Saturday, 23 May 2009

Robin Hood. Series 3, Episode 8: the king is dead, long live the king

The story: In a London artist’s workshop, Lord Sheridan stands behind the unfortunate genius who is about to complete the last work of art he will ever produce: A waxwork face of King Richard. As he applies the finishing touches, Sheridan’s dagger finds it’s target in his back, so there can be no witnesses to the plan which is about to develop miles away in Nottingham.

Later, Sheridan arrives in Nottingham at the head of a column of troops escorting a coffin which is draped with the Royal Flag. He proclaims that King Richard has been killed in battle, whilst Prince John (in true melodramatic style), drapes himself over the coffin sobbing. Of course it’s not too long before the Prince makes a full recovery, announcing himself King, and sending for the Archbishop to perform the Coronation right there in Nottingham (the city he intends to make England’s new capital). Robin Hood cannot believe the news. He insists to his Outlaws that he would be able to feel it if his King was dead. So he determines to break into the castle and see the body for himself.

When the Archbishop arrives at Kirklees Abbey he is shown the face of Richard and, although he seems reluctant to do so, agrees to performing a Coronation. Soon after they leave the crypt, Robin Hood, Much, and Kate enter. They are of course at first upset to see their dead King’s face, but then the heat from their candle begins to melt one ear, and Prince John’s plot is revealed.

Meanwhile, Isabella is attempting to work her charms on Prince John. Her ambition is to become the new Sheriff of Nottingham. But Prince John’s favourite for that post is clearly Sheridan, and she realises her goal will not be an easy one. Later that night her troubles are at first compounded by a visit from her brother Guy of Gisborne, but it is a visit she soon seeks to turn to her advantage. Guy is at first intent upon killing her (of course. It’s what Guy does best). But Isabella points out that the death of Richard could place her in an advantageous position when Prince John seeks new collaborators. The following morning, Guy asks for further clarification about how he stands to gain from any advances in position Isabella might make with Prince John. She herself makes just one request of Guy; she asks him to apologise for selling her into a loveless marriage. But Guy is unrepentant, and says it was her fault she failed to gain from a situation she could have manipulated to her advantage. Guy’s reward for this rebuff is a poisoned chalice, after which he is bound and gagged.

Meanwhile, King Richard’s fake body is being escorted out of the city. In a fit of rage (and after the waxwork has served its purpose), Prince John has smashed its face in. So he now wants to destroy the evidence of his plan. But once into the forest, Robin Hood and his outlaws intercept the coffin as it is being burned. However, they are too late to save the wax face, and now Robin has no proof of Prince John’s trickery to show to the Archbishop. Therefore he hatches an alternative plan: To stop the Coronation he must steal the crown.

Returning to Nottingham, Robin Hood sits in the Trip (now known as the Trip to Jerusalem, the oldest pub in England). He knows Sheridan will be drinking there, and indeed they both raise a glass to the King. It was Sheridan who once taught Robin of Loxley much of his fighting skills. But Sheridan cautions his old student against causing him any problems when he becomes Sheriff. At that point Kate enters, dressed to kill as a drunken serving wench. It is her job to spill beer over Robin, causing him to make a convenient exit, so she can further distract Sheridan whilst Allen A Dale steals the keys from his belt. All goes to plan, until Allan starts to get overly jealous, and Sheridan realises he’s been tricked.

The keys facilitate Robin Hood and Brother Tuck’s entry to the dungeons where the crown is heavily booby trapped by a combination of a deadly arrow shooting Chinese puzzle and hidden scorpions. (This is a good scene, and one in which Jonas’s physical skills serve him well. It does seem more and more that the show’s direction has settled on Jonas as action hero, whilst the character actors lay elsewhere in the stories.)

Without the crown the Coronation cannot take place, and so Sheridan and his dogs are dispatched into Sherwood Forest to retrieve it. At first the Outlaws lead him on a wild goose chase, but Much’s protective conduct towards Kate causes more problems of the kind Allan’s had earlier at the Trip, and before too long Robin Hood and Sheridan are engaged in a duel.

