Episode #3 - An In-Depth Review

"Treachery"
BJ QUOTES
[From the Introduction] "Hello! I'm Brian Jacques and welcome to Redwall. When we left our Abbey friends last, Cluny had stolen the legendary tapestry of Martin the Warrior from Redwall. Will Matthias alone be able to retrieve it and find the hidden meaning? Who knows? Maybe Matthias will meet a helpful new friend. Watch this next episode of Redwall!"

[When asked about Coat of Arms] Do you know what a 'Coat of Arms' is? Well, you know the way we have a signature? Well, a coat of arms was a man's signature, or his family's signature. But, your coat of arms would apply to where you came from, y'see? Not a million miles from where we're sitting now there's a city called Chester and they have three little beehives, because that meant industry and work. So, if the people were hard workers they'd have beehives. If they were warriors they'd have a sword. Y'see, and that would stand for truth and justice and defending. So, you made up your family crest... that's what they used to call them, a family crest... of the things that meant a lot to you. It's nice to have something to identify yourself by, isn't it?

"Look at that! A crest! A crest! Let's see he's got, eh, is that a deer? A knight's head. A shield. And these are called lozenges. Lozenges, and... and sort of stripes, there. Who knows, it may have been a portcullus y'know, on the gates. Security, yeah. This is the resting place of Morecroft Kirke of Liverpool who was buried here in 1750-- is that a five?-- 1755. Morecroft's been dead a long time. But, he left his mark. He left his crest."

[Character Spotlight on Cluny] " 'The high, warm sun shone down on Cluny the Scourge. Cluny was coming! He was big, and tough; an evil rat with ragged fur and curved, jagged teeth. Truly enormous whiplike tail which had earned him a title: Cluny the Scourge!' "

"Y'see? Who is Cluny? Cluny is a bully. Cluny is a warlord, a conqueror. Cluny the Great, Cluny the Savage, Cluny the Scourge! And behind it all he's a coward! He's got to be backed up by this huge army. They've got to follow him everywhere. He gives the orders, he looks the part, but, behind it all, Cluny knows that, in the end, good will defeat evil!"

[ASK THE AUTHOR Segment] "Why don't we ever see human beings in Redwall?"

"Well, ask yourself this question: Do you want to see human beings in Redwall? I certainly don't."

SUMMARY OF NEW FOOTAGE

The episode opens with Methuselah "talking" to Cluny as he stands in front of where Martin's part of the tapestry was taken. He says that Cluny does not understand the magic of the tapestry and that it's power will surprise him.

Mortimer and Constance meet to discuss the plans brought to them by Sela and Chickenhound. Constance is convinced they're fake and pushes for a preemptive attack. Mortimer refuses and also points out that Sela and Chickenhound exposed themselves to great personal risk by bringing them the plans. Constance can't believe he's willing to accept their word.

Mortimer, Constance, Matthias, Cornflower, Basil, and Methuselah hold a council. Constance once again argues for a strike, but Mortimer tells them to concentrate on fortifying the gate. Constance says Sela and Chickenhound will do anything for money, then slaps herself and exclaims that she left them alone in the Great Hall. Methuselah says that he'll look in on them. Matthias says that he agrees with Mortimer that attacking is not the answer, but says they should be looking to find out what Cluny is really planning. Mortimer asks if that would satisfy Constance and she nods. As they leave, Foremole stands alone and kneels, sniffing the ground. He observes that someone is digging.

Methuselah enters Great Hall to find Sela stuffing plates and candlesticks into a sack. He tells her to stop and is hit over the head with a torch by Chickenhound. Sela asks if he's dead and Chickenhound shrugs, "Who cares?" They make a run for it and Matthias, walking by with Martin's shield and a stave, notices them. Matthias yells for the alarm to be sounded and charges at them. He hits Chickenhound in the chest with his stave, but, Sela throws the sack of plunder on him. They run, narrowly missing an army of sword-wielding, armor-wearing mice. Sela and Chickenhound run back into Great Hall. The mice follow, but Matthias is stopped by Mortimer and Cornflower. They tell him that Methuselah has been badly hurt, though not fatally. Foremole comes up, then, and tells them that someone is tunneling into Redwall. Matthias tells Mortimer to gather everyone immediately and tells Cornflower to get the porridge for breakfast.

While Matthias, Cornflower, Mortimer, and Basil visit Methuselah in the Infirmary, Constance comes in holding Sela. She asks what she should do with her. Mortimer says some sort of punishment would have to be dealt out. Basil suggests a severe punishment, then that they let her go and let Cluny deal with her. Sela pleads with them to not do that, but Constance tosses her out of the gate where Sela is immediately set-upon by Cluny's horde. Chickenhound then dives out of the empty porridge cauldron and crawls through the tunnel. Laughing and quite pleased with himself, he settles down against a tree where Asmodeus finds him.


CHANGES FROM BOOK

- Cluny finally starts having his nightmares of Martin.

- Cluny specifically asks for Sela and Chickenhound. They aren't suggested to him.

- "Redwall" is written on the stairs, not the walls beside them.

- Cornflower and Matthias join Methuselah at the tapestry together. Matthias hasn't been working with Methuselah yet. It is at this point Methuselah discovers the poem.

