Saturday, December 02, 2006

Robin Hood. Episode 9: A Thing Or Two About Loyalty...

...also known as "That Poor Mine Shaft Gets It Again!"
Story: Gisborne is demonstrating to the Sheriff and Marian his friend Lambert's new discovery Black Powder, by blowing up that rather familiar mine shaft from episodes 5 and 8. This Black Powder is also known as Greek Fire, a title which later angers Djaq because she says the Saracens had discovered it independent of the Greeks but are never credited with having the intelligence. When the Sheriff sees the power of the Black Powder he of course sees its possibilities as a weapon. Lambert grows concerned and reneges on his deal with Gisborne to hand over the formula, only to find himself thrown in the dungeon. Robin Hood becomes concerned that the formula will end up in the hands of the Sheriff, and so Much volunteers to get arrested, with a key secreted about his person, so he can rescue Lambert. But Much's plan is interrupted and he is brought before the Sheriff of Nottingham.
For reasons which neither Guy of Gisborne nor this blogger fully understand, the Sheriff makes Much an Earl. It would appear he hopes to manipulate him when he is placed on the local council, and to this end he gives Much a Manor to live in, but with a girl to spy on him. When Robin Hood and the outlaws see Much leaving in a grand carriage Robin decides to enter the Castle himself, and succeeds in learning from Lambert where his formula is kept. Still with me so far Hoodies? It is a bit confusing, and no I don't know why Robin just didn't go get the formula in the first place.
The Sheriff also dismisses Guy from the Greek Fire project, believing he has been too soft on his friend. Marian sees Guy is upset by this turn of events, and easily manipulates him into trying to send Lambert to Kirklees so his confidence in Guy might be restored and he will more readily give up the secret. Marian means well, hoping to save Lambert’s life, but she is out of her depth where the Sheriff's scheming is concerned. When Marian tells Robin of her plan to have Guy take Lambert to Kirklees he is openly jealous of the fact she has been scheming with Guy, no matter what her reason. But by now it is all academic anyway, because the Sheriff has learned Lambert has told Robin where to find the formula, and kills him as a result. The news of Lambert's murder distresses Marian, who rides into Robin's camp and (at last) finds the comfort of his arms and a shoulder to cry upon. When Robin and Marian later rejoin the rest of the outlaws they are walking hand in hand... (Hmmm).
But what about Lord Much? Well, he's also doing rather well for himself in adjacent bath tubs with the girl who is working as the Sheriff’s spy. Much and the girl have clearly developed strong feelings for each other, and she so she changes sides to cheat on the Sheriff and give him false information designed to lead him into a trap where Robin and his men are waiting. This trap culminates in quite a spectacular explosion as Robin's flaming arrows blow up the store of Black Powder in the cave before which Guy is standing!
Later, back at the camp, the debate over whether to burn the formula or not, is still in progress. Djaq thinks it should be preserved. Robin would seem to agree with her, and has felt that way throughout. But the majority want it burnt, and so into the fire it goes. Until everyone is distracted, at which point Djaq's hand, observed by Robin, deftly reaches between the flames...
Comment: Sometimes less is more. The idea of Much becoming an Earl was really good, giving Sam Troughton the chance to extend his unique humour into the series; and when that girl started getting ready to climb into the bath? Brilliant. But I really think Much merited this story on his own, without us having to go back and forth into poor Lambert's cell. And no doubt you all noticed Will getting rather close to Djaq whilst hiding in the bushes? And Marian showing some considerable courage in telling Guy she was disappointed by his weakness at not going through with their plot, and therefore the engagement is "back in the box". So, lots of good stuff to be had, but perhaps too much all mixed in at once? And please, lets leave that poor mine shaft alone now can we?

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14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I missed this episode but i'm watching the repeat tonight! it looks good, so im looking forward to it!
freya

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Tasha said...

So Much isn't gay as I've seen suggested on other sites.
Another good episode.Poor Guy he's being torn in two,between the Sheriff & Marian.
Paul Cornell has written another great episode.

6:38 PM  
Blogger robin hood said...

BBC Robin Hood 2006 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
Anjali Jay - Djaq

(Basic cast only).

6:47 PM  
Blogger robin hood said...

I think it would have been interesting to have Much gay, in the same way that Buffy had a gay character. But no doubting the entertainment here in his shy but romantic advances towards the Sheriff's spy.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

