Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sinbad: Season 1, Episode 11

 We begin with an old man running along a night shrouded path trying to carry an armload of documents until a wolfy-type thingy leaps on him. I’m assuming that’s not a good thing. We also have a woman, Lara, and her son being helped considerably by an Priest and she seems more than a little perturbed by his solicitous charity.

And Sinbad and co have arrived in Malta, looking for a map to the Land of the Dead - someone please at least question this dangerous quest. Aha, Gunnar is questioning whether any such map exists – something Tiger objects to (she apparently knows the map maker, Brother Angelico… presumably some details have been retconned – I mean, added, since last week). Even if it exists, Gunnar think it’s a bad idea to go since the living probably shouldn’t wander around the Land of the Dead. Also, Gunnar, as a Viking who has killed a great many people doesn’t especially want to go visit either. He also has trading to do – actual trade, for money, at least someone is watching the purse strings.

Sinbad, Tiger, Rina and Anwar enquire after Brother Angelico in a tavern – except the tavern is for islanders only (good business practice there) and he tells them that brother Angelico is old, infirm and doesn’t leave the monastery. He’s dying.

Sinbad, being a gentle and kind soul, understands that Tiger must be sad about her friend’s death and, after 2 seconds of respect for that, focuses again on his map. They’re interrupted by everyone suddenly locking up their houses – and monks running around painting red lines on the doors. Hey, can I get some monks in to do the redecorating?

Gunnar goes to deliver the silk to Lara; her husband, the tailor has died recently leaving her unable to pay – he gives the silks as a gift. She invites him to dinner and he is all adorable with her son – but also sees giant scratches on the wall of her house, like claws. He fixes a window, sets the fire and engages in some gentle flirting. When it’s time to leave, an odd wind starts up and she begs him to stay. She fears a Fiend that apparently travels on the wind

The priest is being strangely creepy – for a start a mysterious woman who I shall pretend, for 5 seconds, isn’t Taryn since I think the show’s trying to save that as a surprise, has been called in to help Brother Angelico. He finds papers on the path dropped by the old man who was running at the beginning of the episode – he seems to find them annoying and screws them up and throws them away, looking more angry and menacing. He goes to see Lara and seems less than pleased to see Gunnar through the window being all cutesy with Lara. The priest and his men burst into the room and one of them bashes Gunnar over the head.

Sinbad and his friends are hurried into the tavern by the tavern keeper who explains that everyone is hiding from the Zalok Fiend. (Well he explains after Sinbad roughs him up a bit – which seems rather unnecessary and uncalled for for someone who called you in to safety). Apparently the wind carries a spirit that can possess people and turn them into a monstrous killer – Islanders are strong enough to resist but visitors are at risk, so he says anyway. He doesn’t say more because Lara bursts into the room looking for Sinbad.

Gunnar has been kidnapped and is due to be tried for being the Fiend  - time for a rescue, with Tiger going to find the map – eeerrr, see her dying friend.  He recognises her and Tiger speaks of herself as his pupil. She asks after the map and he says there’s no map or chart – but she can see, by moonlight

In the trial, Gunnar is accused of being the Fiend and to prove it they point out he gave a wolf necklace to Lara’s son. And point out he had one of Lara’s handkerchiefs (which she gave to him to clean ash from his face) and no new widow would ever do something so wanton – it’s proof he’s a Fiend. To protect Lara, Gunnar claims he stole it. The Priest won’t hear any of it and condemns him to die. Sinbad rushes in and negotiates a stay of execution until nightfall – when Gunnar is supposed to transform – if Sinbad can find the real Fiend by then, Gunnar is cleared, or Sinbad dies as well. Love that criminal justice system.

Time to harass the poor tavern keeper again (what did this guy do) and shout down Anwar who thinks that this might not have been the best bet in the whole world and go Fiend hunting, following trails of hair where it killed the Harbour Master (the old guy running for safety in the beginning). Tiger also tells Sinbad there is no map and becomes all apologetic and comforting – Sinbad pouts a bit but finally accepts he needs to focus on the living.

Taryn, (oh, wait, let me pretend to be surprised. OH MY GODS IT’S TARYN!) is also after the map (why? Who knows) but Angelico recognises her for who she is and refuses – bye bye Angelico.

Rina and Anwar do their own investigation of the Harbour master’s death and find, through his meticulous notes, that just before each death from the Fiend, a shipment of aconitum (a herb – wolfsbane) arrived. And they believed the Priest was the next victim (oh good). They go to warn him (why?)  But on the way they hear the landlord of the tavern drop a bowl and go to check on him – just as Tiger and Sinbad also track the Fiend’s trail there. They find wolfsbane in the drink, irresistible to the Fiend, it’s being used to draw him out. At this point, in case you still haven’t put 2 and 2 together, the landlord turns into some kind of viney werewolf and goes haring off to eat Gunnar, the world’s not-sharpest-detectives on his trail.

The Priest imprisons Lara and her son in his monastery for “protection”. Gunnar and Lara do more flirting – but we also learn some more of Gunnar’s past – he lost his family when people took them in revenge for his raiding days. As night falls, he and his guards lead Gunnar off for execution. Being Gunnar and an awesome fighter, he easily fights off both guards – but Lara’s son sees him and declares that he is a monster – which causes Gunnar to collapse in total wet-lettuce fashion.

The Priest decides to lampshade his obvious attraction for Lara to which she concludes he controls the beast (as far as Sinbad goes that’s not too great a leap of logic) and that she wants nothing more to do with him. Further, as Gunnar as being taken to execution, she speaks up for him, pointing out it’s dark and Gunnar hasn’t transformed and that she gave him her handkerchief.  Her impassioned plea does little – the beast showing up to eat Gunnar, however, causes everyone to scatter.

Gunnar throws a double handed executioner axe at the fiend to distract it (see, he can be awesome) while they all run for the building. Epic chase scene follows until they reach a dead end and Tiger realises the coat Gunnar is wearing is covered in wolfsbane – attracting the wereplantwolf. Quickly they strip him of it and throw it out the window. Thankfully, despite wearing it for some time, the scent has magically not transferred to Gunnar’s normal clothes and the fiend ignores them all to leap out the window – onto the Priest who just happens to be passing. Hey, as far as Sinbad plot lines go, this one’s as solid as a rock.

They discuss with the Tavern keeper ways to control himself during wolfy times (big cages are the cure), Tiger gets to say a tearful goodbye to her friend and mentor – and sees that there is a map to the Land of the Dead that can only be seen by moonlight on the floor of the gardens (you’d think someone would have noticed! What with it being there every night) – she turns with glee and runs into Taryn.

Sinbad goes to see Tiger, she gasps and nearly collapses but tells Sinbad she’s seen the map – then faints. Gunnar kisses Lara and Anwar and Sinbad hurry Tiger back to the ship. They prepare to go to the Land of the Dead – but Gunnar joins them, he won’t let them go without him. They leave Tiger alone to rest – but when she checks a mirror, it is Taryn who looks back. She’s been possessed.

The only thing I really have extra to note on this episode is that I do like Gunnar as a character despite, or because, of his Wet Lettuceness. It makes him a complex character, haunted by his guilt despite his combat abilities.