Episode #11 - An In-Depth Review

"Asmodeus"
BJ QUOTES
[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 Redwall Music] "I have a love of music and I suppose people always have... they couldn't live without music! You'd imagine the sort of music there was before there were instruments? Yeah. We... we used to have a thing here, in Great Britain, especially in Ireland. It was mouth music. Mouth... people used to sit around and make music with their mouths. [sings] And you have all of these different shades and types of music. Now, the medieval music, a lot of that was Church music, because the monks were the ones who knew about music. They were the scholars. And so, we've had some wonderful medieval music composed for Redwall!"

[Character Spotlight on the GUOSIM] "The GUOSIM are little shrews, they're a river tribe, and they travel by boats, and they speak very nautical, and their leader is always called the 'Log-A-Log'. Y'know, like the boss of the moles Foremole? Well, the leader of the GUOSIM is always called 'Log-A-Log'. Because the original Log-A-Log used to paddle a great big log and that was his call. He used to go, 'Logalogalogalogalogalogalogalog!'"

[ASK THE AUTHOR Segment] "Have you ever tried any of the foods that's in Redwall?"

"I have, as a matter of fact. Especially traveling in America, I've had several 'Redwall Feasts' done for me. But, I remember one time, in New York State, at my editor's house, and they had a party for the young people from the office. And I actually tried, and made, the mole dish 'deeper'n'ever turnip'n'tater'n'beetroot pie. Bo, urr, aye! And it were grand, I can tell 'ee! Arrarr!'"

SUMMARY OF NEW FOOTAGE

The episode opens with some new tapestry-shots: 1) Rats digging a tunnel with pick-axes under the watchful eye of Cluny and a captain; 2) Warbeak getting shot in the wing with an arrow; 3) Rats caught in the tunnel flood; and 4) Sparra's flying around Asmodeus while Matthias watches.

In Great Hall, Matthias discusses with Constance how to find Asmodeus.

In Cluny's camp, the horde is getting restless and squabbles amongst themselves. Determined to capture Redwall, Cluny orders his troops to go out into Mossflower and recruit fresh-beasts with which to strengthen their numbers-- whether they like it or not. He tells them to travel at night, using the shadows as cover.

In Redwall, Matthias and Constance pore over archives looking for a map of the quarry. Constance tells Matthias to leave after dark, skirting Cluny's camp by hiding in the shadows. Later that evening, Cornflower gives Matthias a pack of provisions in front of the tapestry. Basil, Constance, and Abbot Mortimer walk up to wish him well. Basil comments that he wishes he could go with Matthias, but Matthias makes him promise to guard the Abbey. Then, Matthias turns to leave. Watching him go, Mortimer turns to the tapestry and asks for Martin to watch over Matthias-- their only hope for the Abbey.

In the woods, Matthias sees a vermin patrol out recruiting. Following them a ways, he stumbles upon the GUOSIM and events pick up where they left off in episode #7, with Matthias asking for their help locating Asmodeus' lair.

Assorted scenes are shown of Cluny's troops (Darkclaw and Fangburn, specifically) bringing in new recruits. Fangburn is especially rewarded. Warbeak observes that Cluny is recruiting more beasts and flies off to warn Matthias.

With the changes to the GUOSIM chain-of-events (see the Changes section), there's some new footage. The remaining GUOSIM cross the river on a raft and stumble upon the entrance to Asmodeus' lair. As they lower themselves down, Warbeak finds them and asks where Matthias is. A shrew tells her he's down below and to wait here. He climbs down, but then the rock falls, covering the entrance. In the underground lair, the last shrew notes that they're trapped, then they hear Asmodeus. They race to Matthias' aid, grabbing and biting Asmodeus' tail while the Warriormouse finishes the snake off.

There is a final scene with Cluny as he proclaims to his new army that Redwall's downfall is at hand.

In the underground lair, after Asmodeus is dead, the shrews inform Matthias of Warbeak's message. They also point out they're now trapped underground. Boldly, Matthias says they'll find a way and paraphrases Martin's message: "My strength is in the sword! My strength is in you! Strike for me, shrew warriors! Strike for Redwall!"

The scene fades into the tapestry-closing. Only two shots this time, both very well done. The first is of Matthias holding the sword as Asmodeus coils around him. The second is of Matthias, standing triumphantly with Martin's sword over Asmodeus' remains (which is actually more graphic than the actual animated scene).


