Thursday, July 29, 2010
Robin Hood 4.0: The End... Or IS IT?!?
The Story So Far:
With the real Robin Hood dead and Richard I a prisoner overseas, the surviving Merry Men have found themselves allied with the villainous Lord Jasper - who's using both them and Prince John to seize control of England. Completely screwed over by this alliance, the gang splits up... perhaps forever...
Hiding in the forest, Eve is leading Much and Kate to a possible safehaven to consider their next move. But what is their next move? Everyone knows Robin's dead, no one trusts them any more and the only way to get Richard back is to let PJ go absolutely apeshit...
Worse, Much seems to be going mad. For a start he's gone disturbingly quiet and when he DOES speak, he says he can see and talk to Robin. No one else can. It seems seeing his lodge burnt to the ground was the last straw.
With their catatonic companion in tow, it's only a matter of time before the two alpha females clash. After all, who's fault is it? Kate broke Much's heart over and over again, but Eve was the one who buggered off and got married and never seemingly planned to return. Plus one's a cunning and well-experienced spy/prostitute and the other is an emotionally insecure teenager. They were always going to clash - only their mutual concern for Much keeps them from abandoning each other, as niether trusts the other to look after him.
Alas, in their cross-country bitchathon they stumble across a hithertoo unknown shanty town at the heart of the forest... containing an army of the most badass mercenaries ever. Yes, Elingham "Des Taviner" HardBastard is back! Turns out when Vasey and Guy went to the Holy Land, the lack of cash lead to them turning on the Black Knights - and PJ went Agent Orange on their arses. Since then they've been hiding in this particular forest, robbing, killing and raping anyone they stumble across. "We got the idea from your dead mate," Ellingham gloats, becoming the upteenth person to claim to be Robin Hood in a post-modernly ironic manner.
Capturing our heroes, the mercenaries find out that Vasey is dead and the country in an uproar - without someone smart to keep the Prince updated, he's probably forgotten all about the army of cutthroats, who can finally go wild across England's green and pleasant land!
With Kate and Eve threatened with the kind of horrors only seen in an LBC slashfic about Hannah Murray, all looks lost...
...and then Much opens a can of industrial-streng badass whupping and destroys the camp, beheading badguys left, right and centre. Only Ellingham escapes by cunning use of running for his miserable life in a blatant bit of sequel fodder. Practically drenched in the blood of his enemies Much (still not so much as saying a word) effortlessly rescues his bodacious blonde babes in undiluted awesome.
But, alas, he's still not gone sane. If anything he might be worse.
He tells Eve and Kate that Robin's told him what to do now:
"We're going to Nottingham!"
4.8 Flood Relief
Archer's quest in glorious Robert Holmes conman detail. Crashing in an outer village, and without the gang as a moral compass, Archer is sliding more and more into bad habits, and is already considering just buggering out of England which seems to be more and more obviously a lost cause.
However, a nearby dam collapses and the village floods, disaster-movie style. Archer finds himself - as is traditional in these sort of stories - unable to save his own neck without saving other people and at the end of the catastrophe is a total hero.
During this adventure he meets a little boy called Seth and his hot mum Amy... and that Seth is the bastard offspring of a certain Guy of Guisborne. Hey, it's Archer's quarter-nephew-twice-removed! Maybe. A bit of discussion about Guy's infantacidal urges - was he a child-killing bastard or did some other event lead to baby Seth being left to die? Either way, Archer finds his conscience bullying himself into staying in England and doing the Right Thing.
It is then he spots what appears to be PJ's army marching to some destination - could it be to "recieve" King Richard? Realizing he's going to have to save the damn monarch, Archer saddles forth to follow the army, but they're not heading for the coast...
...they're heading for Nottingham!
4.9 Little John Goes Apeshit
Little John's been living wild for a while in the woods as he makes his way back to the only home he has - the Outlaw's abandoned camp. But what's this? Some snotty-nosed emo teen bastards have moved in! But, egads, its Those Pesky Kids from Child Hood who have grown up a tad and, following the destruction of Nottingham, vowed to carry on the fight (the days before email, everyone assumed ALL the Merry Men perished, so they're as amazed to see Little John as he is them.)
