Saturday, 25 April 2009

Robin Hood. Series 3, episode 5: “Let the Games Commence”.

Above: Robin Hood and Guy's sister, Isabella, fast becoming friendly in the forest. Below: Big Bertha persuades John to wrestle in her Circus. (A shame John didn't have a "friendly" relationship with Bertha. That could have been most entertaining).
Above: Guy releases his killer weapon, and Kate looks on at Robin with his new friend... (Maybe she should put the hair extensions back in). Below: The new "triangle"? Will Isabella take sides with Robin Hood? Or remain loyal to her brother?
The Story: Another well pitched episode starts with a Lady, dressed as one of noble birth, racing through Sherwood Forest at breakneck speed. Hot in pursuit are two males, but not of the uniformed soldiers type. Before they can capture her she hides a small package in a hollow tree stump. When they approach she at first feigns surrender, before going on to knock most of them senseless before until she is overwhelmed. She is clearly afraid of being sent back somewhere, and begs “Please, no. You know what he’ll do to me!” It is at that moment that Robin Hood’s arrows announce his arrival: “I’m Robin Hood, and the pleasure’s all yours”, he smiles, (sounding more than a little like Noel Gallagher in his cocky arrogance).

As her attackers flee, the girl gives her name as Isabella, and explains that she is simply a servant girl wearing her Lady’s gown, and helping this same Lady escape from Squire Thornton. Robin Hood is clearly more than impressed at what he sees (love at first sight?), but all social niceties are interrupted when they have to take to the bushes as Guy of Gisborne and his new band of soldiers pass. Yes, “He’s back!”

Stationed in the forest, Guy is training his troops hard. These are the crème de la crème, provided by Prince John, with the express intent of killing Robin Hood. Whilst training they receive a visit from the Sheriff of Nottingham, curious and concerned about Guy’s new status with the Prince, and where it might leave him. Obviously Guy is not intimidated by the Sheriff anymore, and goes on to say he not only has these soldiers at his disposal but also “a weapon”.

There then follows a rather clumsy cut (did I miss a bit?) to a scene in which Guy and his men are already in hot pursuit of Robin and the Outlaws (Isabella amongst them). They escape down a sharp embankment, and attempt to avoid capture by splitting up into smaller groups. Gisborne is cool and measured in his response, simply giving the order to “fetch the weapon”.

Meanwhile, back in Nottingham, the Sheriff of Nottingham has sent for all the City’s merchants in order to collect their taxes. However, the Merchants seem a little less afraid of the Sheriff, believing his links with Prince John are not as strong as in the past. In response to this the Sheriff goes personally to the Market Place to get his money.

In Sherwood Forest, John comes across a woman apparently fighting off two assailants, and runs to her aid. However, he is wrong. This is Big Bertha, owner of Circus Maximus, and bound for Nottingham. The men seen fighting her are part of her circus troop, whilst the many children she takes with her are said to be orphans she has rescued and cares for. When Guy’s men come close she disguises John as a leper to keep him from discovery. In return, John agrees to fight in the circus ring that very night.

Whilst John and the circus head for Nottingham, the rest of the Outlaws have been cleverly “herded together like sheep” by these expert troops, approaching them from different sides. But, as the Outlaws get ready for a last stand, the troops part to reveal a large box. “What’s he got in there?” stutters a wide eyed Much.

He doesn’t have to wait too long before a huge lion is released and starts prowling towards them. However, all is not lost when Batgirl, err, sorry, Isabella, steps forth and takes from her utility belt (sorry, couldn’t resist!), a bag of mustard! She throws the bags into the air so Robin Hood can shoot holes in them, thereby inventing mustard gas, and escape whilst the troops and the lion (poor thing) are rubbing their eyes. (See First World War for details). Okay, back to the plot: After they escape, the Outlaws once more decide to split up. Robin, Much and Isabella go to investigate Guy’s camp, whilst the others go back to camp. But when Robin Hood reaches Guy’s camp he is waiting for him. In the ensuing fight Guy holds Robin at sword point, but Isabella saves him, even though it means her true identity is revealed. Yes, Isabella is Guy’s sister, sold into a loveless marriage to Squire Thornton at the age of just thirteen. Robin Hood gets away, but Isabella is forced to stay with Guy, and promises she’ll help in the fight against the Outlaws as long as she isn’t sent back to Squire Thornton. Meanwhile, when Robin returns to the Outlaw’s camp, there is the usual to-and-fro business of “let’s go back where we’ve only just come from” as they hatch yet another plan to enter Guy’s camp. This plan will involve Robin Hood’s apparent surrender.