During their fight, Sheridan explains why he has betrayed King Richard. It is because Richard only offers him “retirement” rather than a worthy position. He also says (with some accuracy!) that if Richard cared for England he’d be there. With the help of his troops, the older man beats his one time student, but because of their shared past, decides to deport him rather than kill him. So, as surely Sheridan takes the crown back to Nottingham, Robin Hood is soon escaping from the back of the wagon meant to contain him.

Isabella, meanwhile, is having problems of her own. She has taken Prince John into her chamber to show him the tied and bound Guy. In this way she hopes to prove herself worthy of the post of Sheriff of Nottingham. But of course Guy has escaped, and Sheridan is standing close by with the prized crown. Not only that, but for his reward, Sheridan chooses to take Isabella for his own, an arrangement which Prince John finds wholly pleasing.

Before making their way to Kirklees Abbey to break-up the Coronation, Much and Allan squabble about their recent conduct. Both express desires towards Kate, who in turn expresses her impatience with their protective attitude saying “we must keep our minds on the mission”. This they then do, by taking a number of highly polished shields to the Abbey. Standing in the doorway, reflecting the sun’s rays, the congregation at first think it is King Richard’s men standing there, (yeah right), and a slip of the tongue from Prince John and Sheridan lets the Archbishop know the body was a fake. (Rather a clumsy bit of writing here chaps. Kind of an anti-climax after all the good stuff which preceded it).

At that point Guy of Gisborne steps out of the aisle where he has been hiding and points his crossbow straight at Prince John. A classic Mexican stand-off follows as Robin Hood points his bow at Guy, pleading for the Prince’s life. His reasoning is sound. As much as he hates Prince John, without a Royal leader, England will soon descend into anarchy. So Prince John is needed only as long as it takes Richard to return. Guy refuses to listen. He stands nothing to gain, and let’s fly his shaft!

Isabella, seeing her possible future benefactor in danger, leaps in front of Prince John and takes Guy’s shaft in the arm! Robin Hood‘s arrow, although too late to stop Guy, finds an equally less fatal target in his arch enemy. The Archbishop decrees that there must be no blood letting inside the Abbey. Fair enough. So a huge fist fight breaks out, after which the Outlaws escape with the Crown. (Later to be handed back to the Archbishop).

End bit: Both Sheridan and Guy are in chains, as Prince John escorts them away from Nottingham. It would seem Isabella has been made Sheriff after all? And she promises Prince John that Robin Hood will be on the gallows before long.

Comment: A good episode. The overall format of the show does seem a bit “familiar” now, but it‘s a sound and entertaining one for a Saturday evening: Robin Hood as the physical adventurer, fighting against the wicked Prince John, whilst the deeper characterisations, such as the Gisborne Family tiffs, are allocated elsewhere.

Lara Pulver is excellent in the role of Guy’s sister, and the scene with Richard Armitage (albeit brief), gave further evidence of her ability to bring the plot lines to life. They are totally convincing together, and imbue their scenes with something special.

One last point, although the show has made various statements about Robin Hood and the Outlaws not killing anyone, it does seem like the guys in shiny body armour are as fair a game as turkeys at Christmas. Shooting people in the back? Hey, sign of a true outlaw!

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


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
Isabella - Lara Pulver

23 May 2009 at 17:35  
Blogger evielyn said...

Hi Robin, I to enjoyed this episode but what a lot goes on and at such a pace, I do find that I have to rewind a lot of the time to listen to certain parts again and understand it all!
I also like Guy and his sister they really do act as siblings with all their rivalry and hatred I'm sure there is alot more to come from that quarter!

Every episode now seems to have an excellent character or even two. I thought that the Bishop and Sheridan were both very good and seem to add dimensions to the story.
However I do wonder sometimes where it is all heading for, It will be interesting to see the final outcome.

