Sunday, May 31, 2009

Robin Hood 3.0 - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap!

(aka A Dangerous Deal)

Typical. I finally realize who PJ reminds me of (an incredible sober Russell Brand) and the pretender sods off for a week. Is there ANYONE bar Tuck and the old guard who have been in every episode this year? Oh well, in the safe hands of Graeme Harper, the episode starts in the time old fashion of Robin sneaking into Nottingham Castle to flirt with a semi-naked woman in denial about having the hots for him, and also play Verbal Poker with the Sherrif. Unfortunately, this time they are one in the same, and Robin is clearly emotionally very confused, rather like young children watching the end of Caves of Androzani ("Doctor Who's dying... but look at the tits on his companion!!! I don't know what to feel!")

Indeed, the Hooded One comes across rather nasty and bullying in this scene as he sneaks into Izzy's bedroom with a knife and tells her bluntly to help him out or die in the inevitable fall of Prince John (who, remember, humiliated himself and revealed his intentions in front of all of Christendom). But, since Izzy is a spiteful bitch with a pathological inability to take responsibility for her actions, it's easy to get on Robin's side as she sneers she's NOT a class traitor, thank you very much, she's a liberated feminist who's broken the glass ceiling thanks to PJ's affirmative action. And, you know, Psycho Izzy intends to the best bestest Sheriff of Nottingham ever ever ever!

Her main advantage is not her cleverness or ruthlessness, but the fact she's batshit insane and Robin has no idea how to handle her. When he treats her like he did Vasey, she reacts in exactly the wrong way: responding to his challenge by screaming for the guards and chasing him out of her bedroom with her own knife. When he does a daring Batman-style escape down a rope... Izzy cuts the rope (and I boggle at Robin staring at her and saying, "Oh shi---" - and yes, he really does say that). Needless to say Robin escapes with naught but a bruised arse and a grudge, but is his lesson learnt?

Watching the episode I can thankfully say it's a hell of a lot better than the 45 minutes of camp padding last week. The plot is incidental, involving a Danish burial site just left of Dead Man's Crossing (the new hotspot in Nottingham, that) and pretty much the rest is hardcore characterization. The plot revolves around the characters, how they think of each other and what they do when pressed. Naturally, of course, Little John, Tuck and Alan are pretty much sidelined in this, but they get their respective moments of comedy, angst and insensitive prickiness in no particular order.

Izzy: well, we finally find out why her middle name was changed to "Damaged Goods" and it wasn't out of love for RTD's New Adventure. Effectively portrayed as a schizophrenic with her idealistic PR shell and the broken and very bitter woman within, this week slowly but surely grinds her into naught but enemy. The new Sheriff, wearing Vasey's robes which fit disturbingly well, Izzy wins the common folk over with her promises of reform, honesty, tolerance and feminine equality. Mind you, her picking up a girlfriend on the job incredibly obviously maybe caused a Steven Moffatesque surge of blind lust to help her popularity. But, with the return of her husband, it's all downhill. By the end of the episode, she's almost possessed by Vasey, posing the same way, stabbing people in the stomach the same way, and executing people at the drop of a hat. She's very much Servalan this week, but the Season 4 kill-it-if-it-lives psycho Bitch in Black. Either way, the gold exchange seems a deliberate homage to a certain B7 episode and she even starts dressing and cutting her hair the same way by the week's end. She also is determined to kill Robin, and has literally become a black widow after her slutting it up with both genders.

Thornton: (BTW I'm sure someone else has been called Thornton in this series!) A one-note bully psycho megalomaniac whose pathological hatred of women is only matched by his greed for money. Of course, the moral presumably is that people don't HAVE to be witty, entertaining and realistic drammatic personae to make people's lives a hell, and this jerk's soul-destroying treatment of Izzy is really the only reason he's there. I can't think of a more overlookable character, with even his return-from-the-dead moments greeted by "For fuck's sake!" by all bar Izzy. Who rather unsurprisingly kills him. I defy anyone to be surprised at this. In fact, the only reason they've brought him in and killed him off is simply to show that she won't get ANY kind of catharsis and is "broken" for good.

Meg: Radical bissexual feminist, she's suspiciously too perfect for the first person Izzy has to judge as sheriff - an independant man-hating young woman. Of COURSE they were going to instantly fall in love, but considering the general tolerance for women shown in this series (especially considering the times), she preaches a bit too much. Defense mechanism or not, her gloating and picking on men gets irritating fast, which is of course why she undergoes her own character arc, realizing that Izzy might be cut from the same cloth, but in a radically different shape. Ooh, that's a good metaphor. Must use that more often. Anyway, all she needs is to meet a man who doesn't patronize her and she quickly revises her genital greviences. Obviously doomed but not, as I first thought, because she was going to be busy filming with Matt Smith.

Gizzy: Left rotting in the dungeon formerly used by his ex-girlfriend's ex-dad, Gizzy is in hell and... worryingly... is completely cool about it. In fact, he can see the funny side about it all and has come to the Zen-like acceptance that yeah, he probably deserves it. He seems, as Meg notes, to have a completely clear conscience, as even selling his sister to Thornton years back was borne of good intentions. Indeed, the episode rather heavily implies Izzy was a total cow BEFORE her marriage. Gizzy is now so self-aware, he can tell Meg is the universe taunting him with a Marion substitute, and doubts any relationship would end well. Nevertheless, with death at his heels, he bargains for Meg's life as she's an innocent. Ends up wandering the forrest, with a minor catharsis but pretty much back to square one after leaving Acre.

Robin: Like I said, he's a bit confused about Izzy's combined status as ex-lover, tormented soul in need for help, possible ally and Black Widow psycho. He's the first prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt, and heartily approves her pro-gay policies and immediately sees the emotional damage Thornton can do to her. Ultimately, he doesn't realize that Izzy doesn't believe in mercy and his pacifist attitudes get him dubbed weak and therefore expendable. It is only when she has, quite unprovoked, tried to cut him open and screaming abuse at him does he realize she's beyond saving. He also has to deal with...

Kate: As far as the story is concerned, her gut alpha female hatred of Izzy is entirely down to sound judge of character - and, having met Kate's mother, it makes sense she can detect such an uber-bitch. Finally her hormones get the better of her and she repeatedly snogs Robin in mid argument about what a cow Izzy is. As is often in these romances, Robin is simulataneously shocked and not entirely eager - apart from anything else, he seems to be the only other human being to realize Much is utterly head over heels in love with her and refuses to get involved. Unfortunately (and I'm probably projecting here, coz otherwise Kate is the biggest bitch since Inquisitor Darkel), Kate assumes that ever since she told him off, Much has no romantic desire for her at all and in a matey fashion asks our favorite character to tell Robin it's OK for them to start bonking.

Much: of course, just can't cope with this. Nicely shown as having been expecting this brand new love triangle, our miller's son finally comes to the conclusion that If You Love It Set It Free. Unable to tell Ms Tollinger he loves her, and unable to get in the way of Robin's happiness, he takes the final step and leaves the gang. In the middle of the night. Without saying anything. Which of course means that the gang come across as a bunch of assholes as they don't even notice he's gone the next day (but as Alan notes, he's often wandering off to get food - hah, I'd like to see the lot of them coping without Much to cook, clean, sew and maintain their secret base, as he's the only one who knows how it works now Will's gone. Mind you, if Will and Djaq were around, there's no way they would have missed his heartbreak). Ironically, Much's new painfree start is ruined and he ends up back at the camp, unable to tell everyone how he feels and more miserable than ever. The only question is... will he try to leave them again?

What else is there to say?

"I'm not a stupid girl! I'm Meg!" - surely a Family Guy reference?

"There are still things you do not know about your past..."
When an old bloke who sounds like Peter O'Toole mysteriously appears at Robin's side, they travel back in time to discover the Untold Origin of Robin Hood! What happened to his parents? Was William Shakespeare REALLY Robin's dad? Who got the plague? Why does Gizzy keep appearing? Is leprosy genetic? And will Marion, Edward, Matilda and the Scarlet family turn up? Yes, it is the first ever Robin-lite episode!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

If *I* Had Written The Massacre IV

(Preslin's shop. Mickey and Annie enter.)

