Yes, the bonkers bows and anachronisms show is back, and about time too. The first episode opened with Robin and the gang ambushing a rich leather-clad woman and her gang of heavies, who were wearing suspiciously modern-looking black berets, complete with regimental badges. After all the usual fun fighting, Robin shouts what must be the catchphrase for the new series:
My gang – this way!
And they then disappear into their new hidden camp – one of Will Scarlett’s finest creations, involving a camouflaged entrance.
The silliness has been turned up a little, with a nice line in “Deep in the heart of England…” captions in the title sequence.
And from there on, it’s business as usual. Guy’s still moody and menacing, new scenery has been provided for the Sheriff to chew, and Marian’s still doing her Night Watchman routine.
The plot is largely incidental to all the fun and games, of course, but here’s a quick summary of events in this episode:
The Sheriff orders Guy to arrest Marian and her father, which he does with his usual style, involving lots of threats and a little arson. Once they’ve been dragged to the castle, they’re taken to see the Sheriff, who gets the best line of the episode:
Ah, it’s the sanctimonious old fart – and her father
Meanwhile, Alan A Dale decides he’d like to make some money, and heads off to a tavern to trick money out of as many people as possible with the ever-popular shell game. It all goes quite well until Guy turns up.
Robin manages to get trapped by a Cunning Plan, involving the Sheriff and the woman we met earlier, who turns out to be the Sheriff’s sister. Rather than do anything boring like throwing him in a dungeon, or just killing him, the Sheriff and his delightful sister hang him up over a pit full of poisonous snakes, with a nice arrangement of pulleys and thingies to lower him slowly into it. Of course, before starting to lower him into the pit, the Sheriff makes sure that Robin hears him talking to his co-conspirators about his Evil Scheme: he and his associates are gathering taxes so they can hire an army of mercenaries. When King Richard returns, they’ll arrange to kill him, put Prince John on the throne, and well, take over. The conspirators call themselves the Black Knights, because, well, it sounds nicely sinister.
Nice to see the Sheriff developing into a Bond Villain, even to the extent of leaving Robin alone so he can manage to escape in a typically heroic and unlikely manner. He just manages to get clear of the pit when the Sheriff’s sister returns, and yes, of course she ends up in the pit.
Robin, being an authentic hero, naturally pulls her out of the pit, just as the Sheriff returns from managing not to catch the Night Watchman. Robin, who has apparently got over his objection to killing, asks if there is one good reason why he shouldn’t kill the Sheriff. Just before dying from a snakebite, the Sheriff’s sister tells him that Prince John has promised that if the Sheriff should die an unnatural death, then everyone in the county of Nottingham will be killed. So Robin leaves.
The Sheriff is a bit upset about his sister dying, and tells Guy that he wants Robin dead. Robin gets surrounded by Guy and some soldiers, only to be rescued at the last moment by the gang. Well, excluding Alan, who’s a bit busy in the dungeon being tortured.
Down in the dungeon, Guy “persuades” Alan to turn traitor. Alan is to inform Guy of Robin’s plans, and in exchange, quite apart from not actually being killed, he’ll be well paid.
And so Alan is released, and rejoins the gang. More fun and games to come.
Yes, it’s all very silly, but it’s a lot of fun.
 Whether they say “Ni” or not remains to be seen, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised
 Who everyone still seems to assume is a man, despite the rather tightly-fitting costume, which makes it quite clear that he is actually a she…