In Nottingham, Bertha pays the Sheriff a visit. She calls him Vasey, having known him in the past, but he has no use for friendship and is only after money from her profits at that night’s performance. She says she can’t raise 200 crowns, but can promise him 100 crowns, and that a dead Outlaw will be a part of her show if the Sheriff will excuse her the rest of the money. However, as they are plotting, John himself has saved a small boy’s life during training for the show, and the boy is going to prove very grateful when later that day he hears Bertha telling one of her fighters to kill John in the ring.

As the circus gets underway, John is told to lose his fight, on the basis that if he won they would make more money and the Sheriff would only take more tax. But of course the true reason is that John is to be killed as part of Bertha’s deal with the Sheriff. So, whilst John fights in the ring, back at Guy’s camp, Robin Hood has walked straight in with arms held high, thereby distracting the soldiers from the Outlaws’ nets which are about to fall from the trees and the lion be released.

Cut to John fighting in a scary mask whilst the small boy attempts to tell him he is about to be killed; cut back to the forest where everyone but Guy, Robin Hood and his still merry men, are groaning on the floor in defeat. (Okay, this bit made no sense to me. How come these guys are so amazing for the whole episode, only to get trashed off-screen by a few fishing nets??)

Guy calmly rides away from his defeated men, saying “They failed me”. Isabella pleads to go with him, and he agrees. Robin and the Outlaws of course quick foot it to Nottingham and John. It transpires that Bertha is not the charitable person she pretends to be, but is rather selling the children into slavery. So, as a now freed John faces too many soldiers for even he to deal with, Robin and his gang make a well filmed, exciting entrance.

End bit: Seemingly with nowhere else to go, Guy (and Isabella) return to the Sheriff. Guy’s not quite cowering, but he’s not as arrogant as I’d like him to be. Later on, Isabella returns to the spot where she hid her small package. But Robin Hood has gotten there first to retrieve the purse. Isabella and Robin then argue. She tries to explain how she was “sold like a piece of meat” to her husband, but an angry Robin takes the money anyway.

Comment: As I said at the start, it was a well pitched episode. Perfectly suited for that time of evening. However, and maybe I become more and more aware of it due to writing these summaries, the “to-and-fro” style really does become a little too farcical at times. No doubt a way of making it seem far more is happening than actually is.

I love Kate’s new forest green outfit. It was great to see Gordon Kennedy (John), get more to say and do (he’s a big character in this one), and Sam Troughton (Much) was well on form with those little one liners as he pontificated over exactly what “the weapon” in that box could be. All good.

Negatives? Apart from the “to-and-fro” running about stuff: Surely Isabella would have simply knocked seven shades of stuffing out of Squire Thornton rather than have to resort to running away. And the Lion? Don’t get me started on the lion. Suffice to say I visit Sherwood Forest regularly, and will have a bottle of Coleman’s at the ready when I go next.

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Blogger robin hood said...

Robin Hood Series 3 Cast:

Robin Hood - Jonas Armstrong
Kate - Joanne Froggatt
Guy of Gisborne - Richard Armitage
Tuck - David Harewood
Sheriff of Nottingham - Keith Allen
Little John - Gordon Kennedy
Much - Sam Troughton
Allan-a-Dale - Joe Armstrong

25 April 2009 at 21:39  
Blogger evielyn said...

Hi Robin

I enjoyed it as well although( I must be getting deaf in my old age) I do find what with the back ground noises and how quickly they all talk it is difficult to sometimes keep up with what they are saying. Guy's trap was very well done though.

