Robin Hood: Season Three (DVD)
The legend continues... With new allies and old enemies, Robin Hood returns for a third series full of thrilling adventures as Robin and his gang continue to outwit the dastardly Sheriff and his forces. As the series begins, the outlaws are in disarray. Marian is dead and Robin has split up the gang and launched a solo mission to avenge her and kill Gisborne. It is only the intervention of the mysterious Tuck that stops Robin joining Marian in an early grave. Which is bad news for Gisbourne and the Sheriff. Under pressure from Prince John, they must take down Robin Hood once and for all. When the prince, tired of their ineffectualness and bad leadership, arrives in Nottingham to reprimand the Sheriff and Gisbourne, it becomes clear that there is only room forone sidekick at his table,but which one?
"This ends here," proclaims Robin Hood in the explosive season finale to this royally entertaining BBC series. A very potent Robin Hood drinking game could be devised for whenever Robin (Jonas Armstrong), Guy of Gisborne (Richard Armitage), or the poisonous Sheriff of Nottingham (Keith Allen) utter words to that effect. So many times throughout the series' three seasons each has had the chance to kill one of the others but has not, or has been presumed dead, only to return. So we can sympathize with Prince John's skeptical emissary, who remarks in the season 3 opener, "Haven't we been here before?" when Gisborne claims to have killed Robin. But these final episodes are not the same olde same olde. Following the devastating murder of Marion at the end of season 2, they up the emotional ante as "a battle so huge" (for the future of England) comes down to the important few. This includes Isabella (Lara Pulver), Gisborne's no-less-treacherous sister (who knew?). Other new characters are welcome additions to Robin's band. They include Brother Tuck (David Harewood), a spiritual warrior who restores Robin's shaken sense of purpose, and Kate (Joanne Froggatt), a fiercely skilled villager out to avenge the murder of her brother at Gisborne's hand. As the season unfolds, there are surprising alliances and bitter betrayals in Robin's tireless fight against injustice and cruelty. The writing may be less inspired than previously (there is some feverish backstory revisionism concerning Robin and Gisborne), but the ensemble continues to do heroic work. A discful of special features scores a bull's-eye with a half-hour featurette on the making of season 3; a short segment about the creation of the trebuchet, a medieval catapult, which figures prominently in the two-part finale; entertaining profiles of the season's new characters; and two days-in-the-life of cast members Pulver and Clive Standen, who portrays Archer. --Donald Liebenson