Mickey: OK. The Doctor's dead, there's no sign of the TARDIS key, and there's a massacre tomorrow that makes Jim Jones look like an April Fool Prank. On a scale of one to ten, we're completely screwed.

(Suddenly the Doctor climbs out of the carpet.)

Doctor: Oooh! Massive brain damage! That's the killer! Molte Bene!

Mickey: What the hell were you doing in there?

Doctor: Coming down very slowly. Wow, what a buzz. Anyway, Mickey, how have you been?

Mickey: OK. You just spent three days on a massive trip at the exact same time and place a guy with your EXACT face and voice happened to be part of a conspiracy? I mean, is that suspicious or what?

Doctor: Now you come to mention it... kinda. Right, let's get out of this crapheap.

Annie: Too late, the curfew bell's rung?

Doctor: Don't tell me what the time is! I'm the Last of the Time Lords! Who are you, anyway?

Annie: Annie "No Nuts" Shapleeeeeeee, monsieur.

Doctor: You've got a Cornish accent.

Annie: Lots of Parisian wenches are born in Cornwall. Anyway, tomorrow is Saint Bartholomew's Day in honor of the transexual secret agent, so we can sneak out in the crowds.

Mickey: That's sorted then.

Doctor: Ahm, not QUITE. You know that Massacre I mentioned? The Massacre of Saint Bartolomew?

Mickey: Oooh. Shit.

Doctor: You betcha. Well, Annie, sorry, but we can't take you with us, so you can go home and hide out somewhere for tomorrow. Maybe you can blackmail a bishop or something to get out of town and settle in England?

Mickey: You really think that'd happen?

Doctor: Only one way to find out...

(At the Louvre, the Marshall is bitching to Dubar. As always.)

Marshall: Right, what you've got to do is find Mickey, blame him for the death of the Abbot, kill him and hope no one puts two and two together.

Dubar: This sucks. What the hell are YOU going to be doing, boss man?

Ratbag: Oooh, Marshall?

Marshall: Sweet crap, what do you want now, you daft old bat?

Ratbag: Stuff all this assassination business. We do the jihad tomorrow and let the mob do our work for them.

Marshall: Exsqueeze me!? You think that rioting mobs are precision instruments?


Marshall: Lady, half the Protestants are just lying to impress the chicks! You start a bloodbath, you'll wipe out most of Paris on both sides!

Ratbag: France will breath of pure air after tomorrow.

Marshall: It'll breathe fumes of rotting corpses! And what about your son in law?!

Ratbag: He's no son of mine!

Dubar: Yes, he IS, miss. Remember?

Marshall: Kill Prince Henry and there'll be a Holy War! Run by people not quite as stupid as you, you bitch!

Ratbag: If one Protestant life escapes me tomorrow, we may both regret this act of mercy!!

Marshall: Maybe, but I won't regret THIS!

(The Marshall blows her brains out.)

Dubar: That won't stop the bloodshed.

Marshall: No, but by god it made me feel good.

Dubar: But now we are to unleash the wolves of Paris. None are to be spared. At dawn tomorrow this city will weep tears of blood.

Marshall: Oh, piss off you pretentious twat.

(At the Admiral's Pad, stuff is happening in a rather nondescript way.)

De Laren: Dude, the Catholics are going to kill us! And you've actually let a Catholic Guard under a Catholic Commander GUARD your house! Are you TRYING to get killed here, Admiral?!

Admiral: Oh, stop yer whining, bitch. How the hell does Price Henry put up with you?

De Laren: Generally by me not turning up for work.

(There's a knock at the door.)

Captain: (vo) Ah, hello. Someone order a genocidal ethnic cleansing?

Muss: Sounds about right.

(Muss goes to open the door.)

De Laren: NO!!!!!

(Too late! The door opens and the Imperial Stormtroopers surge in.)

Muss: Oops. Still, I'm sure everything will sort itself out.

(Moments later, the bullet-riddled and stark naked Admiral is thrown through the upstairs windows and falls into the street where Catholics leap upon the body and tear the Admiral's head off. The Doctor and Mickey watch this on the scanner.)

Doctor: France. It's a different planet.

(The Doctor sets the controls and takes off. )

Mickey: So what happens next?

Doctor: It'll die down after a few days and twelve thousand dead, but it gets very fashionable throughout France. Religion and politics, Mickey. Never end up anywhere good. So, the Admiral, Muss, De Laren, that annoying bastard running the landlord, those washer women, that kid kicking a ball of paper... all dead.

Mickey: What about Annie?

Doctor: What have I always told you about time travel, Mickey?

Mickey: Take precautions. I never told anyone the future.

Doctor: Eh? Jings, Mickey, I mean contraceptives! How many times did you do it with that Cornish chick?

Mickey: Wait a minute...

Doctor: Now, IF Annie was smart enough to get out of town and escape to England, IF she managed to survive a perilous sea voyage while pregnant and IF she had a boy and IF that boy grew up to carry on the Chapleeeeeeee name, then we can prove she survived by finding her descendent.

Mickey: That is... creepy.

Doctor: Gallifreyan Genealogy, Mickey Boy!

Mickey: It won't. Like she could escape carnage that killed twelve thousand people!

(The TARDIS lands. A girl runs through the doors.)

Dodo: Where's the telephone?

Mickey: What? You didn't notice the whole bigger on the inside thing?

Dodo: Well, this IS a police box. It says so outside.

Doctor: Jings.

Dodo: Wait a minute, if this ISN'T a police box, what is it? And who are you?

Mickey: Piss off, girl!

Doctor: Hang on a sec, what's your name?

Dodo: Dodo.

Mickey: Man, you unlucky cow.

Dodo: Dorothea really. Dorothea Chaplet.

Mickey: Chaplet?! You're not French are you?

Dodo: Don't be daft! Me granddad was, though.

Doctor: Oh yeah! Didn't I say, Mickey? Didn't I say? Annie Chapleeee's descendant.

(They both stare at Dodo.)

Doctor: It's really rather depressing, isn't it?

Mickey: Yeah. Like the Morlocks, only a hell of a lot more personal.

Dodo: Who are you anyway?

Doctor AND Mickey: PISS OFF!

(They bundle her out the doors.)

Mickey: This story sucks immensely.

Doctor: Trust me. Wipe the video prints and give a really inaccurate novelization, they'll be lauding this as the epitome of sophistication, even after they hear the soundtrack. Now, how about dealing with a bunch of freaky aliens on the day the sun explodes and destroys the Earth?

Mickey: Any French people?

Doctor: (thinks about it) Nope.

Mickey: Power up the Crystals, Cardinal!!

Doctor: ...don't do that. No. No. Just... don't. Do that. Don't.


If *I* Had Written The Massacre III

(The next day, in Preslin's shop, Mickey and Annie are woken by the end-of-curfew-bell. Niether of them notice the Doctor lying face down in the carpet.)

Mickey: OK, baby, time to action. The Sad Dutch Beggar dies today, which probably has something to do with the Massacre, so the best thing to do is get the hell out of here ASAP. I'll see if I can pick up the Doctor from that stupid Abbot place.

Annie: Wow. You're so manly.

Mickey: I know.

(At the Louvre, a safe distance away from the Mona Lisa, the Admiral is chatting to King Charles, the Marshall, a little old guy from Pyramids of Mars called Collins and the cameramen.)

Admiral: All right, you idiots. I'll go through this AGAIN. If we help the Dutch fight the Spanish, the Catholics and Protestants will stop fighting amongst themselves and unite against the dirty Spaniards.

Marshall: Didn't we just go through a royal wedding to do that?

Admiral: Yeah, and it sucked!

Marshall: Point taken. But who pays for this war?

Collins: The English? They kind of owe us big time.

