This is the first episode broadcast for Matthew's Second season. A new Marion joined the show, portrayed by Barbara Griffin. To me this season clinched Matthew as Robin Hood. As Dave Morizot said, "Matthew WAS Robin Hood. Any other actor that portrayed him was just kidding themselves." This episode was also very special, because Matthew's father made an appearance as Andrew McGregor. You'll hear a soundbite that plays with reference to that fact.
Click the title to hear the sound bite
Trained Robin Hood
(or More, More, More)
This episode was the opener for the second season, and it seems they really wanted to give viewers more for the hour they spent in front of the TV-- more fights, more stunts, more action, more characters, more extras in roadkill costumes, more women in less clothing, more energy, more surprises, more hair.
The opening scene is the arena at the castle, with people making lots of noise and men in roadkill trying to beat the stuffing out of each other. You know, in the US TNT often ran wrestling before Robin Hood. This scene makes it look like they decided to combine the two.
What's with the chick in Madonna's cast-off gold porcupine bra? That's not a skirt she's wearing, it's a hankerchief.
LET DOWN YOUR HAIR:
First glimpse of Robin's new 'do. Oh My Goddess!!! If you thought he was handsome before, you're in for a pleasant shock. The long hair only emphasizes his masculinity, and makes him appear vaguely untamed. I better have my Binford inspected because I'd hate to have it conk out on me mid-episode.
Robin's nose is red in this scene, and you will notice you can see people's breath in the outdoor shots. This really was the first episode shot; it was shot early in the schedule, when it was still cold.
CHANGE OF HEART:
Something has happened to Marion. What is it? Could it be that she's had plastic surgery? NO! Anna Galvin has left the Greenwood and has been replaced with Barbara Griffin, an actress with as deft an acting style as Matthew-- able to pull off the cheesiest cliches and ridiculous lines with a wink and a smile.
THE ANVIL CHORUS:
Why is Marion pouring grain over the anvil? It doesn't disguise what is in the sack, and all that grain is going to be wasted when it spills in the wagon and on the ground.
LITTLE JOHN GROWS UP:
I am so glad that they gave Little John a real storyline this time around. He is not saddled with all the stupid lines in this ep.
Rast is getting the stuffing beaten out of him, and who comes to the rescue? It's none other than Papa Porretta, Big Daddy Frank! And he looks like quite a hero himself. Such a presence could possibly upstage his swashbuckling son (and his hair.) In an interview Matthew said that the 1938 version of Robin Hood was his Dad's favorite movie. In that case it must have been a lot of fun for Frank to be in this episode.
SO THEY SAY:
Lord Malice-- " They say you trained Robin Hood."
MacGregor-- "Oh, did they now?" Trained? I think raised is a much better description.
FACE THE MUSIC:
Layla just cut MacGregor's face! How dare she? (I hope his tetanus shots are up to date.)
LITTLE RED RIDING JOHN:
Little John's new red cloak looks a little like the one Robin wore in Race Against Death.
Rast still has blood on his lip when he comes into camp. He could have wiped that off on the ride over, but it looks more dramatic this way.
BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN:
Robin's horsemanship has improved since last season. It no longer looks like he's struggling to pull himself into the saddle. Marion's stuntgal isn't quite so agile, though.
GOTTA GIVE 'EM CREDIT:
I usually fast forward through the credits, but watched the new footage this time around. First glimpse of Kemal (Hakim Alston), shots of new Marion, and Robin's new hairdo. The tableau at the end with everyone laughing actually looks like they're having fun.
WHAT THE CAT DRAGGED IN:
"That's the one they call the Banshee." Which is supposed to be a woman, but looks more like a man in drag.
Malice lets MacGregor hold the decree. Doesn't he know that can be a dangerous weapon? A parchment that size could inflict a paper cut of immense proportions!
Marion-- "You really cared about him [MacGregor]?"
Robin-- "Like my Father." Gee, well, I guess you would then, huh?
