In case you couldn’t tell, I’ve been on a bit of a Robin Hood kick recently (even if the show does tear my heart out) but since I didn’t feel like doing a detailed review of each season (mainly because Season 3 sucks so badly) I thought I’d just talk about my favorite episodes and in that way, get around to discussing my favorite characters and scenes and quotes because I have sooooo many of those. Honestly, Robin Hood might be cheesy and anachronistic at times, but I still LOVE it because I don’t watch it for the historical accuracy, I watch it for the characters. And the humor. And the feels. If you’ve ever started watching this show and abandoned it after the first couple of episodes, go back and give it another try! The first three episodes aren’t my favorites, but episode four is quite serious and emotional and…well, I’d better just get on to the list, eh?
Tons of spoilers ahead, naturally.
(And I apologize beforehand for the absurd length of this post – it got away from me about a thousand words ago.)
This was the episode where everything got really serious. The first traitor in the gang, the first death in the gang, and Guy’s character already becoming more multi-faceted as you learn that he abandoned his own son in Sherwood Forest. Up until this point, I hadn’t liked Roy much, but this episode focuses quite a bit on his character and as you get to know him better, you like him more. Especially because he’s caught between a rock and a hard place AND he ends up sacrificing himself for the gang (and his mother). “Parent Hood” marked the first time – of many – that I found myself tearing up during the show and for that reason, it will always stick with me. Plus, everyone looks a thousand times more adorable interacting with the baby, so that’s a bonus.
“Brothers in Arms”
One thing I love, love, love about Robin Hood (the show, not the character) is the abundance of cool minor characters. And besides Roy (who, being in four episodes, doesn’t count as a really minor character), Tom A Dale is the first in a long line of great one-shot characters (or two-shot, in Carter’s case). Djaq’s part of the gang at this point and her relationship with Allan, especially in this episodes, leads me to ponder what a Will/Djaq/Allan love triangle would’ve been like had Allan stuck with the gang. Anyway. Tom is a trickster, a con artist, but you can’t help but like him. He’s a loveable rogue. So, yes, FEELS. Lots of them. And not just with Tom’s death, but with Marian accepting Guy’s proposal and Robin’s reaction and all that.
“The Return of the King” & “A Clue: No” (it’s a two-part episode)
Even though the Season 1 finale has nothing on the Season 2 finale in terms of emotional punch, it’s still a wrenching couple of episodes to watch. Because it’s like a dress rehearsal for when Marian actually dies, so you get all those emotions pouring out from everyone in the gang, only to have it all repeated about twelve episodes later, and I HATE that. And then when she recovers, she still has to marry Guy and Robin goes AWOL and basically shuts out everything except his love for Marian. Which leads to him insulting and rejecting Much in the rudest way possible, which is just another dress rehearsal for the first episode of Season 3. So, why did I put these two episodes on my list? It’s because both are well-crafted and thoughtful, with Robin and Marian finally getting together and an ending that always puts the biggest grin on my face (see above screenshot). Plus, Much stopping the wedding is GOLD.
Season 2 opener! Most everyone has either a different haircut or a different outfit (or, in Djaq’s case, both) and this is where the whole series really comes together for me – Season 2 is practically perfect in every way and it was difficult not to include every episode of it on this list. I mean, the previous season dealt with some interesting issues, but the story arcs (the Black Knights and the sheriff’s security plan, courtesy of Prince John) and the character arcs (Allan’s betrayal, Will and Djaq’s relationship, and the Robin/Marian/Guy triangle) are well-defined and believable. The season gets started with this excellent episode, though Allan’s part in it makes me shake my head and yell “NO!” at him when he nips off to the tavern. *sigh* Stories of loyalty, betrayal, and redemption have always hit home with me and Allan’s story, out of all the characters, makes me the saddest.
