Who's behind the times now huh? Not me, I've caught up now so this is a recap of an episode you may actually remember watching.
Robin and Guy are riding through the forest straight from the end of the last episode. Their alliance doesn't last long though as Guy moans about his dead mother and Robin makes a nasty comment. They start scrapping and rolling around in the dirt where Alan discovers them. Alan summons the other Merry Men and they eventually break up the fight when they try to kill Guy. Robin stops Kate from plunging a sword into Guy despite her reminding him that Guy murdered her brother (the second episode of the current series, fact fans.) Robin announces that Guy is one of the Merry Men now. There's a collective gasp from the Merry Men as we roll into the opening titles.
Back at the outlaw camp Robin and Guy explain the events of the previous episode and their current mission to York to rescue their missing half brother Archer. Little John and Kate aren't happy that Guy the murderer has joined the gang but Robin convinces Kate to accept it. Guy and Robin set off for York alone, leaving the Merry Men behind to care for the villagers and to continue harassing the newly evil Isabella.
Back at Nottingham castle Isabella pays a toll keeper to look out for the outlaws. She's rocking the full on evil look now as she's wearing all black with her hair tied back to make her look more severe. She also seems to hiss and curse with each line, she's one step away from uttering, "Mwah-ha-ha."
Conveniently Guy and Robin decide to rob the same toll keeper on their way through. It was all Guy's idea as he seems to have very quickly adapted to the outlaw life. Anyway, this scene is only here for Robin and Guy to give their destination away to Isabella.
Archer is in York dungeon where he's currently entertaining the sheriff's wife, Gweneth (played by Tracy-Ann Oberman she was in that Eastenders, Big Train and that Doctor Who off the telly.) He's a roguish charmer who (after making love to her while she was fully clothed) manages to convince Gweneth to petition her husband to pardon Archer. In return Archer promises to deliver secrets from the east. He probably learned them on one of those day trips to the Middle East that this show specialises in. Archer shows that he's a good guy by bringing some food back for the other prisoners and makes a game of "selling" the food to them (via the most evil of art forms - mime.)
Isabella learns of Robin and Guy's robbery and deduces that they must be heading for York. She decides to put up a 100 crown reward to bring them back alive. She then strokes her pet cat (you thought I was going to say "little pussy" there didn't you? Well, hah! I didn't) and lowers a minion into a pool full of sharks while aiming her doomsday laser at the moon.
Meanwhile, Little John runs away from home because he doesn't want to be in the same gang as that nasty Guy. No one but Alan really seems to care about this so Alan runs off to try and bring the big oaf back.
Archer meets up with the Sheriff of York and demonstrates his powers of alchemy. Archer uses some flash powder and sleight of hand to convince the Sheriff that he's turned a nail into a golden nugget. The Sheriff is an idiot so he falls for this trick.
Archer then tries to escape but is stopped by the wife (Gweneth) who wants to run away with him. Gweneth leads Archer into a bedroom for some inappropriately timed fun but the Sheriff happens to wander in on them. Gweneth is in big trouble until Archer steps in and basically claims that he took Gweneth into the room so he could force himself on her. He's then surprised when the Sheriff pardons Gweneth but orders Archer to be executed and dismembered. Dude, you just claimed that you tried to rape his wife, what did you expect his reaction to be?
Little John blunders through the forest where Alan catches up with him and tries to convince him to come home. Little John is having a temper tantrum though and won't go back to his smelly home and finish his stupid vegetables, so there. Alan leaves him alone and then Little John gets captured by Isabella a few seconds later because she happened to be travelling through the same bit of forest at the time. How convenient.
Guy and Robin hang out in a pub so they can figure out how they're going to break into the dungeons to free Archer. A bar brawl breaks out for no reason and Robin and Guy argue about the plan. Robin proposes that Guy get arrested and find Archer and then he'll go in and rescue them. Guy doesn't like that plan because he doesn't trust Robin to come in and rescue him. Robin won't trust Guy to enact the plan if the positions were reversed so they're at a stalemate. That is, until Robin throws a loaf at a guard's head and Guy gets arrested for it.
