Robin Hood – Something Worth Fighting For – 2

Well, despite the BBC’s best efforts to hide it, I caught the last episode of this series of Robin hood last night, and it was, like the show in general, a silly thing with some good moments. You might recall that in last week’s episode, Robin, his unlikely ally Guy and the good people of Nottingham had captured the town, imprisoned temporary Sheriff Isabella, and had their celebrations interrupted by the delivery of a slightly dead Allan and the arrival of a much less dead than he was supposed to be Sheriff of Nottingham complete with army.[1]

Blamire, that delightfully sinister henchman from last week, who turned out to be henching[2] for the Proper Sheriff, and not Isabella as everyone[3] thought, organises a bit of a siege, complete with some quite nice trebuchets. But before the fun starts, proper form has to be followed, so Robin and Guy ride out under flag of truce to have a nice chat with the Sheriff, who indicates that he’d like to have his town back and to have Guy handed over to him[4]. Robin suggests that the Sheriff should go away and he and Guy go back to organise the defence of the walled town.

Blamire tests his fancy trebuchets with a nicely sub-orbital launch of a barrel full of what Tuck identifies as “Byzanitine Fire”, a nasty, sticky explosive mixture that causes a lot of damage. While the gang have a quick cremation for Allan, Guy goes to see his dear sister and, err, kindly gives her some poison so she can give herself a quick death when the time comes. I’m sure I’m not the only one who questioned the wisdom of giving a bottle of poison to someone as devious and murderous as Isabella, but Guy never was that bright…

While Kate slips away to get reinforcements from an army loyal to King Richard based at Loughborough, there’s a bit of friction when Archer admits that he was the Sheriff’s supplier of Byzantine Fire. Robin interrupts the bickering by organising a raid to do something about the trebuchets. Leaving Much behind to supervise defences, Robin, Guy, Tuck and Little John sneak out and fiddle with the hardware a bit. They were just in time, it seems, as Blamire immediately appears and orders that the attack should start immediately – none of that waiting till dawn business. Well, it seems the adjustments must have worked, because the trebuchets fire their burning barrels straight up in the air, and as what goes up generally does come down, the barrels drop straight on to their launchers, destroying them quite nicely. That would have been fine, but the Sheriff realises who must be to blame for breaking his toys, and Robin and his friends are quickly surrounded by soldiers. But that’s not a problem because Archer arrives, shoots a few arrows, and everyone gets back to the town, complete with a sample of Byzantine Fire for Tuck to analyse and synthesise[5].

While Isabella tries to persuade her guard to let her out of the dungeon, the attack begins. The town’s outer gates are soon breached, and the defenders fall back to the castle courtyard, shooting numerous arrows which just for once seem to be killing people. Down in the dungeon, the guard falls for Isabella’s persuasion and opens her cell. She rewards him by stabbing him with his own dagger, which is probably not quite what he was expecting to get.

Things aren’t going too well for the defenders, either. The Sheriff has captured Kate and has some news. Those reinforcements won’t be coming, as King Richard is being held to ransom by Leopold of Austria[6], and the army won’t fight if they’re not going to get paid. Much does a fancy rope trick to rescue Kate[7] and Robin gets a bit sulky before doing one of those big speeches about justice, freedom and getting killed for a good cause. In a desperate attempt to make him stop doing that, the Sheriff’s army attacks.

While the Sheriff and Blamire head for his not so secret tunnel, which Archer blocked last time, Tuck has managed to make his own Byzantine Fire, from some conveniently available ingredients. In a remarkably short space of time, he’s made loads of it. Huge barrels full of the stuff, all nicely stacked inside the castle.

Having lost the courtyard, the defenders fall back into the castle, where Guy sees Isabella sneaking around and heading to the secret tunnel, which she knows is blocked. Guy, smart boy that he is, follows her. While that’s going on, the Sheriff blows the tunnel with more of that handy Byzantine Fire and there’s a lovely reunion down in the tunnels, which naturally leads to a rather messy fight involving the Sheriff, Blamire, Isabella (who admits to have been working with the Sheriff), Guy, Archer and Robin.

Guy manages to get seriously sliced, and Robin gets a small cut from Isabella’s dagger, but as she’s used the poison her considerate brother gave her to coat the dagger, it’s a bit more serious than it seems. Yup, Robin is going to die, which amuses the Sheriff quite a lot.

A plan is hatched. All the defenders will leave the castle via the cellars, where they’ll hide while the Sheriff’s army comes through the tunnel. Once the army has come through, everyone will escape. Robin tells Archer to get on with that, while he cradles the dying Guy in his arms, and they both get a bit weepy over Marian[8] until Guy actually dies. Robin has a quick word with Tuck about his state of health, then goes off with Archer.

And so the good guys[9] get away, and the Sheriff gets his castle back. He hardly has time to be happy about that, or indeed to notice that the defenders all seem to have left when a weakening Robin fires one last burning arrow through the window which lands on a large barrel. As Archer helps Robin get away, the Sheriff realises what’s in the barrel.

And with a quite impressive explosion, the castle is destroyed, collapsing with such force that anyone in it would have to be crushed by falling masonry[10].

Then it’s off to the forest. Robin says his goodbyes to all his friends, telling Archer to make sure this doesn’t finish[11], then wanders off on his own to collapse, see a quick vision of Marian and die.

Which would have been as good a point to end as any, so naturally there was a bit more pontificating from Tuck about “Robin Hood goes on” and the old “We are Robin Hood” line got a revival.

And so there it is. Will there be another series? Will Archer return as Robin Hood 2.0? Will the Sheriff haul himself out of his ruined castle muttering about how he’d have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those interfering outlaws? Does anyone actually care either way?

And that’s the problem. While it’s been enjoyable enough Saturday evening entertainment, it’s neither serious enough nor funny enough[12] to make me care if it comes back or not. If it comes back, I’m sure I’ll still watch, but if it doesn’t, I won’t really miss it[13].

But if the BBC are in any doubt about what to spend their money on, maybe they could take over Primeval, since apparently ITV haven’t got any money and aren’t going to commission another series. Now that show is one I will miss.

[1] And if you didn’t remember, you now now all you need to about that episode and you can spare yourself the ordeal of watching it :smile:
[2] Me? Make up words? As if!
[3] Especially Isabella
[4] He’s a wee bit annoyed that Guy tried to kill him, apparently
[5] OK, they didn’t go so far as to use those words, but they were implied!
[6] What?? Hold on – that’s historically accurate, more or less! That’s not supposed to happen in this show!!!
[7] Better not to ask. Really.
[8] Nice girl. Robin married her, Guy killed her.
[9] But not Guy
[10] Yeah. Right. I’m sure…
[11] Well, somebody’s got to do the hero bit…
[12] Though some of its more serious moments were very funny indeed
[13] I’ll just have to find something else to gently mock