The Winter King Season 1 Episode 3 Recap – Who is the King of Dumnonia now?

September 11, 2023 (Last updated: 2 weeks ago)
Jonathon Wilson 0
MGM+, Streaming Service, TV, Weekly TV
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The Winter King Season 1 Episode 3 Recap - Who is the King of Dumnonia now?


The fallout from the massacre at Avalon leads to some decent political toing and froing as leadership of Dumnonia seems more fragile than ever.

This recap of The Winter King Season 1 Episode 3 contains spoilers. 

It has been a little while, hasn’t it? And it should have been longer, really, since MGM+ originally intended to delay Episode 3 of The Winter King for another week.

We’re back by popular demand, though, and things aren’t especially upbeat in the show following the Red Wedding-style massacre at Avalon in Episode 2.

The Winter King Season 1 Episode 3 Recap

In case you forgot – though how could you, really – in the previous episode Gungleus stabbed a baby, killed King Uther’s widow, raped Nimue, and tried to kill another baby. In this endeavor, he was unsuccessful, though, thanks to the timely return of Arthur, back from exile to inherit the kingdom he was denied in the first place.

Why doesn’t Arthur kill Gungleus?

Gungleus is disarmed without much fuss, but the more pressing matter quickly becomes what to do with him. Understandably, the most common sentiment is that he should be executed, and Nimue would be more than happy to do it given the circumstances, but Arthur keeps him alive so as to preserve some uneasy political stability.

The idea is that Arthur’s uncle, King Gorfydd, would use Gungleus’s execution to wage war, which wouldn’t be good for anyone, so Arthur plans to keep him alive and use him as a bargaining tool. In the meantime, though, he’ll have to stay in the king’s quarters, since Uther never kept anyone alive and thus never had a need for dungeons. This doesn’t prove to be an especially popular decision either.

Who is the King of Dumnonia now?

Politically speaking, then, things are a mess, which Owain explains to Arthur after returning from a skirmish with the invading Saxons. Gungleus and Gorfydd have been raiding rival kingdoms, and Dumnonia is, technically, without leadership. Since Owain and Bishop Bedwin were both appointed as Mordred’s protectors, Owain is the acting King until the lineage business can get properly straightened out.

Thus, Owain supports Arthur’s decision to leave Gungleus alive, despite wanting very much to kill him, and Nimue is increasingly furious about the whole affair.

Nimue tries to enlist Derful in her revenge plot after assuring Arthur he’ll experience the same pain she did after denying the Gods the satisfaction of killing Gungleus. She performs a scarring ceremony that binds her and Derfel together through cuts on their respective hands and tries to get him to drug Arthur so he can steal the key to Gungleus’s prison.

The problem with this plan is that Derfel has a fair amount of hero worship for Arthur after he saved him from the death pit in Episode 1, so when Arthur gets a sniff of what’s going on and offers Derfel the key voluntarily, he doesn’t take it.

The Winter King Season 1 Episode 3 Ending Explained

The episode ends with a bit more Arthurian strategizing that is clearly intended to tee up some rivalries down the line, perhaps especially between Arthur and Owain, who worries privately to Bishop Bedwin that he might have designs on power himself.

Anyway, Arthur’s idea is to free Gungleus and have him invite his uncle to Mordred’s naming ceremony so that they can discuss peace between the kingdoms. In exchange, Dumnonia will start trading with Siluria.

It’s not exactly a neat and tidy plan, and all kinds of things could potentially go wrong, so Arthur frames the fact he didn’t run it by anyone else as a kind of selfless safety measure so that if it all goes pear-shaped he can take the blame entirely.

Is anyone buying this? Probably not. Likewise, Arthur’s threat to execute Gungleus’ Pagan bride-to-be if he doesn’t play ball seems a bit flimsy considering he couldn’t even bring himself to off Gungleus himself, political value notwithstanding. Arthur’s only been back in Dumnonia a brief while and he’s already making some major gambles – and it’s very unlikely they’ll pay off.

You can stream The Winter King Season 1 Episode 3 exclusively on MGM+.

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