Robin Hood. Episode 8: "Tattoo? What tattoo?"
Story: Not for the first time in the series Robin is once again plagued by a recurring nightmare in which he is attacked by a Saracen assassin whilst serving in the Crusades. The nightmare is the result of a real life incident when Robin was guarding the King, managed to fight off the assassin, and caught a glimpse of his distinctive tattoo in the process. He awakens to the news that Gisborne is celebrating the King's birthday in Loxley, and decides to go and interrupt the proceedings by robbing Guy's guests of their valuables, arriving just in time to see Gisborne announcing his engagement to Maid Marian. Troubled by his dream, the sight of the girl he loves wearing Gisborne’s ring, and the presence of strangers in his own rightful home, Robin is enraged and no longer thinking like the level headed leader he is. A fight with Gisborne ensues, during which he is shocked to see the tattoo on Gisborne’s arm that identifies him as the very assassin he encountered that night in the Holy Lands. As the Sheriff's carriage draws near out side, (I love that carriage!), Djaq desperately tries to bring Robin to his senses enough to escape. This he does, but Djaq is captured by the Sheriff, as Gisborne rides off in pursuit of the outlaw leader. Gisborne finds Robin in the forest, alone and waiting. There is only one thing now on his mind, to kill the treasonous Gisborne who had tried to assassinate the King. Indeed, when he refuses to listen to reason from the outlaws, the only thing which prevents him from committing the murder is a blow from Little John.
Meanwhile, back at the Castle, Djaq has tried to escape after pouring acid from a small phial she keeps about her neck, onto the prison bars. This alerts the Sheriff to her skills at what he assumes to be alchemy, and sets her to work in a laboratory to make more acid for him. What follows are further failed attempts by Djaq to escape, and similar failures by the outlaws to get Robin to come to his senses and help them rescue her. In one particularly emotional scene he even vents his anger on the faithful Much, who in turn tries to enlist the help of Marian. In what amounts to quite an intense, action packed episode, there are two amusing moments of brevity when Will Scarlet announces his love for Djaq to the gang, and when Marian learns that Djaq is a girl.
Ultimately of course Robin realises his priorities have been all wrong, and once again leads the outlaws on a successful mission. But what about Gisborne's tattoo? Won't that forever identify him as a traitor? Well, not if the Sheriff and his bottle of acid have anything to do with it...
Comment: This episode was very much about how some soldiers must feel returning from an unpopular war which in reality bankrupted England at the time. Robin might have expected a hero’s welcome. Instead, as Guy so rightly sneers, he's lost everything from his girl to his house to his title. I personally lost track of the number of times Djaq was going to fail to escape, or Gisborne was going to be tied up. (A bit repetitious!) But it was a good action packed episode, if less romantic than last week, and it laid a good foundation for future stories: How will Marian feel about Djaq being so readily accepted into the group when her own work as the Night Watchman hasn't been given similar respect by Robin? Does Djaq feel the same way about Will Scarlet? And just who was it that managed to dig out the mine shaft which had been blown up in episode 5 so it could be used again as an escape route in episode 8? More pictures in the week, Hoodies. Until then, see y'all next Saturday, same Hood time, same Hood channel.