Saturday, October 21, 2006

Robin Hood. Episode 3: "Who Shot the Sheriff?"

Story: If anyone had any doubts previously about whether they were watching a great Robin Hood series, then surely those doubts were dispelled tonight. The programme opened with Robin Hood and his men running around a more convincingly leafy Sherwood forest than we've yet seen in the series, and trying to reason with one of the Sheriff's bailiffs who is about to close down a local Mill. When the bailiff is subsequently shot in the back, word spreads that Robin is to blame. As the days go by further senseless killings of innocent young people follow, one being the Sheriff's servant boy who is stood next to him at the time in a nicely executed piece of pre-9.00pm watershed violence. The local village folk then turn against Robin Hood and the outlaws, believing them responsible, whilst a not so innocent looking Sheriff of Nottingham relishes in exploiting the situation as he sends a rather gullible Guy hunting for Robin with his dogs.
This well established plotline then gives three characters in particular a great opportunity to explore their roles deeper. Keith Allen excels as a truly sinister and disturbed man, just holding back from the verge of the pantomime excesses which would have been an easy trap for a lesser actor to fall into. The bird cages we first saw in earlier episodes provide a great image, as does the dark Dracula style coach, riding into Sherwood Forest with the glow of a sunset behind it like it's arriving from hell. The bedroom scene involving the Sheriff and Robin Hood is also priceless. He taunts Robin with one liners that make me wonder if Jonas Armstrong knows what he's about to say. But it's the bedroom scene between Robin Hood and Marian that we've all been waiting for, and it doesn't disappoint. She clearly loves the man that went away on the Crusades, and is hurt and unsure as to how much of that same man has returned.
As Robin tries to clear his name we learn of a Night Watchman character who has been active in Robin's absence, and becomes a possible suspect; we see Marian shrewdly investigating matters, conversing with an old friend amongst the soldiers in an almost conspiratorial way; and in a great multiple climax, the identity of the Night Watchman, the truth about Marian's friend, and the identity of the killer, all stand revealed.
Comments and observations: Best episode yet. No super powered arrows or hair grips, just a really good story line with several excellent little twists and surprises. Maid Marian fans will love this one, and indeed a spin-off series is here for the making. Great performances require a great script, and Keith Allen, Jonas Armstrong and Lucy Griffiths certainly got that in an episode which wasn't afraid to just take a moment at times to explore.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you, this show is starting to show that it has something and is worth sticking with.
However was it just me or was Little John actually wearing jeans?

11:23 AM  
Blogger robin hood said...

Anon:

The costumes issue is an interesting one.

In trying to get a variety of screenshots for this site, one becomes very aware of what some characters are actually wearing. For example, the singlets and shorts in episode 2, not only Little John's "jeans", but his and Gisborne's jackets, Much's colourful wooly pull-over, the Sheriff's silk pyjamas, etc. I reckon it wouldn't be too hard to pick a lot of this stuff up today in charity shops and high street stores.

But that's perhaps a credit to the director in the way they're filming it. Lots of very tight close ups on faces, quick edits, and scans across action sequences. And then of course the post-production special effects to add the arrows, twirling swords, etc.

In terms of props / costumes, it's the Castle itself which I love: The interior of the Sheriff's rooms and the arches 'round the courtyard.

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Tasha said...

Great Episode.Paul's writing was spot on.Love the way the characters are developing now.Totally agree with your summary

3:21 PM  
Blogger robin hood said...

Thanks tasha. Nice to know if people agree.

Tomorrow morning I've been invited into BBC Radio Nottingham to chat about the subject....

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Mywenn said...

Even though the clothes and setting arent completely accurate (i.e who wears a hairband in the middle ages?) but all the same I love that modern sense in the series, it makes it a whoe lot more interesting. I watch it every night!

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yet again i missed this one! and it was a love one! OH NO! will it be repeated EVER?
freya xx

8:53 PM  
Anonymous Rachel said...

I should think so, I want to tape it! Lucy Griffiths is beautiful in this one.

1:27 PM  

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