“The Angel of Death”
Why do I pick all the depressing episodes to put on this list? Will is my favorite character in the series and this is the only ‘focus episode’ that he gets, so it would have to really, really good to live up to my expectations. And it is. I have to say that Harry Lloyd is a fantastic actor, because Will is normally in the background, quiet and observant (though he does get riled about the important things), and in the hands of a lesser actor, his transformation into a vengeful, unthinking killer might have seemed contrived. But not so here. Will is, quite frankly, terrifying in this episode with his stony determination to murder the sheriff, no matter the cost, and there are several moments in here that chill me (Robin being resigned to killing Will if it comes to that, for one) and, overall, it’s an intense story – one of the best of the series. And it just made me love Will more because, in the end, he did The Right Thing. *fist-pump*
“Ducking and Diving”
*bangs head on the wall* Why, Allan? Why, why why? You ended up getting Roger of Stoke killed and managed to rip a hole in the fabric of the gang. Unbelievable… (as Much would say) Anyway, this episode has tons of things going on in it: Matilda and Robin trying to keep that messenger guy from talking, Matilda’s daughter giving birth, and a traitor in the gang. Whew. Like I said earlier, stories of loyalty and betrayal have always struck a chord with me and this episode is no different. (By the way, even if I hadn’t known who the traitor was, I still would’ve guessed that it was Allan. I mean, Much? Littlejohn? Will or Djaq? Are you serious?) This shouldn’t come as a surprise to you, since so far I’ve basically catalogued every single moment this series has made me cry, but this episode makes me tear up. Especially when Allan’s talking to Djaq about the traitor and his brother and…yeah, it’s pretty emotional. So is his confrontation with Robin, for that matter – Allan is just setting himself up for a downward spiral that will eventually result in his death. *tears*
First of all, I want to say that Carter has one of the coolest outfits on the show. Simple, but cool. And his swords are cool, too. (Especially the way he wields them.) That being said, though, I do have a slight problem with him: he wants to kill Robin Hood and he has the means to do so (courtesy of the sheriff). So, yes, that’s a problem. This is one of those neat ‘infiltrator episodes’ where you wonder if the gang will figure out what’s up before it’s too late. There’s SO much juicy emotion in this episode, with Marian being new to the gang and life in the forest (I love the scene where she and Littlejohn talk) and basically everything about Carter. He’s one of the best (if not the best) minor character in the show. (And he actually returns in “We Are Robin Hood”. WOOT.) (Also, fun fact: Joseph Kennedy, who plays Carter, also played Will Scarlett in an episode of Doctor Who. Weird, huh?)
Robin and Marian get engaged! For most fans, that’s the main reason this episode is a favorite, but there a lot of other great things in here, too. Allan helping Will escape? Yessssss. That’s the Allan I know and love. The scene where Much, Littlejohn, and Djaq work on phrasing the message that Lardner will carry usually makes me grin because that’s how I am about ninety percent of the time when I’m writing. The Black Knights’ story arc continues and you really get to see the depth of Guy’s love for Marian here. And then there’s Much’s great quote about ‘honey’. Hehe. But, of course, Robin and Marian’s relationship is at the core of this episode and it’s both beautiful and poignant and a little annoying at times, with their arguments and the fact that THEY WILL NEVER REALLY BE TOGETHER. I don’t care what Marian says – I loved Robin’s proposal. And then their good-bye in the tree… I’m not making a lot of sense, am I? Anyway, I really enjoy this episode.
SO many good things about this episode. (I keep saying that, don’t I?) The sheriff is hilarious, in an evil way (as usual) but I find most of his scenes to be a distraction from the real plot of the episode: Prince John’s men are on their way to burn Nottingham to the ground and to kill everyone in the town. You can really sense Guy’s frustration, first at not being able to find the sheriff and then at Marian refusing to marry him and escape safely. Allan and Will are BROTHERS IN ARMS again, which always puts a smile on my face. “Let’s all pitch in and work the problem, even if we are enemies/antagonists” stories are the best, in my opinion, and this episode is definitely one of those. Oh, and there’s that little moment where Robin entrusts Marian to Will. *sniffff* And Guy came back! I think that was his best moment in the whole series. (That, or when he pleaded for Meg’s life.) I could watch this episode over and over just for the character dynamics.
“Treasure of the Nation”
Things are fast coming to a head, as evidenced by this episode. I believe that by this point in the season, Carter has returned to the king and told him of the Black Knights, and Lardner has also reached the king, which is why Richard sends Robin the message (by way of the AWESOME Legrand) and gets him to take Queen Eleanor to safety. Plus, there’s the whole thing with the Guy discovering the true identity of the Nightwatchman (all the scenes back at the castle are super tense, even now, when I’ve watched this episode three or four times). I know I’ve basically said this about every episode thus far, but this one is incredibly well-crafted. I’m still working though all the reasons why Guy let Marian off the hook – he’s probably the most complex character on the show, and I love that.
