blood all over everyone like some sort of high-powered poultry sprinkler. We give the lady high points for drama, particularly in the face of the annoyingly smug Alfred, who has no idea that everything is about to come crashing down (literally!).

2. Alfred, the sky is falling
In case you missed it, the stone ceiling of the new cathedral caves in just as King Steve arrives to bless it. Because—earth to Prior Philip—that’s what happens when an angry teenager with an insecurity complex and an axe to grind is given control of a major project. The best part was the look on Alfred’s face when he sees the building shaking and knows what’s about to happen. (We note that, when disaster strikes, he doesn’t seem too worried about the safety of his bride.) In terms of production value, they really broke the bank on this one. We’re guessing this single scene ate up a good portion of the effects budget. It was well worth it.

3. In your face, holy man!
We’d almost given up on that old doormat Prior Philip, so it was gratifying to see him finally stand up for himself—especially when it looked like he was about to fall for yet another one of Waleran’s schemes. Instead, he dished out what we’re pretty sure was the medieval version of “talk to the hand:” he told his longtime foe that he’d rather, “live out the rest of my days feeding pigs at the monastery than feeding your ravenous ambition.”