23 May 2009 at 23:30  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi Evie,I particularly liked the Sheridan character, if only for his speech against Richard.

You say you wonder where it is all heading? I fear they are all laying the groundwork for what could be a really good series. But one which won't happen on account of most of the cast leaving!

24 May 2009 at 01:11  
Blogger Paige said...

I also enjoyed this episode, or at least most of it. I've mostly learned to ignore the far fetched things they throw into all of the plots, and enjoy them for the good parts.

One thing I wanted to bring up, was that I don't think Allan 'saved' Kate because he was jealous (nessisarily). If you think about it, she had (apparently) been drinking quite a lot. If he cared about her, he would have wanted to protect her from being taken advantage of. That was the impression I got of it anyway. The way she bit his head off about what I took to be protecting her honor, did not earn her any brownie points with me.

The Gisbourne siblings really are brilliant. Lara Pulver and RA really do a good job of making them seem like siblings, and they seem to have a lot of the same characteristics as well.

Did anyone else think that Guy was thinking of Marian when he held a sword to Izzy's throat?

24 May 2009 at 05:56  
Blogger evielyn said...

I do on reflection agree with you Paige on Kate's treatment of Allan he was only trying to be nice to her and protect her(I think he made a good barman!)She is always so prickly with him and Much, and has begun to wear her heart on her sleeve as far as Robin is concerned! It will be interesting to say the least as to which way that will go!

I am quite certain that Guy was thinking about Marian when he held his sister in his grasp in fact I half expected him or her to say something about it

24 May 2009 at 19:30  
Blogger robin hood said...

I have to say I missed that little observation about Guy thinking of Marian. I shall watch it again.

What I'd love to see is a Special devoted to Guy of Gisborne. A separate feature; something in it's own right, telling the full story of how he got to think like he does.

My favourite Gisborne will always be Robert Addie, but the meaness in him is defined in relatively straight forward racist terms: He hated Saxons. Full stop.

But RS's Gisborne, someone who would sell his own sister to an older man, become an assassin employed to kill his own king, and ultimately murder the young girl he lusted for, well, there's a wealth of stuff there to be exploited in order to relate just how he got that way. It would make a fine (and popular) TV movie.

24 May 2009 at 20:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've got this theory that the reason they're giving us the "love cube" (as Sam Troughton calls it) this season is to get it all out of the way at once. Think of it: there's no way they could introduce a female character to the gang without there being some kind of sexual or romantic tension--even if they didn't show it to us, an awful lot of audience would be thinking in terms of "who she ends up with." By having Much and (maybe; it's open to interpretation) Allan openly moon over Kate and having her openly and vehemently reject them, and at the same time having the opposite game playing out between Kate and Robin, they're putting all the possibilities to rest at the same time. Then, next season, all the UST will begone because every practical permutation will have an aspect of "been there, done that" about it.

And I'm increasingly convinced that a fourth series is in the bag. They've spent too much money and set up too many post-Jonas Armstrong scenarios this season for it not to be.

25 May 2009 at 03:34  
Blogger Clement of the Glen said...

Hi all you Hoodies!

This is just an observation, but did anyone notice-I think it was the episode about the water shortage-that the young boy being carried by his mother had been named ROBIN. She had named him after the hero of Sherwood.

Now if there is a fourth episode; what's the chances they move on till John becomes King and the boy has grown up to become the new Robin Hooh and continue the fight against injustice with his Saracen bow!

25 May 2009 at 10:53  
Anonymous kitty said...

I have a hunch that Gisbourne will become the next R>H . Before everyone thinks I have had too much sun or that I have hit the gin I will explain . Gisbourne is slowly evolving (albeit exceptionally slowly ) into a reflector/thinker character rather than just a situation reactor .
However , if he dies he must die in a state of grace or having found a form of absoloution or all his angst will have been for nothing .
Fourth series absoloutely

25 May 2009 at 19:06  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi dcwashWhen you say they've "set up too many post-Jonas Armstrong scenarios" for there not to be a fourth series, okay; but let's not forget how many scenarios we've seen set up in the past only to be totally forgotten about within a couple of episodes...

