Robin Hood. Series 2. Episode 11: "Treasure of the Nation".
The message turns out to be a cryptic picture, which none of them can understand. (No, not even Djaq). However, learning that a second message is located at Paxton House, they go in search. Sure enough, Paxton himself does have a matching cryptic picture, and combining the two they at least understand that the Latin thereupon means "Treasure of the Nation" (thanks Djaq), but are no wiser as to the whereabouts of that "treasure". However, holding the paper before the heat of a candle flame, several more marks are revealed, which appear to correspond to an arrangement of buildings. Meanwhile, Loxley Village is being requisitioned as a military garrison by order of the Sheriff of Nottingham. Marian is trying to resist these measures, and arguing with Guy of Gisborne, but to no avail. Guy is especially angry with Allan for the loss of the grain, and forces Allan to lead his troops to where he knows it will be hidden. (Not the main hideout). This Allan does, observed from the surrounding trees by Marian.
When Marian goes to tell Robin Hood of Allan's latest act of treachery, plus the fact Loxley Village has been commandeered, they meet with a passionate embrace. But Robin explains that until the King's message has been decoded and dealt with, there's little he can do. He also makes her promise not to go it alone. She gives this promise but as he walks away, goes on to mutter under her breath that, whilst she will not intervene, the Night Watchman might… Robin Hood returns alone to the outlaw's camp, where they have identified the marks in the picture to be a map of a stone circle with which they are familiar, and to which they immediately embark, leaving only Paxton behind. Upon reaching the Circle, Robin fires an arrow through an alignment in the stones, and all follow to see where it falls to ground. Where that arrow marks the spot they discover an entrance to an underground bunker, and further clues therein which indicate that Kirklees Abbey is where the Treasure of the Nation will ultimately be found. However, no sooner do they make that discovery than the Sheriff appears. He has been following them, led by Paxton! Trapping Robin Hood and the outlaws in the bunker, the Sheriff makes for Kirklees, but not before rewarding Paxton with a blade to the gut! Later, only Little John's mighty strength against the stone doors, aided by his new friend Legrand, will free them.
Back in Loxley Village the entire Robin Hood series is about to turn on its axis as the Night Watchman goes into action single handily against the military presence there. Allan is the first to intercept the masked vigilante in a barn, and does try to reason with "her". But suddenly Gisborne appears, and a huge fight ensues. It is an impressive battle. Every blow, every kick Gisborne delivers makes us wince because we know whose figure lay beneath that mysterious outfit. The Night Watchman puts up a good fight, but the outcome against the master assassin is inevitable. Gloating, Guy approaches the defeated people's warrior, reaches out, and….Pulls off the mask!!!!
"Not you…" are the only words he can muster, before turning away, and running distraught from the barn. Marian pleads with Allan to let her escape, but Allan refuses. As far as he is concerned all Allan has left is his future with Gisborne. Suddenly (speak of the devil), Gisborne returns carrying the small Saracen blade he stabbed the Night Watchman with one year ago! He demands proof from Marian that she was in fact that person he stabbed, and Marian raises her garment to reveal the scar on her side. It is all he needed to see before, sending for the Sheriff and arranging her execution. Meanwhile, Robin Hood has realised the Sheriff misinterpreted the instructions on the cryptic map, and that Barnsdale Church is the more exacting location for the Treasure of the Nation than Kirklees. And indeed, when they themselves reach the church, the Treasure stands revealed: It is nothing less than the Queen Mother, tricked and imprisoned by her wayward son Prince John! The Queen is particularly curious about two of the outlaws: the Saracen, Djaq, whom she quickly takes a liking to and expresses a wish to get to know better, and Little John, for whom she takes quite another kind of liking. Indeed, John's rear is in for a good pinching from the flirtatious Royal before the day is through.
Suddenly, the outlaws are once again surrounded by the Sheriff's men, but they manage to escape without too much incident. However, when ambushed a little further down the road, Legrand is fatally wounded in his defence of the Queen, causing John to offer an epitaph akin to that spoken once before over Marian's dying body: "Him, I liked".
Within the Nottingham Castle, Marian is trying desperately to escape by lighting fires in her room. But to no avail. Neither can her charms seem to work so well on Gullible Guy this time around, even though there does seem to be a growing realisation upon her face that her previous deceptions might have hurt the "human" side of Guy more than she had right.
The episode climaxes as the Sheriff returns, angry at the loss of the Treasure of the Nation, and in desperate need of a good hanging to calm his senses. The gallows stand prepared in the background as the Sheriff consults with Guy. Then Marian steps forth and says: "I am ready". But of course the Sheriff doesn't know she is the Night Watchman, and simply invites her to witness the hanging! At which point "the Night Watchman" himself appears on the battlements, raining arrows into the courtyard below!
Guy glances at Marian. Is this his planning? As the Sheriff goes into another fit of rage, the soldiers go in pursuit. After they pass an overlooked water well, a dark masked figure emerges in safety. He removes the mask. It is Allan a Dale!
At the conclusion to all this activity, and no doubt with the Sheriff still screaming somewhere in his chambers, Marian, Allan, and Guy are alone in her chambers. She hugs Allan with a genuine "Thank you" for saving her life. Guy is now smiling (!), and tells Allan to burn the Night Watchman's outfit. Once they are alone, Guy asks Marian to stay, saying she is the "only thing which makes this place bearable". Marian embraces him, not with a deep kiss, but certainly with genuine affection: "I will stay…"
Comment: Wow! Will we ever see the Night Watchman ride again? Has Guy truly captured a part of Marian's heart? Where does this leave Allan? (Allan could now be in an even more precarious position. He not only has links to Robin, but has witnessed Guy's actions to conceal Marian's identity). A lot to digest here, especially as we have a whole third series before us next year!
I loved the little references to Stone Circles and Kirklees. (Follow the link and you'll find how they are indeed related to the legend of Robin Hood). And I loved the Queen Mother's advances towards Little John. (So did he!) Another good couple of guests here, in both the Queen Mother and the Crusader Legrand. (Can we please have one of these guys stay and join the gang?) Loved this episode.