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Robin Hood (2006) [Season 1, Episode 1]
Can You Tolerate This?
Shown 7th October 2006 [Saturday]
Robin and Much the Miller's son walk back from the Crusades. On their way they meet a farmer who is aged about thirty years old, and his daughter (a Page 3 girl) who is the same age! This leads on to a stylish fight, reminiscent of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon !
Finally they get back to Nottingham, and discover that Keith Allen is the new Sheriff. He and his sidekick Gisborne are perpetrating cruel and unusual punishments on local crooks.
The taxman is shot by a vigilante called the Nightwatchman. Naturally, Robin is blamed. The sheriff and Gisborne compete to get Robin!
Gisborne uses hunting dogs. The Sheriff realises that Robin is not the real killer. He also uses his Moorish master-at-arms to perform a plot so heinous that it took De Carnac to do it in Season 3 of Robin of Sherwood !
We discover what Marion does in her spare time. It takes the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves character one step further. Also, we meet a vital supporting character - her favourite sergeant!
The dialogue is very proper, without contractions - basically it sounds very fake and contrived. Which pretty much sums up the entire show.
Robin and his friends steal Gisbourne's horses. Unfortunately they are outsmarted, and one of them gets captured. The Sheriff gives is prisoner a choice ...
Much discovers an abandoned baby. Even more unlikely, the parents actually play an important part in the main plot.
Marian is still working within the system. But when the Sheriff tries to starve an entire village to death, she openly defies him.
The Nightwatchman is still smuggling food to the starving peasants. Gisbourne is closing in on the masked hero.
The sheriff’s importing Saracen POWs as slaves to work in his iron-ore mine. Robin wants to free the war criminals and let them ravish the land, after destroying the mine and sending England back to the bronze age.
The Sheriff’s plan is to hold an archery contest, with a silver arrow as the prize.
An African nun staggers into Nottingham castle and claims to be a victim of Hood's band. The Sheriff is delightfully cynical about religion, but allows her access to the chapel.
The robbers now have Saracen lady-boy Djaq ( Anjali Jay ) as one of their gang. They intercept a couple of tax-collectors, and decide to steal all the tax money from the castle.
Gisbourne offers to marry Marion. She tries to get out of it every way she can, even considering becoming a nun!
The villagers capture a gang of thieving bastards. Instead of giving them the horse-whipping they deserve, Robin recruits them into his gang! Understandably, perhaps, since one of them is brother to one of his men.
Gisborne is still courting Marion. However, the sheriff knows there is a spy giving info to the robbers. He sets a trap.
Robin has to choose if he will help the thieves. The worse their crimes, the more forgiving he is - and when they try to steal from the rich, he punishes them. Conversely, he robs an honest, tax-paying tinker.
Marion has choices of her own. How far will she go to convince Gisbourne?
It is King Richard's birthday. Robin has a flashback to the Crusades, when he saved King Richard from a Saracen assassination attempt.
The Merry Men rob the guests at Gisborne's party. Djaq ( Anjali Jay ) is captured, and Gisborne goes after Robin to retrieve Marion's ring. We get some great scenes as Robin and Gisborne duel with words as well as action.
Robin's a complete prick, and acts completely out of character. He wants to torture Gisborne for info, and totally ignores the fact that Djaq ( Anjali Jay ) is in the sheriff's hands.
Gisbourne's friend invents gunpowder, and offers to sell it to the sheriff. The main condition is that it must only be used for mining, never as a weapon ...
The sheriff has the man imprisoned and tortured. Robin wants to destroy the secret, while Djaq ( Anjali Jay ) wants to study it.
Much is sent undercover. he gets himself caught, but the Sheriff actually makes him a Lord!
There's an arsonist on the loose. He burns churches and fights like a ninja, but Robin saves him anyway. Turns out he's a traumatised war veteran, so Robin orders Much to bond with him.
The sheriff has a guest - Saladin's nephew, in town for peace talks. Another group of Saracens is on their way - some dancing girls with special skills.
This is typically nonsensical. It's what we might expect of the sub- Xena shows that proliferated US TV in the late 1990s. The only original touches are when Robin mocks the others for their superstitious fear of darkness and evil, which were central components of the proper Robin Hood TV show, the 1980s masterpiece Robin of Sherwood !
Little John is captured by the Sheriff's men. He will be hanged in Nottingham, unless the Merry Men can rescue him.
The Nightwatchman raids Gisbourne's home.
Robin interrogates the doctor who gave Gisbourne an alibi during the attack on the King in the Holy Lands ...
Robin's lost Marion, and he quits the do-gooder life.
The King returns, and Gisborne's victory is near. Or is it?
The ending is a mixed bag of sorts. The Nightwatchmen and the Noble Resistance have their final fling ...