It was good and what a little minx Isabella is going to turn out to be. A super role to play she is obviously attracted to Robin (its mutual I think) but of course she must keep her brother. the Sheriff and Prince John happy that should keep her busy playing one off against the other!

I also agree with you about Prince John's soldiers A fine fighting force brought to their knees by a net. Oh come on I don't think so

Kate looked great in her new outfit there will be sparks flying between the two girls I expect in the coming weeks unless I am very much mistaken. I am really beginning to enjoy it more now that the characters are all settling down and I loved John with that little lad Walt they were good together.

25 April 2009 at 23:22  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi Evielyn,This sound issue is an interesting one.

I only watch TV rarely these days, so have only got a little "box" in the corner. So I wonder if the sound is better on a large screen? I agree that it isn't just the sound though. I have to really concentrate to hear names (like Squire Thornton), so I can write the review without going back again.

Kate did look fabulous didn't she? I REALLY LIKE KATE.And yes, Isabella is going to be good if developed well. The writer has cleverly not really disclosed which side she may ultimately be on.

Let's all just hope Gisborne doesn't revert to being "Gullible Guy" now he's back in the Castle.

25 April 2009 at 23:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i enjoyed your review it´s was amazing as alway. OMG i love this ep Guy is back my world is right again. izzy i loved her interaction with robin, she is cunning and she is soo going to play them both (robin and guy),i liked kate´s new looked and there´s no weird things in her hair yeah the world is better know, and nobody got stuck in the dungeon, and Guy was looking amazing. Litle jhon got more camera time finally!!!. i missed the sheriff one liners he is not as evil as last season.
robin and izzy invented mustard gas, (oh love this show! i´m xtreamly happy giggling like a 10 year old bubbly girl) Prince jhon homeland security agents were defeated by a few fishing nets?? gee really! robin should have atacked them with his new invention : nuclear bombs.
ps: guy´s camp is way better than robin´s, and he got a shower and hair cut, i´m melting i can´t control myself. lovely ep and great review.


26 April 2009 at 01:41  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi Natalie,RA / Guy is certainly looking good. I was worried before the series started, because in the publicity shots he looks like some kind of Glasto Hippie. But no. He's cool.

I agree about the Sheriff. i really do think (having followed keith Allen's career for some time), that some of his one-liners in the past were as a result of him ad libbing and exploring the character. perhaps now, as he's getting bored, we'll see less of those?

RE Robin's camp: Is it still the one Will built? It looks different somehow.

And yes, good to see LITTLE John having the chance to play the part of the legend for a change.

26 April 2009 at 02:15  
Blogger robin hood said...

Everybody,Nope, I haven't stopped doing pictures.

I've been having a lot of technical trouble recently, and have had to operate between 2 pc's. But rest assured, updates to photos are at hand.

26 April 2009 at 02:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LITTLE jhon was beyond amazing his bonding with the kid was adorable, he is such a sweet father figure is endearing. i like izzy really much, she´s a grey character and i´m looking forward to know her more and apparently i´m not the only one, Robin seems to be very eager too.
i think it´s the same camp that Will built i didn´t notice it, my attention was focus in somo other things i´ll re watch later.
i can´t wait for the next ep


26 April 2009 at 02:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this episode. The lion was OTT, but I loved seeing Little John in action. He was very sweet with the little boy.
Isabella I really liked, and I think she is going to be on Robin's side. But this show has messed me up before....

If Robin can't go riding off into the sunset with Marian at the end of this season, I can handle him having a relationship with her (assuming she is one of the good guys, if I'm wrong I take it all back).
Guy is just mean, sells his sister, leaves his baby in the woods, kills Marian, and I don't understand why I don't like him as much as I should.
I did enjoy this episode though. Has there been different writers for each episode? It just occured to me. Some episodes are better written than others. I miss the quips and references to songs from the '70s...