- Upon seeing "I-Am That Is", Cornflower starts playing a game by making new words with it's letters. She's the one to stumble upon "Am That Is"=Matthias.

- The poem has been shortened to "The Warrior sleeps 'twixt Hall and Cavern Hole, I-Am That Is take on my mighty role."

- Sela and Chickenhound take the actual plans, not a copy of them. They both go straight to Redwall, not just Chickenhound.

- The hollow stair has the "W" of Redwall engraved upon it.

- Cluny and his rats watch as Sela and Chickenhound enter Redwall. Cluny takes them aside and tells them to start digging a tunnel immediately.

- Cornflower goes with Matthias and Methuselah to Martin's tomb.

- The message above the tomb door was changed from "The same as the steps 'twixt the Hall, remember and look to the center. My password again is Redwall, Am that is, you alone are to enter." to "The same as the steps betwixt the Hall, Remember and look to the center of all."

- There are not nearly as many florin spikes as in the book. Only 9 that I can see.

- All three go into the tomb together.

- Cluny's tunnel is dug in one night.

- Instead of Matthias opening it in a semi-trance, Basil opens the door to the tomb to let Matthias & co. out.

- When the rats break through the ground, they look around, seeing the coast is clear, then look behind them to find Constance standing behind a big cauldron of hot porridge. The porridge takes the place of the boiling water and the Redwallers don't collapse the tunnel. The tunnel scene is also supposed to take place in Book 3: The Warrior, not this early.

- The tapestry ending for this episode shows Matthias in the tomb with Martin's shield, Sela and Chickenhound attacking Methuselah, then Chickenhound meeting Asmodeus.


VOICE CRITIQUES

Sela - There's nothing particularly bad about Sela's voice-- I just didn't think it fit the character. It came close, but not close enough. She didn't sound enough like a "magical healer" or a scheming vixen. For as short a performance as it was, however, I can live with it.

Chickenhound - Hmm. It'll be tough having this voice grow into Tim Curry's Slagar. It's alright, though. It lacks the slyness needed for a fox, especially Chickenhound.

Foremole - Just as an addition to my critique of Foremole from Episode #1, the actor has gotten a pretty good grasp of molespeak now. Still not as good as BJ in the role, but not bad.


CRITIQUE

Well, as this review has no doubt shown, this episode changed a great deal. I think it served as the wake-up call telling us that, while they're telling the story of Redwall, they're telling it their way, not ours. To borrow an analogy from GameArts-- there's this story and there are two different storytellers (in this case, Mr. Novel and Mr. TV). Mr. Novel takes time to unfold the story, carefully laying out the order of events and taking great relish in introducing us to the Abbey. Mr. TV is newer to telling stories and is excited to tell this one. He wants to tell it so much he sometimes forgets a small part, or he'll have a different take on a scene than Mr. Novel, but, at it's core, it's the same story. We just need to be aware of that fact and accept this as a retelling.

Of course, this would be a pretty boring review without nitpicks, wouldn't it? ;)

I'm glad that Cluny is finally having nightmares, but by introducing them now it makes it seem as if that tapestry triggered them. The tapestry was simply the means by which he identified the mouse from his nightmares. This will be the last time I bring this up, however, because it's done, I've said my piece about it and, well, there are other things to include in these reviews.

I was disappointed in the way Matthias and Methuselah (and Cornflower, I guess I should say) came about working together. It was more happenstance than anything else. An important aspect of Redwall was the Matthias/Methuselah partnership. The quest to find Martin's sword was their quest, not anyone elses. Cornflower occasionally helped, not always. I was sorry to see that abandoned. But, as I said earlier, this is simply Mr. TV's take on events. That will have to do as explanation for now (as well as explain why the poem behind the tapestry was shortened).

The last nitpick of notariety would be problems with the timeline. We just had the tunnel attack. Everyone remembers the tunnel attack, right? It was the precursor to the attack that had Cluny actually take over Redwall. It's from the end of the book. This is way too early for it. It was also a delicate operation that was supposed to take a long time to complete. Then, we have Methuselah's injury. I can overlook Sela being included in this, but again, this was too early. Methuselah's death is supposed to be a senseless tragedy caused by Chickenhound. It's to be done after Methuselah has helped Matthias all he can and Matthias is with the Sparra. Because of the timeline altering, the gatehouse scene has not even occurred yet and we've had the scene where Methuselah supposedly dies already. What happens? Methuselah doesn't die. He'll die later, after the riddle has been solved. It will lessen the impact of his death and probably one of the more pivitol moments of Matthias' emotional growth. It's a shame.

Did I say that was the last nitpick? Sorry. One more. In this episode we had a platoon of mice brandishing swords and wearing armor! Redwall did not have weapons of war. This is what motivated Matthias and Methuselah to look for Martin's sword in the first place!

Do you know what all of the above is, though? The rantings of a longtime fan. I would have liked an exact adaptation, but it's unrealistic to think we'd get one. Despite all that's changed, I'm still enjoying the time I spend watching (and rewatching) the episodes. The music is excellent and definitely one of the show's highpoints.

I also find myself looking forward to the end of the episode. Not because I want the ride over, but because of the tapestry scenes they show. Those scenes, coupled with the music, are full of personality and a spirit befitting Redwall. To the designer/animator and the music crew, a very big "kudos"!

See you next week.




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Matthias