Tuesday, 16 June 2009

TV Snark - Robin Hood: Bad Blood OR Everything You Know is WRONG

The Robin Hood recap train continues unabated. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.

Sorry, that's the Terminator.

Guy is wandering through the forest, presumably still moping about MegRuby's death from last episode. Robin appears and starts to talk to Guy but Guy is only interested in REVENGE. Guy draws his sword and advances on Robin but is shot by a dart, before Robin can do anything over than gawp he is also shot with a dart and loses consciousness as a robed and hooded figure approaches...

Robin and Guy wake up at a campfire but they're trussed up like hogs and can't escape. A mysterious figure with the voice of Tony Harrison from The Mighty Boosh appears. Unfortunately it's blatantly the voice of guest star Dean Lennox Kelly who has quite a distinctive northern twang. Anyway, let's play along and pretend that we don't know it's Robin's dad as is about to be revealed in the first of our flashbacks. Not-Robin's-Dad promises to free Robin and Guy from the bad blood between them by discussing their parents' death. Yes, suddenly Guy and Robin have known each other since childhood. What? This has never been suggested until now. What we have here people is a piece of retroactive continuity. A comics term that means the writers have altered character history and background to fit the current storyline. Retroactive continuity, or retcon, is usually unsubtle and hamfisted and Robin and Guy are about to get clobbered with the retcon hammer as the flashback begins.

"20 Years Earlier" Robin's dad (Dean Lennox Kelly) meets up with Big Suze (Sophie Winkleman) from Peep Show. Great, now all I can think of is how much better this episode would be if Robert Webb played Robin's dad and David Mitchell took on the role of Guy's dad. That's this episode ruined. Anyway, Big Suze is Guy's mother (Ghislaine) and she's having an affair with Robin's dad (Malcolm). Ghislaine also has an outrrrrrrrrageous French accent. It also wanders across Europe a few times along the way.

Back in the present day Guy claims he knew about it because he saw them kissing in a barn when he was a kid. Robin protests that his dad wouldn't do that but Guy claims that Robin's dad always shielded him from reality.

Back in flashback land there's a festival during which the local bailiff harasses Ghislaine and basically asks when she's going to sod off back to France. Seems that the Gisbornes own Locksley at the moment due to Roger Gisborne's efforts during the Crusades. Malcolm isn't worried about claiming his lands back and calms the scheming bailiff down. Ghislaine then announces that a giant Catherine Wheel will be lit to kick off the celebrations. She decides to light it in the most dangerous fashion possible by having two kids shoot flaming arrows at it whilst it's suspended in the air. I'm sure this won't go wrong.

Young Robin is basically a little tit. He taunts Guy about his skills with a bow and boasts that he can make a trick shot which he then proceeds to cock up and cause the wheel to light whilst the local priest is holding it. The wheel sets alight and drops on the priest, crushing his chest. The peasants are angry and the bailiff sees this as a great opportunity to string someone up. The bailiff accuses Guy after Robin lies and claims that he didn't shoot an arrow (wow, way to make the hero of the show look like a little shit). Guy is now going to be summarily executed unless Ghislaine can save the priest's life.

Wow, that is one harsh law, and a lot of power for a bailiff to wield around like a madman. Fortunately Ghislaine knows advanced surgical techniques from the 20th century and diagnoses that the priest has a collapsed lung. She then uses her amazing surgery skills to stab him in the chest to help him breathe. This isn't fast enough for the bailiff who assumes that the priest will die and marches Guy quickly up to the gallows. He's prevented from killing Guy by the return of Roger Gisborne from the Crusades, who intercedes and gets stabbed in the hand for his efforts. Roger shrugs off the blow and removes his son from the gallows. It's at this point that I realise that Roger the Frenchman has no french accent at all. So why does his wife have a french accent when he doesn't? Can Ghislaine speak in an english accent but refuses to in order to keep up her french image? Stupid, stupid, show.

The next day in flashback land, Robin (worried that his ghostly mother is watching him at all times) admits to his father that he shot the wheel last night. Malcolm offers him the "with great power comes great responsibility" speech but this doesn't stop little Robin from acting like a tit for the rest of the episode.

Malcolm and Ghislaine continue their affair and it's revealed that Roger has leprosy (this is why he could take a stabbing to the hand without flinching). Malcolm convinces Ghislaine to declare her husband dead and have him banished from the land. Then Malcolm and Ghislaine can live happily ever after and Malcolm will get his land back. Hmmm, I can see why little Robin is a dick.

Adult Guy doesn't like this part of the story and accuses the hooded figure of lying and of being the bailiff. Ooo, way to throw us off the scent!