With his new gang, a re-energized Little John decides to return to the good old method of "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor". Except, hardly anyone goes through Sherwood any more, what with the nearest major town being demolished. Undaunted, Little John decides to reintroduce himself to Loxley, Clom, etc. But Kirklee's Abbey is completely deserted - why?
Little John and his band soon find a traumatized nun who reveals that PJ and his men stormed the place, taking everyone under a certain height - men, women and children. Anyone who resisted was killed and the handful of rather tall individuals were forced to dig a pit and then buried alive by PJ, that wacky guy. Together with the nun (who immediately falls for Little John's hairy charisma), the New Gang investigate.
The truth is soon found: PJ has discovered a silver mine, that's never been exploited because all the tunnels are simply too damn narrow to use. Hence, using children and very short nuns for the mining. And he's making a fortune.
This makes Little John ANGRY.
But he knows that even if they end the operations here, PJ will just come back. They need to stop him for good and there's only one way. Little John confronts Jasper, who agrees to help out while John's gang sabotage the mine, free the workers and seize control of the whole shebang. And there is the historic confrontation we've all been waiting for...
"And who might YOU be, you grizzly creature."
"Yes, well I am PRINCE John! Stand aside!"
*royal quaterstaff concussion related events occur*
Jasper ends the operation very neatly by pointing out, basically, PJ will have to do a lot of paperwork for this silver mine - and, during times of war, it will all be sent to the military anyway. All PJ has done is provide all the cash necessary for Richard's ransom. PJ is pissed off.
Jasper offers to remake a deal with Little John's group, with both of them working against PJ, but in a sequence I am too damn tired to invent on the spot like 89% of this stuff, Little John finds out about Jasper's own hoarding of wealth and quickly works out what Kenny Lytton's game is!
At the Outlaw Camp, Little John, the boys and the nun brood about what the hell they do now when they get news of something happening at Nottingham. They rush to investigate, in a by-now rather predictable cliffhanger...
4.10 Nottingham Revisted
And so, our heroes once again converge upon Nottingham. That whole "rebuilding" project threatened throughout Season 2 is finally happening and the town is being reconstructed by a combination of army, laborers and any poor suckers that happened to get dragged along.
Archer has mingled in with the construction teams, partially to get some inside info on the new castle (like, for example, keeping the secret passage), but is intending to free the workforce. But HOW? Especially as they all so knackered that they are practically passing out from fatigue. Meanwhile, Little John and gang have a similar plan... and a similar problem. Much, Eve and Kate are similarly stumped ("Robin" is apparently not giving them any more info). Kate is very angsty being around the place what with bad memories of loved ones dying there, so Eve takes the initiative of trying to sneak into the main site through the rebuilt tunnel.
Except she gets attacked by a monster.
The episode soon decends into creepy horror slasher flick territory - something hideous and nasty is prowling the rebuilt Nottingham, killing and slaughtering without rhyme and reason. Workers and guards are found dead. Rumors spread it's somehow the ghost of Vasey haunting the place. But how could Vasey survive a thermonuclear explosion right under his nose? Of all the gangs, Little John champions the rational approach - Vasey can't be alive, ergo, it's something else.
Still completely unaware of each other, the factions try to track down the monster through the half-built castle at night, but Archer is the one that catches up with it...
It's Isabella. Stark-staring mad and looking about as good as Davros' passport photo, she miraculously survived the explosion by diving into the tunnel. Badly burnt, oxygen-starved, she dug her way out of the rubble and found herself the only living thing in the town and she is determined for it to stay that way. Archer tries to reason with his only remaining relative, but she's totally beyond reasoning. Having killed Guy and Robin, she's just about to do Archer when...
...wait for it...
...Tuck appears and kills her, saving Archer at the last moment. Having been out of the series for four episodes and presumed dead, Archer is understandably shocked to see him come to the rescue. "Anyone else going to come back from the dead?" he asks.
