Episode #10 - An In-Depth Review
"A Favour Returned"
[From the Introduction] "Hello! I'm Brian Jacques and welcome to Redwall!" [Matthias/Cornflower footage is shown] "Sit back and enjoy the excitement on today's episode of Redwall!"
[When asked about Catapults] "A very good weapon, in the old days, would be a ballista. A ballista. Do you know what a ballista is? It's only a fancy name for a very, very early catapult. Yeah. This was an arm and a lever, and it was held down and they put a huge rock on it and then they'd cut the rope and away it would go. The arm would fling the rock. You can imagine what a valuable weapon that would be to an enemy who wanted to smash through a stone wall or a huge wooden door. You could shoot rocks at it, couldn't you? Shoot rocks and shoot rocks at it, until, in the end, it gave way and broke. It was a fearsome weapon in those days."
[Character Spotlight on Foremole] "Now, you've seen a mole, haven't you? Little dark, velvety, furry creatures, with their little black noses, little button eyes and the huge digging claws on their little hands. They look like little hands! Now, each tribe of moles has a boss. Like a foreman. But, instead of a foreman, he's a Foremole! And, they've got very good sense of humor, the moles, and they've got very good logic and very good sense and 'They'm all talk'n loike that, bo urr aye, zurr!'"
[ASK THE AUTHOR Segment] "Where you're from is there any place that reminds you of Redwall?"
"Not exactly. I was brought up in the inner city. But, I could go out to the country and there were many places like Redwall. And, where I am now, the city I'm in, Liverpool, it's only 30 minutes drive, really, from North Wales. And North Wales is a place rich in castles and abbeys, old buildings, and I've been around there and looked at them. And also, this place, where we are now, this place is called Speak Hall and it's a very ancient home. And this is actually in Liverpool. But, where I lived, I mean, just around the corner weren't castles and forests and everything like that, no. There were cobblestones and rows of houses, and docks and railways, factories and canals. But, in my imagination, I liked the idea of being able to live somewhere where it was peaceful, with castles, monasteries, forests, and streams. Beautiful land."
SUMMARY OF NEW FOOTAGE
The episode opens up with a tapestry-shot of Farlo and Glendul walking with their wagon by hidden rats; Farlo grabbing Cornflower; and Matthias cutting Cornflower off of the waterwheel.
The scene shifts to a dormouse camp. One of the dormice stirs and begins calling out for "Bango". As the dormouse looks for Bango, Asmodeus rises from some tall grass, eliciting a scream from the dormouse. Two other dormice at the camp rise just in time to see Asmodeus strike against the first dormouse.
The next morning, at Redwall, Matthias is once more setting out to find the quarry and Asmodeus. Cornflower stops to give him some food and wishes him well. Later, once Matthias enters Mossflower woods, he's knocked over by Warbeak who laughs that she got him. Warbeak goes on to tell him that the Sparra have spied on Cluny's horde from the sky and that he's planning on making a move that will capture the Abbey. One of Warbeak's Sparra's, Bigwing, joins them with the news that the rats noticed the Sparra spying on them and that they're digging fast. Alarmed, Matthias says he must tell Constance and runs back to Redwall.
Later, after Matthias has informed them of the rat's plan, Constance, Basil, Matthias, and Foremole walk across the Abbey lawn and have Foremole's mole crew sent down into the listening tunnels. After a quick "listen", Foremole pops up and points out the section of the wall he expects the rats to come up by. Basil, Constance, and Matthias then begin discussing the tactics Cluny might be using this time, questioning whether or not this is a main attack or another diversion. Matthias suggests sending three of their best watches to the lookouts. As Constance grunts in agreement, Warbeak and Bigwing begin chattering to one another in the tree. Matthias steps towards them and yells up to Warbeak that he can still understand them. He thanks her for the warning, but tells her they can't go back-- the rats will be watching for them this time. Warbeak scoffs that he's not "the boss" of her and she and Bigwing fly off towards the rat camp.
As Bigwing and Warbeak fly over the camp counting rats, the vermin begin firing arrows at them. Bigwing is grazed and knocked out of the sky, but recovers before hitting the ground. Warbeak is shot through the leg, though, and falls right into the middle of the camp. As Warbeak is awakened by the rats, Bigwing gasps and flies to tell the Redwallers. The rats demand to know what Warbeak told the Abbey, but Warbeak refuses to cooperate.
Bigwing reaches the Abbey and tells Matthias the entire horde is mobilizing and that they have Warbeak. As Bigwing is taken to the Infirmary, Constance says they can't split their forces to rescue Warbeak-- that's what Cluny wants. Cornflower agrees that they can't save Warbeak and Redwall-- there just aren't enough of them. Matthias glares off into the distance.
At the camp, Darkclaw menacingly tells Warbeak that if she doesn't answer them she'll be roasted as supper. Warbeak screams loudly, then Cluny walks out of his tent. The rats fall silent as he chastises Darkclaw. Walking over to Warbeak, Cluny begins laughing that it's only a bird. The rest of the horde joins in until Cluny glares at them. Darkclaw blurts out that she was spying on them. Cluny then orders that she be put to good use and pegged-down on "Poisontooth's Trail". He explains that either Redwall splits their forces to rescue her or the serpent comes-- either way, no loss for them.
At Redwall, Matthias resolves to go alone to rescue Warbeak, despite the warnings from both Constance and Cornflower. Basil runs up to report that there are rat sentries at the gates. With the rats at the gates, Matthias climbs down the wall on a rope in order to slip out unnoticed. As the other Redwallers prepare for the vermin attack, Bigwing takes flight despite having a bandaged wing.
