Episode 7 of Heirs to the Land (Los herederos de la tierra) Season 1 begins with Regina tending to patients at a convent and providing poison for abortions.
Hugo knows he can’t get Bernat’s help in finding Mercé, because he can’t know her background. But Caterina thinks they can find out about Regina through slaves that are indebted to Barcha.
They find one who says he went from convent to convent with Regina. He helps them find out that Regina will soon be leaving for Escaladei. Hugo spies on her and her entourage on their journey. Before he can do anything, he sees Bernat’s men take hold of Regina.
Bernat interrogates and tortures Regina. The Bishop stops him to tell him that Mercé is the daughter of a nun whom Satan impregnated. He says she is the daughter of the devil.
Bernat isn’t fooled, remarking that the devil must have come in the form of a man wearing holy robes. He knows what the Bishop and the other clergymen are like.
He also realizes that Regina has a hold over the Bishop. King Alfonso also sides with the Bishop, who claims it is God’s will for Bernat to annul his marriage and perhaps even kill his grandson.
The Bishop assures Bernat that if he repudiates Mercé, he will ensure that their child will be safe.
Bernat invites Hugo to his palace. He says he has no choice but to repudiate Mercé because everyone believes Arsenda’s claims. According to Bernat, Hugo has ruined his life. He never wants to see him again.
Hugo goes to Regina right before she is imprisoned. She tells him coldly that Mercé died falling off a cliff. Caterina tries to convince Hugo that Mercé is alive and Regina was lying, but he shuts her out.
Bernat meanwhile bribes the Bishop for a favorable outcome in his son’s trial. When the Bishop grants him his son, Bernat then weds Marta, the daughter of Baron Destorrent. At the wedding, she eyes Arnau with distaste.
Hugo gets drunk night after night. He wishes he had died long ago, lamenting all he could not save.
But Caterina decides to act. She goes to see Regina in secret. Regina is on the verge of madness, so Caterina pretends to be Mercé and asks her to confess her sins. She tells her where Mercé is being held.
Hugo is still convinced Mercé is dead, but Caterina yells at him to stop whining and act. He won’t know Mercé is dead unless he goes looking for her. So, Hugo goes to a festival at the Sabanell castle.
Meanwhile, Marta worries she won’t conceive and be able to raise a child to inherit the palace. Of course, Arnau stands in the way too. She later comes across some of Regina’s old herbs and ointments, discovering that some of them are poisons.
At the festival, Hugo sneaks into the castle’s dungeons. He frees multiple captives, who help free others and start a riot. Hugo carries Mercé out in the midst of chaos. Back in Barcelona, Regina dies in her cell.
King Alfonso calls Bernat to Valencia just when Marta tells him of her pregnancy. She senses disappointment from her husband, which angers her. She heard Mercé is back in Barcelona and wants him to send his dispatches after her.
Mercé has a rough recovery, unable to see Arnau. She also finds out she wasn’t born to Hugo. But she tells him she loves him and forgives him, sobbing in his arms.
While Barcelona prepares for war, Mercé goes to Bernat’s palace to see her son. Geurao won’t let her in, so Hugo and Caterina have to forcibly take her away.
But Mercé doesn’t give up. When people gather at the beach to see Bernat off to battle, Mercé is in attendance. She approaches her son. Guards would arrest her, but the Bishop prevents them. He tells Mercé to let go of Arnau. She kisses him and promises to come back for him.
Wanting the last word, Bernat criticizes Hugo in front of everyone and calls for the people to raid his tavern. They all rush to the place to steal and wreak havoc there.
The episode ends with Marta calling for Arnau to give him as many treats as he can eat.
The Episode Review
For being made into such a heinous villain, Regina’s death is surprisingly anticlimactic. The focus instead jarringly shifts to Lady Marta Destorrent.
Considering the title of this episode and the ending scene, Marta’s intentions toward little Arnau are no mystery. She wants to poison him.
Now, there could be much more interesting conflict than a petty woman seeking to get her husband’s illegitimate son out of the way. Especially in such a politically and religiously polarizing setting!
Take the clergy’s corruption, for example. This thread drives some conflict but takes a backseat to much of the episode’s soapier drama. The Bishop has certainly been negatively portrayed, but mostly in his relation to Regina. There was a missed opportunity for dynamic conflict not to frame the morally corrupt men of the church as the evil obstacles to overcome–instead of plucking a random character out of thin air.