The Winter King – Season 1 Episode 3 Recap & Review

Arthur saves The Edlin King!

The Winter King Episode 3 starts with Arthur arriving in the nick of time to save Mordred. He then leads the riders back to Caer Candan, taking King Gundleus and Ladwys as hostages. Sansum sees the riders approaching and alerts Bishop Bedwin. He orders the guards to open the gates. 

Seeing The Edlin King is safe, Bishop Bedwin regards it as a miracle. Arthur tells him it’s no miracle but the efforts of Morgan and the brave souls accompanying her. The people demand the death of King Gundleus and Ladwys as a result of this. Nimue wants her revenge, but Arthur stops her from killing King Gundleus. Instead, he wants them locked up in the King’s chambers.

Morgan is against it but agrees after Arthur asks her to trust him. Nimue is unhappy with the decision. She tells him he will know pain like her and be punished before walking away. Derfel finds Nimue and comforts her. They make a blood oath to tie their lives together as a sign of love. 

Bishop Bedwin helps Arthur and his men settle in to Caer Candan. Later that night, while the men serve food to the survivors, they tell them stories Arthur shared with them about growing up in Avalon. Lanval and Sagramor tell them that Arthur never forgets the people he cares about. Arthur then asks Lanval to head to Powys. He wants to know what Gorfydd is up to. Arthur gives him his father’s seal to keep him safe in Dumnonia. 

The next morning, Derfel comes to Arthur when he is tending to horses and asks to join his army. Arthur commends him for helping Morgan and the group escape. Meanwhile, Nimue is at a river talking to the gods, and she sees a vision that terrifies her.

Back at Caer Candan, Arthur tells Derfel the sacrifices he will have to make to join the warriors. He will have to put his warrior brothers before everything and everyone. They do not encourage family since there is no time for regrets about wives and daughters on the battlefield. Derfel says he will never get married since his path is to be a warrior.

Later that day, Arthur shows Sagramor around Dumnonia. Sagramor asks if they are staying, and Arthur says he does not know. Sagramor tells him that he already knows since he makes decisions on instincts. Arthur’s head needs time to catch up. Arthur and Sagramor come across a group of wounded soldiers heading back to Caer Candan. He learns that they were ambushed by Saxons at Caleeva and were massacred. 

Arthur and Sagramor follow them back. Owain is busy tending to the men when he sees Arthur from a distance. He is in disbelief as Arthur heads towards him, and Owain hugs him. He shows him around where many men are wounded, and Bishop Bedwin is helping take care of them. Owain is still unaware of King Gundleus’s betrayal. He is furious and wants his vengeance by killing Gundleus. Arthur tries to convince him that Gundleus is more useful to them alive than death. If he kills him, Gorfydd can use his death as an excuse to attack, and they are unprepared. Owain agrees to listen to Arthur, but Ladwys has to leave the chamber. Arthur suggests that Owain let Ladwys help heal the wounded men.

Lord Owain and Bishop Bedwin enlighten Arthur on the state of the war, showing him the territories taken over by the Saxons, their allies, and the hostiles. Arthur informs them that he sent Lanval to seek information on Gorfydd. Bishop Bedwin suggests that Arthur becomes a protector to The Edlin King. Owain asks if he and his men will stay, and Arthur agrees only if they will have them. Owain is more than happy to do so.

Morgan asks Nimue to help guide the souls of the dead men across the ocean. Sansum tries to talk about God’s teachings to repay evil with kindness. Nimue sees Ladwys, and she goes to attack her and take her necklace back. She vows to have her vengeance by taking the lives of both Ladwys and Gundleus. Morgan reminds her of Arthur’s orders. She will not defend herself if she does anything impulsive. Nimue is angry that Morgan chooses Arthur and not her, and she walks away. Nimue finds Derfel and asks for his help. She wants to kill Gundleus. 

Lanval arrives with news that Gorfydd is fortifying his border towns between Powys and Dumnonia. He is doubling his efforts and is now making weapons. He is getting ready for a full-scale invasion, which he will most likely begin after the harvest in spring. Owain wants to demand the fealty of Tewdrick, Eachern, and Cadwys to get their support. Arthur suggests he requests rather than commands them to. They might fight harder if they thought it was their choice rather than responding to an ultimatum. 

Owain starts to get wary of Arthur. He says he is ambitious and unsure about making him Mordred’s protector. King Luther never called him back from banishment and might not be happy he is back. Just then, Sansum comes with news of Arthur and his men working the fields to help people with the harvest. Bishop Bedwin and Owain also head to the area. Owain says that working helps Arthur think while it gives him calluses. Derfel tells Lord Owain of his intention to join Arthur’s warriors. Owain is intensely against it and says he will train Derfel if need be, but he cannot leave with Arthur. After a hard day’s work, the people have a feast together.

Nimue and Derfel discuss getting into the King’s chamber, where Gundleus is locked in. Derfel tells him that Arthur wears the key around his neck. He saw it while they were working in the field. Nimue intends to use herbs to make a drink that will make Arthur sleep. Derfel is to give it to Arthur, and they can take the key when he sleeps. Nimue gives Derfel the herbs. He puts it in Arthur’s water, but Arthur knows Nimue would turn to Derfel for help. He does not drink the water. 

Later that night, Arthur and Sagramor strike a deal with Gundleus. He is to go and persuade his uncle Gorfydd to come to the naming ceremony for The Edlin King. Arthur wishes to convey a council of Kings to discuss business alliances among them and fortify their efforts to fight the Saxons. Arthur tells Gundleus that if he fails to convince his uncle, he will kill his woman, Ladwys. 

Bishop Bedwin and Lord Owain confront Arthur about setting Gundleus free. Arthur says he did not consult them, so he can take full responsibility if the plans fail. If Gundleus does not return, he will leave with his men; Bedwin and Owain can remain as Mordred’s protectors. 

Setting Gundleus free doesn’t sit well with most people. Lord Owain and his men, including Derfel, leave for tax collection in Cadwys. Nimue says Arthur broke his bond with the gods and with her, and she goes. At the end of the episode, Arthur heads to an open space inside Caer Candan. Morgan comes and tells him that his plan better work, or they are all lost.

The Episode Review

The ideals of Arthur and his men are very different from the people’s beliefs. As a result, everyone, even the people he thinks he can trust in Caer Candan, are wary of him. They believe he is over-ambitious.

However, to the viewer, his beliefs are the right call in a situation where foreign invaders (the Saxons) encroach on their land. The people of Avalon need to come together and combine their resources to fight the Saxons but not fight amongst themselves. Will the kings agree to meet during Mordred’s naming ceremony for the Council of Kings? Will they decide to listen to Arthur or stick to their ways? 

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