Robin Hood – The King is Dead, Long Live the King

In an opening scene, we see a London craftsman making something for one of Prince John’s lackeys. He’s obviously done a good job, because the lackey rewards him with the traditional quick murder.

Back to the forest, where Robin and the gang are training, which gets interrupted when a royal carriage comes through, carrying a flag-draped coffin and accompanied by the lackey we saw earlier. Robin recognises him as Sheridan, who is apparently “keeper of the Crown”, in that he looks after it when the King’s not actually wearing it. And talking of Kings, it seems that Richard the Lionheart has died in battle, which would account for the coffin. After a token expression of mild unhappiness, Prince John declares that he’ll have to be crowned very quickly

In the interests of stability and national security

This causes a slight problem, in that the Archbishop of Canterbury, having arrived in Nottingham and remarked on the excellent state of preservation of the King’s body, points out that the coronation needs to be held in the capital, which would be London. John decides to make Nottingham his new capital, so the coronation can go ahead, can’t it?

Robin’s a bit upset. He doesn’t believe that Richard can be dead, so the gang do their usual guard-dodging routine and inspect the body, which turns out to be a very well-made wax model. Of course, before they can take it away, the increasingly loopy Prince John arrives and after smashing the model, has it burned, conveniently destroying the only evidence of his Cunning Plan. And if anyone asks, the coffin has been sent to London for a state funeral, OK? And by the time anyone notices the lack of a body in London, John will have been crowned, and it’ll be too late to do anytihng about it, so there.

While Isabella tries to persuade the soon to be King to give her the job of Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin comes up with another Cunning Plan[1]: there can’t be a coronation without a crown, so they’ll steal it. Brilliant!

Guy turns up at Locksley, where Isabella tells him she’ll talk John into letting him off that little matter of trying to kill him, if he’ll just apologise for that other little matter of sending her off to a miserable marriage. He, being the sweet-natured chap that we all know and love, declines. So Isabella drugs him and ties him up ready to hand over to John. Such a nice family…

Robin meets his old friend Sheridan in an inn, where Kate distracts him long enough for Allan to steal his keys. Robin works out that the crown must be hidden in the castle dungeon, and so it is, behind a medieval version of the room full of lasers. In this case, the lasers are strings set to fire crossbows when they’re touched, but the principle is the same. Naturally, Robin manages to dodge the strings and gets to the fancy box. The scorpions inside it don’t bother him much, and he and the gang get away with the crown.

John’s a wee bit upset, so Sheridan tells him he’ll get the crown back. So he and his men head off to the forest to be distracted by Robin’s gang, who each have a bag that might possibly contain a crown. Robin, meanwhile, is heading to London with the actual crown.

While that’s going on, Isabella’s plan to hand over Guy goes a wee bit wrong, and Guy escapes again.

Sheridan catches up with Robin, and they have a bit of a fight, while having a nice chat about why Sheridan has betrayed King Richard. Apparently he felt a bit upset about being thought too old for more strenuous duties, and so went to work for John. In another quite stunning bout of anachronistic nonsense, Robin shouts

You gave up on your country for your vanity – your ego!

Hello, is Doctor Freud there? Anyway, Robin manages to lose the fight and is grabbed by Sheridan’s men. Sheridan has the crown, and like all the other dimwitted villains in this series, doesn’t kill Robin, but orders his men to put him on a ship out of the country – one way only. Because, obviously he’s not going to escape. Well, he does, of course and joins the gang just as they’ve agreed that the only course of action available to them is to

Storm the Coronation

Lovely expression that. Would have made a nice episode title. And so they do. Well, not quite. That would be silly. Instead they get hold of some very shiny shields, and kick the Abbey doors in just before the crown goes on John’s head, and do the old big voice routine, pretending to be King Richard. Sheridan cracks at this, and admits everything. Guy grabs the crown, and expresses his intention to kill John. Isabella tells him he’ll have to shoot her first, and as Robin’s behind him with an arrow ready, she doesn’t think he’ll get another shot. so he shoots her anyway, and Robin shoots him, and it looks like there’s going to be a very messy fight indeed. So the Archbishop tells everyone that anyone who sheds blood in the House of God will be damned for all eternity[2], so everyone drops their weapons and Robin and the gang have a punch-up with the guards, until they manage to get hold of the crown and flee. The Archbishop, who’s obviously not happy with John orders the guards to let them go.

And so the story ends. John’s clearly had enough of Nottingham, and leaves. Guy’s even less happy, being in a cage hanging up in the castle. Isabella’s not happy, but she’s like that. The Archbishop’s happy, because Robin gave him the crown to take home with him.

Quite extreme nonsense of the silliest and finest kind, yet again.

[1] There are times when everyone in this show seems to be channelling Baldrick
[2] Presumably those remarkably non-fatal arrows a moment earlier don’t count