Robin Hood

Season 1 Episode 10

Peace? Off!

Aired Saturday 7:30 PM Dec 09, 2006 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
92 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Robin saves an arsonist from burning Locksley Church and brings him back to the forest, the gang are reluctant to feel sympathy for him - until they realise who he is and where he's been.

Peace is on the table as an emissary from Saladin visits England to negotiate with Prince John, but instead the Sheriff attempts to hold him for ransom. When Robin discovers the plot, he makes plans for the ransom money - but what will he have to face to get it?moreless

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  • Stupid!

    Oh my goodness, where do I begin? With the absurdly racist portrayal of the assassins? The unfair implication that Christian Englishmen are superstitious idiots and Turks are enlightened geniuses? Or maybe the fact that nothing happened?

    First of all, I am severely disappointed in the portrayal of religion in 12th century England. So far, we've only seen one church (even though there should be one in every village) and two fake clergy, when there should be many real clergy wandering around. Whatever happened to Friar Tuck? And I highly doubt nobles were allowed to perform marriages.

    I do not disagree with the portrayal of Djaq/Safiya and Maalik - they are good representations of Turkish nobles. The trouble is, Turkish peasants were most likely just as superstitious as English peasants. Also, nobles were not immune from superstition. Robin's enlightened brand of logic has no place in the 12th century England.

    And the assassins' portrayal is just insulting. No Ottoman woman would have dressed like they did; women in the Ottoman Empire had the same roles as European women. Other than all of this, nothing happened in this episode. It was boring. A perfect waste of an hour.moreless
  • Interesting commentary on today's political situation. (but next time skip the modern camoflauge!)

    Usually the modern anachronisms annoy me (like the fact that one of the characters is literally wearing army CAMOFLAUGE and laceup black leather army boots!) (in fact at first I thought it was going to be a time-travel episode).

    However, I became more interested when the episode evolved into exploring the price our soldiers pay for combat (mentally, physically, emotionally, etc.) - showing a "shell-shocked" veteran suffering PTSD and the aftereffects of torture.

    It also pointed out the costs of war on BOTH sides.

    And the consequences of war on those who stay and think they are not directly affected.

    There are some allusion to the superstitions/ stereotypes held and fear of foreigners/the unknown..

    Showing a Muslim extending the hand of peace (he claims "Allah wills peace") during an armed conflict and that warring factions within his own country fight him. They've also previously shown that the English are just as divided on whether they want peace or prefer war.

    Also, the Sheriff is portrayed in a Cheney-esque manner as he muses "War is so much more profitable than peace". (I half expected talks of awarding contracts to rebuild the invaded country). In another coincidence - he himself evaded actual fighting (not only in not joining the crusade, but in having armed guards around him for protection) content to let others do it. And when drawn into fighting for his own survival complains "I hate this, this isn't much fun at all."

    _ the ululating female assassins while serving no social commentary were fairly amusing ...though of course probably as inaccurate as their skin showing bodysuits and back tattoos.moreless
  • War! And Peace? (Spoilers)

    ‘Peace? Off!’, a play on words for a particular insult, is an interesting mix of an episode, combining old superstitions and prejudices with an more enlightened and politically correct view. A man tries to set fire to a church and is rescued from the irate villagers by Robin. Back in Sherwood, Robin charges Much with looking after the man- whom he names Harold. As Much takes care of Harold, he discovers that the man is deeply traumatized and has been tortured in the Holy Lands. Meanwhile, when the Outlaws find a deserted wagon in the forest, they make a discovery that even has Little John terrified. And who is the Eastern stranger staying at Nottingham castle? Throw in a set of skilled assassins and you have a fairly entertaining story.