Hi Clement,Yep, we noticed the baby Robin bit... But it would be a really good idea to have him grow up and become the next generations leader. Really good.

Can we hope for that much continuity?

Hi Kitty,yes, this idea of Gisbourne becoming Robin is one we've floated a few weeks ago. It would be a way he could atone for his "wicked ways" if ever he sees the light.

But I can't see RA wanting to take another series on.

My guess is he'll die in some courageous way....

26 May 2009 at 01:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was reading all your comments and had the thought, what if Gisbourne dies saving Robin's life?

What is the thought on the 4th season? Is Robin dieing? Being replaced? Or do we not know?


26 May 2009 at 03:35  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi Prufrock617All we know with any certainty is that Jonas is going.

So we have 2 options:

1. A "we are Robin Hood" scenario, set in the times of Robin Hood, but without one specific leader by that name. Instead, a group of Outlaws carry on his work in his name / memory. This is something readers here have been pontificating since the "we are Robin Hood" slogan started making itself felt towatrds the end of series 2. But that has been less noticeable lately, and I can't see the public watching a series without a Robin.

2. The writers follow the example of "Robin of Sherwood", when Michael Praed left and was replaced by Jason Connery. In this case the title of "the man in the Hood / the Hooded man" was something bestowed on a chosen one. Chosen by the spirits of the forest, or by the people. This option would work, and would give the BBC another charactyer like Doctor Who; someone who could be portrayed by a sequence of actors through the years if the public like it.


The idea of Gisborne becoming the Hooded man is one raised here a few episodes ago. It is intriguing, but I fear he's been too evil for too long.

However, as I once said, he COULD become the Night Watchman as a way of attoning for what he did to Marian and the City of Nottingham... No-one would ever need to know it was him...

26 May 2009 at 10:33  
Blogger Paige said...

Hi everyone!

As far as Gisbourne being Robin Hood goes, I can't see the gang members accepting him. At the very least, Much and Robin never would. Allan is a possibility, since he worked with Gisbourne before, but I highly doubt Little John would go along with it. I don't really know about Tuck and Kate. However, it could work if a majority of the gang left/died at the end of the series.

Overall, though, I think it would be more realistic for him to just join the gang. Putting him in a position of leadership after all that he's done, just doesn't seem right. At least not at first.

re: evielyn,

All of that is pure speculation on my part, and I'm quite willing to admit that my fondness for Allan may skew my judgement a little. I would like to see the Allan/Kate situation play into a little more of a sibling sort of thing. I think that's how Joe Armstrong is playing it, however, the writers are trying their hardest to make it a romantic relationship. Scenes like Much and Allan squabling about Kate are just terrible, and I wish the writers would just give it up. It just makes both of their characters look silly.

26 May 2009 at 22:04  
Blogger robin hood said...

But,with Izzy out of the running, where will the saturday night TV romance come from?

And is that another kiss from kate i see on the rushes for next week??

26 May 2009 at 23:32  
Anonymous kitty said...

Gisbourne on the path of redemption could work or alternatively it could be he wants to pick the potential winning side . However, it also did occur to me in the first episode robin and Guy could be viewed as parts of a whole . Both flawed yet strangely similar not to the characters of Jago /Othello but to the underlying principal.
I am afraid i don`t get Kate what purpose does she serve ?

27 May 2009 at 22:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(What a minute! Where did my comment go? Am trying again....)

What I'd like to see--which is different from what I think I WILL see--is an outlawed Guy become a forest mercenary. Sometimes he sees it in his best interests to help Robin against John, sometimes to help John against Robin, but most of the time he's on neither side. Sort of amoral instead of immoral.

