Saturday, April 28, 2007

Robin Hood—A Thing or Two About Loyalty

Guy and the sheriff attend a demonstration of black powder explosives. Lambert, its inventor, insists on certain conditions, including that the powder should never be used as a weapon. The sheriff makes a move to kill him, but Lambert escapes into the forest. It must be a dinky forest, because he runs full-tilt into Robin and his gang. The castle guard apprehends him and take him back to the castle while Robin and the others watch. The Merry Men plan to get arrested so they can get into the castle. Maybe they should rob an anthropology museum. Hey, it worked for the Winchesters on Thursday. Much volunteers and kicks a guard to get thrown into the pokey, but isn't very effective as far as doing any rescuing. The sheriff decides to make an example of him. He feeds him and makes him Earl of Bonchurch, as was promised for him when he returned from the Holy Land.

The rest of the episode plays out as a complex game, with Lambert's ledger, and the formula for Greek fire (or Saracen fire, as Djaq points out) as the prizes. Lambert is adamant that his powder never be used as a weapon, and he pays for his convictions with his life. Marian convinces Guy to take a different approach than the sheriff's, but this proves unsuccessful and leads to a rift between them just as Marian was coming to trust Guy--much to Robin's chagrin. Much seems content in his new role as Earl, but that, too, is a setup by the sheriff, as Eve, Much's serving woman, is a mole. But she finds herself drawn to Much, and also defies the sheriff. In the end, Robin and friends triumph by exploding the sheriff's supply of Greek fire, but Guy and the sheriff find themselves somewhat at odds, as do Guy and Marian. And Djaq, holding a different opinion of the black powder, defies Robin, snatching the ledger out of the fire instead of letting it burn as Robin commanded. That had better come back to bite somebody in the ass, or the last shot of this episode will prove pointless.

I found this episode somewhat less than compelling, though I suspect that's more a fault of my mood than of the show. Robin's constant breaking into and back out of the castle without effort or repercussion has strained my suspension of disbelief heartily, as well as adding an unwelcome bit of predictability to the show. In any case, the main plot was fairly interesting, developing as a layered sort of chess game amongst the main characters, and the different thematic plays on the concept of loyalty well-executed for the most part. So I won't trash this one too much, and just assume I'm cranky.