Saturday, 3 November 2007

Robin Hood. Series 2. Episode 5, Ducking and Diving

The story opens on a dark, gloomy night in Nottingham as the familiar black shape of Gisborne strides towards another meeting with Allan A’ Dale, once loyal outlaw, now turned traitor. Allan tells Guy of Robin Hood’s plan to ambush Henry of Lewis, messenger to the Sheriff of Nottingham with information about where King Richard will land on his return to England. Later, when Henry fails to show up, Robin realises he must have a spy in his midst, and warns Marian she may be in danger of having her secret identity revealed as a result.
Before Guy of Gisborne can get him to the Castle, Henry is taken ill and the Sheriff’s own doctor is unable to cure him. The Sheriff then sends for Matilda, a woman renown for her ability to heal people, but whose own daughter is about to give birth to a breached baby. Although the Sheriff doesn’t know it yet it was Matilda who delivered the baby Robin of Loxley, something which pleases him even less than her greeting of “Hello baldy!”
Fearing she might be able to save Henry, and that he will deliver his message to the Sheriff, Robin gains access in disguise and threatens to kill him first. Matilda intervenes, but drugs Henry so he is unable to speak sensibly. Robin then escapes to help Matilda’s daughter, whilst she herself is restrained by the Sheriff.
Whilst this was going on Marian has used her charms on Guy to persuade him to allow her to roam the castle without an armed escort. She hopes to spy on him and find out who the traitor is. To this end she follows Guy into “The Trip”, and hears him deliver a message (plus a purse of coins), to the serving maid. But Gisborne catches her, and it is only his vanity which has him believe she is following because she desires him and for no ulterior motive. (Gullible Guy!)
Back at the outlaw camp Much cannot keep secret the knowledge he has learned earlier from Robin himself that there must be a spy in the camp, and heated arguments ensue before Robin arrives with Matilda’s pregnant daughter, now in labour. Robin gives the traitor one chance to step forward and confess, but no-one does.
Then follows what I think is the most brilliantly edited sequence of the series so far. Whilst the Sheriff of Nottingham puts Matilda on trial in Loxley for being a witch, her daughter undergoes a painful childbirth assisted only by Djaq and John. The scenes involving Gordon Kennedy (John) are especially poignant as his huge inexperienced hands first “turn” and then deliver the baby, as the mother asks him about his own wife. John explains he could not be present when his own son was born, because he had to be “in the forest”. It is a scene of few words, but much is conveyed. And all the time the camera is cutting back and forth to Matilda, strapped to a ducking stool, and being repeatedly submerged under the river, screaming curses at her gloating accuser the Sheriff.
In what will be their final act as one united group, the outlaws rescue Matilda by having Robin swim under water with an air pipe, whilst Henry of Lewis is also captured. More excitement ensues when, on the way back to camp, Henry manages to free himself and put a blade to Much’s throat. Henry believes Robin will not shoot to kill, but tonight this was the Robin Hood of legend, and one deadly arrow finds its mark in his chest.
Robin still has to deal with the problem of a traitor in his camp. Who can it be? He devises a plan involving Will Scarlet. Perhaps because of what happened to Will last week, he trusts him most. Robin takes Will to one side and, without explaining too much, thumps him severely in front of the others and sends him away, telling them Will was the traitor. But Robin knows from what Marian heard whilst spying on Guy, that the real traitor will go to The Trip that night for his / her money.
Night falls, and an anxious Allan A ‘ Dale goes to the Inn for his blood money. But a well aimed arrow pins it to the table, and a blade is placed against his neck. “You’re always in the sun, Robin. I’m always in the shade”, pleads Allan. But there can be no forgiveness and Allan knows that to cross Robin Hood’s path again is to forfeit his life.

Comment: Outstanding episode. In fact this was my personal favourite of this series so far. Brilliant acting in that final scene between Joe Armstrong (Allan) and Jonas Armstrong (Robin). In fact both these two actors really shone throughout the story. Superb work also from Gordon Kennedy (John) who can do so much with so few lines. (I really liked the bit about the naming of the new baby.) Also, as we guessed, Djaq did indeed have her suspicions about Allan. The scene where Allan approaches her, knowing she must have guessed his secret, is another high light of the show. Joe might not command the teenage fan base Harry and Jonas enjoy, but for my money he's the best actor among the younger cast.
It was interesting that the one thing Djaq couldn’t do, having demonstrated so many advanced medical skills in the past, was to “turn” a breached baby and deliver it. The final scene was also well placed, seeing Robin Hood and “his merry men” reduced in number now, but still heading towards the main road to rob from the rich and give to the poor. Fantastic episode!
Oh, and yes there really IS a place called The Trip (to Jerusalem) in Nottingham. It is the oldes inn in England, and has strong links with Robin Hood. You can see it HERE.
More pictures in the week, Hoodies!