And I've just realized I've turned him into a male Isabella!

28 May 2009 at 01:51  
Anonymous Annie said...

It's hard for me to imagine Gisborne taking over for Robin, unless it's a Dread Pirate Roberts scenario where an entirely new gang comes on board and Guy is introduced to them as Robin Hood. For one thing, series 3 Guy has returned to the dim bulb we knew and loathed in series 1. I love the way Armitage plays that.

I'm all for redemption in real life. But this is Robin Hood, and I think Gisborne has done too many bad things for which he's shown no remorse to be redeemed. Unless I've missed something, he's still blaming other people for Marian's death.

I love dcwash's idea of Gisborne as an amoral mercenary. That's what he's always been more or less--always trying to figure who is likely to have influence so he can climb on board the power train.

If I want to see RA in a good role, I'll rewatch North and South or Spooks. My vote is Guy dies ignominiously at the end of series 3.

29 May 2009 at 00:33  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi Kitty,What purpose does kate serve?


Well, I reckon she did a good job these past couple of episodes. She exhibits a lot of courage, even though her earlier appearances were rather headstrong. (As is understandable after the death of her brother).

She could always set up a Salon, amd trim a few of those unsightly whiskers on the guys? Darn a few outlaw socks? Rustle up a venison stew? But I kind of like her the way she is now. And I like her accent.

29 May 2009 at 15:06  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi dcwash,You're right. Mercenary is the way to go with Guy. Like some of the the outlaws in the Magnificent 7. Some did it just for the cash, no false principles. It would be really interesting, because it might be that the people of Loxley hire him!

29 May 2009 at 15:09  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi Annie,I hope you're wrong, and that Guy hasn't yet returned to being the "dim bulb" of before; Gullible Guy as we all called him.

I think at present he's still more rebellious than that. Obviously he wants to gain favour because he wants power. But he doesn't seem quite so easily duped.

But I agree that there are signs...

29 May 2009 at 15:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry I've missed reading your blog since the beginning of the series, Robin. This summary was excellent. It is so true that Robin has been made into an action hero with very little focus on character (but the scorpion-crown (is that a play on 'scorpion king'?) is great!). When the script actually does given Robin a moment of "character development," it seems to come out of the blue and have little or no continuity. Really sad.

I would like to have seen the Gisborne that Annie describes, but as we have since seen the two subsequent episodes as well, I think that particular possibility is gone and nothing sensible appears to be in its place.


8 June 2009 at 00:49  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi Bennie,

and welcome.

Yes, I personally would have liked to see Jonas / Robin recover from the "depressed" character he became during the course of series 2, when everyone seemed to be deserting him or slipping away, but yet continue to exhibit a fuller character. I do like a simple "heroic" action figure (like Richard Green was during my childhood), but I also feel Jonas is capable of much more than he has been given. (I think he does to!)

8 June 2009 at 01:29  
Blogger Robin said...

I am astonished by the comments made about this absolute drivel.
It is the most preconcieved, political correct rubbish I have ever come across.
The characters are so unbelievable, a black nun and a black character, (I am unable to watch long enough to find out who these characters are) 900 years ago????
The producer/director are trying to make us as politically correct as they are, to produce unthinking dangerous citizens of Britain.
I think that it is an attempt to make a soap opera for the middle ages and it fails dismally. Lets have an Ena Sharpels, Dirty Den & Mitchel brothers, to complete the comedy of errors is the modern day dialogue, the modern liberated attitude of the females (I am not against this in normal life but hey try for some realism) and the stylish costumes, very smart but, living in a forrest!!!

11 November 2010 at 00:55  
Blogger robin hood said...

Thanks for your opinions, Robin.

I think any TV series has to take into account modern day trends, tastes and expectations in order to be a "hit". It was after all aimed at the saturday evening family entertainemnt slot, rather than a historical documentary.

11 November 2010 at 11:35  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home