I admit, that the first thing which drew me to watch this series was the fact that it was not set in the distant future or even in the distant past but in an era which is seldom explored- the time of Druids, Celts and Magic. This downy magic balanced by the ruthless aggression of the Romans served as the perfect binge watch.
The first episode serves as a launchpad which introduces us to the cast of characters who can, initially, be divided into two sectors: the Natives and the Romans. The natives are dressed in fur rags and varying degrees of face paint which seems to be in perfect synergy with the nature that they live in, along with the fact that half of them as as high as the cliffs which surround them. While their arguably better dressed counterparts are laden with more leather than the first X-Men movie, but are also fueled by an indomitable ambition to conquer that rain-filled land.
While the hierarchy at play in the Roman camps are clear to spot, with the natives, the hierarchy goes as- the druids, the king and then, his people. The druids are the be all and end all for this land as they decide everything and everyone blindly follows what they say. Among the druids is also where we find voldemort’s distant cousin, the druid leader- Veran. The king seems like a good man (as they all do at first) who has a true-to-heart rebellious daughter and a cunning but snarky son (the tropes just keep coming, don’t they). As for the peasant-everyday-people lot, there is Cait, who is supposed to go through a ritual which will symbolize her transition from a girl to a woman on a solstice festival. Speaking of rituals, there is the man who is referred to as the ‘outcast’, and who sees a vision of a dove being killed by an eagle and concludes that Britannia is gonna be in trouble. It’s also apt that the first sentence we hear in the series are from his mouth as he says the beautiful words: ‘oh shit!’ in response to that vision.
Conflicts also abound in both camps, where the Roman leader Aulus, is seen berating four men for desertion and right about condemns all of them to death, but ultimately decides to spare one, if that one can kill off rest of the deserters. Long story short, Antonius wins the race and is allowed to live. But poor Antonius doesn’t live to see much beyond the first episode since he gets used as a vessel by the druids, who tell the Romans to go back, but Aulus, the Roman general, has a fitting reply, which he writes in papyrus, seals it and then puts it in Antonius’s mouth as the Romans bury him pretty much alive. On the other side of the fauna, there is a marriage ceremony between two clans gone awry, and by awry, I mean murder, where King Pellenor’s clan emerges victorious thanks to his daughter Keera’s magnificent bow and arrow skills (CW’s Arrow must be on the lookout for her).
But the main conflict arises when the Romans attack the solstice party and this single event sets in motion the events to follow- the events which immediately result in the death of Cait’s sister and the capture of her father by the Romans. Cait herself narrowly escaped as she gets saved by the outcast.
Overall, in this episode we got a introduction to the settings and the characters on whom the spotlight will be. Special mention has to go to David Morrissey’s fabulous portrayal of the Roman general, Aulus, and I am looking forward to seeing him more.