Sunday, 28 October 2007
Saturday, 27 October 2007
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!
Sunday, 21 October 2007
Robin Hood. Series 2. Picture Gallery 3
Robin Hood. Series 2, episode 3: "Child Hood".
Robin takes the boy Daniel back to camp where Much is cooking and having to endure many jokes about what is apparently meant to be chicken. Djaq teases them all about their lack of any vegetable content to their diet. The boy recognises the men, reacting as any Hoodie might, but denting the pride of John, whom he thought would have been a real giant, and Much, who he thinks of as "the servant". This is a really nice scene. Very in keeping with the original "merry men" concept which has endured over the centuries.
Robin Hood and his outlaws have learned of the armour from Daniel, and go to Loxley Manor to steal the black diamonds which are a part of its secret formula. But as he is taking the box he is interrupted by Guy and a well screened fight ensues; the first of two between these characters in this episode! Outside a further fight breaks out between the Sheriff’s soldiers and the outlaws who are trying to rescue the boys and, although Robin and his men escape with the diamonds, Daniel is captured. To save the boy’s life Robin will have to agree to a trade.
Robin Hood goes to Nottingham Castle and tells Marian of both the boy’s plight and the armour for which the black diamonds are intended. She says she will rescue the boy, but the outlaws also devise a plan of their own just in case she fails. Their plan is to put pitch in the diamond box so, when the Sheriff takes it back, one flaming arrow can set it alight. Marian’s plan involves her obtaining a pass from the Sheriff, permitting her to leave the Castle at night, under the pretence of visiting Guy in order to make up to him for her past demeanour at the altar. The Sheriff signs her pass, not realising he has also signed a consent form for the boy to be escorted from the prison. She takes this pass to the outlaws, where the traitor Alan A Dale volunteers to be the one to trick the guards with it.
Comment: Excellent episode! Great to see the two main characters involved in a pitched battle (no pun intended), and what about that scene between Marian and Guy? I think her reaction even surprised herself! The young boys were also outstanding in delivering their parts. (I loved the scene where John was offended at not being considered big enough and Djaq says "Men always lie about their size".) And how great is it to see Marian holding a dagger to someone’s spine and she’s not even in the Night Watchman costume?! She is certainly headed for big trouble. As indeed is Alan, who surely can only ultimately redeem himself with his very life…
Monday, 15 October 2007
Robin Hood. Series 2. Picture gallery 2
Saturday, 13 October 2007
Robin Hood. Series 2. Episode 2: The Beauty and the Booby.
News of their raid reaches the Sheriff of Nottingham and interrupts his bath time, which Guy is apparently being forced to attendant (most reluctantly!) The reason he is having his bath “six months early” is because he has invited the German Count Freidrich (already better known as "Fruitcake" amongst the Hoody fraternity after seeing the advance trailers), to come to Nottingham for a bit of gambling. He intends to win the Count's money for his coffers, and to this end he has built a Casino, complete with green baize tables. (This is one Sheriff who likes his canaries shaken but not stirred!) Gisborne is despatched to deal with those who built the Sheriff’s strong room and leaked the secret to Robin Hood. It won’t be pleasant…
Meanwhile back at the castle Count Freidrich arrives in all his splendour. (He is the Booby in this episode’s title). Marian has been instructed by the Sheriff to cater for the Count’s “every desire”, and wear something which will “stimulate the imagination”. Her red dress hit’s the spot, and double entendres such as “do you ride” and “gently caress the ball” will amuse the family orientated tea time audience.
As night falls, a very glamorous Djaq gains entrance to the casino and lets the outlaws into the hallways outside the strong room. Whilst the Count and Marian commence their game at the dice table, Robin and his men pit their wits against an array of deadly swinging pendulums, poisoned arrows (nearly grazing Will’s neck), and molten lead…
Monday, 8 October 2007
Robin Hood series 2. Picture Gallery 1
Saturday, 6 October 2007
Robin Hood. Series 2, episode 1: Sister Hood
Robin then goes to visit Marian, and asks her to join his gang and live in the forest. Fans don’t have to wait long before they kiss, and the continuity here from the last series is very encouraging. However, you guessed it, no sooner do they kiss than an argument ensues. Marian will not abandon her father, nor her home. And what better time for Guy of Gisborne to turn up?
Gisborne is acting under the Sheriff’s orders to take her and her father to Nottingham Castle. This he does, but not until he has forced Marian to beg him not to burn the Manor down. She begs, and he burns it down anyway!
Before leaving Nottingham Robin talks to a woman, Rose, tied to a post and apparently taking a punishment on behalf of her children’s stealing. Robin promises to help, but the Sheriff appears with the children and orders that their hands be publicly chopped off anyway. Only the marksmanship of Robin Hood can save them as the executioner’s blade takes aim above their tiny shackled arms. But this time it was Robin’s turn to be duped, and Rose turns out to be no other than the rich lady he had ambushed in the forest. Not only that, but she is the Sheriff’s sister. Robin is arrested and taken away.
The scene then changes to inside the Castle as the Sheriff addresses his assembly of the Brotherhood of the Black Knights. Their long term plan is to take over England whenever (and whichever) King eventually returns. As he speaks Robin is revealed to be hanging from his ankles above a trap door. The trap door conceals the “babies” from the ambush; a pit full of snakes. Whilst he is tied in this position Gisborne tries to get him to reveal the identity of the Night Watchman. Right on cue, the Night Watchman herself has slipped into costume and causes enough of a diversion for Robin to escape, but not before the Sheriff’s sister falls into the pit. With a touch of irony, Robin and the Sheriff have to combine forces to pull her out, but not before she is bitten. Robin threatens to kill the Sheriff (yawn, heard that one before), but before the poison can reach her heart she reveals that Prince John has made the Sheriff a prince, and that if he was murdered Nottingham would be burnt to the ground.
The Night Watchman’s new costume may not be to everyone’s liking, even though “his“ higher profile in the series surely will be. The new costume is very “Lincoln Green”, and if the Sheriff and Guy can’t see that’s a rather shapely woman underneath there, especially when the Sheriff is pinning her arms back, then they really should get out more. But I loved the bit where Gisborne held up that little Saracen blade to remind “him” of their last encounter. Wonderful!
And what about Djaq? Suddenly she’s become a complete girlie! Hope that doesn’t spoil her character. I’m sure she’s still capable of administering to the outlaw’s wounds, as she famously did with a dying Marian, but I can’t help thinking she might now want to get changed first.
So. LOTS of really good stuff boiling under here: The Black Knights; Allan’s treachery (which can only end in serious tears); plenty of romance; and above it all the Sheriff and Guy in obvious competition as to who can be the most evil!
More pictures during the week, Hoodies!