Robin and the boys are still in business, robbing helpless travellers. Their new victims are not helpless, however. The fact that these strange men wear berets (hats from the Basque region of Spain, adopted by the British Army in the 1930s) should be a giveaway that something is not right!
Later, Robin and his merry misfits go to town for some shopping. Robin realises the sheriff is up to something - it is that time of the week, I suppose. The sheriff tries to publicly punish a thief, and Robin goes to the rescue all by himself. Twit! It is never explained where the merry men disappeared too - or where the villains get access to latex disguises that evoke memories of Mission Impossible !
The Sheriff indulges in the typical monologuing followed by cliched deathtrap. Even the Matthew Poretta version, New Adventures of Robin Hood , was not this lame. And of course, the most interesting character meets an unbelievably predictable fate ...
Poor old Gisbourne is still miffed at Marion for jilting him at the altar. However, he is a decent bloke and does not get rough until the Sheriff orders him to. He is still after the Night Watchman, too ... And he has plans of his own, which set up a secondary plot arc for the Season!
The Sheriff has a new guest - a German aristocrat named Count Friedrich (Dexter Fletcher - Kick-Ass ). He is a clueless twit, the Booby of the title. Marion is ordered to offer him companionship, a distraction while the Sheriff cheats him out of his fortune. The Sheriff needs the money to pay his fellow conspirators ...
The money will be kept in a secret vault, filled with boobytraps. Robin and the others decide to raid it, leading to a typical vault heist scenario. And to distract the guard, Djaq ( Anjali Jay ) dresses like a sexy Asian babe for a change!
A bunch of little brats are running wild in the forest when they discover Gisborne's new plot. He is testing the Sheriff's new armour - plate mail, made of Damascus steel by an Afro-Carribean Saracen blacksmith. The brats are captured, but one escapes and tells Robin. Robin plans to stop the armour production by destroying the secret ingredient. However, the Sheriff holds the rug-rats hostage.
Gisborne shows a bit of heart this time. He will not kill the brats, no matter how annoying they are. And when manipulative minx Marion attempts to trick him, he is smart enough to suspect her of plotting.
The climax involves Robin duelling Gisborne - but Guy has the Damascus Steel armour! Unfortunately, he has never seen Star Wars and so has no way of knowing that Stormtroopers wear armour and it does not help them! Besides ... Wasn't there a similar plot in Xena: Warrior Princess , involving the Armour of Hephaestus?
Will Scarlet's dad drops by for a friendly chat. Normally, when a regular character's friend or relative drops by, they end up in some peril that can give the regular a motive to do extreme things. And predictably, Will ends up trying to assassinate the Sheriff!
The Sheriff has a plot of his own. He hires a poisoner named Joseph (Ralf Little - 2 Pints of Lager) to poison a street full of peasants. Robin and his horde quarantine themselves with the peasants, and try to find a cure. The insanity of the plot is, well, typical of this show. The poison is painful (though supposedly merciful), the symptoms do not resemble the pestilence it is meant to, and there is a simple cure.
Robin has realised, on very flimsy evidence, that there is a traitor in his camp. He sets his own spy, Marion, to betray the man she pretends to love.
The Sheriff's messenger needs medical attention, so the sheriff has his men conscript the local wise woman ( Josie Lawrence ).
Robin sneaks into the castle to murder the messenger. How will he maintain his self-richeous morality? Will there be a convenient cop-out?
The Sheriff summons the Black Knights, to make them sign his pact. Robin realises he can convert one of them to his own side. The swing-voter is Winchester (Denis Lawson - Star Wars: ANH )!
Alan tries to play an angle of his own. He does not have much choice - Robin stole everything he owned!
Gisbourne, as always, is the most honourable man in the whole story!
The bandits capture a down-at-heel knight who wants to buy his fiance's freedom from a money-lending Bishop (Tony Slattery - Red Dwarf ). Will Robin break his non-violent streak and kill a Bishop?
Allan is trying to earn his keep in Gisbourne's pay. He gives away a few minor secrets, with regards to Robin's most obvious and frequently-used tactics. Robin's gang have not bothered to move their camp, even though Allan could easily rat them out. As if that were not bad enough, every ally they meet and half the local villagers already know where the camp is. Its location is not exectly secret, and its discovery by Gisbourne's men is an inevitability. Instead of blaming Allan, the smart thing to do is just relocate the camp!
To save the damsel, the gang have to infiltrate the castle. Luckily Will Scarlett (Harry Loyd - Game of Thrones ) is a medieval Q, quickly constructing musical instruments that will also conceal an entire armoury of weapons.
Robin and the others are helped by a mysterious knight. Much thinks the stranger looks familiar ...
Gisbourne is obsessed with getting Marion back. He sends Allan out to look for her. Rather than divulge her relationship with Robin, Allan gets Marion to write a letter stating she had become a nun.