As Matthias creeps along Poisontooth's Trail, a shrouded figure walks past him. Narrowing his eyes, Matthias identifies him as Cluny. Climbing into a tree, Matthias observes a group of rats marching and chanting, "Redwall, Redwall, Redwall must fall". Overhead, Dunwing and a group of Sparra fly in formation. Matthias exclaims that she'll lead him to Warbeak and follows.
Next, there's a short scene where Cluny orders Darkclaw and Fangburn into the tunnel.
Back on Poisontooth's Trail, Warbeak struggles with her bonds under the watchful eye of some rats, when glancing up, she notices Matthias perched on a tree branch. Before Matthias can do anything, the shrouded figure walks up and orders the vermin to come with him. The rats start to question him and he growls and points for them to leave. Believing the figure to be Cluny, Matthias nocks an arrow into his bow and fires just as the hood falls off revealing the figure to be none other than Basil. The arrow narrowly misses, flying between the hare's ears. Basil admonishes that Matthias needs more practice with his aim. He communicates to Matthias through hand movements that he'll take care of the guards while Matthias frees Warbeak. Before Matthias finishes climbing down out of the tree, Asmodeus arrives. Warbeak begins screaming frantically that her father was killed by the snake and now he'll get her, too. Matthias calls out to her as he nocks another arrow. Warbeak screams that the weapon will do no good against Asmodeus. Nevertheless, Matthias fires..... and severs the ropes holding Warbeak. In a flash, Dunwing and her Sparra swoop down and grab Warbeak, right as Asmodeus arrives. The snake tries to grab them, but the Sparras swiftly fly out of his range. Unnoticed in the tree, Matthias watches Asmodeus' departure and observes that he's "huge".
Returning to Redwall, Matthias is met by Basil on the battlements. At this point, the tunnel attack is well underway. They observe Fangburn (see the Changes section) running across the Abbey grounds towards the gate. They begin running towards the gate, but Basil curses that they'll never make it in time. As Fangburn tries to open the gate, though, Warbeak and the Sparra swoop down and attack him. They lift him up over the Abbey wall and drop him. Screaming, Cluny strides up and kicks Fangburn (who isn't dead, despite the fall). Basil and Matthias laugh at Cluny while Basil barks out some commands in his Cluny voice. Matthias tells him his impression is very good and Basil dismisses it as just one of his many talents. "Should've been an actor, doncha know?" Warbeak swoops down long enough for she and Matthias to exchange their thanks.
Matthias and Basil join Constance and Cornflower at the remains of the tunnel. Constance reports that they just barely managed to get them all. Matthias states that Cluny is more successful each time and asks how much longer they can go on like this. Basil suggests they fix up the Abbey, so they'll be ready for whatever comes next. As Basil and Constance walk off, Matthias tells Cornflower that he saw Asmodeus. He describes the snake for her, then asks how he's supposed to defeat him? Cornflower reassures him that everyone here believes in him and that he'll find a way. As she walks off, the wind blows around Matthias as the ghostly voice of Martin whispers, "Matthias...." Matthias looks ahead and says, "Martin, the time has come. I must find the sword or Redwall will fall."
The scene fades to a view of Great Hall and the tapestry. It slowly closes in on Martin... the sword gleams, then the episode ends.
CHANGES FROM BOOK
- In a move back towards accuracy, Cluny's rats once more try to tunnel under Redwall. This was originally done in the series back in episode #3. This time, it's accurate, complete with the moles staking off where the tunnel is. It's still rather "been there, done that", but this is still worth mentioning.
- The Solitary Beaver, who helped Constance tip the cauldron of water in the book, is absent. The cauldron isn't even tipped by Constance this time. Just two unnamed mice.
- Fangburn and a few rats get out of the tunnel before Darkclaw pops up and has the water dumped on him. In the book, Darkclaw was the first and had the water dumped on him immediately.
- There are no new voices to critique this week.
Not much has changed from last week. They're still using far too much original footage for my tastes. The only thing from the book in this episode was the tunnel attack, and even it's impact was lessened by the fact that it was done in the TV series back in episode #3.
Warbeak was rather annoying this episode and I feel that the series is using her far too much.
Beyond that, this was a solid episode that was, at the very least, enjoyable. The tapestry scenes used in the beginning were even better than last week's closing. And, despite the lack of a closing shot, the focus on Martin was very well done, especially with the sword gleaming at the end.
Cluny's dream changed (finally) to being haunted by the skeletons of his dead captains and running into Martin, which was good. Stock footage can get old really fast. One point I have complaints about is that Redtooth is now counted among the dead. In the book, he was killed by Constance after she met with Sela. That sequence was removed from the TV series due to other changes being made. Instead, Redtooth faded into the background. He was shown in episode #8 as one of the plotters with Cheesethief. Then, he just vanishes and is now referred to as dead. Do I mind him dying? Not a bit. He wasn't one of the more interesting vermin. But, to have it happen as just an insignificant line, mentioned in passing, is cheap. Not the way I would have handled it.
Anyway, there are three episodes left of "Redwall". Matthias still hasn't left for the quarry and the timeline from the book is so messed up I'm having trouble keeping everything straight in these reviews. ;) Scenes from the end jump to the beginning and vice versa. It's a continuity mess. Of course, only a continuity mess to one who's read the book. Those watching the series alone won't notice anything amiss. So, you have to give the people responsible for the adaptation credit for keeping things in the saga flowing.
See you next time.
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