Marshall: Have you MET their Queen?! Ben Elton wasn't taking the piss, she's REALLY like that in real life.

King Charlie: I'm bored. Who wants to play tennis?

Admiral: Shut up, we're busy.

King Charlie: DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!?

Admiral: Yes.

King Charlie: Well. GOOD!

Admiral: You gonna let your mum push you round for the rest of your life or what?

Collins: Dude! Don't GO there!

Admiral: Whoa, I just WENT there!

King Charlie: Sod this for a game of soldiers. I want to play tennis.

(At the Abbot's House, Mickey and Annie enter like they own the place. There is a sign over the door: "WARNING - PRAYER TAKING PLACE".)

Mickey: Yo, Abbot! I know about a Sad Dutch Bastard dying today!

(The Abbot sticks his head round the door.)

Abbot: Who the hell are you?

Mickey: Oh, right, play the hard ball. Ok, monkey boy, I brought back your servant.

Annie: Mickey, you son of a bitch!

(The Marshall enters.)

Marshall: Typical, I leave for five minutes and it all goes to chaos.

Abbot: You two - sod off. Now, Marshall, let us chat about assassinations.

(Mickey and Annie stand to one side as the two chat.)

Marshall: Bondo's ready?

Abbot: Yep, right in the Port St Martin Book Depository. Is the Sad Dutch Bugger one the move?

Marshall: Once he's played a round of doubles with the King.

Abbot: Well, all right then! Allonzee! Time to die, Admiral!

(Mickey and Annie exchange looks and sneak out.)

Marshall: Did you HAVE to use his real name?

Abbot: Ah, who cares? No one's listening.

Marshall: Hang on, those two have nicked off! Who were they?

Abbot: I dunno.

Marshall: God's bollocks, you are a moron! If a gnat had your brain, it'd fly backwards!

Abbot: All's sweet, Marshall. It's too late to stop the chk-chk-boom now!

(Mickey and Annie run to the Admiral's house, conveniently next door.)

Mickey: Yo, shithouse bodyguards, your Admiral's about to be shot!

Muss: Oh, I bet *I* get the blame for this...

(Outside, the Admiral struts his funky stuff back to the house. Daniel Craig looms out of a window with a shotgun... which doesn't fire. Idly, Craig peers down the barrel when it goes off, blowing away his head. The Marshall and the Abbot watch this from their own window.)

Marshall: OK, I refuse to take the rap for this. YOU are going down.

Abbot: You want to take on the Cardinal, sonny jim?

Marshall: He's in Rome. You're in Paris. I'm in Paris. YOU do the math.

Abbot: Yes... I think I feel an extistential crisis coming on. I think I might go to my room for a bit and have a lie down. Maybe even flee to Germany. Whatever takes my fancy.

Marshall: You have completely screwed up everything we planned! What are you, some kind of time traveller determined to change history!? Colbert!

(Colbert enters.)

Colbert: C-Man in da houz!!

Marshall: Kill this spiky-haired Scottish fop.

Abbot: Ah, jings.

(Back at the Louvre, Collins rushes in.)

Collins: Dude! Someone tried to kill the Admiral.

King Charlie: Oblidi oblida, life goes on.

Collins: Isn't the Admiral like your best pal?

King Charlie: Oh yeah. I want a public inquiry started to find which son of a bitch caused this outrage! I bet it was the Marshall, wasn't it? Right, from now on, the Marshall is promoted to Admiral's boydguard. If he dies, the Marshall dies. Sorted!

(The Queen Mum, hereafter referred to as "Mrs. Ratbag" enters.)

King Charlie: Oi, you, piss off! You tried to kill my mates! I should have you both executed, your heads cut off for the crowd! What a forward thinker I am!

Ratbag: The Marshall was trying to rid you of an enemy!

King Charlie: You say that EVERY time you kill my friends, you bitch.

Ratbag: The Protestants are evil! They will kill us all! And now there's a Protestant Prince, they'll kill you to get the throne.

King Charlie: PISS... OFF!!

(Mickey is bigging himself up to the Admiral, Muss and Annie in the Admiral's Pad.)

Mickey: See? If you stupid Frenchies listened to me for once, none of this would have happened. You suck. You suck bad.

(Colbert walks out of the Abbot's house and dumps the body in the gutter.)

Colbert: Yo! Wake up, and keep it real! The Abbot of Ambwarzee has been totally killed by some filthy stinking Protestants! Yeah, like, how dare they kill the guy who wanted to start genocide, huh? Free thinkers killing mass murderers! Where will it end, huh? And I'm off...

(Mickey pokes his head out the door as the crowd gathers gossiping.)

Mr Git: They shouldn't be allowed to come here! They done it!

Mrs Git: It's a wicked thing.

Git Junior: The Protestants will stop at nothing! Nothing is sacred to the Hugenots!

Mr Git: Something will have to be done! They must be banned from entering towns!

Mrs Git: Kill them all!

Mickey: Man, you French are such arseholes. I just wish the Massacre killed the lot of you. Bar Annie, I haven't met a single person who wasn't a selfish, amoral, freeloading scumbag. It's like a whole town of Torchwood.

(Mickey approaches the body.)

Mickey: OK, go on. Change your face and we can get out of here.

(Nothing happens.)

Mickey: Ok, THIS is something of a surprise. I am out of here...


If *I* Had Written The Massacre II

(The next morning, at the Admiral's Pad, De Laren and Muss nurse Ay-MAZE-zing hangovers.)

De Laren: Stupid Prince Henry doesn't believe me when I say his wife's family are out to get him!

Muss: Well, maybe you shouldn't have thrown up on him.

De Laren: Trust you to focus on that ONE mistake.

Muss: And why would they believe a servant girl's story about maybe overhearing someone maybe possibly mention a massacre? She's got a bloody Cornish accent for crying out loud!

De Laren: Bah. Maybe we should tell the Admiral. You're his bodyguard.

Muss: Actually I'm really his secretary, but I like to think of it as guarding his body.

De Laren: Jesus Christ. Just tell him those damn Catholics are bad!

Muss: Think he knows already.

De Laren: Hey, where is that servant girl anyway?

Muss: How the hell should I know?

(Back at the pub, Mickey wanders in.)

Mickey: Yo, barkeep, you seen the Doctor?

Landlord: Stop calling me that! I'll have you know I am a Landlord!

Mickey: That don't answer my question, does it?

Landlord: No, he hasn't turned up. Piss off, Englishman! Go and chat to your Protestant friends.

Mickey: Maybe I will. Oh, one more thing.

Landlord: What?

(Mickey grabs the Landlord's head and slams it repeatedly against the bar.)


(The Landlord slumps. Mickey exits.)

Mickey: Yep. There was no part of that I didn't enjoy.

(He walks down the road to the Admiral's Pad.)

Mickey: Morning you two. Gotten over your hangovers yet?

Muss: (drinking from wine bottle) Working on a new one.

(A guy called Colbert enters.)

Colbert: Wazzup ma homies! I'm the new personal assitant of the Abbot, don't you know and he's sent me here to get that servant chick you are hiding here.

Muss: Piss off.

Colbert: Don't bust my balls here, man. I need the girl.

Muss: Piss. Off.

Colbert: Oh, well, all right then.

(Colbert leaves.)

Muss: What a douche.

(Colbert steps outside and speaks to the Abbot.)

Colbert: They were totally rude to me.

Abbot: Oh. Poor thing.

(He knees Colbert in the bollocks and storms off.)

Abbot: By the way, you're fired!

(Mickey leans out the door and watches him go.)

Mickey: By the ass crack of the infinite! That's the Doctor!

De Laren: No. That's the Abbot. You some kind of spy?

Mickey: Yeah, which is why I jumped up and down when seeing my secret paymaster. Sober up, you tosser.

Muss: He's right. Maybe. OK, Mickey. Let's find this Doctor of yours then.

De Laren: Dude, this sounds MASSIVELY dodgy.

