Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sinbad, Season 1, Episode 10

 Tiger now appears to be a permanent member of the crew – and not only that but has injected some sense in getting them an actual paying job rather than relying on coin falling from the sky or whatever they were doing before. They are being paid a lot of money to transport a professor and her cargo – which looks like a giant egg. Rina is suspicious, partly because the job is overpaid and partly because she and Tiger seem to have taken a dislike to each other.

The professor is more than a little smug and sets out to make poor Anwar feel inadequate in his scholarship, but he strikes back showing he can guess some things about her vessel prompting her to tell the rest – it contains paradise, eradicated diseases, no mutation – human essence stored in the shell. Anwar is doubtful – even hostile – but she is sure the vessel will fertilise the abandoned Tyre island and create a new Eden

Anwar and Rina indulge in some mutual sulking, Anwar because the professor is smarter than her and Rina because the professor demands decent service having paid over the odds for the travel. But she is smugly happy she knows something that the professor doesn’t – Tyre island isn’t abandoned, it’s inhabited (there’s a prison there). Anwar passes this on to the professor who is busy injecting her giant egg-thing and she gets rather perturbed.

From which she gets even more unreasonable, demanding her egg be washed constantly in cold water and insulting Cook’s cooking (who spends the rest of the episode complaining about fussy eaters). But she takes the time to ingratiate herself with Anwar, asking his discretion and revealing she has a deal with the island’s extremely reclusive people – and that their being reclusive is what makes it such an ideal place to test her egg. That egg also cracks and eats a fly – then reseals the crack again, which is faintly ominous.

All the ingratiation in the world doesn’t stop Anwar falling asleep when it’s his turn to wash the egg – and when they wake up the next morning, it has broken open and eaten all their supplies. When they find it – it’s a giant snake and bites Gunnar. They lock it underground and run up to have an argument with the professor – with her furious that they ruined her experiment (but happy that it is so well developed) and them less than pleased by the giant demon snake

The professor tries a new lie on Anwar – the serpent was created to destroy the infestation of plague rodents on Tyre (because a BIG snake will still hunt rats rather than, say, something bigger) and it’s unstable and dangerous because it hatched early – which she blames on Anwar. While the crew wants to kill it, she wants to protect it. She and Anwar go hunting in the dark for it – and she locks him down in the hold with the snake. Sinbad rushes to save Anwar but when he’s free the professor grabs him and holds a knife to his throat, forcing everyone back.

She has Cook open the hatch to throw Anwar in – because it needs to feed. Unfortunately, her taking the time for the sinister whispering meant she stood a little too long with her back to the hatch and the snake grabs her. See, this is the problem with dramatic villains. Anwar and Sinbad, being the Wet lettuce he is, doesn’t point and laugh, but they help her and pull her free – minus and arm

Consulting her notes, Anwar discovers she is working with a rogue professor from the Imperial college who thought compassion was a weakness and a giant snake would return to eat the “weak” of every species. For this, he was banished from the college, rather unsurprisingly. I mean, harsh tutors fair enough, but feeding the weak to an evil snake is a bit much.

Realising the snake is going to destroy the ship, Sinbad announces they have to leave – and they all pack up and start to flee the ship. Except Cook, who refuses to leave. They have a dramatic talk about destiny but Cook refuses to abandon ship. Gunnar, Anwar, Rina and Sinbad won’t abandon him.

So, new plan – batten down the hatches, survive the night on deck then, when the sun rises, go do some snake killing. Except it batters the ship all night (screeching for some reason) and the ship may be sunk by dawn. New plan #2! Put some human bait in a cage and when the snake sticks it’s head out, lop it off.

The professor decides to intervene by throwing herself down an unsecured hatch (why was there an unsecured hatch?) and sacrifice herself to the snake. To buy them more time? Maybe not – the more the snake eats, the bigger and stronger it gets. Sinbad heads to the bait cage but finds that Tiger is already there – because she’s good with animals?

Why? Because of her mind numbingly awful back story. Her father wanted a son so left her out on a ridge to die – but the Tigers found her first and rather than eating the tasty tasty newborn, they helped her. Tiger grew up among Tigers. Good gods give me strength. Anyway, being brought up by vegan, pacifist tigers or tasting REALLY bad or whatever, apparently makes her ideal for taming giant demon snakes.

Anyway, she’s lowered into the ship in the giant cage (should I even ASK why this ship conveniently has a giant metal cage lying around?) and when the snake grabs the cage they’ll pull her up. And what does she do? She gets out the cage! Yes, of course she does. She finds the snake, screams and runs up to the surface after boarding it up in the lower hull. Well, that was useful. And because of something she saw (don’t ask me, I didn’t see it) they conclude that the professor merged the creature with herself giving it strength and intelligence. In the name of science she was creating a super powerful intelligent snake – being a Mad Scientist means never having to explain oneself (kind of like being a writer for Sinbad).

Anyway, from one logic leap to another – if Professor has merged her life with the snake or put part of herself in the snake, then the snake has gained her nut allergy – which Cook has inferred based on how much of a picky eater the Professor was (we will, for the time being, leave the idea of a snake with a  nut allergy, transferring allergies to a reptile or even that the Professor’s nut allergy would have dealt with the Cook’s mixed kitchen anyway).

So time to fight the snake in knee deep water (so it can move around undetected – but it doesn’t just bite people’s legs, instead it pulls Anwar around a bit) and shoot it with crossbow bolts covered in peanut butter (the only have 3 shots for dramatic tension reasons) and of course they get it with the last shot.

Aftermath time – Tiger and Sinbad flirt and Tiger reveals that she may know of a place where he can get a map to the Land of the Dead.

I think it’s perfectly reasonable for someone to resent Tiger’s sudden inclusion in the crew (I certainly resent her replacing Nala) – but why oh why does it have to be Rina? Who also resents the professor with seemingly little reason? Why do we have to have this trope of all women hating each other all the time? The professor ratchets up the unreasonable demands later – insulting Cook and annoying Gunnar, but it’s Rina who has the hate on first sight reaction

I’m not even touching the raised by tigers thing. Or the sailing to the land of the dead and everyone being cool with that. I am curious about Cook though – looking back, while everyone else goes to shore, has he ever left the ship?