Tuck explains how he screwed up, what Jasper's up to and how he's been wandering around, totally at his wit's end. For once, Tuck has no idea what to do and wants Archer to take charge. Their first act is to try and get the hell out of this castle, which has gone on red alert. Fleeing down the tunnel they are rescued by Much, Kate and Eve, and then escape into the forest, saved from guards by Little John and his band of bearded bastards. And a nun.
At the Outlaw's Camp, the gang meet up, make friends once more... but they're still left unsure what the hell to do now. Suddenly Much speaks (first time this ep) - Robin, he says, has a plan. Well, half a plan.
"We're going to Austria. And we're going to save King Richard."
4.11 Foreshadowing Epic Season Finale
Much, Little John, Eve and Archer are heading off on the rescue mission, stopping by to recieve some advice, cash, general hints and B&B from Count Spike Thompson (who is informed of the deaths of the others, which he reacts in his usual badass style of agreeing to help the gang).
Back in England, Kate leads the New Gang in causing as much hassle as possible to ensure niether Jasper nor Prince John discover what the others are up to. Meanwhile, Tuck and the nun heads off to Acquitane to meet Queen Eleanour and give her "Big Bear's" love. All seems to be going well, but the cliffhanger has Jasper discovering the plot somehow and informing PJ...
4.12 Epic Season Finale Parte the First: At His Majesty's Pleasure
The ultimate prison break episode. Alcatraz, Colditz, Bourne Identity, all gets shoved into a blender, and pureed. Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Nevertheless, they bust Richard out of jail and, despite all the odds, escape thanks to a getaway vehicle generously provided by Eleanour.
"I trust you will be worth this inconvenience," Spike tells King Richard, summing up most of the theme of this episode and indeed season.
But at the English coast, Jasper and PJ have adapted Vasey's plan with byzantium fire-coated trebuchets to destroy the ship as soon as it arrives...
4.13 Epic Season Finale Parte the Second: Don't Get Comfortable
Between Kate and the New Gang, the Old Gang and Eleanour's men, our heroes reach land safely. The pressure causes PJ to snap and he flees inside the newly-completed Nottingham Castle, refusing to accept his defeat. The main part of the episode is a siege as Jasper abandons PJ to his fate: he has to publically announce that he was a gormless tit manipulated by the Black Knights, humiliated and rendered stupid. The only other option is for him to be publically executed and, well, everyone's generally annoyed that he didn't stick to his guns.
And so, the gang breaks up for the final time (he hee he) as King Richard pardons the entire lot of them. Little John is made the new Sheriff of Nottingham, with Tuck as his advisor - together they should balance each other out morally and intellectually (the nun stays on as well). Archer is made lord of Loxley, and is trusted to do a better job than the rest of his family made of it. Kate stays with the New Gang, to troubleshoot things in case any of the ex-Black Knights try anything. Richard returns to London to finally get things back on track, as PJ waspishly points out that at least he's kept the economy in order while his brother's been overseas beating up foreigners...
At Bonchurch, Much watches folk rebuilding his lodge. In this blurry patch of reality... ROBIN HOOD REAPPEARS! Jonas Armstrong and everything. Much knows Robin is just a hallucination, as only a lesser man would be fooled. Much feels like cuckoo, stealing the success Robin died without achieving. Robin tells him to lighten the hell up and stop beating himself up over survivor guilt. Much wasting his life is the only way he can dishonor Robin's memory.
"Robin" fades off into oblivion and, finally, clearly and unambiguously sane once more, Much pops out to check on the rebuild and Eve, who explains a rather predictable twist due to the lack of reliable contraceptives in 13th Century Europe.
Dad-to-be Much can only say one thing:
"I feel a song coming on..."
Meanwhile, on a cheap and not at all luxury yacht, Jasper and some stooges are fleeing the country. As his stooges bemoan how their cunning plan is completely screwed over now Richard is back home, Jasper announces that the plan can still be made to work if they get Richard out of the country once again. The stooges are unimpressed at this plan.
"Where are we going, anyway?" asks one.
Jasper grins. "Normandy!"
(For those who don't get it, the idea is Jasper is going to lure Richard to Normandy and then kill him. Which is more or less what actually happened, which is why John eventually became King anyway...)
...to be continued?