Ghislaine reveals she is pregnant so Malcolm convinces her to have the baby in secret so people won't know of their affair. The baby will then be introduced as a foundling. Wow, Malcolm is a scheming bastard isn't he?

Roger later reveals that he knows about the affair to Ghislaine, which is met with the priest and his men arriving and dragging Roger off to be banished. The priest has made an amazing recovery considering he had a collapsed lung a few weeks ago. The wonders of medieval medicine. Roger is dragged off and made to stand in a grave whilst the priest formally declares him dead and banishes him.

Just as I think that the priest is going to pull a gun and shoot Roger while he stands in a ready made grave, Malcolm helps Roger climb out so he can wander off to live in the forest. So, what's with the grave thing, is this an attempt at historical accuracy? It'd be nice if there was a little exposition to explain the grave thing, that's all.

Later on the bailiff tries to blackmail Ghislaine and Malcolm with his knowledge of the unborn child (he'd been eavesdropping earlier). The bailiff wants Ghislaine's lands and Malcolm agrees. Ghislaine is shocked but Malcolm explains that when he marries her he'll have the lands back and the bailiff's deal will be off. Malcolm arranges the wedding for the next Saturday.

Young Guy stalks his mum as she wanders into the forest to visit the leper colony that seemingly set up there overnight. Ghislaine still cares for Roger and brings him food. Guy isn't happy with this turn of events and wants Ghislaine to get her father and leave England for France. Unfortunately the baby dramatically arrives during this conversation which causes Guy to run off and get help. Guy was young and naive and so didn't know his mother was giving birth. The baby is born in secret and Ghislaine spots an arrowhead birthmark on the baby boy's chest. She decides to call him Archer. Yes, Archer. Like he's a freakin' Avenger or something. Malcolm has a peasant man carry his newborn son away into hiding.

Young Guy visits Roger and tries to convince him to run away to France with the family but Roger is content to die in the forest. Guy calls him a leper and leaves in disgust. So Roger decides to sneak back into the village to visit his wife. Unfortunately for Roger the annoying little Robin sees him and decides to run into the village shouting about the leper. Nice one kid.

In Locksley Manor Young Guy attacks Malcolm with a torch but only succeeds in setting fire to the living room. Malcolm tells Guy and the young, but silent, Isabella to leave while he fetches Ghislaine. Malcolm finds Roger and Ghislaine together and they decide to have a sword fight while the manor burns around them. The evil bailiff sees that the manor is on fire and assumes that Malcolm is burning the building to remove the taint of leprosy so he encourages the villages to add more fire to the building. Evil man.

Adult Guy says that he should've braved the flames to rescue his mother but Mysterious-Robed-Figure-Who-Is-Definitely-Not-Robin's-Dad claims that she was already dead. Guy is quite relieved; he'd been feeling guilty about that for years!

The sword fight continues and Ghislaine tries to intervene but she falls over dead. Yep, just like that. She gets pushed by Malcolm and bangs her head on the wooden floor and dies instantly. Her skull must have been a meringue.

Adult Guy doesn't react well to the news and starts strangling Robin. The mysterious stranger continues his story and reveals that Roger stayed in the building to die with his wife whereas Malcolm tried to leave and got a face full of flames. It's at this point that the robed man reveals his identity to Robin.

Gasp! It's Malcolm! He was disfigured by the flames and left Locksley forever, for... some... reason. Robin is angry, Guy is angry. Guy moreso because he fled to France on that very day which caused him to live in poverty and eventually sell his sister to Lord Evilton from the previous episode. Malcolm explains that he brought them all together to reveal the existence of their brother Archer.

We have a final flashback where Guy flees back to France and the bailiff tries to steal the land from the newly orphaned Robin. I have no sympathy for Robin as he's quite clearly a tit but the priest decides to encourage Robin to resist. Robin responds to this by running away to a grave where he hears his father's voice ("with great power...") and finds a conveniently placed bow. Robin returns to scare off the bailiff and his men with his awesome archery skillz and so begins the legend of mediocrity.

Adult Robin and Guy continue to bicker until Guy reveals that he killed the sheriff and intends to kill Isabella too. Malcolm reminds them that they have a half-brother that they need to find. Archer is in York and is due to executed and the only way to rescue him is for Guy and Robin to team up. Robin hugs his dad and his dad responds by drugging Robin and shooting Guy (who amusingly doesn't care about seeing Malcolm again and begins to protest before he's shot) with a dart. Malcolm disappears back to guest star land...

Robin and Guy wake up and head off together to find Archer. It's going to be like a buddy cop film with none of the chemistry or wit.

NEXT EPISODE - York castle! It's like Nottingham castle but with extra CGI bits!

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