Muss: Ah, what the hell could go wrong?

(At the French Palace, Dubar is bitching to fellow Catholic, the Marshall.)

Marshall: So, not only do you let a girl overhear your evil plans, you let her escape to meet our enemy, then the Abbot goes IN PERSON to ask for her back. Is he TRYING to screw up this entire operation?

Dubar: I get that impression, yeah. But he says his pal, James Bondo, will do the whole assassination dead cheap. Plus the Cardinal thinks he's good.

Marshall: The Cardinal's a dickhead.

Dubar: And so's that Mickey guy.

Marshall: Which Mickey guy?

Dubar: I dunno. Just some English guy hanging out at the Admiral's Pad.

Marshall: That might be vaguely important. Check up on things and tell the Abbot that we will be having words about the Sad Dutch Bugger.

(The Admiral enters, just like the Fonz, with a round applause.)

Admiral: And which Sad Dutch Bugger would that be? The ones I want to help out against those Spanish twats?

Marshall: Yeah. But there's Protestant, aren't they?

Admiral: God damn it this religious schism stuff has gotten boring fast.

Marshall: So who's this Brit who's staying with you then?

Admiral: No idea. Just one of my many groupies.

Marshall: Fair enough. Now, I have to rap with the bitch Queen Mother.

Admiral: Try not to beat her up this time.

(Meanwhile, Mickey and Muss are wandering around, being useless.)

Muss: Well, no sign of Charles Preslin or your pal.

Mickey: Nope. Maybe he's pretending to be the Abbot.

Muss: Why would he do that?

Mickey: It passes the time. Ooh look!

(While Muss is distracted, Mickey runs away.)

(At the Abbot's House, Dubar enters.)

Dubar: Ambwarzee, you got some splainin to do!

Colbert: He's buggered off. Probably chatting to Moneyair.

Dubar: Goddamn it! Call him "James Bondo". We have to use our carefully chosen code names so any servant girls listening won't have a bloody clue what we're on about. Rather like the audience. It's James Bondo who is going to kill the Sad Dutch Bugger.

Colbert: No wonder this operation is a shambles. We don't actually know anything about the Abbot, let alone what he's meant to be doing!

Dubar: Well, that's the French for you.

(At the Admiral's Pad, Muss stumbles in.)

Muss: I lost the cunning son of a bitch!

De Laren: Oh well, he's obviously a Catholic spy.

Annie: No he isn't!

De Laren: Piss off!

(Annie leaves.)

De Laren: Uppity tart.

(Dubar rushes back to the Marshall.)

Marshall: Now what? Don't tell me the Abbot's wandered off?

Dubar: Heh. You're gonna laugh.

Marshall: Go and find him. And tell him the Sad Dutch Bugger dies tomorrow.

Dubar: Really? So we don't need the assassin?

Marshall: (sigh) Christ in a blender. The Queen Mum had decided that tomorrow we assassinate the Sad Dutch Bugger, OK? Is that too difficult to understand? When he comes back from the Louvre tomorrow, James Bondo puts a cap in his ass. Chk-chk-boom! Savvy?!

Dubar: ...Who IS the Sad Dutch Bugger anyway?

Marshall: I give up. Piss off.

(At the Admiral's Pad, Mickey rolls up.)

Mickey: Hey, everyone! I'm back!

De Laren: Piss off.

Mickey: Fine. Fuck you then.

(Mickey leaves.)

Muss: I wonder why he came back?

De Laren: Well, he was obviously... uh... guess I should have asked him that, really.

Muss: Seriously, shouldn't you be guarding Prince Henry? It's almost curfew.

De Laren: Whoa. That day went past quick.

(Mickey wanders down a street and bumps into Annie.)

Mickey: That's ma woman. KNEW you couldn't stay away.

Annie: Those Admiral Groupies are assholes. I want to be with you.

Mickey: Well, you're only human. Somehow, I've no idea how, I've discovered that the Sad Dutch Beggar dies tomorrow. Must have overheard it or something. Anyway, let's crash out at Preslin's shop and make out?

Annie: Result!

(The Admiral returns to his Pad.)

Admiral: Hey, Muss, what's happening? OK? Fantastic. I tell you, I've totally convinced the King to go to war with Spain, joining forces with the Dutch. You know, they say I'll go down in history as "the Sad Dutch Bugger" because I've saved so many of them. I freaking rock.

Muss: As long as no one assassinates you tomorrow back from the Louvre.

Admiral: Oh, as if THAT might happen!

(They laugh crazily, Police Academy Style.)


If *I* Had Written The Massacre

"John Wiles' vision of Doctor Who, with no concessions of any kind to the audience!" was how DWM memorably described "the most adult, cynical and depressing" of classic series stories. It's amazing how impressive you can make things that are fundamentally crap, isn't it? I was more annoyed that this story, "so perfect for audio", was almost unfollowable as everyone seemed to be played by one actor, no one spoke anything approaching English, and as for Dodo's introduction... well, be fair, ALL of fandom has disowned that abomination, though I dare say someone has consoled themselves that it was an evil Faction Paradox gambit. Actually, that WOULD make sense...


adapted in Modern Australian by EC Clarke

(The TARDIS lands in a Parisian alleyway. The Doctor and Mickey emerge.)

Doctor: Ah! Pre-Revolutionary France! Course, they didn't CALL it France back then, it was just a bunch of kingdoms and provences, but FRENCH kingdoms and provences!

Mickey: We're not gonna have our heads chopped off or anything, are we?

Doctor: Well, never say never. Oh, lighten up, Mickey boy! That doesn't take off for another two hundred years, at least. Now, the sixteenth century has roughly two phases - before and after the Massacre.

Mickey: The Massacre!

Doctor: Yep. See, BEFORE the Massacre, it's a time of fear, suspicion, betrayal, anger... mind you, it was like that AFTERWARDS too. Still, as long as we're more than five years either side of it, we're laughing!

Mickey: We haven't though. It's gonna be flipping tomorrow, isn't it?

Doctor: Oh, don't be so glum! Come on, we can meet up with an old mate of mine. Well, not a mate, more a friend of a friend. Of a friend. Preslin.

Mickey: Like Elvis?

Doctor: Oh, I wish. No, he's just a little old scientist, or apocethary as they were called back then. Back now. Will be... Oh, never mind. But he was a trendsetter.

(Inside a pub, further down the road, a bunch of Catholics are getting pissed on red wine...)

De Laren: Yes! The royal wedding has been a complete success! The Catholics didn't kill the groom and the Protestants didn't knife the bride! Things can only get better from hereon in! HERE'S TO RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE!

(The bunch swig from their goblets and spit out.)

Muss: THIS IS SHIT! Haven't you got any decent, Protestant booze?

De Laren: Oh, Christ, he's off again...

(Simon Dubar runs in.)

Dubar: Now then, now then, now then. You wouldn't be dissing the Catholics AGAIN, would you?

Muss: Nonsense. Buy me a drink, and maybe I'll calm down.

Dubar: Oh no, you're not fooling me like THAT again...

Landlord: Bloody Protestants! I only serve you because I need the money!

Muss: Hah! You WHORE!

Landlord: I'd be insulted... but it's true. Oh, why do the Admiral's Groupies have to pick MY pub to practise dogma, eh? It's at times like this I wish my wife was around for me to take my frustrations out on...

Dubar: You're not exactly helping me with the tolerant mood.

Landlord: My heart bleeds.

Dubar: Oh, if you hate them so much, be proactive. Spy on them! Ply them with booze! Get all the info and sell it to the highest bidder.

Landlord: Brilliant! Why didn't I think of that?

Dubar: Because you're a moron. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have better pubs to get plastered in.

Landlord: All right then! You're BARRED!

Dubar: Whatever.

(He walks out just as the Doctor and Mickey enter.)

Mickey: So. You're gonna spend all day telling Preslin what he already knows.

Doctor: Pretty much. You into germinology, Mickey?

Mickey: Nope.

