Horatio Hornblower

Season 2 Episode 2


Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Mar 25, 2001 on ITV

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

Write A Review
out of 10
21 votes
  • Horatio on trial

    The premise for this episode is from a small passage in the book that covers the trial, which is stretched over two hours. The story presented in “Mutiny” and “Retribution” could easily have been done in one episode and some of the other material in “Mr. Lieutenant Hornblower” could have been used for another stand-alone episode. Instead we have a somewhat forced cliffhanger with the story continuing, mostly in flashbacks, from the previous episode.

    In this segment of the story, however, we see Bush fitting into Horatio’s world more. While he is a senior officer, and more experienced, he recognizes Hornblower’s ability to think on his feet and to improvise in difficult situations.

    The characters of Styles and Matthews are expanded in these two episodes as well. Matthews is now Boatswain and Styles is his mate. While these characters are only mentioned briefly in one book, the inclusion of them in the movies helps the continuity and they reflect the admiration of many of the crewmen for Hornblower.
  • The second part of the Mutiny/Retribution mini-series is a both action-packed and a tear-jeerker as we say goodbye to a close friend

    The rollicking action and drama of the Mutiny episode left us at the point where no one is telling who pushed Captain Sawyer down the hole. While 4th Lt Kennedy and 2nd Lt. Bush convalesce in the prison hospital with serious wounds, 3rd Lt. Hornblower and 1st Lt. Buckland sit in court recounting (through flashbacks) the events surrounding the alledged mutiny and following battle that, while a success, left Captain Sawyer and others dead.

    Who was in command? Was it the dithering Buckland, who was so easy to manipulate he even took Horatio's actions to help as a threat to his command, or was it really the 3rd Lt. who had gained the friendship of the by-the-book Lt. Bush.

    David Warner again plays his part to such brilliance that at first you wonder if the others can reach the bar he has raised so high. I'm happy to say they do.

    Ioan Gruffudd in both of these episodes is wonderfully three-dimentional as both a modest man and great leader. Paul McGann plays the part of Lt. William Bush with many layers, showing one can be incredibly disciplined and still a hearty adventurous spirit. Jamie Bamber's Archie Kennedy finally has grown into a real mad while the Nicholas Jones's Buckland makes you feel pity for being a Lt. at his advanced age, annoyed at his inability to command, and angry when he takes the helpful Hornblower as a threat.

    The action is thrilling and the pathos a bit melodramatic at times, but it still seems to fit for the most part. Even when Sawyer finally gives the midshipman he tortured his due, it could have come off as soft, but instead it feels right.

    A great adventure to be sure.