    Guest performances are quite strong. Rhys Meredith is good as the traumatized Harold, suffering what Much calls ‘Crusader Sickness’ but what we would probably term ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’. Tortured and turned against his own men, he is a man who believes he is a monster. Yet we build up sympathy with him through the scenes he has with Much, which are well played between the two men. In fact, following on from ‘A Thing Or Two About Loyalty’, I’ve actually grown to quite like Much as a character and Sam Troughton as an actor. Yet Harold comes into his own and redeems himself in fighting the assassins at the end. Raji James is also particularly good as Prince Malik, the stranger at the castle whom- despite what the Outlaws think- is not a conjuror of the black arts, but is an emissary from Saladin and the Holy Land who comes seeking peace. The moment when it is revealed he is a peace ambassador is very well done. However, the Sheriff’s nefarious plans involve Prince Malik as a hostage. But when the ransom comes, it comes with four very alluring females who- as Djaq realises- are Saladin’s personal assassination squad who have come not to rescue Malik but kill him and anyone helping him. The final scene where the Sheriff forms an uneasy alliance with the Outlaws in order to fight the assassins is nicely done.

    Apart from Much, the other Outlaws don’t have an awful lot to do, which is a shame. There is a nice blend in the script of old-time superstition, magic and dark powers (as the Outlaws, especially Little John, believe- funny to see) and the more enlightened approach- the mask that is found is not a satanic piece of evil, but an acupuncture mask. Misunderstandings and prejudices get finally put away as the characters begin to understand one another. That said, the sexy female assassin squad went a bit OTT- and the final battle was incredibly family-friendly with no blood or gore (despite four dead bodies!). One of the stronger episodes of the series, in my opinion.moreless
  • Saracen assasins straight out of the movies, a prince who wants peace and the Sheriff makes a hostage. The horrors of war played out in a man's mind.

    An odd episode with plenty going for it. Prince Malik has come to see Prince John and attempt to reach peace, but the Sheriff is holding him hostage without the Prince's knowledge. Meanwhile a man called Harold whose mind is ravaged by the horrors he witnessed and was part of in the Crusades is brought into Sherwood by Robin and given to Much to look after. I did enjoy this episode though I'm not sure why. Harold is superbly and believably played, a man completely broken by the evil acts he was forced to commit and his friendship with Much develops well and is seen to be healing as Much attempts to understand and not condemn him. Prince Malik, an unexpected voice for peace since he is Saladin's nephew, is also a colourful new character - though the Saracen assasin squad sent to deal with him look distinctly western and more like Charlie's Angels. The anti-war message is pushed again, demonstrating through Harold how badly it can affect those out there, and also through Much's admission that he too suffers dreams (perhaps like the ones that plague Robin?). I would have liked Harold to stay in Sherwood with the gang, but having him leave to find peace with Prince Malik is also a fitting ending. I am hoping that they both will return at some point, as it would be a pity not to see these well-written and acted characters again. The most fun bit for me was seeing for the first time the Sheriff involved in a sword fight, and fight side by side with Robin and his gang in order to stay alive. An unexpected and delightful touch.moreless
  • Both good and bad

    Ok, first the bad. I know they might be branching out a little, but why on earth was Charlie\'s Angels in 12th century Britain? Seriously, very worrying to watch. I may have taken it seriously (after all, who says that assasination squads couldn\'t have been composed of women), if it were not for the matching turquoise leotards. That just pushed it over the edge of ridiculous.

    Now for the good. Quite a lot of it, actually. I loved the storyline with Harold, particularly the scenes with Much (his character really IS developing!), which were quite heart-rending. I also loved the scenes with Allan, John and Will, who are really getting more interesting by the minute. Especially the finding-the-wagon scene, which was quite interesting.

    Can\'t wait for the next installment.moreless
Anjali Jay

Anjali Jay

Djaq (Episodes 5+)

Gordon Kennedy

Gordon Kennedy

Little John

Harry Lloyd

Harry Lloyd

Will Scarlett

Joe Armstrong

Joe Armstrong


Jonas Armstrong

Jonas Armstrong

Robin Hood

Keith Allen

Keith Allen

Vasney, Sheriff of Nottingham

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Goof: When Allan sees the mask, he crosses himself - with the wrong hand. Roman Catholics (which is the church all English belonged to until the sixteenth century) cross themselves with their right hand, not their left, which Allan did.

