Robin Returns: BBC's Robin Hood, Season 2 Premiere
Say it ain't so, Robin! After 13 episodes of fighting the sheriff of Nottingham and injustice, Season 2 of the BBC's most recent Robin Hood incarnation opens with Robin reverting back to that old faulty-principled Robin we all know: he opens this episode by robbing a random rich woman.
Sure, she looks pretty bad (she's wearing black, isn't she?), and she does, in fact, turn out to be bad, but Robin couldn't have known that when he attacked her and her Metal-Gear-looking bodyguards. This definitely makes me uneasy for the rest of the season, as one of the biggest draws for me was that Robin had principles, but I'm not ready to dump the show just yet. The writers may have just slipped up on a script.
This episode also sees Guy of Gisborne get all pissy because Marion dumped him at the altar. Naturally, he does what any of us would in that situation: he torches her house.
Of course, capturing Marion and her father and forcing them to stay in the castle is just another part of a plan to force Robin Hood to coem to the castle, where he is immediately captured and scheduled to be executed via an over-complicated method involving a pit full of snakes. And, oh! The snakes are brought from who-knows-where by the sheriff's sister. Huh?
Anyway, all this more or less sets up where the plot is going this year: Djaq looks less like a boy (and much, much hotter - don't know what it is about Anjali Jay, but... rowrrrrr), Alan gets involved in some very bad things, and the sheriff is actually part of a cabal of secret Black Knights. Oo-er.
BEWARE! THAR BE SPOILERS IN THE WATERS BEYOND!
The whole "sheriff's sister" thing did not sit well with me. It seemed extremely contrived, like it was being used simply to provide the sheriff with an excuse to lose his cool and want Robin outright murdered, rather than humiliated. First, there's the absolutely ridiculous "babytalk" scene - there is no chance in hell that the sheriff of Nottingham that we've seen thus far would behave like that. Perhaps what was intended was for the sheriff to be humanised a little; maybe they wanted to show that he was capable of loving something and wasn't completely despicable. But this is BBC's Robin Hood, a show that advertised that its next episode would be "Ocean's Eleven in the Middle Ages!" This is the show that includes a man who never, never fuckin' smiles and dresses entirely in black. This is a show with choreographed fight scenes that would make William Shatner blush. And that's why we could never buy the sheriff loving anything, not even all those birds he keeps. The sheriff, in order to fit into this already absurd universe, must be completely, unredeemably, over-the-top evil.
There's also the new "Black Knights" arc that's troubling me a little. I guess they had to do something to keep the show fresh (there's only so many times you can see Robin rescue someone before you start thinking "Just kill the fucking bastard sheriff, already! He's evil!"). I was really rather hoping that they would finally introduce Prince John, and have someone for both Robin and the sheriff to hate (come on, you know the sheriff could never allow anyone else to have power, even a member of the royal bloodline), but I guess it's enough for now that there might be the potential for a bit more... complexity on the show.
Robin Hood is on BBC One in the UK, Saturdays at 7:00PM.