Episode #12 - An In-Depth Review

"Underground"
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!"

[Character Spotlight on Asmodeus] "When I say Cluny is bad, you notice I didn't say Cluny is evil. He can be evil, mainly he's bad. But, if you look in Redwall, as a story, the pure evil... then look no further than Asssmodeussss.... Asssmodeusssss... Asmodeus is the adder. The giant snake! The cold embodiment of evil. And Asmodeus doesn't worry where he gets his prey from. It could be from the goodies or from the baddies, he doesn't care. If he sees something that he wants [points to a small dog next to him] like a little tiny dog with a red jacket... Asmodeus would eat him! Instantly! That is pure evil."

[ASK THE AUTHOR Segment] "Who or what inspired you to write this book?"

"Nothing inspired me. I've always been a writer. I always loved to write, I could always express myself in writing, and I can always tell a good story. I was the best little liar in our streets when I was a kid. Yeah. [laughs] And, eh, I loved to read and I found that I could write. Now, lots of people can be a writer. It's the same as like I would have always loved to be able to be a great musician. Now, I would never be a great musician. I could become a musician and I could become a pretty good musician, but I'd never be a great one. Y'see? Writing is my talent, and certain people have certain talents. You have a talent. You have it, yeah, you. You have a talent and if you use it properly, you can go anywhere and you can do anything. You can become the greatest at whatever you do! If that talent is for music, for writing, for art, for dancing, for math... OW!... even for math! Yeah. If you have a talent, you can become the greatest at it if you don't squander that talent, if you use it!"

SUMMARY OF NEW FOOTAGE

The opening tapestry shots are: 1) Matthias (with the sword) and Log-A-Log running through the caverns; 2) Matthias holding the sword over his head while it shines; and 3) Matthias holding Asmodeus at swordpoint.

The first scene of the episode is Killconey escorting some of his spies into the vermin camp. He runs into Fangburn, then Cluny shows up. Killconey reports that Matthias has gone to retrieve the sword of Martin the Warrior from Asmodeus' lair.

In the quarry, Matthias and the GUOSIM explore Asmodeus' lair trying to find a way out. They continue going around in circles, eventually stumbling into a graveyard of sorts. The GUOSIM believe Martin's sword is magic, however, and tell Matthias to use it's power to get them out. Matthias spins the sword on the ground and they follow the path it points to. Reaching a dead-end, Matthias furiously begins hacking away at the stone until the rocks crumble away to reveal an exit into the quarry. As the GUOSIM cheer, Matthias points out that they have unfinished business... with Captain Snow.

At his camp, Cluny orders Fangburn and Killconey to prepare the troops to march on Redwall. Unnoticed in the trees, Warbeak takes flight to warn Matthias.

At Redwall, in the kitchens, Cornflower laments to Silent Sam that Matthias has been gone too long and she wishes she knew he was alright. Sam mimes out climbing to the attic. Cornflower laughs that that's a great idea and they leave the kitchens. When they reach the room with the trapdoor to the attic, there's no ladder to reach it. Improvising, Sam directs Cornflower to create a makeshift ladder with chairs, stools, etc. Cornflower comments that it might be hard to climb, so Sam scrambles up to show her it's no problem.

After Warbeak warns Matthias of Cluny's impending attack, he asks if any of the shrews know of a shortcut back to Redwall. Log-A-Log and the rest begin arguing until a young shrewmaid raises her hand and says she knows a shortcut. Log-A-Log warns Matthias that the shrewmaid is known to exaggerate, but Matthias places his trust in her and tells her to lead the way.

Back at Redwall, Sam yanks open the attic door and holds on, swinging with the door, until Cornflower grabs him. Together they enter the attic.

In Mossflower, the shrewmaid leads Matthias and the GUOSIM to the river and tells them they have to travel down it on rafts. Log-A-Log argues that it can't be done, but Matthias tells them to try anyway. With a shout, Log-A-Log orders the GUOSIM to begin constructing rafts. In no time, they have four rafts built and are speeding downriver. As a roar begins growing louder and louder, Matthias asks if Log-A-Log has ever heard of a waterfall deep in Mossflower woods. Log-A-Log admits he's heard stories, but... Suddenly his eyes go wide and he orders the GUOSIM to paddle to the shores. They're too late, however, and go over the falls. They quickly recover and swim to shore. Once on solid ground, Log-A-Log begins chastising the shrewmaid, who looks thoroughly abashed, but then Matthias shouts out and points-- Redwall is within view! Smiling, the shrewmaid says she told them she knew a shortcut!

