This weeks episode of the arrows and allusions take on Robin Hood was written by Paul Cornell, who has previously worked on Doctor Who novels and audio plays. It also had most of the dialogue recorded at a very low level, and not just when people were actually whispering. Not sure what was going on there, but never mind. On with the show…
Shortly after meeting Robin and his (dammit I’m not going to say “merry”) men, the Sheriff’s bailiff is shot dead by an unseen archer. We know that it wasn’t Robin, but the villagers are easily convinced that it was our hero. Which is a bit of a problem for Robin, who is determined not to kill anyone at all, having had far too much of that sort of thing while fighting in the Crusade. It’s an even bigger problem when a young boy from the village is killed by an arrow while working in the castle. Gisbourne heads for the forest with soldiers and dogs, while the Sheriff plots with his Sergeant at Arms to generate a little more fear by killing a few more people, blaming it all on Robin.
The contemporary references are laid on even more thickly this time – in a long droning speech, I’m sure I heard the Sheriff utter the phrase “War on Terror”, for instance. And a lot is made of Robin’s distress at the events. As Much puts it “he wants everyone to love him”, which is a bit tricky when people think you’ve been killing their children.
In the end, the real killer is revealed to be exactly who I expected it to be. And Marian showed that there’s more to her than we previously expected -again, this was clearly indicated well ahead of time. It couldn’t have been more obvious if there had been big flashing lights, to be honest. There was a nice scene between the Sheriff and Robin, some chat with Robin’s friends, but not a lot else.
All of which makes me wonder if this series is really going to remain entertaining for its full run. The first couple were good, solid, silly fun. But it really needs to develop more. We need to have more than five words out of the rest of the outlaws. Their names are hardly mentioned, and they get very little dialogue and less character development, which really should be happening by now. I’ll stick with it, because the good bits are good fun. But it needs to work a bit harder than this one…
Oh yes. The title. Very near the end, the killer makes one last try at shooting the Sheriff, and indeed thinks he has succeeded. But the Sheriff has been too clever for him and someone else was on his horse, which led inevitably to this exchange…
I shot the Sheriff
No, you shot the Deputy
Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear.
Never mind, Torchwood starts tomorrow.