Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sinbad, Season 1, Episode 5

With Team Evil, Lord Akbari and Taryn are still using their wiles to try and find Sinbad. And, between her sight and his throwing people off rooftops, they may have found him.

Sinbad and co are sat in a nice little place, drinking bad booze, sharing stories and laughing other Anwar’s terrified attempt to get a tattoo from Rina, when Anwar see’s Basran guards moving through the town showing pictures of Sinbad to people. Sinbad loses his temper and wants to fight them but Gunnar brings the common sense to the discussion and points out they’ll all be killed – even if they want Sinbad alive, his companions are fair game.

Time for a cunning plan. A distraction as both Rina and Nala pretend to fight over Anwar, allowing Sinbad to sneak away. Anwar, Nala and Rina are to sneak on the ship and sail it round the cape where they can pick up Sinbad and Gunnar. That’s the plan but it doesn’t go well, with Basran guards and Taryn on the Providence, capturing Anwar, Rina, Nala and Cook. Taryn threatens to kill his friends right there unless Anwar tells them everything – and he does, spilling about Sinbad and Gunnar going to the Cape and that Sinbad is cursed.

Taryn uses Sinbad’s hair, herself and some salt to create a salt monster, a hunter that Cook identifies as old, dark magic, and sends it out hunting Sinbad.

It doesn’t go simply for Gunnar and Sinbad either, with Sinbad refusing to run and leading them to a patrol. Gunnar knocks him down easily but is furious with Sinbad for seeking a fight they could have avoided. This isn’t the first time Gunnar has shown himself averse to violence – and to have a powerful rage when pushed.

As they move through the city they’re followed by masked figures in red who, when they’re alone, leap on them and attack. After a nifty battle, they manage to knock out Sinbad and, finally, subdue Gunnar (who refuses to draw his sword).

Sinbad wakes with Gunnar missing and follows his trail (I assume. Or psychically knows where he is) to a castle on a hill, inside which lots of the red clad masked people are practicing martial arts and one of them, a guy without a mask, reveals they’ve been hunting Gunnar for a while. The man is called Obsidian (shouldn’t he wear black?) and the men are the Kaimar and their job is to be world police, protect the innocent, punish the lawless (hey, Akbari’s over there guys).

They do a mind meld thing with Gunnar who protests that he’s just a farmer. At the end of it, Gunnar says he was a Valsguard, soldiers, raiding Vikings who left carnage in their wake. They sentence him to die by the sword. Because his people see honour in dying in combat, they offer him the chance to die in combat – but Gunnar refuses, he doesn’t want to draw his sword in his own defence.

This is when Sinbad steps in for dramatic speeches. Where he is defeated with a trite Aesop about how anger defeated Sinbad (just as Gunnar said – anger bad kiddies, this is the moral this week! Ignore the history of the berserkers, ‘kay?) And the salt monster arrives. The Kaimar tell Sinbad to run since it’s after him – which he does, and Gunnar runs after, the Kaimar letting him go to honourably help his friend (since he promises to return and be stabbed like a good boy).

On the ship, Rina uses her thief skills to free them from their bonds and the cage (mocking Anwar for his physical ineptitude) and they subdue one of the guards (rather clumsily). Preying on the guard’s fear of Taryn’s magic, they manage to distract and subdue 2 more on the ship while she is still in a trance and communing with her salt monster. They wake her up – but Taryn has bad news, the salt monster was only meant to bring Sinbad back. Without her controlling it, it will kill him. She tries to get it back, but fails.

Sinbad runs into the Basran guards, including the leader who was so contemptuous of Taryn’s magic. Then Salty arrives (too much salt is bad for you folks!) and knocks them all down, Sinbad is only saved because Gunnar takes off its head. But Salty just reforms again. Gunnar tells Sinbad to stop fighting, that his anger is feeding it and anger is bad ‘kay?

Sinbad closes his eyes, drops his sword, finds his inner peace – and Salty tears him into teeny, tiny pieces. Hah, no, that’s only what should have happened. Because he finds piece, Salty dissolves in the face of his tranquillity. And, of course, Obsidian (gods that name! Seriously, the guy could at least wear black. Couldn’t they call him Garnet or something?) decides that Gunnar has redeemed himself – and even tries to recruit him (they need lots and lots and lots of recruits to be world police, after all). But Gunnar isn’t ready to leave his friends yet.

On the ship they’re all reunited and Taryn is tied up and she tells them all that they’re marked as fugitives and that Akbari is going to hunt them down. Sinbad starts to respond in anger, but that would be against the theme of the show. Instead he tells her that the blood debt was paid with the death of Sinbad’s brother, that they’re done and he decides to let her go. Yes, he decides to let go of the sorceress capable of summoning murderous salt demons so she can go back to helping the man who wants them all dead. This is where “letting things go” is mixed up with “no concept of self-defence”. Apparently when you let go of your anger, you also lose your common sense as well.

Taryn has a vision involving a ruined city and a blonde woman when she touches his hand – it stuns her and I assume will come up again later

Sinbad has a nice emotional conversation with Gunnar about redemption. And realises they can’t go to Baroq (Sp?) since they’ve been marked as fugitives.

Back at Team Evil, Akbari asks the guards to hunt down Sinbad’s family – and Taryn uses her powers to see that one of the guard’s is Sinbad’s friend who helped him leave the city. She tells this to Akbari (see, Sinbad? No good deed goes unpunished. You should have let Cook have her) who orders him to bring them Sinbad’s family.

If the Kaimar are hunting down any kind of raiding bands then, in this era? There better be a lot of them because there were no end of bandits, Vikings, raiders, mercenary bands, you name it. Especially if they’re going to spend apparently a vast amount of time and energy on one Viking.  It’s not a particularly solid concept, but I’ll stretch the suspension of disbelief.

But I won’t stretch to include this episodes ridiculously heavy handed “anger bad” moral. How does Gunnar know the salt monster feeds on anger? For all he knows it thrives on serenity and freaking tranquillity. But the show has a message to impart and it’s determined to carve it out no matter how shaky it makes the plot.