Robin tries to guilt his opponent, pointing out that an innocent farmer died at the hands of the Sheriff's men. But the Sheriff acknowledges that his own men have families, when he orders Gisbourne to send fruit baskets (small ones!) to the widows and orphans. Robin Hood has killed more people than cancer, despite his pacifist propaganda, and has absolutely no remorse about it. This makes him a complete hypocrite!
Robin has now sent TWO messengers to the Holy Land, but evidently neither of them has yet reached the King. King Richard's messengers visit Nottingham, in disguise. They have a secret means of getting a message to the King - Lardner's Ring!
Robin and Marion go looking for the Ring, and get trapped together. Will they die together, or will Marion go back to Gisbourne in order to save the day?
The Sheriff goes sleepwalking. He wakes up alone in the forest, and makes himself comfortable among the thieves and beggars. All he wants is the scroll that Robin stole from him.
Unfortunately, it's Thursday. And every Thursday morning, Prince John's envoy arrives to check the Sheriff is still alive. Since the Sheriff is MIA, the envoy calls in the Army to destroy the entire town.
Gisborne does everything he can to save the people, rather than just run and save himself.
Robin meets an old friend, one of the King's guard. They must retrieve a treasure.
Little John finally has something to do, and he garners the favour of a relatively young-looking Eleanor of Acquitaine!
Gisborne captures the local grain supply, so the Night Watchman tries to steal it all back. Poor Alan A'Dale is caught between them.
Much and the Merry men hold a surprise birthday party for Robin. Unfortunately it is gatecrashed by a hundred of the Sheriff's best mercenaries, led by a burly Scouser who used to be in UK soap opera Brookside.
Meanwhile, the Sheriff has a plan to kill the King. He is going to do it in the Holy Land - he takes Guy and Allan with him. Marion tries to intervene - and Allan must choose what side he's really on!
The Sheriff has plans of his own, and he actually seems competent for a change.
Several plot threads come to a conclusion. Several regular characters are written out - perhaps permanently!
Robin goes after Gisbourne, and leaves his merry band to scatter for themselves. Unfortunately Gisbourne is the better fighter ...
An Afro-Englishman arrives in town. He is a Franciscan Friar, decades before St Francis founded the order, but that is the least of this show's anachronisms. He is Friar Tuck (David Harewood - Supergirl ), the best fighter of the bunch, and he has come to hold the band together again.
The Sheriff and Gisbourne are desperate to pay off Prince John, their former patron, who raised an incredible tax burden to punish them. Ironic, since in real life it was the fault of the supposedly GOOD King Richard that England was taxed into bankruptcy.
An Irish Warlord pays the Sheriff to levy a gang of conscripts. Robin and his men are unpopular with the locals, because they always bring down the Sheriff's wrath. Will they go to Ireland and help the villainous rebels fight against Good King Richard?
The Abbot of Kirklys Abbey (traditionally a female-only establishment, but who cares?) has defied the Pope and translated the Bible into English. Why bother? The Merry Men, a gang of illiterate thugs, already know a lot more about the bible than they ought to.
The sheriff is desperate, now that Prince John has arrested Gisbourne. He blackmails the Abbot into helping frame Robin Hood for attempting the steal a holy relic. In best Christian tradition they invent one - the healing hand of Saint Luke.
Scrope (Kevin Eldon - Hyperdrive )
Prince John (Toby Stephens - Die Another Day ) orders Gisbourne to prove his loyalty by killing the Sheriff. When Gisbourne does not achieve this goal by the required time, Prince john gives the Sheriff the same order. The villains do not think of teaming up and getting Robin Hood, which is the only sure way of getting Prince John's favour. Instead, they turn on each other like wild dogs.
Robin and his men decide to ambush Prince John's carriage. Can a gang of malnourished thugs take on the Royal bodyguards? Hell, even a woman can take out several chainmail-clad knights! Cynically, the Merry Men cheat by bringing some peasants along as sword-fodder. Of course, Robin does not care that the local villagers will be collectively punished for helping him.
The Prince wants the revolting peasants to love him. However, he sends mixed messages such as locking them in their church and burning it to the ground. Isabella Gisbourne ( Lara Pulver ) is shocked by this, and decides to help Robin Hood. She also plays up to Prince John, gaining his favour by telling what he wants to hear. This shows that she is actually an expert manipulator, playing both ends against the middle.
Prince John's weakness is that he wants to publicly prove he can cure scrofula. Of course, this will be a great distraction for Robin's gang to humiliate the prince and steal his bribe money. Worse, the Prince is surrounded by traitors - the Royal physician has been sentenced to death (and thus has nothing to lose by helping Robin), Isabella Gisbourne is a backstabber with the full run of the castle (and her own agenda), and Alan A'Dale may not work for Guy any more but he knows every way in and out of the castle.