LONG TIME NO SEE:
Little John and Layla get comfortable in the Debauchery Hall and are interrupted by Kemal. Kemal has not really been properly introduced yet, but his encounter with Little John implies that there is already familiarity. Someone got the script order screwed up. Mystery at Druid's Grove should have come first this season instead of seventh. (It's also in MaDG that comments are made about the length of Robin's hair, that he's letting it get too long.)
SHAKE IT OFF:
Robin is about to fight, and Marion already looks bored. Robin gets kicked in the teeth, but don't worry. He shakes that fabulous mane of sable locks (sigh), and he's perfectly fine.
The Banshee is announced twice because the audience drowns out the first announcement.
They really wanted to get as much use out of the flying harness as possible before it goes back to the rental company. They'll find a new special effect next week.
Soldier-- "Hey, I know you." Yeah, didn't you date Andrea Zuckerman (in Beverly Hills 90210)?
ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL:
Barbara looks slightly uncomfortable in Anna's costume. Could have something to do with the fact that while Anna was quite tall, Barbara is more on the petite side.
WATCH THE MASTER WORK:
It's Kemal's turn to fight. I've been waiting for this. Hakim Alston was into Martial Arts long before joining the cast. Every move looks absolutely effortless. And yes, he too has long hair, and he knows how to use it!
BOB N. WEAVE:
Robin plays a lousy drunk, and inexplicably he fights drunk too. Here you get your first look at one of the liabilities of having long hair: Intermittent Temporary Blindness.
Robin and MacGregor are reunited, and Robin is very happy about that. In any scene Matthew and Frank share together, you can see Matthew beaming with pride, even if it's only in his eyes. Imagine how tickled he must have been to be working with his Dad; it's written all over his face.
THREE FOR A DOLLAR:
Robin-- "For King Richard?"
All-- "The King!" All for one, and one for all, the Three Musketeers march into the fray.
Marion-- "Little John would never hurt anyone purposely for sport." Oh yeah? He's fought in the tournament this far, so what do yyou call that? Tickle Torture?
Lord Malice rises from his chair, trying to look evil and intimidating, and fails miserably.
Robin-- "The only thing he intended was to turn you into mercenaries and thieves..." Robin is in for a rude awakening. These thhugs were already mercenaries and thieves, and they eat pretty boys like you for breakfast, Rob. RUN!!!
DO I HEAR 20?:
Malice-- "I offer 10,000 pieces of gold for his head!" C'mon! The hair alone is worth that much; the whole head must be worth at least 25,000, with dimples yet! (and if you're not doing anything with the rest of him, can I have him?)
Robin-- (to Nelson) "You'll be safe in here." Yeah, no one will notice a pile of straw with a head sticking out on top.
WATCH WHERE YOU SWING THAT THING:
Hate to say it, but every time you see MacGregor in the background of the big fight scene, he's just swinging his sword back and forth, not at anyone in particular. (But I still like him.)
ROBIN HOOD vs MALICE:
Malice throws Robin across the room. Robin lands on one knee, flings the hair back with a vengeance, and that look tells you for sure he's really ticked off now!
All of a sudden Robin isn't fighting Malice anymore. He's fighting a stuntguy with a badly glued on toupee.
DEAD GUYS WEAR TOUPEES:
Robin grabs the sword tossed to him by Little John; Robin and Malice rush at each other; they collide, and by the look on Robin's face, you don't know who got run through. This is only the first episode of the season, do you really think they'd kill Robin? And after he grew that long luscious hair just for the show?
NUDGE, NUDGE, WINK, WINK, SAY NO MORE:
Robin and MacGregor share a wink. So that's where he gets it!
LOVE 'EM AND LEAVE 'EM:
Little John says goodbye to Layla before he leaves. How nice. Wish some of my ex-boyfriends had manners like that.
PARTING IS SUCH SWEET SORROW:
When MacGregor and Robin say their goodbyes, I can't help but think Matthew might have been homesick. I know it's in the script, but the dialogue sounds like someone was very lonely.
I like Robin's new green winter cloak, but what animal has green fur?
Whatta way to start the new season! Long hair, Kemal, a visit from Dad, long hair, new Marion, better fight scenes, long hair,... Did I forget to mention Robin's long, luxurious, silky, sensuous, begging-to-be-touched hair?