    • In a curious anachronism, the veteran of the war in the Holy Land wears modern US Army desert camouflage trousers throughout the episode.

    • When Robin sees Marian's new horse, he asks her if the Night Watchman has been 'dipping into profits'. It was established Marian was the Night Watchman in 'Who Shot The Sheriff?'

  • QUOTES (22)

    • Sheriff: (when drawn into fighting) I hate this, this isn't much fun at all.

    • Prince Malik: Allah wills peace.

    • Sheriff of Nottingham: (to Prince Malik) We have a saying in this country. All work and no play, that's what the poor do.

    • Much: It's amazing what a few well-placed needles can do.
      Robin: I don't think it was just the needles, Much. You understood him. You gave him hope
      Much: I didn't do anything. I just listened to him
      Robin: Well, maybe that's the real magic. Listening.
      (Robin walks off, whistling)
      Much: Why don't you listen to me more then, Master? (Robin doesn't answer him) Master!
      Robin: What, sorry? Sorry, did you say something?
      Much: Unbelievable. You talk to me about listening and then you don't listen!
      Robin: Pardon?
      Much: You talk to me about listening… (Robin smiles) Very funny. Very funny.

    • (Harold offers to travel with Prince Malik back to the Holy Land)
      Much: You're going to go back there?
      Harold: No true peace in here (touches the side of his head) until there's peace out there.
      Robin: I'm afraid your hopes for peace may be in vain.
      Prince Malik: Not so. Think about it, my friend. Saladin sends his finest soldiers to kill me, yet I survive. It is the will of Allah. Allah wills peace. Saladin may be ruthless but he is also a good Muslim and even he must follow the will of Allah.

    • Sheriff of Nottingham: (after allying himself with Robin against Saladin's assassins) Locksley, remember… business as usual tomorrow.
      Robin: I look forward to it.

    • Prince Malik: Enough excuses! We must start the peace negotiations tonight. Every day that passes, more innocent lives are lost!
      Sheriff of Nottingham: Yardy-yardy-yar.
      Prince Malik: I warn you, Sheriff, I have heard aspersions cast on your honesty.
      Sheriff of Nottingham: Aspersions? Surely not!
      Prince Malik: Now I insist. We start the talks today or I travel to London and find Prince John myself
      Sheriff of Nottingham: You see, Gisborne, this is what you have to look forward to. Already, he's starting to sound like a wife.
      Prince Malik: How dare you insult me!
      Sheriff of Nottingham: Two words. Peace? Off! Throw him in the dungeon.

    • Harold: If I'm to be destroyed, let it be a soldier's death, not an invalid's.
      Much: It doesn't have to be either. Your mind, it can heal, in time. I saw the horrors, and sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, but I'm still…
      Harold: You just saw them. I did them. See these? (Much opens Harold's shirt to find his chest covered in markings) They captured me, tormented me, tortured me until I killed my own, killed innocents. Killing was the only thing numbed the pain. I'm a monster. I'm going to hell.
      Much: Who's they? Who did this to you?
      Harold: Pray you never meet them.

    • Robin: My friends would like to know about this mask.
      Prince Malik: What have you done to it? I cannot present it now!
      Much: That's a gift?
      Prince Malik: It was. A peace offering.
      Allan A Dale: Peace? Let's stick needles in his head, see how he likes it.
      Prince Malik: This is what happens when cousins marry. This is a model for teaching. Needles placed correctly on parts of the body can cure all sorts of ailments
      Allan A Dale: Sounds like dodgy magic to me
      Prince Malik: This is science, not magic.
      Will Scarlett: What, so you're a physician, then?
      Robin: You see, John, a physician. That's all.
      Prince Malik: I'm not physician. I'm an ambassador. This gift for Prince John is a gift of healing, to celebrate our new peace treaty.
      Robin: Prince John wants peace?
      Prince Malik: I want peace. The Holy Lands are drenched in blood. Thousands of men die, on both sides. This is not the will of Allah. It is the duty of all good men to put an end to this barbarity. So I come to negotiate with Prince John and the Sheriff.

