So sorry I'm a little late blogging about the latest episode of Robin Hood - "Cause and Effect." I suppose I didn't really feel an urgency to write about this episode since it's one of the ones I watched on YouTube back when series 3 first started to air in the U.K. The primary reason probably has more to do with the fact that I now have to start mentioning the above woman in my episode reviews - Kate, played by Joanne Froggatt. But perhaps I'm getting a bit ahead of myself... :)
The episode opens with a nice montage of Robin (Jonas Armstrong) & the gang in action, robbing the rich to feed the poor and antagonize the Sheriff (Keith Allen) and my lovely, angst-ridden Guy (Richard Armitage). I think it's safe to assume that some substantial amount of time has passed between this episode and the last, which marked Robin's return. It's at this point that I might as well note that Tuck's (David Harewood) predisposition for going on and on about how people "need a hero" gets a little obvious and annoying after a while.
The action then moves to the village, where we learn that Guy still hasn't seen fit to cut his hair, his rage is simmering barely below the surface, ready to explode at any moment (go Richard!), and he's collecting the village men to ship off to Ireland. This is the latest of the Sheriff's grand and overly complex money-making schemes that are always destined to fail - however, even if you think the plot conceit is a bit over-the-top, the visiting Irishmen are by far the best thing about this episode.
Kate, acting the part of plucky village girl to the hilt, attempts to smuggle her brother Matthew to safety, but the plot is caught by Guy, and in the ensuing scuffle Matthew is taken captive to the castle along with Robin (unbeknownst to Guy). It's so painfully obvious that Kate is the "poor man's Marian" it's not even funny. She, and especially her mother, really seem to hate Robin and everything he stands for, which is weird considering this is their FIRST APPEARANCE IN THE SHOW (but I digress). I guess the simplest way to boil down how Kate & especially her mother feel about Robin is that they'd rather roll over and take the oppression and abuse rather than support anyone who tries to do anything about it. In fact - they'd rather serve other people up for execution - as Kate does in a stupid, asinine, foolish, and ultimately futile attempt to "bargain" with Guy for Matthew's life.
It's not that I object to the introduction of a new female character to the show - in fact, it was going to be needed sooner or later. But I hate the lack of creativity - it's like women in the world of Robin Hood are required to endlessly whine about everything he does. How is Kate any different from Marian, only poorer and blonde? Why do Much (Sam Troughton) and Allan (Joe Armstrong) have to welcome her so readily into their rescue efforts when she sold their leader up the proverbial river a scant fifteen minutes prior? Did the writers just get lazy and decide to rewrite Marian as a peasant and make her father the most annoying woman to ever live in the village?! And what is with the stupid fake braid in Kate's hair?!?!
Whew...sorry to go on such a rant...but I'm really not a fan of Kate. What can I say, I got carried away... *sigh*
Now to talk about my favorite aspects of the episode...any scene involving Guy (of course!) and our guest star Irishmen, led by Finn (played by William Houston). The whole Irish storyline fascinated me. Finn and his loser younger brother have this "bright" idea to buy slaves from the Sheriff to serve in their army. Their goal - free Ireland from the British and set Finn on the throne. When Finn witnesses Robin's ultimately futile attempt to escape with the other prisoners, he's left impressed with Robin's ability to rally men to fight for his cause. He attempts to recruit Robin, Robin refuses, he attempts to rescue Robin, attempt fails due to betrayal by brother, both ultimately escape (of course! :)) in a thrilling hang gliding sequence (compared to the whole Kate thing, the hang gliding thing worked perfectly for me). Ultimately Finn "sees the light" and realizes that an army of men who believe in his cause is to be preferred to a conscripted army of slaves. Excellent object lesson, I think we can all agree, no? :)
Regarding Guy...dear man, I love you no matter how moody you get, but this long hair thing you have going on is trying my patience. :) I've got to say, it's really nice to see Guy actually start to show some real attitude towards the Sheriff. Setting up some conflict between the two of them is long overdue in my opinion. Even with Guy's callous involvement in Matthew's death, Richard Armitage seems to play the anger so well that I can never forget that his anger and rage is part of his grieving process.* Guy sort of has this self-loathing thing going on, only Guy being Guy, he lashes out at anyone and everyone. I think that's why he's become such a loose cannon where the Sheriff is concerned - since he killed the only woman he ever loved, he just doesn't care anyone. I mean after all, what does he have to lose?
*I suppose a person uniformed to the awesomeness that is Richard Armitage could argue that I'm reading WAY too much into his performance. But they would be WRONG. Just wanted to clarify that... :)
The lovely picture below captures one of the episode's best moments, when Robin calls out Guy's anger act. As much as I have loved Jonas Armstrong in this series, he's not had too many moments where I have felt that he rises to the occasion and delivers a strong performance equal to Richard's. This, however, was one of those moments, and it worked exceedingly well for me.
Till this Saturday's episode...think happy Guy thoughts. :)