That scene was quite silly but I did enjoy the interplay between the two, especially as Richard Armitage seemed to be having fun with it rather than scowling through his lines. It was a faint glimmer of entertainment in an otherwise murky show of lazy plotting and inept dialogue.
Alan decides to rescue Little John single handed despite only being armed with a stick. For once in the show's history a guard doesn't automatically fall unconscious after being struck on the head and is instead impaled on a banner by Little John. Nasty. Alan reminds Little John that he's "family" and that he had to try to rescue him even though he was unarmed. It probably helps that the guards are as capable as a sandcastle holding back the tide.
Guy is thrown into the dungeon where he starts to ask about Archer and there's a "I'm Spartacus/Brian/Archer" moment as everyone claims to be him. Guy finally locates the real Archer and his magic arrow birthmark. Guy introduces himself and Archer remarks that his name sounds rich. Oh, the money grabbing fool.
Speaking of money grabbing fools, Robin totally mugs a horse trader and robs him of his earnings. We can only assume that he dealt in evil horses otherwise Robin just robbed an innocent merchant for his own gain. I mean, the money he steals doesn't even go to peasants, it goes to the Sheriff because Robin uses it as a bribe to buy the release of Guy. Robin goes down to the dungeons and tries to bribe the guard there to release Archer. The guard indulges in some haggling over the bribe, takes the money and then says that he can't release him anyway so Robin punches him out. Heh. Archer insists that his friends in the dungeon are released too including the comical old man who I've said nothing about so far, believe me, he's mildly amusing.
Back in the forest the Merry Men ambush Isabella and her guards who were on their way to York. There's a brief fight that ends when Kate tries to shoot Isabella with an arrow and SHE PARRIES THE ARROW OUT OF THE AIR LIKE SNAKE EYES IN GI JOE/ACTION FORCE. After this amazing display (where do they teach these ladies such fantastic sword skills?) Isabella falls off her horse and runs off, which kind of undermines the moment. Still, here's a picture of her in full charge looking very evil.
Archer and co attempt to break out of the castle and Archer unleashes some unconvincing kung-fu on a hapless guard. At this point I notice that Archer has a rat tail hair cut. Urgh. Naff kung-fu and rat tails undermine the whole 'cool new character' dynamic they want to achieve here. The boys stop to bicker as they argue over who has had the poorest upbringing but the discussion is ended when the amusing old man is shot by the guards. Nooooooooooo!
The brothers enter the courtroom and there's a stand off. Isabella's representative from Nottingham tries to have the brothers taken alive and Archer decides to try and make a deal so he can escape at the expense of his new brothers. The deal doesn't work though because it's stupid. A small child wouldn't fall for it but Archer does. "If I give Robin to you will you let me go free?" "Oh, um yes. Yes of course." Archer lets Robin go and is then immediately arrested. Dumbass.
The next morning the brothers are lined up for execution but fortunately for them the Merry Men have just arrived in town. The Merry Men cause a distraction and rescue the brothers. During the escape Robin and Archer pull off the exact same trick shot, gasp, Archer is as good as Robin. Wow, I'm glad they're not trying too hard to make Archer seem cool.
Archer tries to escape on his own but is cornered by Isabella's representative. Fortunately Robin forgets that he doesn't kill people and shoots the man dead. Archer shows his gratitude by stealing Guy's horse and riding off.
A few hours later, back in Sherwood Forest, Robin and Kate compromise over Guy's inclusion in the gang. Guy then has to pick out a bed in the camp. Ho, ho. By the way, it does not take a few minutes to walk from Nottingham to York, it's freaking miles. I'm sure everyone in this show has a private jet.
NEXT EPISODE - A castle siege! It could be great but it'll probably be rubbish!