There is a heatwave in Nottingham. Prince John (Toby Stephens - Die Another Day ) takes the opportunity to cut off the water supply, hoping to make the locals love (or at least fear) him.
The Gisbournes both have a crisis of loyalty.
King Richard's body is brought to Nottingham. Prince John (Toby Stephens - Die Another Day ) demands that the Bishop of kirklys Abbey crown him.
Robin refuses to accept that Prince John is his rightful ruler. He discovers that the body is part of a plot - John's over-acted show of grief would be an easy clue to pick up on.
There can be no coronation without the crown. Luckily, John had the crown delivered to Nottingham castle. It is in a locked dungeon, protected by enough tripwires and scorpions to make Indiana Jones himself think twice about it.
The crown's guardian is Robin's instructor from his days as a knight. He is a William Marshal type, although now he is apparently more of a dagger-in-the-back man.
Kate the blonde wench ( Joanne Froggatt ) is still the gang's weak link. Allan and Much both compromise themselves by showing off and saving her when they should have followed the plan instead.
Isabella Gisbourne ( Lara Pulver ) does not want to have to marry the new Sheriff - she wants to alter history and BECOME the next Sheriff! She is willing to sell out her own brother, who is now on the run from the Prince.
Isabella Gisbourne ( Lara Pulver ) is the Prince's new Sheriff of Nottingham. She acts like a Feminazi, supporting a young harpie's right to not get married but instead to become a useless mouth in her father's household. And then Isabella's estranged husband arrives ...
Gisbourne is rotting in the dungeons awaiting execution, when he meets a fellow prisoner - Meg ( Holliday Grainger ).
There is some wonderful character development as we see what the Gisbournes are really like, and what made them the way they are. Robin Hood and his chums are trusting fools, as always, but this time they are not as lucky as they usually are.
Robin is a greater hypocrite than ever this week. He wants to protect Isabella, even though she sold him out repeatedly to the Prince. But when Isabella shows her ability to defend herself from a mutual enemy, only then does Robin turn against her ... despite his own intention of killing the man in question.
Robin and Gisbourne bump into each other in the woods. The Merry Men are nowhere to be seen this episode, because they are not interesting enough to be part of this story.
The two rivals meet a leper in the woods. He abducts them using knock-out darts, then gives them an extended flashback sequence to their childhoods, when their fathers were bitter rivals for their mutual mother. It turns out that things were a lot more complicated. The boys were rivals, and drove their fathers into violence.
This is all a set-up for them to team up and find their brother ...
Robin and Gisbourne have teamed up to find their brother. They go to York, where luckily nobody knows what they look like. Unfortunately, they do not know what their brother looks like. Their only clues are his name (Archer) and his birthmark.
Archer (Clive Standen - Vikings (2013) ) is a con-man with a heart of gold, stealing from rich men and seducing their lonely wives while helping those less fortunate than himself. He is also a smug, arrogant self-richeous git. In other words, he out-Robins Robin! But can he be trusted, or will he out-Gisbourne Gisbourne too?
Isabella Gisbourne ( Lara Pulver ) takes her forces to York in search of her two enemies. Can they withstand a half-hearted ambush by the Merry Men? Even with the soldiers on horseback, they still get out-paced by the Merry Men on foot.
Gisborne and Hood planned to return to Nottingham with their mutual half-brother, Archer (Clive Standen - Vikings (2013) ). If they get captured and put in a deathtrap (as always), would he help them or look after his own interests instead?
Friar Tuck (David Harewood - Supergirl ) leads the Merry Men, and the local villagers, in a peaceful sit-down protest at the town gates. After all, if Isabella Gisbourne ( Lara Pulver ) the Sheriff slaughters all farmers, there will be no food for sustenance or export. But in a show like this, how long will the insurgents (I mean, the so-called heroes) remain non-violent?
Isabella does not care about the danger of causing a famine. In fact, she has had her men (led by an English-accented Saracen) confiscate every scrap of food within a fifty mile radius for a supply train to the north of England. This is perfect bait to lure Robin's crew out. Then she starts turning them against each other. Will Kate the blonde wench ( Joanne Froggatt ) give Robin the benefit of the doubt when he says he loves her and not Isabella? Will anyone believe Allan when he claims he did not betray them?
Allan gets left with problems of his own, out in the woods. The others assume he is a rat, but do not bother to change their plans accordingly. They head straight into a deathtrap, even though they suspected it could be there.
An old villain returns for the final ever episode ...
Robin has declared that Nottingham Castle and everything in it belong to The People, a ridiculous thing to say in a Feudal system. However, he was only copying Isabella's example. But while Isabella Gisbourne ( Lara Pulver ) is Robin's prisoner, Prince John's army besiege them all in the city of Nottingham.