In the attics, Cornflower and Sam begin looking for a window. Moving aside some boards, they discover a door. Pulling it open, they find another room with, not only a window, but, Martin the Warrior's armor, as well! Hearing a noise, Cornflower and Sam move to the window to see Cluny and his army approaching the Abbey. Sam jumps up on the windowsill and points out Matthias and the GUOSIM advancing from the opposite direction. Cornflower exclaims that Matthias has Martin's sword! Noting that Matthias and Cluny are on a collision course, she tries shouting out a warning. Being too high, though, she turns and begins trying to light her lantern with some flint and tinder (during this time the sun is rapidly setting). Sam motions anxiously for her to hurry. Finally, she has a flame and jumps up with the lantern (wonderful music during this scene, BTW). She begins waving it right before Matthias and Cluny would have run into one another. Matthias sees it, hears Cluny, and orders the GUOSIM to hide. Still waving the lantern, Cornflower calls out Matthias' name and slowly it turns into Martin's voice calling. Cluny sees the lantern, as well. His attention, on the other hand, is drawn to the silouhette of Martin's armor behind Cornflower and Sam. His face goes completely ashen as he recalls his dreams of Martin. Screaming in terror, he turns and runs, his horde following close behind.

In Great Hall, in front of the tapestry, Matthias formally returns Martin's sword to the Abbey. He tells the Abbot, Constance, and Basil of Asmodeus' death and the help the GUOSIM provided. Cornflower says there's more as she and Sam walk up carrying Martin's armor. Matthias quickly dons it. Drawing his sword, he tells Cluny to do his worst, for they shall be victorious! He cries out, "REDWAAALLLLL!!!!!!" and is soon joined by everyone else.

The scene fades to the tapestry-shots: 1) Matthias holding Martin's sword aloft in a sea of skulls; 2) Matthias, Log-A-Log, and the shrewmaid falling over the waterfall on their raft; 3) Matthias pulling the shrews ashore; and 4) A very powerful shot of Matthias standing opposite Martin, each staring at the other. The camera pans above them both where the phrase "I AM THAT IS" is printed.


CHANGES FROM BOOK

- Cluny knows about Matthias and that Matthias went to get the sword. In the book, this connection was not made, nor expected.

- Matthias and the GUOSIM now have to search for a way out of Asmodeus' lair. In the book, they left the way they entered.

- Squire Julian's observations concerning the sword are left in, but Matthias is impatient during it and says he knows it all already. Disrespectful to the Squire and lessens the impact of the scene.

- Captain Snow swoops down and grabs Log-A-Log before Matthias can talk to him. Log-A-Log isn't eaten, but in the book Matthias and the Squire simply walked up to Snow. No shrew involved.

- Warbeak finds Matthias immediately after the Squire and Captain Snow walk off. In the book, it wasn't until the following morning that he met with Warbeak and the GUOSIM found her, not the other way around.

- Martin's armor is found in the series. It wasn't in the book.

- Matthias returns home to Redwall before Cluny's final attack. In the book, he didn't return until after Cluny had gained control of Redwall.


VOICE CRITIQUES

- There are no new voices to critique this week.


CRITIQUE

My thoughts on this episode can be summed up very nicely: Silent Sam appears!!!!!

Okay, so not exactly "summed up", but close. ;) Seeing that little squirrel appear and used so effectively was excellent! He was silent, he sucked his thumb most of the time, and he was pretty dibbun-ish. ;) It makes me even sorrier that his earlier scenes from the book weren't adapted because I'd have loved to give Sam some more screentime.

Everything else is peripheral. There are some great scenes, but Sam made the episode for me.

I don't really have any complaints about this episode, either. I enjoyed it all. This is your classic "build-up" episode and you can just tell they're moving towards the big finale in episode #13!

Kudos must be given to the great scenes I mentioned, so here's a run-down.

First, while changed slightly from the book, the scene where Squire Julian examines the sword was well done and the background music from that scene is easily one of my favorite pieces from the series. Quite honestly, it's the music that makes this scene good.

Next, there's Cornflower waving the lantern in front of Martin's armor. The music and the scene combined to make a dramatic and well-done product. From Cornflower's voice turning into Martin's, from the plume on Martin's helmet waving in the wind, from Cluny's flashback to his dreams, to his scream of terror as he runs away, everything was done exceptionally well.

Finally, we have the tapestry closing. I've made it no secret that these scenes are my favorite parts of the episodes, but this one deserves special note. I toss around the word "powerful" alot when describing these scenes. Believe me when I say it's true every single time, but maybe never moreso than it is now. Matthias and Martin standing side-by-side, same pose, staring at one another with "I Am That Is" over them, was a wonderful tribute to them both and the book, as well. Probably one of the greatest tapestry shots the series has produced!

This episode wasn't as good as last week's, but served to heighten the excitement of what is to come: the finale of Redwall!

See you next week!




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Matthias