The second disc of Robin Hood: Season 2 takes a much more serious turn. This set of four episodes is, in my opinion, probably the best thus far of the series.
I’m glad that the stories are finally becoming more mature, the characters (for the most part) are being given more depth, and the stakes are higher. These central four episodes of this season are pretty much all about life, death and liberty.
“Angel of Death” is the first episode to show just how evil the Sheriff of Nottigham really is. Poisoning a whole section of Nottingham just to test a chemical weapon? That’s just bad with a capital B. The first big Death comes in this episode, too, upping the ante quite a bit for the show. There are several more deaths to come on this disc.
“Ducking and Diving” is a bit more lighthearted than “Angel,” but still has a dark streak running through it. I loved Josie Lawrence’s portrayal of Matilda. She should become a regular! She stole the whole show. It’s in this episode that Robin unmasks Allan as a traitor.
I’m still unsure how I feel about this whole subplot. It seemed to come out of nowhere and feels completely out of character for Allan. It definitely adds an interesting element to the storyline, but something about it seems forced. Perhaps it’s just the way it was handled. I think it might have worked better if they developed the whole betrayal theme over more time, and gave Allan a really solid reason for turning on Robin. Right now it just feels like Allan’s doing it because the writers need him to do it for the story.
“For England…!” is my favorite episode of the entire series so far. The love triangle between Robin, Marian and Guy is really the centerpiece of this episode. I love how we see another side of Guy, trying to protect Marian even if it costs him his own neck. I love the letter Robin writes to Marian, thinking it will surely be his last. I love Marian’s last look at Robin as she’s leaving Sherwood riding behind Guy. Robin’s gang dressed up as minstrels is also a hoot to watch. Love the headwear!
“Show Me the Money” is a close second for best episode on this disc. I appreciated the more lighthearted subplot with Knight John. His love story provided a nice counterpoint to Robin and Marian’s. I’m glad Marian’s dad Edward finally had a chance to step up to the plate and help fight for England. This episode includes a most heartbreaking conclusion that truly moved me.
As you can see I’ve ended up really enjoying this season. I know other fans seem to be pretty harsh on it, but I’m glad the show has grown and developed since the last. The first season’s episodes were fun and diverting but I find this season’s episodes to be overall more memorable. I have yet to see all of this season, however, so my opinion could change.
I do have one criticism about this season, however. The members of Robin’s gang aren’t being given enough screen time for us to really get to know them. There are some great stories that could be written around the characters of Djaq and Will and Much and Little John, but they simply aren’t being done. That’s a shame. With a cast this good that’s a total waste. I’m hoping they remedy this soon.
Oh, and here’s a question I’ve been wondering for a while now–where is Friar Tuck? Was he deemed as simply not being interesting enough to include? I’ll have to do some research…
So–on to disc three! I wait in eager anticipation.