Saturday, November 11, 2006

Robin Hood. Episode 6: "The Taxman Cometh".

Story: An abbess claiming to have been attacked by outlaws is given access to Nottingham Castle to recover from her apparent ordeal. Inside she gets little sympathy from the Sheriff, who mocks her religious order for failing to fund its own "Holy War", and taunts her that beneath all the "haughty there is a little bit of naughty". Meanwhile, in Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood and his outlaws have intercepted what they identify as being a tax collector, carrying encoded state secrets. Robin interrogates the taxman until he reveals that all the tax money for the north of England is inside Nottingham castle. The taxman is then forced to comply with the outlaws' plan to steal it.
The subplot to all this intrigue sees Guy of Gisborne visit Marian (the first of many such visits), taking her a gift (the first of many such gifts), and suggesting she needs a husband. Marian is not impressed, and later expresses to her father that she would rather become a nun than marry Gisborne. This attiitude angers her father who believes she could do a lot worse than marry Guy. He also scolds her over her activities as the Night Watchman, and in the ensuing argument orders her to leave his house.
Marian seeks out Robin as he is on the way to steal the taxes from the Castle. She tries to explain to him how she is sick of living under such an oppressively male atmosphere, constantly undervalued simply because she is a woman. She later tells the Sheriff she intends entering Rufford Abbey as a novice, and gains his permission to see the abbess regarding the matter. Guy of Gisborne is naturally distressed at this news, and the humour in his comment about "there are other ways to learn obediance" would not have missed the attention of adult viewers...
When Robin Hood and the outlaws reach the Castle's inner sanctum the taxman reveals his true identity, locking the outlaws behind bars. But it is not only Robin who has been tricked, as the Sheriff himself will soon find out.
Comment: Frankly I think there was a better episode to be had here than what was finally delivered. The sub plot involving Marian's relationship with her father, and Guy, not to mention Robin himself, deserved more space. The scenes where she resembled nothing less than a 17th century Kelly Osbourne, striving to be seen as a person with her own opinions and ideals, were excellent. It was also good to see Gisborne challenge Robin to a one on one duel at the end, from which Robin declined. And did you notice? Will Scarlet finally got angry for a couple of minutes! Long overdue when you consider what he's been through in the series. No doubt the sight of Robin kissing a different girl to the one he really should be listening more intently to will prove popular and it's nice to see an abbess villian when one considers what was Robin's ultimate real life fate in Kirklees Abbey.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Tasha said...

Hi,RH,
Another enjoyable episode.Didn't like Marian's outfits. Too Topshop.
Guy gets more& more creepy.Good acting by R.Armitage again.Think he's beginning to stand out in this production & I'm not really a fan .

12:42 PM  
Blogger Clement of the Glen said...

Very good story this week. I am still finding the costumes annoying, they just look too modern, especially Marian’s, when she turned around you could even see her bra clips! (But hasn’t she got lovely eyes!)

Did anyone see the Ally Ross article in The Sun on Friday? He really ripped into the programme and at the end suggested the series should be re-named ‘Robin Hood and His Non Gender Specific, Ethnically Diverse Collective of Crisis Management Officers, Working for a fairer Nottingham!’

1:26 PM  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi Tash,

Yes a good episode, but I confess I got a little impatient with some things:

The outfits / costumes are a bit distracting at times. Certainly Lucy Griffith's clothes yesterday were a mix of 1930s and retro 70's. (Check out her gloves). If I'd seen her in a Club, great. But not too sure about medieval England...

Also, the framing and editing is getting a bit monotonous. I do all my own screen shots for my Robin Hood blogs, and it's made me very aware of how the programme is put together. Certainly close up shots help avoid some of the costume issues you mention, but Gisborne, Scarlet, John, and Much always have just one expression that they are directed to do. And the climax of the shows are all becoming kind of interchangeable, set in that courtyard. (Were the endings all shot on the same day?)

I agree Armitage is using his skills to better effect, projecting slight nuances when given chance. (I liked the comment about disciplining Marian). I think Gordon Kennedy (Little John), is now doing a similar thing, knowing he's not going to get the scripts and so projecting in other ways.

Clement,

I didn't see the Ally Ross article, but the tone of what she appears to be saying is a bit inaccurate if she feels all these issues havn't been dealt with in Robin Hood productions in the past.

The 1950s Richard Greene series of Robin Hood had a lot to say about women's equality, thanks to Patricia Driscoll's Maid Marian; The 1980's Robin of Sherwood introduced an outlaw from another ethnic background; The 1990's Prince of Theives used this to explore the conflict between religious ideology even further. I'm not sure we've had a gay outlaw yet. (Much's crush on Robin may just be a combination of hero worship and awe of his upper class master), but I do seem to remember a line in the late 1990s New Adventures of Robin Hood when a delighted Marian exclaimed "Robin, I just knew you couldn't be gay!"

The trouble with critics like Ally Ross is they're not informed. They've probably only seen the Errol Flynn version (which has not altogether aged too well in my opinion), and judge everything by that.

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone, although I love watching this new series there are a few things that annoy: 1. Girls have too much make up on- too much for 1000 years ago
2. The clothes really are wrong- agree with the TopShop comment!
3. The history is not really right is it?? Could improve a bit there.
4. Where is Friar Tuck???
5. Not quite following the original book is it?
Nevertheless, can't miss it on Saturdays.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

I am really loving this series - am totally in love with it - but as much as I love Marian's character (in past Robin Hoods, her character was never explored...she was just there as the pretty rich lady), her costumes are absolutely driving me crazy! It totally throws me off every time I see her in one of those modern outfits. Really, the costume people need to get a clue.
On the other hand a few times Robin looks like he's wearing a modern "hoody," (as we say in Canada).

12:03 AM  
Blogger robin hood said...

Emily,

Thanks for the input, but you are very wrong about previous versions of Marian. The only time she was "just a pretty rich lady" was in the Errol Flynn version. (And maybe the poor Prince of Thieves).

You should check out, for example, Patricia Driscoll and Ulma Thurman on my main Robin Hood blog. They both went much further than Lucy.

12:18 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

I admit I have only seen the old Errol Flynn version when I was very young and that my main reference point for those comments was Prince of Thieves, which I saw when I was a kid.

I will most definitely check them out, but I have to say I really want to see Lucy go even further than she has - that I'm looking forward to it :)

7:47 PM  

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