I honestly meant to get a post up on the Robin Hood finale Thursday or Friday, but I thought I was getting sick, and what with one thing or another it never happened. Where the first half of "Something Worth Fighting For" reminded me of many of the reasons I've been frustrated by the direction the show took in season 3, part two reminded me of everything I've ever loved about Robin Hood. It made me positively nostalgic, and I have to admit, I cried a bit at the end.
I neglected to mention in my previous post that we saw the return of the Sheriff - the real Sheriff, the supposed-to-be-dead Sheriff that all fans of the show know and love (played by Keith Allen). It's tempting to complain about the fact that Sheriff Vaisey disappeared for six episodes, with no logical explanation for why he faked his death or how he's managed to raise an army, with no one around Nottingham getting wind of the fact that he was alive. Speaking of the army thing - how did no one notice Vaisey & crew hauling freaking trebuchets across the countryside? Seriously, I would think it would be kind of hard to sneak up on someone with that kind of weaponry in tow. Anyway, seeing Allen back on-screen was a good reminder of the fact that no matter how interesting (or not, depending on your point of view) Isabella's (Lara Pulver) presence shook up Guy and Robin, she pales in comparison to the real Sheriff as the show's central baddie.
Guy (Richard Armitage) and Robin (Jonas Armstrong) made this episode, and as far as endings go, and as wrenching as it was to witness, I have to admit that the two one-time enemies ended very well, all things considered. Let's talk about Guy first, shall we? :) My hope for Guy's character, from season 1, was that he'd discover his inner good guy and turn heroic (and when Armstrong announced he was leaving the show, I wanted Richard Armitage to take over the lead!). But considering my dearly hoped-for dream scenario was not meant to be, I've got to give Armitage credit for once again taking Guy's scenes to a whole new level of emotional insight. It would've been so easy for Guy to abandon the beseiged outlaws, but instead he recognizes the fight as his moment to work towards redeeming the direction his life had taken thus far. He even has a moment of twisted brotherly consideration for Isabella, providing her with poison so she can kill herself before those she's wronged would try to harm her (that doesn't work out so well). The final confrontation, resulting in Guy's brilliantly played death scene, was fantastic because it was so focused on the principle players, especially Guy, Robin, and the Sheriff, since they are three of the main reasons the show worked as well as it did. If Guy had to die during this show's run, I'm glad he died as he did - fighting whole-heartedly for Robin & the people. And his last words, about losing the love of his life, but dying a free man - very classy Guy, and well played as always, Richard. :)
This final hour was also a fantastic send-off for Robin. The show has really come full circle, from the first episode in the courtyard where Robin stood alone against the Sheriff, to this finale where he's once again fighting the Sheriff, only this time he's surrounded by the people he's sacrificed so much to protect. It's LONG past due, but Robin & crew finally, finally get to see some action out of the villagers. Thankfully, even before he was poisoned, Robin really backed off his interaction with Kate (Joanne Froggatt). Words cannot describe how glad I am that Armstrong's last episode as Robin wasn't too polluted by Kate's presence. Robin's final conversation with Guy provided a bit of a reset for his romantic life, a reminder that there was only one woman for Robin. Speaking of Marian (Lucy Griffiths), part of me can't believe that the showrunners went for the whole "vision-of-beloved-dead-character" returns angle, but after the whole Kate debacle I was just relieved to see Marian again. She's completely forgiven for all of her too stupid to live moments during season 2. Armstrong and Griffiths at least had actual chemistry and affection for each other in their scenes, and their last moment together is even more poignant considering the show was ultimately not renewed.
Little John (Gordon Kennedy) and Much (Sam Troughton) both get some nice scenes in this episode. Little John gets to show off his strength in the tunnels, which is more than Kennedy's gotten to do for much of this season. And Much finally shows that he can operate outside Robin's shadow. He acts like a warrior instead of a mouse for once, and we finally get to see that there's a reason he survived the Crusades - he can actually fight effectively. That type of scene was LONG overdue. I have a sneaking suspicion that Kate would've turned into a love interest for Archer (Clive Standen) in season 4, but the final look she exchanges with Much makes me hope that the showrunners would've developed the Much/Kate angle. I think I could've stood that. :)
As far as Archer goes, I really am rather sorry that we didn't get to see more of Clive Standen. He fits the swashbuckling nature of the role probably better than Armstrong and yes, even Armitage, could. Archer would have proven a charismatic and capable leader, methinks. With the deaths of much of the original cast, and a nod to the actual historical timeline (Richard has been captured by Leopold of Austria, leaving the outlaws on their own a bit longer), the show was perfectly prepped for a fresh beginning. As much a I hate to say it, the show could've had a decent future beyond the departures of Robin, Guy, the Sheriff, and Isabella. But at least it's not a completely depressing ending for the show - Robin's battle against the Sheriff and fantastic reconciliation with Guy were just one chapter in the outlaws' story. And this chapter, all things considered, gave the characters I've grown to love over the last three years an ending I'm pleased with. Long live the outlaws!
Sunday Snapshot for the Middle of September
2 days ago