Doctor: You amaze me. Still, here... (hands him some cash) have a pub crawl. Meet you back at the TARDIS.

Mickey: Oh yeah, cause I'm BOUND not to get in trouble in medieval Paris, aren't I?

Doctor: You're BOUND to get in trouble in a whitegoods store, Mickey. What's your point? See ya!

(The Doctor prances off.)

Mickey: Mockney twat. Oi, barman. Get me something that won't cause renal failure. And lots of it.

Landlord: I don't accept this currency.

Mickey: What? (checks notes) Bloody hell, Doctor, these are flippin' Euros!

(The very drunk Muss stumbles over.)

Muss: Yay! Fight-fight-fight!

Mickey: Oh, for Christ's sake!

Muss: Oh. Are you Catholic?

Mickey: I'm lapsed agnostic. I know there's a god, I just don't trust him. What do you care, you drunk tit?

Muss: Hahahaahahaha!

Mickey: you have someone who looks after you?

De Laren: Yeah, that'd be me.

Mickey: Good. Take him away.

De Laren: He's the bodyguard of the Admiral. I'm the bodyguard of Prince Henry.

Mickey: Uhhuh.

De Laren: You know, the one who got married today to that Catholic tart. Peace in our time and all that bollocks.

Mickey: If you're his bodyguard... what are you doing in a pub?

De Laren: (worried) Bloody hell, you've got a point there!

(A pretty girl runs in.)

Annie: Somebody save me!

Muss: Yay! A stripper!

(Annie hides under a table as a bunch of Imperial Stormtroopers enter.)

Captain: Evenin' all. We're the private guard of Cardinal Whatisface. Anyone see a pretty girl freaking out and running around?

De Laren: Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe.

Captain: She's the cleaning woman for the Cardinal's House while he's off in Rome and now she's buggered off with the work half-done. The hygiene standards are horrible over there. If she don't come back, it's a breach of contract and no money.

De Laren: Lah de dah de dah.

Captain: This will piss off the Abbot and no mistake!

De Laren: Ah who cares?

Captain: ...good point. Night night.

De Laren: Aw. No fight?

Mickey: Dude, you are the worst bodyguard ever.

De Laren: Do I tell YOU how to do YOUR job after a day of getting wasted on cheap plonk?

(Annie rushes out of hiding and hugs Mickey.)

Annie: Oh, you saved me, you wonderful, wonderful person! I love you!

Mickey: Oh yeah. I still got it. Why'd you run away?

Annie: I heard two stormtroopers chatting while using the privvy - they said they only joined up for the ethnic cleansing and religious genocide, and there was going to be some action any day now!

Mickey: Hmmm. Methinks this may have something to do with that Massacre I heard about...

Annie: Oh, you're so clever.

Mickey: That's right, babe, Mickey the Mastermind they call me. Now, do I try and find the Doctor or get drunk and have a one-night stand with you?

Annie: I LIKE the second idea.

Mickey: Me too.

(Elsewhere, the Doctor stops by a door marked "PRESLIN'S A WANKER!" and knocks on it. A little old man enters.)

Preslin: Ere, aren't you the Abbot of Ambawarzee?

Doctor: Uh. No. Hello, Preslin! Not a bad day for it, eh?

Preslin: Piss off!

Doctor: I just wanted to say hello...

Preslin: Preslin doesn't live here any more!

Doctor: Charlie, boy, I KNOW it's you.

Preslin: Piss off anyway!

Doctor: Can't we talk about germs? I know this great guy in Germany building microscopes...

Preslin: Piss off! ...microscopes, you say?

Doctor: Yep. This guy totally agrees with everything you say, dude.

Preslin: Oh. You SURE you're not the Abbot.

Doctor: Yes I'm sure.

Preslin: Racist, intolerant bastard... Now the Cardinal's off facing Chaser stunts at the Vatican, the Abbot's in charge. He declares a jihad on us Protestants every time he breaks wind - which he does a lot!

Doctor: Yeah. Think I might have worked out which side of the Massacre we've landed.

Preslin: Massacre? Sod this, I'm getting out of town!

Doctor: Don't I get some kind of reward for saving your ass?

Preslin: Here. Try this mind-expanding vegetable extract I found.

(The Doctor snorts it while Preslin runs away.)

Doctor: Ahhh. You know, this is very familiar, slightly bitter... (eyes bulge) oooh, goodnight Theta.

(He falls down on the floor, and sinks into the carpet, ala Trainspotting.)

(At the Cardinal's House, notable for that flashing neon sign "CARDINAL SIN IN DA HOUSE!", Dubar is shouting at the stormtroopers.)

Dubar: You idiots just LET her get away? Because De Laran TOLD you to!

Captain: Maaaaaaaaybe.

Dubar: She's going to spill the beans about our evil plans, you twat!

Captain: Is she? Blimey, you should have mentioned that.

Dubar: I DID!

Captain: OK, OK, there's no need to be aggressive.


Captain: You are, man, I can sense it.


Captain: OK. Where should I look?

Dubar: Maybe at the pub you left her, YOU PINHEAD!!!!

(At that same pub, De Laren and Muss are STILL drunk.)

De Laren: Hic. You know, you know something?

Muss: W...what?

De Laren: We should, like, really keep that good Protestant girl out of trouble. Hic.

Muss: Why?

De Laren: ...I forget. Great arse though.

Muss: Oh yeah.

De Laren: Hang on. This massacre business. BOUND to be, like, something to do with... with... with... Henry. Yes. And that means a great deal to me.

Muss: Coz, like, you're his... belch... bodyguard?

De Laren: Pretty much. I mean, if they kill Henry, all the peace and prosperity caused by his wedding will, you know, like end.

Muss: He got married TODAY.

De Laren: Yeah.

Muss: And all day we've been trying to pick fights. Not REALLY peace and prosperity.

De Laren: Shut your mouth, Muss. And get me another drink.

(Dubar enters.)

Dubar: Stupid stormtroopers and their unions... Have to do everything myself. Oi. Barman...

Landlord: I am a LANDLORD dammit. Stop calling me a barman.

Dubar: I'm not in the mood to piss about! Where's that girl?

Landlord: Upstairs banging that guy with the Nintendo "Know Your Roots" T-shirt.

Dubar: Ahah!

Landlord: I think.

Dubar: What?

Landlord: They MIGHT have left altogether. I dunno, it was between scenes.

Dubar: Is everyone in this city a retard?!

Landlord: No! We're FRENCH! Besides, she's a Protestant, she probably joined the Admiral's Groupies.


(A bell begins to ring.)

Muss: Right, that's curfew. Let's get out of this shithole.

(Mickey and Annie come down the stairs, pulling their clothes on.)

Mickey: Can we hang with you?

De Laren: Sure thing, man. Bring the ho as well.

(Swearing, Dubar runs back to the Cardinal's Swinging Bachelor Pad. He heads towards a high-backed chair looking out the window. Smoke comes behind the chair.)

Dubar: Ooooooooooooh-kaaaaaaaay! Bit of an incident. The cleaning woman sort of heard all our evil plans, and now she's teamed up with the other Protestants and Admiral de Coligknee and generally things have gone a little bit pear-shaped. Um... got any thoughts on the matter?

(The chair swings round to reveal David Tennant in a monk's robe with a huge spliff.)

Abbot: Jings, do I have to think of everything? How about kidnapping her from the Admiral's pad and bringing her back here?

Dubar: Superlative scheme, sir.

Abbot: Whatever, you sychophant. (looks broodily out the window) Bloody Frenchies...


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

When Outlook Express Sucks... your illustration on your blog. This is for a brief encounter bit of fiction which, IMO, is horrifically poor. Yes, the Master kidnaps K9 and tries to hypnotize him, ending in such brilliant Time Lord wit as "shut your cakehole" and ending with the immortal: An infuriated Master turned to K-9, who was babbling on about Margaret Thatcher, then turned back to the Doctor.“You may have won this round Doctor, but next time you won’t be so lucky!”

