Saturday, April 21, 2007

Robin Hood—The Assassin

AKA "Tattoo? What Tattoo?"

Flashback--the Crusades. The king is under attack. Robin tangles with a Saracen, whom he wounds, slicing across a tattoo on the man's arm.

In Sherwood Forest, the Present (not our present--1192), Gisborne is having a celebration at Locksley for the king's birthday. Robin decides to crash the party.

Guy announces his engagement to Marian. He's particularly hot with his leather-clad self. Robin and his pals burst in and take everybody's jewelry, including the ring Guy just gave Marian. Guy and Robin tussle, and Robin slices open Guy's sleeve, revealing the tattoo from the flashback, along with a scar matching the flashback wound. Pissed about the ring, Guy goes after Robin. Their ensuing confrontation explains our flashback--Guy was a hired assassin sent to kill King Richard. In a patriotic dudgeon, or maybe just jealous about Marian, Robin nearly slits Guy's throat, but the merry men intervene.

Djaq is apprehended. She escapes the castle jail using some chemicals she has with her. She doesn't make it far, though. The sheriff is intrigued by her "magic" and wants Djaq her be his alchemist. The old alchemist is still there--he's a skull. No Bob inside, though. Just an inkwell. Djaq stalls. The sheriff gives her two hours to mix the stuff up.

Robin ties Guy up and hangs him bound and gagged from a tree. Hm. Didn't know Robin was into that kind of thing. Robin's pretty focused on Guy's status as a traitor and killing him for his slight against the king of England. The others, however, are more focused on rescuing Djaq, which Robin refuses to do. Finally the others tie Robin up so they can head for Nottingham. Robin doesn't think any of his crew would understand the politics behind what Guy has done, because they're all too "simple." I'm having very little sympathy for Robin here. Yes, Guy is technically a traitor to the crown, but Djaq is arguably the most vulnerable of the Merry Men because of her secret girl-ness. Robin's stubborn refusal to rescue her because of his beef with Guy ingratiates him to me about as much as his comment about the Merry Men being "simple" ingratiated him to Much. Which is to say not at all.

Robin plans torture to get Guy to talk, in spite of Much's protests. In the end, though, Robin lets Guy go. Guy has a point about his beef with the king--Richard basically abandoned his country to run off to the Crusades, and the results weren't that great. Otherwise we wouldn't have a Robin Hood story in the first place. Anyway, Robin and Guy go at it hand to hand and knock the crap out of each other. Guy continues to mock Robin about his loss of Locksley Hall and Marian. Much returns with Marian just as Robin knocks Guy cold. Marian confronts Robin. I'm not convinced that Robin's high dudgeon isn't so much political as it is personal. Nobody else seems to be, either.

With Robin all wrapped up in his own agenda, Allan, Will and Little John sneak into the castle. When the sheriff returns for Djaq, she demonstrates, creating a smokescreen that allows her to escape from the lab. Will, Allan and Little John run into trouble with the guards. Djaq joins the fray and they escape through a privy. So... guys come in to rescue girl, don't hae a plan, end up in the sewage system. Sound familiar? Anyway, the boys escape but Djaq stays behind and the sheriff grabs her again. The boys conclude that they're not so good at infiltrating the castle, and they need Robin.

The boys come back to get Robin. When Robin still refuses, Will blurts out that he thinks he loves Djaq. This takes everyone by surprise. Maybe even Will. Marian suggests trading Guy for Djaq, but Robin says no. Little John clubs him unconscious.

Back at the castle, Djaq's torture is about to get underway when Marian barges in, telling the sheriff about the proposed trade. The sheriff doesn't seem all that keen on the idea of getting Guy back, but finally agrees on the trade. They're all to meet in the mine. On the way, he finally notices Djaq is a girl. Robin confronts the sheriff about Guy. The sheriff burns off Guy's tattoo with the acid, eliminating Robin's "proof." Robin, et al, do some derring-do and escape from the trap the sheriff has set in the mine.

This episode was an interesting turnaround, at least for me. My feelings toward Robin went from finding him annoying to really disliking him, while my feelings for Guy went from finding him despicable to sympathizing with him. It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out through the last few episodes of the season.