I thought it was too much assumption to declare that Much was gay, simply because he was loyal to Robin.
Anyways, I agree that so much happened in this episode that I have to watch it again to pick up on all the little nuances.
There was so much jam packed it was almost like a couple episodes smashed together - but don't get me wrong, I didn't enjoy it any less!
I liked that there was another strong female role brought in with Much's little spy - and it was nice that she doesn't go around swinging a sword, like Marian and Djaq.
I really like how those two fight, but it is nice to see women doing other things than that as well (Marian's role is a lot more complicated, she's a bit of a mix of everything).
I very much liked how Marian ran right to Robin for comfort, and their little handholding was very sweet, unexpected, and very nice.
It was also very funny to hear the very stiff, awkward exchanges between Lord Much and Lady Marian. "Lord Much when will you be seeing our mutual friend?"
And I liked how even though Marian knew Robin was coming he still scared her when she arrived.
I think this episodes also supports our Marian being over her head theory, which is proving right over and over.
In fact one might argue that Gisbourne is over his head. The man is really too easily manipulated. I'm also wondering when Sheriff will start tightening his fist around Marian.
Another case in point the meeting of the lords, as the Sheriff begins taunting Marian about her father being a horse, because he opposes him.
It seems that this episode, though exciting in its own merit with lots of action, seems to be apart of a build up to some other climatic events/episodes (such as Ep 7 and 8).
However, I still would like to see Will have more lines and more of a storyline. He's so important and popular, yet he hasn't had enough screentime, I don't think, but it was great for Much to shine as well. He was wonderful.
And I wonder what Robin will do about Djaq taking the book.

8:36 PM  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi Emily,
Lots of good points in your comment. So I'll address them one by one:

1. Certainly Much's loyalty and devotion to Robin could be wrongly misinterpreted. But it was the jealous side looks at Marian that have led to internet debates about his sexuality. I certainly don't mind either way, and always thought Willow in Buffy was a great and positive role model.

2. I'm glad you also agree there was rather a lot crammed into that episode. I had started to think it was just me. But I did find it tricky following some of the threads at times.

3. I also agree about Much's new love the spy. She was fabulous on screen, and I hope for a return appearance. It can't have been easy to keep up with Troughton, 'cos he's so funny.

4. The hand holding was very subtly filmed.

5. I hope Marian's obvious ralisation about her being out of her depth where the Sheriff is concerned doesn't inhibit her character - OR make younger female viewers feel that a "woman's role" cannot be adventurous and challenging. I'm sure it won't.

6. Guy is well out of his depth. He does one thing well: Kill people. Richard Armitage's fans are legion, and he's such a good actor it's easy to se why. (His dark good looks must help also). So please believe me when I say Gisborne is basically thick and gullible, I cast no aspertions on the man playing him!

7. That comment in the meeting of the Lords almost passed me by. (That's what I mean by too many ideas crammed together). I had thought Marian's tears were over Lambert, but maybe they were about the Sheriff's taunts...

8. Yes please to the suggestion that some more of this cast get given a script!

9. I think Robin was glad Djaq took the book. He said earlier in the story that they had no right to destroy knowledge.

Phew!

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol i loved this ep, marion and robin scenes were so heartfelt, she really managed to let go of herself when she was with him. THe Sheriff was so horrible to her! god id have punched that man! n althouygh Guy is a v. good character I dunno if hell eva become "good". Does ne1 else think that hes a bit blind not 2 see that marion is in love with robin? n only with him because she has to be? I just love Robin and MArion together! Btw your site is the best Robin Hood site iv seen ever!

9:25 PM  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi "anon".,
Guy isn't sensitive enough to either notice or care if Marian likes Robin or not. I think that's what makes him so unpleasant. He intends forcing her to marry him by threatening her with what the Sheriff would do to her if he ever felt she was linked to the outlaws.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hahaha yer i dont like him either its just every1 seems 2 love the character so i didnt wanna get like virtually beaten up lol i so want robin n marion 2 get 2gether tho luv elle xx

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi
i am totally in love with this series! and absolutly loved episode 9! finally marion is letting herself go around robin which is a relief. i totally think will and djaq shud get 2gether, that wud be so sweet! the scene where robin comforted marion was really nice, and *shocks!* marion actually let robin give her a hug! i hope a big kiss comes soon, still there is another series isnt there? so plenty of time for that. . . cant wait till next week xxx

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi
sorry but i haven't seen the mine shaft being used before in an episode could you please fill me in?
freya

6:11 PM  
Anonymous riya said...

with all due to respect to richard's looking-great-in-stubble-n-black-leather look (no denying he's very handsome), guy is a dork...i really dislike him never being able to figure things out by himself (or soon enough)...you guys are right, he's very gullible...also happy to see much getting some...just didn't want him to be gay and a laughing stock all over the net...it'd be too stereotyped then, i feel..
also, i was incredibly happy to see robin and marian together, and esply their banter:
robin - and what did you do to make him (guy) believe you..
marian - nothing, i just played on his conscience
robin - clever you, see i'd believe you, if i thought he had one...

i loved it ...lolz, god, robin, so jealous eh?(the sequence may be a bit incorrect, but this is how it went more or less)

1:52 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

robin hood, I think you've developed a bit of a paranoia regarding mines in this show!
I don't think there's anything to suggest that the mines in Ep 5, 8 & 9 are one and the same - it's perfectly reasonable to assume they're different. Remember, the one in Ep 8 was a passage out of the castle, while the one destroyed in Ep 5 was some distance from the castle, andi n Ep 9 the mine seems to be part of a mountain...

2:22 AM  
Blogger robin hood said...

Okay Erin,

You might be right about that.

But wait 'til you see "the barn" in series 2.

They're ALWAYS in the same barn!!

2:28 AM  

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