CHANGES FROM BOOK

- Darkclaw is still alive. In the book, he was killed during the tunnel attack (having the boiling water dumped on him... which, oddly enough, was included last week. It must have been lukewarm, instead. ;)

- It's Mingo who speaks on Matthias' behalf at the GUOSIM meeting, not Log-A-Log (who, despite my earlier assumptions to the contrary, has not been introduced yet. He will be later).

- Matthias tries crossing the river alone while the shrews bicker. He's washed back ashore and then sets up a makeshift camp. He awakes to find the GUOSIM have joined him and then they call Log-A-Log. In the book, the GUOSIM were with Matthias by the time he reached the river and Log-A-Log fetched the boats right away. The makeshift camp join-up was in the book, just not at the riverbank.

- The Black Stone makes it's visual appearance, although no explanation or verbal mention of it is included. Still, it's a nice gesture.

- Mingo demonstrates the "Logalogalogalog!" call, not Guosim.

- Log-A-Log says he can only take three on his boat. The three are Matthias, Guosim, and Mingo. The rest are required to build a raft and follow. In the book, everyone went across the river at once.

- Mingo is killed by Asmodeus while he's tying up the boat, not while watching for the snake with Guosim.

- The quarry is not nearly as big, nor as desolate, as I'd imagined. It's surrounded by grassland and trees.

- Matthias, Log-A-Log, and Guosim never go into the quarry. Guosim sits on a stone, Log-A-Log on the other end, it tips dropping Log-A-Log first (instead of Gusoim) into the hole. Guosim slides after him and Matthias dives in after her. In the book, not only did they enter the quarry, Gusoim slipped into a hole alone and Matthias and Log-A-Log followed her.

- Matthias and Log-A-Log fall into one of the underground lakes. They didn't in the book.

- Matthias and Log-A-Log's split-up never occurs. They stay together until they find Asmodeus.

- Matthias finding the shed skin of Asmodeus is removed.

- As Matthias and Log-A-Log never split up, they found Guosim together and Asmodeus' wakening is changed. In the book, Matthias retrieved the sword and got away, but then Log-A-Log's scream at finding Guosim awoke Asmodeus. In the series, Matthias gets to the passages behind the snake, leaving Log-A-Log in front. The snake now awakes for no reason and moves to strike Log-A-Log. Matthias stabs him in the tail and then the chase continues close to the way it was in the book.

- Matthias hits Log-A-Log with the flat of the sword to snap him out of the trance. In the book, he stuck the sword in the ground and shook him.

- Matthias is never pulled back into the smaller cave by Log-A-Log.

- Martin's ghostly message to Matthias was changed from "I am that is! Matthias, why do you sleep! There is a warrior's work to be done here! Pick up your sword, Matthias! The evil one shall not have it. Strike out for me now, my brave young champion!" to "Strike, Am That Is! My strength is within the sword! My strength is within you! Strike for me, brave warrior! Strike for Redwall!"

- The GUOSIM shrews now distract Asmodeus while Matthias finishes him off. Matthias screams out, "I Am That Is!" as he delivers the final blow.


VOICE CRITIQUES

Log-A-Log - Okay. The original character I picked as Log-A-Log was not, in fact, Log-A-Log. ;) That said, their voices were very similar. This Log-A-Log just didn't have as thick of a Russian accent. A pretty good job, but I still dislike the gypsy feel the GUOSIM have.


CRITIQUE

After waiting for some sort of plot-progression last week, we not only get it, we get it in excess.

Matthias leaves the Abbey, reaches the quarry, finds the sword, and kills Asmodeus. Not bad for twenty minutes, eh? Excellent pacing for the rest of the series and it can easily be spread out over two remaining episodes.

You want the nitpicks, right? Well, guess what? I only have two. ;) The first is Darkclaw being alive. He was killed in the tunnel scene in the book, the scene where he died was kept in the series... so why is he still walking around? That's a small nitpick, though. Obviously, the animators didn't want to go through the trouble of using a new character at this late stage, so they kept ol' Darkclaw. I can't really fault them for that.

The second is that, with the line-change for Martin, coupled with previous statements, they're making Martin's sword magical. That's not what's it's intended to be. The "magic", as it were, comes from the warrior, not the weapon. I strongly hope that they left Squire Julian's observations about the sword in. That message needs to be driven home.

Now, as for the rest, I have no complaints, whatsoever. Each of the changes was done with respect and stayed true to the original source. Mingo still died. So did Guosim. Asmodeus still had his head chopped off. Matthias got the sword. This is how the changes should be done, if they need to be done at all. This was easily the best episode of the series, so far. Nice job from start to finish.

And the closing tapestry shots-- powerful. ;)

The climax has begun. Let's see how it plays out. See you next week.




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Matthias