Saturday, October 14, 2006

Robin Hood. Episode 2: "Sheriff Got Your Tongue?"

Story: The Sheriff of Nottingham and Guy of Gisborne are terrorising the people of Loxley in their search for Robin Hood, and giving them an ultimatum: Either they surrender the outlaw or one person's tongue is cut out every hour! Meanwhile, as the Sheriff enjoys his sport, Robin is all tied up, captured by John Little's outlaws. The capture of Robin and Much, and the fact Robin still smells of rose petals from last week's bath, leads to much humorous taunting. Whether or not Much is gay will be explored across many internet forums, but the relationship clearly parallels that of Romeo and Mercutio, especially in its contemporary version, and the programme is all the better for it.
John Little decides to hand Robin over to the Sheriff and collect the reward. He is an outlaw of no principles beyond his own welfare. However, in a scene which once again exhibits Robin's archery skills as being more akin to that of a superhero than the green man of legend, Robin gives himself up whilst saving John's wife's tongue from the Sheriff's scissors. But this act of self sacrifice does little to impress either John or Marian, and Much fails to enlist their help in attempting to rescue him from the dungeons. What changes John Little's mind is the sight of his own son, (yes, you guessed it, "Little John"!), playing at being Robin Hood.
The dialogue in these scenes is used to explore relevant contemporary issues. The script writers may well deny this intent, but when the Sheriff talks about camps in the Holy Land from which men return as changed persons, or Robin and Marian talk about the folly of fighting abroad when there is so much evil to defeat at home, then one cannot possibly avoid this political undercurrent. (After all, didn't Dr Who explore the demise of Lady Thatcher?)
The episode comes to an end with another well staged fight in the grounds of Nottingham Castle, with Marian looking balefully down from the window, but not this time employing her Xena Warrior Princess hairgrips.Observations and opinions: Is this Robin Hood or is it just a very good action adventure series? I for one miss the encounter with Little John on the bridge. Yes it can be changed (as in Robin of Sherwood), but to cut out these stories altogether without replacing them with an alternative? Not necessarily a good idea. But I for one like the anti-war sentiment, and we've seen that explored before, particularly in Richard Harris's version of King Richard.
Richard Armitage (Gisborne) is under challenged when he just has to stand there and shout, but the scene with Lucy Griffiths (Marian) was very effective. In this, and in the way he looks at Robin, Gisborne seems to convey an awareness of his own personal shortcomings as a man. But Sam Troughton as Much is still stealing the show. He's so good that the sight of 12th century outlaws in the forest wearing singlets and boxer shorts goes relatively unnoticed.

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7 Comments:

Blogger robin hood said...

BBC Robin Hood Cast:

Robin Hood - Jonas Armstrong
Marian - Lucy Griffiths
Guy of Gisborne - Richard Armitage
Sheriff of Nottingham - Keith Allen
Little John - Gordon Kennedy
Much - Sam Troughton
Alan A'Dale - Joe Armstrong
Will Scarlett - Harry Lloyd
Roy - William Beck
Edward - Michael Elwyn
Forrest - Mark Bagnall
Hansom - Josh Cole
Dan Scarlett - Sean Murray
Luke Scarlett - Jonathan Readwin

11:58 PM  
Anonymous Tasha said...

Better yesterday.More layers being added to certain characters i.e.Guy & Little John,making them more interesting.Still no real chemistry between Robin & Marian though.Overall,I enjoyed it.

12:20 PM  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi Tasha,

I'm certainly enjoying it. I hope Richard Armitage gets more chance to shine. I really liked the sequence with Lucy Griffiths / Marian.

I thought her speech to Robin in the dungeon was also very good.

Does Jonas Armstrong remind anyone else of the boy in "Sixth Sense" who "sees dead people"? Uncanny.

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Tasha said...

Just to let you know that this site got a mention in Paul Cornell's blog He wrote for Dr.Who & has written episode 3 of RH.

11:28 AM  
Blogger robin hood said...

Thanks Tash. I do drop by Paul Cornell's blog (I'm a HUGE fan of the recent and best ever Dr Who series), but I'd lost the bookmark. I've done a quick search now and reciprocated the comment.

12:35 PM  
Blogger LuvDemBrooders said...

RH...

Thanks so much for your wonderful blog. I just loped over from Paul Cornell's blog where he had a link to this one.

Only reason to watch this series for me is to see the amazing Richard Armitage stretch his long, lovely acting legs in yet another genre. As he scowls, broods, simmers, and smoulders his way through the eps, I must agree that his scene with Marian was succulent! [Sorry...droogling just a tad...he is dressed all in black]

I'm not as taken with "Much" as you are. To-date, he's mostly been annoyingly obtuse about when to open his mouth and when not to do so.

Personally, I don't like the RH that Jonas Armstrong is creating. He seems too boyish and smirky. I might like him in something else so I won't hammer him into the ground. He does have his moments but they seem contrived.

The writing seemed much improved in Ep 2 and I feel like I'm getting to know the characters better.

Marian is lovely to look at but she hasn't really shown me all that much yet. Plus, the sizzle between her and Robin Who? just ain't there...yet.

I like the music and the way RH's arrows zing their way through the air. Some of the clever repartee actually works for me. I liked the Sheriff much more in Ep 2.

This RH just seems grungy though and not at all a nobleman. I'd like to see just a wee bit of suave and some cleaner clothes, a shave now and then, and a little bit more manly man coming from him.

RA's GofG and the Sheriff seem very manly and I wonder if casting RH and his merry band of men so much younger will really work in the end.

Anyway, keep up the excellent work on your blog. I realized once I got down to the bottom of the page that I'd actually read some of your early entries.

RA Rulez!

LDB

11:17 AM  
Blogger robin hood said...

luvdembrooders,

You make some interesting points.

The real Robin would have only been a teenager, and the Sheriff an older man in authority. The real Gisborne was just an assassin dressed in animal skins, who Robin encountered just once in the forest and killed him. I think we have Hollywood / Basil Rathbone to thank for elevating his status.

I also think Richard Armitage is a great actor. But, whereas many are happy to watch him brood in black, I do think he's being under used at present. So I'm hoping his character gets more of an episode to itself at some point.

cheers for now.

12:02 PM  

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