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Blogger Clement of the Glen said...

One of the best episodes yet. Well written, with a good mix of tension and humour.

I find the exchanges between Marian and Guy are getting a bit tiresome though. It must be difficult now for the writers to know what to do with these two after one of the shortest weddings in history!

And it was nice to see the Trip to Jerusalem get a mention. Could that be its first mention in a Robin Hood production on tv or film?

4 November 2007 at 10:08:00 GMT  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi Clem,

I agree totally about the Marian / Guy situation. This week that was a bit of a step backward. Much better to just keep him angry and threatening towards her now.

I think the Night Watchman has enough skills to get in and out of an old castle without having to turn on the charms. Secret passages and all that. The ground beneath Nottingham castle is full of caves, she could have here very own "Bat Cave" down there!

4 November 2007 at 11:31:00 GMT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great episode! All of the cast were great. Was it me or did Djaq seem to be getting closer to Will? when he came stumbling out of the woods after his "Fake banishment" there was a small moment between them, anybody else notice this?


4 November 2007 at 12:37:00 GMT  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi Gabby,

I think Djaq is the glue which holds this group together.

She has such a keen understanding of each of them. For example, she intuitively knew to ask John to assist in the childbirth - maybe for his "lonely" sake as well as the mother's? And of course she knew it was Allan who was the spy.

And the "peck on the cheek" gesture to Much last week was what he needed in a world where most people just tease him.

I think Will is too "young" for her. (Although Harry Lloyd has grown visibly since the start of series 1!) But she does seem a bit lonely herself from time to time.

She needs a bit more responsibility, something she can do and be appreciated by Robin for. He does seem to side line her a little bit.

If Allan ever made advances to the group to try and get back in, it would be through Djaq he would speak first.....

4 November 2007 at 12:58:00 GMT  
Blogger robin hood said...

Robin Hood BBC series 2

Basic cast:

Robin Hood - Jonas Armstrong
Marian - Lucy Griffiths
Guy of Gisborne - Richard Armitage
Sheriff of Nottingham - Keith Allen
Little John - Gordon Kennedy
Much - Sam Troughton
Allan A Dale - Joe Armstrong
Will Scarlet - Harry Lloyd
Djaq - Anjali Jay
Edward - Michael Elwynn

4 November 2007 at 18:33:00 GMT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Djaq is one of the best characters in my opinion, i also like Marian. Allan was one of my favourites but then he had to go and betray them all... The sheriff is a lot darker than he was last series, he makes less jokes. Much seems to be the only comic relief now.


4 November 2007 at 19:49:00 GMT  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi Gabby,

I love Djaq. One of the reasons I really wanted a Friar Tuck was because of the interaction between the two faith systems. Although maye that's one reason they avoided it!

4 November 2007 at 20:43:00 GMT  
Blogger Emily said...

It was a very cute Djaq and Will scene - I'd like to see more, though you are right, this season, she seems a lot older than Will from last series.
Perhaps its because she looks more like a woman now?

5 November 2007 at 18:29:00 GMT  
Blogger robin hood said...

Could be. I think it's also the way they continue to script Will as the "boy" of the group...

5 November 2007 at 21:01:00 GMT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why do they script Will as a boy? is it cos he's the youngest out of da group. it's his birthday soon he's gonna be 24 on da 17th of Nov i love him

luv amy

p.s i love Harry Lloyd

6 November 2007 at 16:03:00 GMT  
Anonymous Lau said...

I dont know how old Djaq is supposed to be, but Will is 18, even though Harry is nearly 6 years older.
Djaq and Will are definatly getting closer, she stroked his cheek at the end. lol.
Also in th bbc interviews on the web, only Harry and Anjali talk of there character and love.

6 November 2007 at 17:38:00 GMT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There'll be something between them, I've been noticing more and more interactions between Djaq and Will in series 2, 204 after his father was killed and of course this episode with the split second hand to cheek and hand-holding - I can't stop watching those bits.

But there'll be something with Allan as well, even though he's 'gone to the dark side', at the end she did say he was a good man, or something along those lines (and I'm pretty sure that earned a less than enthusiastic look from Will)

Ohh, I can't wait

7 November 2007 at 15:15:00 GMT  
Blogger Just a girl said...

Hey Robin,
I agree, this was a great episode, both thrilling and touching in all the right moments, but maintaining a comic touch. This episode, however, obviously had a darker side to it, what with the anticipation of how Robin would deal with the traitor we all knew to be Allan A Dale. Should he have killed him, or given him a second chance? I don't know that he should be forgiven; perhaps if he'd come forward earlier, he could have sought his peace. I'm glad Robin didn't kill him, but will he be better off alive?
Down Under we don't get the show at the same time as you do, but I'm looking forward to episode 6 - I've read your review - which I should see sometime this week. =) Wonderful reviews, btw.

11 November 2007 at 20:32:00 GMT  

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