Two recaps in one week? I'm spoiling you.
The episode tries to endear itself to me straight away by introducing The Actor Kevin Eldon in his new role as accountant Scrope. The Sheriff rants and raves because he still can't raise enough cash to pay off Prince John (exactly how long has he got to pay this anyway? All season?). Scrope recommends the Sheriff uses soon-to-be visiting bailiff Rufus The Ruthless to help raise the necessary funds.
Meanwhile, Robin has sneaked into the castle again and is planning to steal the Sheriff's winter stores of food. The Sheriff is trying to sell the food to raise cash but Robin wants it to feed the poor. A cunning ruse involving honey bombs and bees follows and the hapless Hungarian guards are easily dealt with. I didn't realise that Robin had trained a pack of attack bees to appear on command, but apparently he has. Rufus arrives in town and witnesses the heist but he doesn't try to stop Robin, he gives him a word of approval instead. I guess he'll be as effective as everyone else at dealing with Robin Hood then, it's nice to see he already knows his place though.
I should also point out that the winter stores consist of fresh vegetables. Not anything preserved or salted, just nice, fresh vegetables. Good luck in keeping that lot fresh until Winter.
Rufus offers his services to the Sheriff and decides to visit Locksley village and terrorise the peasants. Rufus wants to make an example of one of the villagers and Kate volunteers when she talks during his ranting. Rufus then trashes Kate's pottery stall. He trashes it so hard it EXPLODES.
Yes, Kate was obviously storing nitroglycerin in her pots as the action of collapsing the market stall causes it to explode and topple the village stone. I also have to doubt the logic of this plan, Rufus wants the villagers to pay more taxes I guess, but don't they need their businesses to generate revenue in order to pay the tax? How is Kate's family going to pay the taxes now anyway? Sure, they're intimidated but their lack of business means they can't actually make any money for the mentalist bailiff. Kate is quite rightly pissed off about this and gives Rufus some abuse but he replies by holding her mother hostage and ordering Kate to become his private entertainment.
The Merry Men, meanwhile, are packing away the lovely fresh winter stores that won't last more than a week. Much has seen the explosion in Locksley village though so off they race! They're soon fighting the fire left behind by the exploding pottery but race off again once they discover that Kate has been taken away by Rufus.
Rufus forces Kate to dance for him (with no music) and Rufus's son (who doesn't look particularly impressed with what his father does) wanders off to tend the horses. Rufus eventually begins to menace Kate but she draws a knife on him. Robin chooses this moment to burst through the window, swiftly followed by Much. Rufus disarms and punches Much (heh) whilst Kate moans because she had the situation under control. Rufus's son tries to attack Robin from behind but fails miserably. Rufus then tells Kate that he'll report her to the Sheriff and she'll be on his Most Wanted List.
Later on, Scrope suggests that the Sheriff hires his guards out to the Duke of Northumberland to help fight off some invading Celts. The Duke is offering big money for help. This will leave Nottingham unprotected however so the castle will be closed for the duration (how will he close the castle without guards?). Meanwhile, Kate bids goodbye to her family and joins the Merry Men in the forest.
Rufus roughs up the peasants some more and shouts at his son for not being mean enough. Rufus then reveals that the Sheriff will pay for what he did to his father. Ooo, betrayal in the works.
Robin decides to deal with Rufus and tries to kidnap him. Although this being a Robin Hood plan it goes horribly wrong. It's not long before the guards appear and there's a running street battle. During the clash Alan and Kate get captured. There's also a comedy moment involving flour.
The Merry Men soon clean themselves up like Leslie Nielsen though. The Merry Men capture Rufus's son and take him off for interrogation.
Rufus and Scrope are in cahoots and the guards were sent away as part of their cunning plan. Rufus decides to tie up Scrope and leave him behind to take the Sheriff's wrath once he discovers their plan. The Sheriff turns up later and discovers his money and guards have been stolen, so he stabs Scrope and it's goodbye Kevin Eldon. Boooooo!
After a bit of detective work from the Merry Men they discover where Alan and Kate are being held. Robin rescues them and gets into a fight with Rufus during which the Sheriff arrives. The story of Rufus's father is revealed; he was executed by the Sheriff for the crime of theft, this was because he covering for Rufus who had committed the crime. Rufus's own son is not impressed with this information and begins to lecture his father on morals but Rufus draws a knife on his son. Robin intervenes by pulling off the most unconvincing, yet lethal, parabolic arc shot committed to television. Rufus is dead, the Sheriff still lost his money to Robin, and Rufus's son can wander off into guest star obscurity.
Kate decides to stay with the Merry Men (because the alternative is?) and she and Alan do the love-hate flirting thing. Much is sad.
NEXT EPISODE: The return of Guy and "Gladiators, ready!" Good God, no.
CORRECTION: Earlier in this recap I claimed that the collapsing pottery stall caused a village stone to explode. I was wrong, it wasn't a stone, it was a kiln. A kiln presumably made of dynamite or pitch. Thank you to Dr. Hall for correcting my error.