El Cid (2020) – Season 1 Episode 4 Recap & Review

Champion

The day of the battle arrives. Episode 4 of El Cid begins with a determined Ruy joining the rest of the soldiers as they prepare for battle against the vastly superior numbers of the Aragonese army.

Back in Leon, Urraca demands to speak to her Mother privately. There, she admits to knowing everything, including the failed assassination attempt during the tournament. Sancha implores her not to say anything and beckons her away while she thinks over her daughter’s words. She’s caught in a very dangerous position and time is not on her side.

Fernando decides to make his move and tasks Velarde with bringing Flain and his people to banquet that evening. He intends to lock his wife up afterwards and put an end to this attempt to usurp him once and for all. Looks like we’re on course for a red wedding like Game Of Thrones!

Anyway, back at the battlefield the fighting starts and Ruy does his best to hold his own with the Castilian soldiers. Despite being outnumbered, the soldiers do well to keep the ground gained against the Aragon soldiers. Eventually, Al-Muqtadir and his horseback riders show up to turn the tide of battle. Among the casualties however is Trifon.

In the midst of all this carnage, Varo is tasked with taking out Sancho but as things look bleak, Ruy arrives and manages to hold him off, saving Sancho and stabbing Varo through the gut. With Sancho down, it happens to be Sadaba who stabs and kills King Ramiro.

With the King of Aragon downed, the men drop to their knees as the Castilians come away from this victorious. Sancho honors Ruy, calling him a champion and declaring that the field is his. Interestingly, this catches us up to those fateful moments at the start of episode 1 as the army chants “champion”.

Back in Leon, Sancha makes her decision and decides Uracca can help and join her side. Together, they visit Flain where Sancha warns that there is no Leon without her in charge. While Sancha may be conflicted in her thoughts, Urraca meanwhile has a fierceness she lacks which could prove to be decisive going forward.

Uracca talks to Fernando later on that day, who in turn tells his daughter outright that she lacks valor. This conversation only seems to spurs her on more though.

The soldiers return to Zaragoza where Abu Bakr tells Ruy to bask in the crowd’s cheers. Of course, the reality of this battle has certainly taken its toll as we see the numerous casualties claimed from the fight with Aragon.

That evening, Ruy is summoned by Amina. In the courtyard, both of them start kissing while Sadaba watches from afar as the pair head into her chamber and make love. “Ruy, you’ll be next.” Sadaba says to himself as he paints a figurine.

The banquet in Leon goes ahead but Urraca is in no mood to eat. She watches everything take place while Fernando calls Flarian beside him, talking about the loyalty of dogs. It’s a short jab at the Count, especially when he mentions humans biting the hand that feeds while staring a hole through him.

Not long after, Fernando addresses Orduno and makes him a knight of his own personal guard. He’s clearly drunk though and as Jimena approaches to wish the man congratulations, Orduno turns it around in an act of jealousy regarding Sancho and the troops.

As Jimena walks away, Orduno follows and finds Ruy’s bloodied rag in her possession. Overcome with jealousy, Orduno tries to force himself on her but she pushes him away.

Back at the banquet, it seems like Urraca has made her move. She toasts to the King as word gets back to Fernando that Ramiro is dead. Suddenly, he collapses on the ground and begins convulsing. It looks as if he’s been poisoned as Urraca hurries back to her room, struggling to stifle her satisfied smile.


The Episode Review

With the battle against Aragon done for now, all eyes turn back to Leon as the King’s life hangs in the balance, seemingly likely to spark a desperate fight for the throne. Of course, Urraca has the tenacity and confidence to do what her Mother could not, leading to an intriguing power play between the two – especially if Uracca really was behind what’s happened to Fernando.

Meanwhile, the situation between Ruy and the soldiers in Zaragoza takes an interesting turn as he looks set to become the champion of the people. There’s shades of Game Of Thrones in this at times, especially with the way the show depicts its various factions and political schemes, but the characterisation hasn’t quite followed through to match this.

With all eyes now turning to the finale, will Amazon’s latest series end with a suitable climax?

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  • Episode Rating
4

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