26 April 2009 at 03:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

an orphanage in locksley so handy.
mm being fair we don´t know if gizzy left seth in the forest it could have been one of the guards that instead of leaving the baby in the abbey, drop him in the forest. i don´t think isabella is one of the good guys, she seems to be a grey character she wants revenge, but she also wants power so she needs to be on guy´s good side mmmm and also she was quite smitten with the outlaw leader, she will be playing in both sides.
i wonder what happened with the lion? and with the homeland security agents of Prince jhon?
"miss the quips and references to songs from the '70s..." yeah me too gee i born in the 90s i´ll have to re watch the show with mom.

ps: it was the first time that the orphanage is mention, mmmmmm i wonder if it was built under guy´s administration then he´s awesome.


26 April 2009 at 03:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank GOD that awful braid is finally gone.

Great episode. I like Isabella. She seems to have a touch of evil in her. We'll have to wait and see what happens. I thought her interaction with Robin was most interesting, and it was nice to have TWO women on the screen. Too many boys in those early episodes.

It feels like it's finally starting to get interesting.


26 April 2009 at 03:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi .thank you for your web i can discover every thing in robin hood happened you are very kind that put them for us... i want to ask you, where are you live? can you answer me please my e mail is
thank you

26 April 2009 at 08:26  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi PrufrockThere are different writers than before, and I think more of them. I should start making a note.

Yes, there are less "quips and references". Maybe that's a part of the writing; maybe (as I said before about Keith Allen), there's a little less humour and / or improv on set. I wish Alan A dale would get a bit more to say in this respect.

And yes, Little John needs to stay more in the spotlight. The Gentle Giant idea is perfect for him.


Hi Natalie,I wouldn't trust Isabella. Like you say, I think she'll play both sides.


Hi Sjl,I think the braid was in the wash that week, and hung up to dry. I wouldn't be suprised if it returned....


Hi baran_panahiI actually live on the edge of Sherwood Forest. I was born in the forest itself.

You should be careful about putting your e-mail address on the 'net. You can delete your comment if you wish. It's up to you.

26 April 2009 at 11:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you live on the edge of Sherwood Forest! dear be careful with lions.
love your blog you always give us the best reviews, very wellwritten.

You are right about Isabella the gang should be very careful with her i thought Tuck was going to be more wary about her, good thing that Kate was being cautelous . All that running make me a bit dizzy, is was unnecessary. Guy is back and he´s less broody than in the first two eps that´s good.


26 April 2009 at 17:49  
Blogger evielyn said...

Hi Everyone

I to felt very dizzy with all that running about especially as it got them all nowhere! Thats why I found it so hard to hear what they were all saying as they were so out of breath.
I also thought that none of them were suitably afraid of the lion after all its not a thing you see every day in Sherwood forest is it? Have you got a pet one Robin?

Be careful if you go down in the woods today you may have a big surprise! I loved all the greenery this time I,don't remember the forest being so green in the other series

Back to the Lion what happened to it or did I miss something?

26 April 2009 at 18:17  
Blogger robin hood said...

Thanks Jhazzmindra,Good point about Tuck. He is sometimes tooooo nice. he should have been more sispicious.

Also, as he is second in command (or so it seems now), maybe he should have gone back to camp and let Much or Allan go with Robin and Izzy to guy's camp.


Hi Evielyn,Yes, the missing Lion can be added to all the other missing items from the whole of the episodes. Like, what ring did Robin bury if it wasn't the same as Marian's?

Someone should make a list.

26 April 2009 at 18:47  
Anonymous kitty said...

Isabella worked because her character is fresh and new , although i like Joanna Frogett as an actress her character is penned as very similar to the Marian character which means ultimately it must be a shadow .
I have a theory if they say there are leaving , they don`t die but if nothing is said they depart in a box . Therefore, Gisbourne gets bumped . Although what all of this has to do with Robin Hood escapes me.

26 April 2009 at 19:47  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi Kitty,Good theory about the box.

26 April 2009 at 20:32  
Anonymous kitty said...

Watched Lewis last night which had Harry Lloyd in it , I had forgotten what an extremely good actor he is . lucy Griffiths still invisible?