    • Harold: You must get the dreams.
      Much: Of course. It's our punishment.

    • (Harold wakes up inside a cage)
      Much: Don't worry. It's for your own protection. Well, ours really.
      Harold: What did I do this time?
      Much: Well, let's just say you… ruined the kebabs.
      Harold: You don't have to lie to me.
      Much: You tried to kill Djaq because she is a Saracen. Which, if I may say, is odd considering five minutes ago, you were going to burn down a Christian church. I mean, come on, make your mind up.
      Harold: The Saracen! Beware the Saracen!
      Much: Harold…
      Harold: The Saracen destroys everything, in your mind.
      Much: Listen to me. Apart from being a girl, Djaq is one of the lads. Alright? (pause) Do you know when it's going to happen, these turns?
      Harold: Anything can start it. I'm watching a child fishing in the stream, and suddenly I'm looking in the water…
      Much: The water's full of bodies, drowned and left to rot.

    • Marian: Some men take pleasure in giving women gifts.
      Robin: This is a lot of gift and, tell me, was it a lot of pleasure? And how were you thinking of reciprocating?
      Marian: Maybe you'd find out if you gave me a gift. As it is, you only come out of the woodwork to ask me for favours. Like now.

    • (Little John is unnerved by the mask)
      Robin: You're not serious? The biggest man in Sherwood, jumping at shadows.
      Little John: Not shadows. The Devil!

    • Allan A Dale: And another thing, my cousin definitely saw a man turn into a frog. He did, just outside of Dorchester.
      Will Scarlett: I thought you said he was always drunk, your cousin.
      Allan A Dale: Well, he is but still…
      Robin: Another mouth for dinner. (he shows Much the mask; Much yells and jumps away) Not you as well!
      Much: What is that?
      Robin: Put it this way, I would not like to be on the receiving end of this.
      Much: It looks like it's for torture
      Allan A Dale: Whatever it is, that is not Christian. (Robin fiddles with the mask) Don't do that! You might cause plagues of locusts, rivers of blood.
      Robin: What? Our friends are convinced a master of the dark arts is at the castle, someone from the East to scare us, a bogeyman under the bed. Come on! Look, it's working already

    • Guy of Gisborne: Marian and I have had a disagreement, that's all. I had hoped…
      Sheriff of Nottingham: Hope? I would rather be dead than spend my life hoping. 'I hope for this', 'I hope for that'. Buy her something. A trinket or two.

    • (Much hesitates to care for Harold)
      Robin: Well, you looked after me all these years.
      Allan-A-Dale: Yeah, but… he's a menace
      Much: Yes. (pause; to Allan) Do you know, I think that's the first time we've agreed on something.

    • Robin: It's strange. He fought like a Crusader back in Locksley.
      Will Scarlett: Yeah, the wrong side by the looks of him.
      Robin: No, he definitely went out with King Richard. He's beyond sides now. War has turned his mind.
      Much: Crusader Sickness.
      Robin: And there'll be thousands more like him while the war drags on. He needs care.

    • Much: So, Master, forgive me, but you found him trying to burn a church, yet you save him and not the church.
      Robin: Because I could not fit the church on my horse.

    • (As the villagers try to drown Harold, Robin rides into the village to save him)
      Villager: It's the Devil! Come to save his own!
      Robin: The Devil couldn't make it, you'll have to deal with me instead.

    • Sheriff of Nottingham: War is so much more profitable than peace

    • Allan-a-Dale War in the Holy Land is 2,000 miles away, it's not our problem!
      Robin Hood No, Allan, you're wrong. War is here, it's right here in the forest.

    • Guy of Gisborne: Marian is not the type to be bought.
      Sheriff of Nottingham: Nonsense, all women can be bought.

  • NOTES (1)


    • Allan is worried that Robin will unleash 'plagues of locusts, rivers of blood' by messing around with the mask. These are two of the ten plagues visited upon the people of Egypt when the Pharoah would not free the Israelites, according to the Old Testament book of Exodus.