What. Ever.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Robin Hood 3.0 - Crowning Irony!

(aka The King Is Dead, Long Live The King)

First Silence in the Library and now this. Once again a Eurovision Song Contest leaves me far from satisfied with the show it delayed by a week. Though, perhaps in fairness to RH, I'm not entirely sure if this is a crap episode, a decent episode not worth the wait, or simply down to the trailer being done by the same tools who did The Doctor's Daughter. I was promised something I was not given, and the long wait doesn't help. Rather like The Next Doctor. Thank Christ RTD's keep schtum about Tennant's finale (which he's just finished filming, sob) so the PR people can't ruin it with hype. Mind you, he did the same with Planet of the Dead, an episode I have watched less than (spit) The Idiot's Lantern.

So. The trailer is a pack of lies.

King Richard is not dead.

Isabella is not dead.

The Grim Reaper does not make a Princess Bride-like attack on the abbey screaming for the souls of mortal men.

And Gizzy is barely in it.

But we do get lots of scenes of Kate slutting it up while undercover as a whore barmaid with Alan and Much slowly going testosterone crazy and butting heads. Cause we needed more of those. We needed these arguments. We needed Tuck to complain they're acting like schoolkids. We needed Kate to tell them both to fuck off and leave her alone while it's made quite clear she's only after Robin. And do you know why we needed these arse-torturing scenes?

Because this way there's a chance in hell WE CAN ABANDON THIS STUPID FUCKING PLOT LINE!

For the record, despite openly confronting each other, Much comes out looking better than Alan. He's at least honest about his feelings for Kate, doesn't patronize her, and isn't stupid masculine "Ere, my birds nuzzling guest star of the week against my tits!" like Alan is, even to the point of ruining the plan. He even risks his life to save Kate right in front of her. It's quite clear that if he ever stood a chance with her, today would have brought things to a head. She clearly finds Alan's secretive lust rather creepy and annoying.

On with the plot.

If you've, like me, been brave enough to listen to the third and final series of Gallifrey (aka Why The Time Lords Will Lose The Time War), you will understand the bewildering politics of the last few stories as seemingly everyone siezes control of the Presidency which, for the last two years, was Romana's alone. There's something similar, as Vasey's death and Gizzy's exile has created a power vacuum. Izzy wants to be the new Sherrif of Nottingham - and it's interesting to note no one turns her down because she's a WOMAN, per se, but more because she's a frighteningly schizophrenic tart. PJ is only keeping her around as a cheap source of entertainment, ironically like Vasey and Marion, and has his eye on the new Sherrif being Sheridan, an ex-Crusader who looks like Keith Allan's stunt double. Indeed, my fear was of some kind of recast had occurred except the latest encumbent of Sherrif has less personality than the jailor elsewhere in the episode.

Since the episode ruined any sense of apocalyptic mystery as soon as it damn well could, so shall I. Sheridan was the Obi Wan Kenobe of the Crusaders and thus, according to Robin Hood lore, is automatically a Jedi-style Time Lord superhuman and the only real threat to Robin. Pity he's so two dimensional, but Carter and that dude from Peace Off were similarly revered for their amazing fighting skills and raw cunning. Anyway, Sheridan is hugely respected by both Robin and Much, so when he returns to England with a coffin containing clearly the same bloke from the Season 2 finale, it's pretty much clear that Richard is dead and PJ has nothing and no one to stop him camping up like... well... actually I can't think of anyone even comparable. He's off his fucking rocker, seemingly posing for a Woman's Weekly photo shop in every pose, lost in admiration at the sound of his own voice, and his mock seriousness about "national security" is compared to the scary/dangerous/nutter way he speaks of his family troubles and trust issues.

But what's this? Yes!


The Merry Men are a bit pissed off, discovering this when the bastard melts - PJ having the "corpse" destroyed now it has fooled the Archbishop of Canterbury and, "in the interests of stability", PJ will be crowned KJ before any pesky state funeral business discovers Richard is still alive. Tuck thinks it's time to take PJ out, but Robin - who has been, by his standards, psychotically homocidal this week - refuses on the ground that if word gets out that the leader of England is dead, they risk civil war, invasion, zombie armies... wait, that's Gallifrey again, but it's very easy to get them confused. Instead, they nick his crown in a daring raid that was clearly written to pad out the episode than by being in anyway entertaining.

PJ sends out his two applicants for Sheriff with their tasks: Sheridan must use his Jedi powers to defeat Robin and regain the crown from a cunning "hall of mirrors" trick where every outlaw somehow has the crown as they run in different directions. Izzy must deal with her "terrorist" brother Guy, who's clearly only being stopped from being the big bad by his increasing difficulty in seperating his sister from Marion when he's got her at knife point. It's fair to say that both win and both lose.

Alas, it seems that an attempt at Steven Moffat foreshadowing has gone ass over tit. The opening scene with Much and Robin practising combat with mirrors dazzling them both with reflected sunshine turns out... to be absolutely irrelevent to PJ's fetish for mirrored shields... which in turn are nothing to do with Robin's final dues ex machina ALSO involving mirrors and shields.

Thankfully the ending of the episode gets its head out of its arse for ANOTHER four-way battle between Izzy, Gizzy, Robin and PJ, this time in Kirkley's Abbey surrounded by cheering natives, playing a kind of rugby game with the Crown of the King of England. When all sides are reminded they dare not spill blood on holy ground, they just drop their weapons and get into a massive Jackie-Chan-punch-up. With at least two regular enemies getting arrows through them, this more than a little reminded me of the climax to Star One. Before the space war, anyway. This leads to a rather lame tag scene gag. Lame as in it could have been the previous episode's tag scene as sod all has really changed, a real misstep for a show that delights in changing its rules so often.

We were promised an end-of-the-world-tale as PJ becomes King and Robin is forced into exile. What did we get? Bar the scene where Robin saving John's life at the cost of Gizzy's, this episode might as well not happened.

Frankly, that five minute scene of David Tennant discovering Captain Jack and Rorsarch from Watchmen having a fight to the death on the TARDIS set when everyone else has gone home for the night beat the shit out of this episode in every respect. Maybe I'll come to reevaluate it in times yet to come, like Lardner's Ring.

But don't hold your breath.

"I'm your new Sherrif. Thornton, at your service."
It's all change at Nottingham as someone who may or may not be Izzy's husband turns up and siezes control of the town. Will Robin save the Guisbornes from execution? Do they want to be saved? And can any good of any kind come from Thornton's treasure hunt on cursed horse skull burial grounds? Will Tuck scare the shit out of people by pretending to be supernatural YET AGAIN or will something more interesting happen? And has Robin made his mind up about Izzy?

Let's hope normal service is resumed...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Robin Hood 3.0 - Heatstroke!

(aka Too Hot To Handle)

As is traditional in Robin Hood after a character death, the next episode occurs some months later. Vasey's death is widespread news, but much to Gizzy's chagrin, he's not taken over as Sheriff - Prince John himself is de facto Sheriff, being the highest authority present. Of course, what with his spectacular failure to cure the sick, everyone thinks he's a gormless, luny tit and basically, things are going to get better now the REAL enemy's dead and gone. Robin certainly is more interested in wooing Izzy, seducing her with fresh strawberries. Is it just opposites attract? Does he have a fetish for brunette kung-fu babes with a high place in Guisborne's affections? Or is he just gagging for a shag? He has after all, been driven to almost slash-fic levels with Much this week in a scene that nicely takes the piss out of them ("We've still got each other," Much notes as the romantic music swells, Robin nods and then says, "It's not the same, though, is it?" and Much shrugs and admits that, no, it isn't and Robin goes off to chat up the nearest blonde who Much happens to fancy the chastity belt off).

In any case, they've both become so overconfident and their opinion of PJ so low, they're really not taking precautions - by which I mean making sure PJ can't see them as they canoodle of course, you dirty anachronistic bastards!

