A young man is taken by soldiers to become a soldier himself for Count de Waldern. His grandmother beseeches Maid Marian to help her get back her grandson. Maid Marian visit the Count to plead for the return of this young man, but the Count would only oblige if she would agree to having a dinner with him. Count de Waldern has been taken young men around the area for some time now so there must be a reason. If these young men are to be soldier then they must need armour, so off to the armoury Robin goes. The Armoury is working full tilt for the Count de Waldern for his domestic soldiers but for what purpose. Is it for the crusades or a revolt?
Checkmate is an episode where we see internal strife building within England. Maid Marian is sent to the Count to help a villager of her township. The Count is a smooth cat using the boy as ransom for the attendance of Maid Marian to dinner. This crafty ploy to get a beautiful woman to come to dinner works but not after Maid Marian devises her own plan against the Count. Paired with the Outlaws, they play a chess game against a man looking for a damsels hand and the armouries weapons and shields. His aspirations will have to wait as the Outlaws squash his plans.
Queen Eleanor is going around England getting funds to help the Crusades and King Richard the Lionheart. Prince John supporters wish to stop her from this fundraising effort so the Sheriff gets to work. His contribution to the Queen was only a rouse to get information on the sum of her fundraiser. Maid Marian calls for Robin to meet the Queen who tells Robin of the Sheriffs plan to alter the course she will take to escort the money to Richard. It is Robins responsibility to make sure the Sheriffs does not take away the money from the Queen but the Sheriff has a trick under his sleeve. Do not do what the enemy expects you to do is the mantra and the money must get to Richard the Lionheart.
Queen Eleanor is here in England seeking money to help the crusades and get King Richard back to England for good. A valiant effort that Robin Hood and the Outlaws would definitely go along with. Of course the Sheriff wants the opposite and will attempt to foil the plans of Queen Eleanor. The Outlaws always seem to know when there is a trap and act accordingly. This episode is further developing the scope of reasons why Robin Hood and the Outlaws are so important for England.
A Challenge has been made by the Sheriff and Sir Richard of the Lea, one that doesn’t challenge the two parties but does rile up formidable archers to defend their masters. The Sheriffs intentions are not just for his love of wagering but also to prove that his bowmen are better than the outlaws. Robin and the Outlaws are skeptical about coming out of the forest to compete for Sir Richard of the Lea, but Sir Richard assures Robin that he would receive immunity for the duration of the contest. Robin and Little John take on a pair of the Sheriff’s mercenaries to a battle of the bow. The Sheriff thought his plan would give him the wager and the Outlaw he so desperately seeks. His plans are foiled but so are Robins. Robin and Little John are under siege but can live in the luxury of the castle while the Sheriff is outside. If only Sir Richard wouldn’t mind.
Sir Richard of the Lea is a noble Lord but poor and unwise with his money. His wager against the Sheriff’s shows the innate response to a challenge of skills. This episode show the story of Robin’s interaction with the Sheriff and Sir Richard, both being people he would come in contact with a number of times. The trick the Sheriff setups for Robin Hood and Little John is a likely one but the outcome was one that no one could have perceived. Robin gets to be with Maid Marian, eat and be merry while Sir Richard and the Sheriff settled their differences. It’s good to be the outlaw.
Taxes are getting harder to nab from the villagers. One villager, Will Stukely, can not pay so he is arrested and sentenced to be hanged. Disguised as a Butcher, Robin Hood comes into the village to help Will escape but he will have to get into the castle first. Robin’s plan is to manipulate the Sheriff into letting the villager go free by tricking the sheriff into Sherwood Forest and then holding him for ransom.
The taxes are too damn high so of course many cannot pay it. This story of the poor villager would normally end in his death and historically speaking would have most likely but the plan Robin concocts will make sure he is let go with the highest form of ransom, the Sheriff himself. This episode shows the compassion Robin has for the villagers and also the clever ways he can have his way with the castle and guards. An easy episode with a good scene when Robin is selling his stolen slices of meat to the lady villagers.
A delivery of jewels and coins are taken by the Outlaws. When counting the loot, Robin Hood identifies the coins as belonging to a family that he once knew, of the knight William of Fitzwalter. The need for the family of Fitzwalter to send their jewels to Prince John for the taxes shows that even they are not so well off. Lady Marian of Fitzwalter seeks the help of the Sheriff of Nottingham to retrieve back the jewels that were stolen from her courier, so the Sheriff and Lady Marian devise a plan. Lady Marian infiltrates Sherwood Forest to help the Sheriff capture Robin Hood and his outlaws. Lady Marian is a smoother operator than the Sheriffs men but soon realizes that she may not be at odds with Robin Hood and the Outlaws. She will have to find a way to redeem herself before its too late to save an old childhood friend.
All the character introduction episodes are nearly done but now its time for Maid Marian’s. Her tenacity against the Sheriff and the Outlaws proves her to be a far more ballsy lady than what you could expect from a story of this time period. Bernadette O’Farrell comes in as the tireless crafty Maid Marian trying to seek out the Outlaws and retrieve what was hers and her family’s. Doing so she find an old friend and must assess his character and the character of his men. Maid Marian would continue to act as a strong female character throughout this series and does so with a beauty and charm not losing any bit of her femininity nor her honour.