Robin Hood. Series 2. Episode 4: “Angel of Death”.
As night falls Allan A’ Dale takes a particular interest in a letter Robin is writing. Robin explains it is destined for King Richard, to inform him about the Sheriff’s Black Knights. Meanwhile, back in Nottingham, there is more trechury afoot as a fake Night Watchman (Joseph), is delivering poisoned pies to the poor people of the town. This he is doing not only for the Sheriff of Nottingham, but because of his own fascist obsession to kill off the weak in order to improve the English race.
By morning Marian has discovered her father Edward has been locked in the dungeon without food, as a punishment for her own behaviour. The Sheriff agrees to feed her father if she reads out a message to the people informing them that the Pestilence has arrived in Nottingham, and that Pit Street is to be barricaded up with all its residents under quarantine. Sure enough, as the message is being read, children are falling prey to the sickness, not realising yet the true source of the problem. It is Will’s father, upon seeing one of the sick children, who realises it is not in fact the Pestilence, and that the Sheriff must have some more devious reason for the barricades. But before his protest can be fully heard he is slaughtered before his sons' very eyes.
As confusion breaks out, Robin Hood and his men enter Pit Street before the barricades are in place, thinking themselves better positioned to help the people. The traitor Allan seizes this moment to offer to deliver Robin’s letter to the King’s messenger, whilst Will elects to take his distraught brother home to Scarborough. But Will’s stated intention is only a ruse to placate Robin, for as soon as his brother is over the Castle walls Will turns back, his mind bent on revenge, and the words “This place is about to turn to Hell” coming from his lips.
Marian, locked in her room, swaps clothes with her servant in order to escape and join the action. No sooner does she reach Robin’s side than she sees Joseph amongst the Outlaws espousing his twisted beliefs about genocide to Much. She recognises him from the Castle and his cover is blown, but not before a few well aimed arrows must knock the poisoned supper plates from the outlaws’ hands! Joseph remains unrepentant. Gloating there is no cure for his poison before he escapes them.
It is John (not Djaq!) who comes up with a possible remedy. He remembers that the poison belladonna can in fact work as a cure for other poisons. He rubs a small amount on a sick child’s lips, and a dreadful silent pause ensues…
Only now do the outlaws learn from Marian that Will has been seen inside the Castle. Robin Hood vows that Will must be stopped from killing the Sheriff “whatever it takes”, and they bluff their way through the barricade to go after him. But they are too late. Will has taken the disguise of a servant and delivered a glass of poisoned wine to both the Sheriff and Joseph. Not only that, but upon leaving the Sheriff’s quarters, he locks Djaq up in a room with the antidote. When Robin catches up with Will he knows only drastic action can get him to reveal where Djaq is hid. So he himself drinks from what is apparently a bottle of the poison and writhes in pain on the floor. Will naturally wishes to save his leader, and Djaq and the antidote are soon located.
As the Sheriff lays dying, Robin asks Will himself to either administer the antidote, or know that King John will slaughter all the people of the town as an act of revenge. What Will does next he does in his father’s name…
Comment: Good episode. We’ve waited since the series began to see Harry Lloyd have a chance to do something other than strike a pose. (Although that is more than enough for Harry fans I know). So it was good to see an angry, “scarlet” Will Scarlet for a change. I personally think it a shame this isn’t going to sustain as it did with Ray Winstone (or even Christian Slater), but Harry’s version of Scarlet is absolutely perfect for this particular show.
The psychopathic tendencies of Joseph were interesting. We haven’t had the “political” bit this series, so the sub text here about genocide (“ethnic cleansing” as the news politely puts it), once again related the legend to whole world issues.
And two lighter moments: Don’t miss the quick kiss from Djaq to Much (and his response), as well as Marian alighting from the rooftops into Robin Hood’s arms, but not before a scene in which Gisborne came knocking at her door!
More pictures in the week Hoodies!