The Merry Men too have taken a back seat on the "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor" shtick and now almost permanently reside in Loxley, but they're more like disaster relief personnel than honored celebrities. Over the last few weeks, a dreadful drought has struck England, and Loxley's water supplies are drying up, and that muddy trench full of flies and rotting fish which once used to be the river isn't doing anyone's health any good. But the outlaw's supplies are limited, and worse all the wells have dried up. As the sun continues to beat down, things look bleak indeed, but Kate has a cunning plan: remove PJ's vast supply of executive business class mineral water.

The trouble is, PJ's plan was to let the people have it anyway - his new scheme for popularity and eminence is to save the people of Nottingham from fatal dehydration and become worshiped as a humanitarian saviour. The fact he's CAUSED the lack of water with some strategic spring-blocking is niether here nor there!

"And then they shall realize that is me they should adore, me they should worship, me who is their kind and merciful father..."

"What if they don't?" Isabella suggests tactfully.

PJ shrugs. "Well, then the filthy little wretches can die of thirst."

With Operation Thirsty Merc underway, PJ indulges in his hobby of telling Gizzy to slaughter a close personal colleague of his. His gloating over his masterplan was there to lure Izzy into a trap, so all Gizzy needs to do is guard the water supply. If Robin Hood turns up, then that's all the evidence needed for the not-quite-Sheriff to indulge in infratricide and wipe out PJ's PR nightmare all in one go. But Guy of Guisborne really isn't the best person to send against his own sister in a clear history-repeating-what-happened-to-Marion scenario, as he suffers what PJ describes as "pathetic pangs of familiar loyalty". Considering this sort of thing lead directly to the demise of Vasey, PJ may just have sown the seeds of his own defeat as he tricks out his favorite Buffy catchphrase and leaves Gizzy to it...

As the Merry Men indulge their favorite activity of looting, it's time for anachronisms - did they REALLY have the game of checkers back in 1196? And did people really flick V-signs and tell you to "Naff off?"? Mayhaps the meddling monk has been around with some Ben Elton monologues? And when did the Merry Men decide to base their strategies on the Home Alone film franchise? Still, it's a fun scene, which has justified far worse acts in this show (let us not forget Robin's arrows leaving orbit, or, well, just about everything Vasey ever said or did). Of course, this sequence has nothing to do with Izzy at all, and the waterhole of Loxley is replenished in cheerful ignorance of the fact the well's been sabotaged.

But what's this? Izzy has some info for Robin and, even though after all these LACK of betrayals, none of the gang trust her (Tuck in particular). But as they meet in The Meadow (OK, the captions ARE getting a bit redundant...), Robin and Izzy are unaware they are being watched by some stock footage of Gizzy who is clearly in a completely different location (in the middle of a Gauda Prime plantation at sunset, so it seems). Irony upon irony that Robin is loathe to follow Izzy as she might be leading him into a trap, and Izzy's protests are an itemized list of betrayals for the eavesdropping evil brother. And then they snog!

Gizzy makes an appearance (neatly moving them all into the forest at sunset) and one of the silliest confrontations I've seen outside Season 17 occurs as they form a triangle: Gizzy holds a sword to Robin's heart and basically shouts, "Dude, she's my sister, how COULD you?!"; Robin's not listening, far more interested in shouting at Izzy, "You bitch, you betrayed me, how COULD you?"; but Izzy's too busy shouting, "ZOMG, Guy, you stalking me now, how COULD you??!"; but Gizzy is too busy yelling, "WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS STEALING MY WOMEN?!" at Robin to listen. This eternal triangle of betrayal goes on and on.

For a bit.

And then Gizzy's past gets raked up with him betraying Izzy as a child, and then turning Marion into a kebab (to which Guy replies with a Viki Pollardesque "Shut up!" as if he's more embarrassed than guilty), and Gizzy agrees to a deal: he'll let Izzy go if she kills Robin Hood here and now. He does this by holding out a second sword in such a way that a kick from Izzy would skewer him through the stomach, which just screams "death wish". But does Izzy do this? Well, no, obviously, but she might have if Robin wasn't complaing she was a rubbish kisser and challenging her to "go on, make his day!"

Heat messes with your head, you know.

PJ makes a personal appearance at Locksley, but he's not popular after his bit of church-burning and the monarch is not pleased to find the locals are clearly REHYDRATING themselves on executive business class mineral water. So instead of graciously supplying water free of charge, Loxley will now have to PAY for it, and what water they already possessed is used in time honored fashion to drown the unlucky speaking part. In fairness to PJ, this water tax wasn't his original plan, and he is under the delusion that the peasants can afford his 'penny a gallon' but are just being greedy and selfish.

The Merry Men, meanwhile, have gotten quite used to not having Robin around and hit on their own plan to salvation where we discover that Tuck's so famous even soldier grunts know who he is. Is it coz he's black? Or maybe because of his rather public display of defiance in episode one? Pity he's the only one who is prepared to dress like a monk and do talking - maybe they really should make the less memorable Alan the new public relations officer from now on? Kate ends up captured and the others are left following... a diving rod. Good luck with that.

Back at Nottingham Castle, PJ is having another one of his 12th century house parties and finally declares Gizzy the new boss of Nottingham - payment for services rendered. "Well, have a drink, man!" he cheers Gizzy. "It's not every day you can celebrate killing a national treasure and one's own sister!"

While Gizzy and PJ plan to end 'the perfect day' with a bit of gang rape of poor Kate Tollinger in dungeon, it should be noted that Gizzy's worked out a truly fiendish death for Robin and Izzy - trapping them in the sewerpit where the underwater spring was blocked off. Now Robin has a truly nasty choice: if he blocks the slow trickle of water that will flood the room, he can escape drowning, but that will condemn all the villages to die of thirst. Thus, he and Izzy must paddle water until they finally collapse from exhaustion and go under. Can Robin Hood possibly get out of this one - well, it could go either way as his half-a-plan involved Izzy taking her clothes off. He's definitely planning to go out with a bang though.

This leads, oddly enough, to ANOTHER braintwisting triangle scene with Robin, Izzy and Gizzy. This time, Prince John and Kate are also involved, and it rapidly descends to a kind of Ripping Yarns-style confrontation, except half the main cast AREN'T Michael Palin. Who's betraying who? I know I'M getting confused, but the discovery that Izzy is as mentally stable as her brother probably shouldn't have come as such a surprise as it turns into a five-way fight scene that is normally only attempted in Hollywood with Jackie Chan as choreographer. You know the three-way-fight in Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest? Like that, only MORE. Did Steven Moffat write this under a penname or something?!

Interesting that the first ever episode sans Keith Allan focusses more on the demise of Marion than Vasey, but who really was going to mourn and miss him? With Robin finally coming to terms with the death of the one true love of his life and weighing the pros and cons of moving on, not to mention the triumphant shakeup of the status quo after a heady-week-and-a-half of Izzy The Traitor To The Establishment, making Alan's story arc look complacent in comparison. Considering every character gets a decent slice of the action this week, it's amazing Gizzy's continuing nervous breakdown doesn't swamp everything as Monsieur Armitage continues to prove that he can portray Death on Wheels, and no one - not even the crowned heads of Europe - should mess with him lest they know PRECISELY what they're doing. And yes, PJ, tutting and saying "You've let the team down, you've let yourself down and you're fired!" counts as imprecise messing with him.

"You're a dead man walking Guisborne," says Robin in the final fight.

"Never seems to do YOU any harm," Gizzy retorts and dives into the fray...

"Wakey, wakey, Archbishop - you've got a coronation to attend!"
The King is dead. For real. Despite Robin's best efforts, Richard the Lionheart is dead and that means it's time for a coronation and there's no Vasey or Gizzy around to interfere with Prince John becoming King John... unless, say, a Mission-Impossible-style stunt can prevent John from physically getting the crown he wants. Will Kate's career as a barmaid let her get the legover the Archbishop of Cantebury? Can Robin survive scorpion bites? And what does the Grim Reaper have to do with proceedings? Surely those bloody Terileptils haven't turned up AGAIN?!


