Episode 5 of El Cid begins with King Fernando de-robing and renouncing his position as King. Dressed in beggar’s robes, he’s left to weep his misfortune while Alfonso eyes up the throne. While he finds it difficult to keep his emotions in check, Urraca is surprisingly cool and calm – something Alfonso certainly notices.
Ruy returns to the troops after his ordeal with Armina and rides forth to Al-Muqtadir, who grants him a Jineta sword following his part to play in the skirmish. He calls him a sayyid and promises he’ll always have a home there.
On the way out the city, Ruy’s antics with Armina make him a marked man as Abu Bakr warns that Allah will have his revenge.
Back in Leon, Don and Flain work together to outsmart Sancha. They have evidence that she arranged for the death of her brother, King Bermudo, and that forces her into a precarious situation. The only way out is to marry Flain on the back of Fernando’s death. She refuses of course, but that rallies both men to turn their attention to Sancho instead, especially given he’s the rightful heir to the throne.
Urraca hears her mother sobbing and heads in to see her. Sancha weeps, telling Urraca that there is no crown and mentions the betrayal. With Rome’s support rallied around Flain, things look bleak for the women as they try to find a way out of this. As Sancha tends to Fernando’s wounds, he tells her that the crown belongs to her.
Ruy and the rest of the soldiers return to Leon but Jimena is there to greet him at the gates, warning that the nobles all want him dead. She even tells him about breaking off the prior engagement with Orduno too.
With Sancho and the troops back, this gives them just enough to see off Flain’s threat if he is to make a move for the crown. Sancho shows with Abu Bakr though, hoping to heal him. Unfortunately the wounds are far beyond him and that leaves him indebted to God for now. As the subject of poisoning is brought up, he admits he’s not 100% sure if that’s the case or not.
With the room cleared, King Fernando speaks privately to Sancho who tells him to knight Ruy. Fernando refuses though but Sancho is insistent that this is the right thing to do.
Outside, Ruy greets his grandfather and informs him that Flain sent an assassin to try and take his life. After their reunion, they both head inside and begin drinking but Sancho is in no mood to party. With his Father dying, he takes out his frustrations on the soldiers and tells them to think of the widows.
With Trifon downed in battle, Sancho and the other soldiers show up to pay their respects, handing over a pouch of coins for their troubles. With 9 mouths to feed and winter coming, Sancho agrees to take two of her children to the palace the following day.
Fernando is weakened but he manages to make it to the throne in time to knight Orduno. Breathing heavily, the King allows this to happen while Ruy walks away in disgust. While he combs the horses, Master Orotz shows up and reminds Ruy that life isn’t always fair. Despite Ruy being a celebrated champion and winning the allegiance of the army, Orduno has always been favourite for this given who his Father is.
After the ceremony, Urraca comes up with an idea to help their family’s predicament. With the King’s seal, Fernando gives the order for Sancho to be named King. Afonso will be given the Kingdom of Leon and receive taxes from Toledo. Garcia will be King of Galicia receiving taxes from Seville and Badajoz while Urraca and Elvia will be given the noble towns of Zamora… and Toro too if they don’t get married.
With Don hearing all this and telling them this is God’s Will, Fernando manages to convince his children to bow and agree to the terms. Tellingly, Urraca is the last to drop to her knees.
For Ruy however, he tasks him with the seemingly impossible task of watching over his children to make sure they don’t feud with one another. Flain has other plans though, and begins setting to work another plot to kill Sancha and Ruy as soon as Fernando passes away. And that death comes sooner rather than later.
As the children gather together to mourn their father, Flain sees this as an opportune time to strike. After the ceremony he heads out into the streets but Ruy is there and stabs the man in the back. As he drops to the ground, Orduno notices the blade and looks at Ruy with menacing eyes. Ruy meanwhile, simply looks up at the heavens.
The Episode Review
El Cid has been an intriguing historical drama with some high points and some mediocre lulls. For the most part, the show has done well to reimagine the history of this time period with some gorgeous set dressing and costume design too.
The various plots, scheming and ideas all play into that feel of this being similar to Game Of Thrones, with a good amount of fighting and battlefield skirmishes for good measure.
If there’s one area that this one falters slightly though, it’s in the characterization. Very few of these characters feel completely fleshed out and unfortunately the shorter run-time of 5 episodes just leaves you desperate for more by the time the credits roll.
Hopefully this is renewed for a second season as there’s definitely potential here for an intriguing foll0w-up that builds on the ideas presented her, especially with Flain dead and Orduno lusting for blood.
Overall though,. El Cid has been a decent watch and while it’s unlikely to take the small screen world by storm, it’s certainly been worth the time investment.