As the 2nd episode begins, we jump over to El Escorial, Spain. Robert Catesby (Kit Harington) and Thomas Wintour (Edward Holcroft) meet with the Constable of Castile (Pedro Casablanc). Robert and Thomas plead for Spain’s help. They wish for Spain to send them men and horses. The Constable doesn’t seem eager to get involved. Meanwhile, Robert Cecil (Mark Gatiss) speaks with William Wade (Shaun Dooley) about the trio. Wade admits that Catesby and Wintour haven’t been seen since their previous meeting. Then, we jump over to Warwickshire. Cecil meets with Anne (Liv Tyler) and young Robert (Tom Sweet). Eventually, he learns from young Robert that his father was gone to Spain. He returns the news to Wade. Meanwhile, the Constable allows Robert and Thomas to witness the burning of a Jewish woman.
Robert is told that Spain cannot support his design. They’re told to have faith in Spain and that she will protect them. Afterwards, Catesby tells Thomas that they were wrong to come here. He explains that they’ll need to rally their fellow Englishman. Cecil and William receive a secret message. One they return to town, Robert and Thomas meet with William Stanley (Robert Gwyllim) and Guy Fawkes (Tom Cullen). Thomas explains that they intend to lead the Catholics out of their oppression. Catesby admits that they’re going to need help raising an army for the rebellion. He also requests gunpowder. Robert is told to find allies and convince them to swear to his cause. He is also told that they need to strike as soon as possible. James (Derek Riddell) speaks to his counsel. Howard (Simon Kunz) believes they need to deliver on the promise or be destroyed.
James is not eager to continue the war. John Gerard (Robert Emms) speaks with Henry Garnet (Peter Mullan). John explains that the parliament intends to make them enemies of the state. Garnet explains that they need to pray. Gerard refers to his friend as a coward. In the morning James meets with Don Juan Fernandez de Velasco. James it told that the Spain is worried about the news laws that will suppress the faithful. It is demanded that the threat be removed within five days or the war will continue. That night, Catesby meets with his men and they swear their allegiance to the cause. Thomas Percy (Daniel West) and Jack Wright (Luke Neal) join in. Guy eventually has his say as well. Moments later, all of the men swear on John Gerard’s Bible. In the morning, King James complains about the situation. He puts the blame on Cecil and tells him to find a solution. Then, Cecil speaks with Wade. Cecil admits he has been discredited in the eyes of the king.
Cecil meets with Spain. He offers them freedom to use the country’s ports in exchange for peace. Digby (Philip Hill-Pearson) meets with Catesby. He lends his support to the cause and also offers up his men. Catesby speaks with his son that night. He apologizes for not being a better father. He says goodbye to his son in the morning. James shows Philip where he intends to meet the Parliament men. He tells him not to worried. Guy and his ally lease storage for the gunpowder. The men meet at the tavern. A local man rushes to Cecil and warns him about the meeting. Catesby and the others finalize their plan. They agree to 4,000 pounds of gunpowder to be sure. As they prepare to leave, they’re attacked by Wade and his men. After a fight, Robert and the others escape. However, John Gerard is captured and taken to the tower to be tortured.
Anne and Garnet chat, before a wounded Catesby arrives. His wound is patched up as quickly as possible. Catesby speaks with Garnet and tells him about his intention to blow up his enemies. Catesby explains to Anne that it is time for them to act. Outside, Robert and Thomas learn about John’s capture. Meanwhile, John is tortured. However, he doesn’t give up any helpful information. He is subsequently returned to his cell. Robert and Guy put together a plan to safe John. Robert gets inside and meets with John. They manage to escape into the boat with Thomas and the others.
I watch lots of slow shows, but Gunpowder might be one of the slowest. Of course, I watch it in different circumstances than others. So, it might not be nearly as slow for some viewers. When the show picks up the action, it is good. However, a lot of it just feels tedious to me. I feel like it could be ten times better if the pace was just a tad bit quicker. Since it is only three episodes long, I do not have many complaints. The story is very intriguing, but I believe they could have done much better with the execution.
The cast is spectacular. It is hard to go wrong with Kit Harington, Edward Holcroft, Shaun Dooley, Robert Emms, and the others. It isn’t the best thing I’ve watched this year, but it is nowhere near the worst either. The episode scores a 7 out of 10. Catch up with previous recaps of Gunpowder now.