OK, I officially want this thing cancelled from now on. It causes me nothing but pain.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Time War Telesnaps

As you know, the infamous let's-bring-back-Paul-McGann-just-so-we-can-watch-him-snuff-it TV movie has yet to hit our screens but due to a strange messy timey-wimey business, John Cura telesnaps have come to light in interesting circumstances... well, maybe not interesting per se, but it's an anecdote.

It was while wandering along Cook's river I stumbled across a small cube twice the size of a lump of sugar, entirely made of glass except for a small collection of little compartments at its centre. Idly I jumped up and down on it until it broke and a number of slivers of metal fell out of its centre. I examined the slivers and discovered them to be microfilms, microfilms revealing to us the story of the Time War...

It's all there. From the Eighth Doctor being summoned to Gallifrey, the strike against Seriphia Galaxy, the legacy of the Dogma Virus, the return of Davros, the resurrection of the Master, the Fall of Arcadia and precisely what happened at the Medusa Cascade all detailed in stultifyingly unnecessary pretension. But, let's be honest here, you only want to see the regeneration...

Well, guess we can all move on with our lives now...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Robin Hood 3.0 - Royal Command Performance!

(aka Do You Love Me?)

As the Doctor hurried away, one thought dominated his mind. Whatever powers, whatever towering intelligence the Great One had attained, the price had been too high. The Great One was mad.

Similar thoughts went through my mind as the pre-credits sequence saw Gizzy being dragged from Locksley manor in the middle of the night (or is it that in the middle of a nightmare?) and thrown to the feet of Bad King John. Now, I've seen a fair few representations of this archetypal villain. David Dixon's ruthless-but-clueless lost little boy, the dude from Men in Tights with his ever-moving beauty spot, and of course big fat bald leather clad ex-bikie "NOTTING-HAAAAAAAM!!!" psycho. And to be honest, I think I'd prefer being stuck in a lift with them than the new guy.

And I speak merely after the first scene. I dunno if he'll be the best interpretation of the character, and probably won't be the most interesting, but one thing is for sure, he's the creepiest. Imagine Vince Noir from the Mighty Boosh playing John Simm's Master, a fluting-voiced, dreamy young fellow with wandering eyes who might just have been smoking something from Amsterdam before the cameras start rolling. In script terms, he seems to be the bastard son of Much and Vasey as he coos at Gizzy about love and respect - like Much, issues of trust and love clearly mean a lot to him, and like Vasey, he uses them for his own ends. Indeed, the way he cradles Gizzy's head and almost baby-talk asks, "Do you love me, Guy?" is arguably the gayest moment on British television.

One thing is clear though.

Prince John is insane.

Not mad, not evil, not ruthless. Insane. A total barking nutter. Caligua on amphetamines. Blackadder II's Lizzie on LSD. Hyde without the self-restraint. He completely fits with every action he's made, especially his turn-on-a-dime attitude to the Black Knights, Gizzy and Vasey. In one scene he earns his place in the opening credits. He's not the cleverest, charismatic or even most quotable villain in this season alone, but he's definitely the scariest I can think of.

Some plot. PJ has finally decided that Vasey is not going to pay his protection money, and indeed is probably not a loyal follower - hmm, take the night off, Sherlock - and so asks Gizzy to gut the fucker like a pig. Interesting to note PJ uses positive reinforcement (by noting his trust in Guisborne and the benefits of success) rather than Vasey (who constantly undermines Guy's confidence and threatens to stab him to death), but let's be honest, our leather-clad antihero just needed an excuse. And there's no murky love triangle issue that might save Vasey the way it did Robin. PJ also is interested in his back-up plan: get all the ex-Black Knights and other nobles on PJ's side so when Richard returns, there's no evidence of Shah Mat, et all, a few months pass and then PJ's unleashes a surprise civil war, bushwhacks Richard and so say all of us. Well, that's what Robin assumes he's up to. PJ could be on a tour of England to see the sights, he's crazy enough...

With nothing but French Farce preventing Gizzy from giving Vasey a taste of his own 'knife-to-the-stomach' medicine, Robin decides to call on the strength of the villagers like he promised to way back in Cause and Effect - a four episode turn around, which would get you whiplash in most TV series. This kind of escalation in The Legend of Robin Hood let to poor Will Scarlet getting killed, and this time round things are no less harsh as poor Kate (who uses all three lines of dialogue she has prior to this being a can-do, positive merry man... for a change), and she'd probably be a lot better if similar French Farce meant no one saw her stumbling around in agony, but they're pissed off the ambush got an empty treasure chest and a strange man wearing PJ's hand-me-downs! Things are looking grim indeed, especially as Kate has picked up Marion's tendency do only get life-threatening-dagger-through-the-pelvis wounds and the resident medic isn't confident. Where's Matilda when you need her, that's hwat I want to know? Oh, she's in Skins. Fair enough. Oh, luckily PJ's body double is a qualified physician. Fancy that. A doctor wearing someone else's clothes - where have I seen that before?

This isn't even ten minutes into the episode. It's just going to get more intense...

PJ arrives at Nottingham, more schizophrenic than the Doctor in The Twin Dilemma, one second demanding "Aren't you dead yet?" to Vasey, the next all but indecently assault Isabella, and things spark off from there. Our Sheriff realizes he's in deadly danger, but even HE isn't expecting PJ to turn to him, in tears, via neat teleportation trick, and beg our ugly bald little comic relief to slaughter Guisborne for his failure. With our villains now literally at each other's throats, our demented despot decides to dine and we have one of the funniest TV dinners since Rimmer tried to impress Legion with anti-matter chopsticks. Vasey and Gizzy continue to bitch at each other through light conversation, each having their food tasted in Princess-Bride-style double bluffs as PJ delights at his mastery of Chaser APEC techniques to defeat Robin Hood and having his body-double arrested for impersonation. Now acting like REG on lighter fluid, he does a tour of Locksley where he meets and greets the people, and once he's more popular than Lady Diana, decides for a bit of ethnic cleansing to round off a wedding. Hell, it's better than anything in Something Borrowed.

But PJ's display of "benevolence" soon leads to MORE French Farce as Guy and Vasey try to kill each other without each other noticing, turning this increasingly into a kind of Live Action Roadrunner cartoon as they both JUST miss killing each other in such a way that makes the other go, "Hang on, did you just try to kill me or was that just a coincidence?" and some truly LMAO 'innocent' acting from either side. All of this accompanied by shots of the burning church, treated with the reverence of the Liberator disintegrating. But if you think that's silly, it sadly loses to PJ getting embarrassingly turned on by Isabella's tales of fighting outlaws.

But the Merry Men have their own Chaser stunt to get their own back on PJ, using the King's Evil - which I actually knew about beforehand, thanks to The League of Gentleman's Apocalypse (ironic, the best bits of the film were the ones without Roysten Vasey in it). Speaking of Vasey, he and Gizzy have by now worked out they've been set up... the trouble is, Gizzy was going to slaughter the Sherrif anyway. In a vicious and painfully long (well, maybe just painful) fight - imagine The Androids of Tara done by Quentin Tarantino - Vasey has to use every trick he has against the increasingly-unhinged Guy of Guisborne, who has now concluded that Marion's death was entirely down to the bastard who crucified her and put her in the position for Guy to bissect her with a sword.

"You represent everything that's loathsome about life!" he roars, moving in for the kill.

"I thought that was why you liked me!" grins Vasey as he runs like fuck.

But this time, there's nowhere left to run...

"My lords and ladies, I give you Sir Guy of Guisborne... the new Sheriff of Nottingham!"
PJ announces his new Water Tax as an artificial drought strikes England, but when Robin decides to kill off Gizzy once and for all, he discovers just where all the water supply has gone... when Gizzy uses said supply to drown both him and Isabella in the cellars of Nottingham Castle!

Saturday, May 2, 2009


New Face, Old Foes, multiple inks on A4 Reflex, 2009