Episode 6 of Heirs to the Land (Los herederos de la tierra) Season 1 begins with Barcha providing shelter for other slaves. Guerao brings Caterina’s freedom papers from Bernat, who says he doesn’t want Hugo at the palace. He considers his debt settled.
A free woman, Caterina greets Hugo at his bed that night. She declares she would suffer every hardship again if it would lead her to him. She tells him she loves him, and they sleep together.
Hugo meets with Mercé, who’s not impressed with any of the suitors Bernat has found her. She does, however, enjoy dining with Bernat and reading poetry with him
After having disappeared to Tortosa for a while, Regina comes back to Hugo. Being Hugo’s wife, she has every right to stay in the house, so she kicks Caterina to the shed.
Caterina is under some distress. She comes across a former slave girl, Elena, whom the Bishop has freed. The girl has to hide, however. The city law doesn’t recognize the church’s authority to free slaves. So, Barcha lets the girl sleep with her.
Hugo sneaks from bed that night to see Caterina. She speaks of all the abuse she herself suffered as a slave. Today, she saw that in Elena’s eyes.
Regina listens in on their conversation and finds out about Elena. The next morning, the bailiff comes to the house, demanding the fugitive slave. They take her away.
Instead of taking her to jail, they take her to be hanged. The law dictates that slaves who turn to the Bishop to get freedom papers must be punished with death. Hugo has to hold Caterina back as they draw the rope around her neck.
People wait for Regina outside Hugo’s home to call her a murderer and traitor. Hugo tells Regina to run away or the men outside will kill her.
She hits Caterina on her way out, so Barcha grabs her and points a knife to her throat, claiming she must pay for what she’s done. She only lets her go at Hugo’s urging.
Bernat summons Hugo to announce Mercé has chosen a husband: himself. They will marry in the spring, despite Hugo’s trepidation.
Barcha wants to go to Mercé’s wedding, but Hugo forbids it. Bernat would never allow a slave to attend. They have an extravagant wedding, which Barcha attends anyway. When Regina sees her, she whispers to the priest. Guards then take Barcha away.
On their wedding night, Mercé cries. She asks Bernat to intercede for Barcha, but he yells at her. According to him, anyone who tarnishes the sacred temple his father helped build must be punished.
Hugo and Caterina are warned to flee and take as much as they can. They pack up their things and go see Barcha in jail the next day. Barcha tells Hugo she’s had a happy life because of Hugo. She doesn’t regret any of her twenty years with him.
Guerao tells Bernat the Bishop seized Barcha’s possessions. Hugo has been made homeless. He thinks Bernat needs to regain Merce’s affection, so he convinces him to let Hugo visit and arrange for a new house for him, where he can start another business.
The next we see of Hugo is in 1416. Jucef finds Hugo’s tavern, and they sit down for some wine.
Bernat has to leave to be with King Ferdinand in his final hours. He leaves a pregnant Mercé. While the king dies, Mercé gives birth. Berant rushes back to see her, and finds her holding their son, Arnau, in her arms. He promises Mercé anything she wants , but she says he will deny her the one thing she desires most, Barcha’s freedom.
And Barcha now has a dangerous enemy. The new Bishop is a converted Jew, and a friend of Regina’s.
When Hugo returns to the tavern, he finds men surrounding a drunk Caterina. He goes into a rage and sends them all away before turning on Caterina. He demands to know why she would demean herself, but she only responds that his family already demeans her.
When Mercé hears about the rough time Caterina is having, she goes to see her. However, she disappears on the way. Bernat searches for her, to no avail.
Since Mercé’s disappearance, Barcha has been behaving differently. She started praying for forgiveness. The Bishop heard her, baptized her, and made her his personal servant. She’s now able to spy on him and finds out from him that Regina is behind Caterina’s kidnapping.
The Bishop’s men later come and force Hugo out of his home. They take him to Barcha, who is holding the Bishop at knifepoint. She tells Hugo that Mercé is the daughter of a nun. The mother’s name is Beatriz, and she’s the abbess.
The Bishop feared this nun would tell people about the corruption in the church, such as the Bishop’s own sins. To make sure the abbess wouldn’t talk, Regina kidnapped Beatriz’s daughter to threaten her.
The Bishop tells Hugo where the nun is, but can’t say where Regina holds Mercé. Barcha tells him to go. Her life is already forfeit.
Hugo goes to see the abbess, leaving Barcha behind to die. He says Mercé is in danger and he needs her help. She insists she doesn’t have a daughter. The girl is in fact the devil’s daughter. Hugo then breaks into the convent, where he finds that Beatriz is his sister, Arsenda.
He tries to convince her of Mercé’s worth. But Arsenda confesses that she told Regina to keep the promise she made when Mercé was born: to kill her.
The Episode Review
This was a long, drawn out process to arrive at a revolution about Arsenda most viewers would have already suspected.
Heirs to the Land is desperate to provide interesting conflict. While it delivers high-stakes scenarios in this episode, it offers no believable reasons to back up these plot points. For one thing, Regina has become a completely one-dimensional, purely evil, unbelievable villain. It’s hard to believe someone who acted as a mother to Mercé would seek to harm the woman. Yet we are to believe she acts based on the petty reason that Hugo doesn’t love her.
Another prominent hole in the plot: How did Barcha know the Bishop would have any information regarding Mercé? She didn’t know of Mercé’s background or anything that would have led her to even remotely consider the Bishop as a possible informant. Yet, this episode completely hinges on the intel she procured in his house.
I thought Heirs did a disservice to Barcha as well. Her only purpose throughout the entire show has been to make sacrifices for Hugo and his family. She, and many of the main characters, deserve better.