“A Good Day To Die” & “We Are Robin Hood” (again, a two-parter)
The problem with these episodes is that they’re so good. If it was only fair or mediocre or whatever, they would be much easier to hate and much easier to avoid watching. But there’s a bunch of good plot stuff (which I’ll get to in a minute) and it gets ruined by the last ten minutes of the finale, unfortunately… For one, the whole Kalila thing, with everyone confessing something, something big and important and usually tear-jerking, like Will and Djaq’s love for each other (especially since they both believe they’ll be dead in a matter of hours), Littlejohn and his family, Much’s hurt feelings, and Robin’s PTSD. I know that some fans think those scenes are out of character, but HELLO, they all think they’re going to die so why not spill some secrets? And moving on from there, the other highlight in the first part is Allan’s return. Go Allan! And the battle with the mercenaries is neat. AND I always gets chills when Robin says “I’m coming, my love”. Feeeeeels.
Moving on to part two, I have to say that the switch in location from England to Acre is one of my favorite parts in this episode – it’s well done, different, and intriguingly exotic. (Bassam’s house is beautiful.) I think they did an excellent job casting King Richard, who’s something of a jerk, both in the show and in real life. (My brother, Ezra, is studying British history in school right now and he often entertains us with tidbits about the Crusades and such.) Also, this episode features the return of Carter! *fangirls all over the place* If anything, he’s more epic here than he was in “Get Carter!” and I will never, ever forgive the writers of this show for not giving him some kind of death scene. I guess they thought that with Marian dying, no one would really remember Carter, but I’ve found that he’s about the most popular minor character in the fandom. So there, writers. And speaking of Marian’s death…my heart breaks every time I think of it, especially since it happened in Season 1 as well. It’s tearjerking in the extreme. And the final “We are Robin Hood!” felt hollow (there was none of the joy and triumph of the Season 1 finale), especially considering Robin’s attitude in the next episode.
“Something Worth Fighting For” (Parts 1 & 2)
Yes, I’m skipping all of Season 3 and ending the post with the season finale. Because even though the last few episodes – “A Dangerous Deal”, “Bad Blood”, and “The Enemy of My Enemy” – almost redeem the wretchedness that is every other episode, there’s still too much Kate and too much third season weirdness for me to get excited about any episodes other than the last two. Again, even though the finale is gut-wrenching, these episodes are the closest Season 3 comes to re-capturing the spirit of Robin Hood. The sheriff is the villain once again, everyone bands together to defend Nottingham, and the gang is very much at the forefront of the plot which is wonderful in some ways and tragic in others. The new characters (new to Season 3, not these episodes in particular) do very well in their parts (except Kate, who shall forever be one of my least favorite fictional characters ever). I’d forgotten how much of Archer’s screen time is him trying to kill/trap Robin, but he pulls a Han Solo and comes back to save the day and they managed to accomplish his character change in a remarkably short amount of time, and in a believable way.
There are way too many emotions in these two episodes and way too many deaths. Allan’s is the one that gets to me the most, I think, because he died alone and friendless and believing that everyone thought he was a traitor. I CAN’T EVEN. But Robin’s is a close second. I mean, I’ve stuck with these characters through the good times and bad for almost forty episodes, and now only Littlejohn and Much are left, of the original gang (I know Will and Djaq are still alive – hopefully – but they aren’t HERE). The first time I watched the finale I was sobbing by the end, and it hasn’t got much better since. (Seeing Marian again after thirteen episodes of Kate was like a breath of fresh air, though.) The series doesn’t even end on a high note! Stupid King Richard got himself captured and nothing is going right. *sob* I just wish that they’d kept more people alive and had some spark of hope (more than just “we are the spirit of Robin Hood and we’re going to keep fighting”) to end the series with. It’s needlessly depressing, in my opinion.
Depressing like the end of this post, I guess. I really don’t have anything uplifting to say right now, except that I still love the show, the characters, and I’ll be watching some happier episodes from Season 2 if you need me.
NEVER FORGET THE OUTLAWS.