26 April 2009 at 22:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lucy Griffiths invisible? what do you mean, she is going to appear in a new tv show called collision and in a play. she is doing great.
about the box theory oh gosh i hope you are wrong, i´m sorry the idea of losing gisborne it´s horrible. you are right Harry is indeed a good actor.
isabella hide something in the tree it was a bag with money(i supposed) and the other thing was it was a book or a box?, i think it was a book i´m not sure. but when she returned to the tree (in the last part) there was only the bag of money, but no book/box. can anyone tell what it was or maybe i´m blind i spend way too much time on line.
i think that Tuck is not the only one that is tooo nice, my dear outlaws you need to be more careful,you can´t trust in the first damsel in distress you find *cough* Davina *cough*.

27 April 2009 at 00:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Series three is out on dvd in June . amazon are taking orders now

27 April 2009 at 08:35  
Anonymous kitty said...

Is collision a drama series or a one off?

27 April 2009 at 08:37  
Blogger robin hood said...

Kitty,RE "Collision", in which Lucy Griffiths has a part:

As I understand it, "Collision" is in 5 x one hour parts. It involves a huge car crash (or similar), and then explores the lives of those involved; the fates which brought them together. That kind of thing.

27 April 2009 at 11:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I am going to Like Guys sister. I wounder if she'll find out about Marine.

30 April 2009 at 03:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

only if marian gets a mention, apparently when robin buried her ring also buried her memory, now he is very happy snogging peasants and nobles. so much for true love.

Marian´s revenge army

30 April 2009 at 04:13  
Blogger robin hood said...

Robin hasn't snogged anyone else yet though...

30 April 2009 at 19:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and he did snog other women when Marian was still alive.

30 April 2009 at 22:13  
Blogger robin hood said...

Ah that Robin. He's such a wicked scoundrel...

30 April 2009 at 23:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's such a wicked scoundrel...
Yes, which is why we like him so much.

I didn't recognize the ring he buried. Did anyone else?
And is Collision a tv version of the movie (Crash?) that won an Oscar a few years ago?

1 May 2009 at 17:23  
Anonymous kitty said...

Nope didn`t recognise the ring either . Robin obviously has so many wives he gets mixed up .
isabella has potential :we have nothing to compare her with that is not a bad thing . The commisioning editor of B.B.C Scotand has Robin Hood in her credits which would make sense if she has ordered up series four

1 May 2009 at 22:32  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi Prufrock,Re Collision: I don't think it's like Crash as much as like another movie the name of which escapes me. But it was one of those where you're watching a seemingly unrelated series of characters and story lines, but then it all comes together in the end when we find out what unites them.

I am guessing, of course. But it sounds like one of those kind of things.

1 May 2009 at 22:48  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi Kitty,I agree she has potential.

The holding hands bit was too soon for many viewers I know, but hey, it's TV. It works on a different time scale.

1 May 2009 at 22:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Nope didn`t recognise the ring either . Robin obviously has so many wives he gets mixed up" . yes that could be an explanation

He's such a wicked scoundrel. actually i was thinking in other words to d escribe bobin jijiji. i guess i could stand that wicked scoundrel thing!

Marian´s revenge army!

4 May 2009 at 03:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DCwash actually he kissed to girls, Sarah and the fake abbess. in the leyend i´m all Robin/Marian love. but in this version not feeling the love tha much.

Marian´s revenge army

4 May 2009 at 03:07  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi MARIAN'S REVENGE ARMYDo you have a website or blog? I'd certainly link to it.

4 May 2009 at 12:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is it just me or does nobody else think it's totally ridiculous that Robin seems to have moved on from Marian already???????? I think the writers are losing the plot, and unfortunately the show will probably just go down hill from here.....

10 May 2009 at 18:28  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi anonymous,No you're not alone. Many,many people have expressed this concern.

However, if you look at episode 7 you'll see Robin hasn't moved on. He's accepted his fate as having to put duty first.

10 May 2009 at 22:29  

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