Episode #5 - An In-Depth Review

"Cluny's Clowns"
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 Food] "Grayling ala Redwall... Otters' shrimp 'n Hotroot Soup... Moles' Deeper 'n Ever Turnip 'n Tater 'n Beetroot Pie... Jellies, cakes, plums, puddings, trifles, sauces, creames! There are all kinds of foods to eat at Redwall Abbey! Just think: Do we live to eat or do we eat to live? We can do both and enjoy it!

So, when I decided to write my stories, I thought "I'll write plenty of food in", because food's nice! And food has become as much part of the Redwall adventure as the quests and the battles and the adventures. The food is there, it's there for us all to enjoy!"

[Character Spotlight on Constance] "Now, Constance the badger... she's like the big mother of all the Abbey! Big booming voice! She takes all the little ones to her. She's gentle, she's protective! But, you see her when Cluny comes to their Abbey and starts making demands of her. She's a big badger. She picks up a huge table and roars at him "Get out of this Abbey!" Cluny turns and runs."

[ASK THE AUTHOR Segment] "How did you come up with the great riddles in Redwall and did anyone help you?"

"I like word puzzles. I like riddles. I write lots of them, I invent lots of them, and I do them in magazines. So, making riddles, as well as solving riddles, is something that I enjoy, too... It wasn't any real problem. I'm a riddler! [chuckles]"

SUMMARY OF NEW FOOTAGE

The episode opens with a shot of the Abbey, followed by two tapestry shots: one of Constance holding the shield that reflects the moonlight to the weathervane; the second of Matthias, holding Martin's scabbard, wrestling with Bull Sparra. The scene fades to Constance, Basil, Cornflower, and an unnamed mousemaid gathered around Methuselah's bed in the Infirmary. Constance states that the Abbot thought they shouldn't tell Matthias about him. Cornflower agrees, saying Matthias loves Methuselah very much.

Out in Mossflower, two moles are sawing parts of a fallen tree when a caravan of circus performers arrives on the road. The moles ask a squirrel on stilts where they're going and the squirrel replies, "Redwall Abbey, my friend." and gives them a flier. As the caravan moves on, two rats (Redtooth and another) hop on the back of a wagon, right next to a treasure chest. The moles gasp and dive behind their pile of logs. One of the moles exclaims, "Boi eck, Cluny's still about!" Cutting the ropes binding the chest to the wagon, Redtooth and the other rat carry it into Mossflower.

Back at Redwall, Matthias and Basil are preparing a catapult to use in defense of the Abbey. They load the catapult with stones as Basil laughs that this will give Cluny a shock. They look out into Mossflower, wondering what Cluny's up to. At that moment, Cornflower and Constance arrive with refreshments. Cornflower asks Matthias where he got the idea for a catapult and he tells her he saw a picture in one of Methuselah's books. He says he's sure Methuselah would love to see it and asks where he is. Constance and Basil exchange glances and she replies quickly that he's resting. Cornflower then notices that the kerchief she gave Matthias is resting on the battlement. She chides Matthias, saying he's supposed to wear it all the time. He protests that he didn't want it to get dirty while they worked. Cornflower chuckles that he's courageous and considerate. Constance reminds Cornflower there are other mouths to feed and they leave. Yawning, Matthias sits down and falls asleep. He begins dreaming of five swords/daggers flying through the sky. Four land in the ground on either side of him while Cluny laughs. Matthias' hand shoots out and catches the fifth. He suddenly awakes, then searches the sky for any sign of the dream-daggers. He tells Basil of his dream when they notice the circus wagons setting up camp outside Redwall. Suddenly, Cornflower's kerchief is snatched by the wind and begins drifting to the ground. Matthias exclaims that Cornflower will never forgive him when a dagger, much like the ones in his dream, comes whizzing through the air and pins the kerchief to the gates. Basil lowers Matthias to the ground in a basket and he meets the knife-thrower-- a mousemaid dressed in red named "Wild Ivy". Retrieving the kerchief, he notes that the dagger is like the ones from his dream. He thanks Ivy for saving his "colors". She brushes him aside, then asks if Redwall is a real Abbey "with an Abbot an' everything?". She asks if he could get her inside to look around, reminding him that she did save his "hanky". He protests that it's not a handkerchief, it's his warrior's colors. She laughs and asks if he'd introduce her to the Abbot. Before he can respond she asks for his name. When he tells her "Matthias" she replies that she had a dream about a Matthias, once. Of course, she adds, she comes from a very psychic family. She offers to teach him how to throw daggers like she does in return. As she walks around the wagon, however, she stops and exclaims that her trunk is missing. Matthias inspects the rope and declares it was Cluny. Ivy asks, "Who?", so Matthias explains how Cluny is laying siege to Redwall. He tells her they'll have to move the circus inside the Abbey to protect them all from the vermin. Ivy readily agrees to the idea, wishing to see the inside of the Abbey.

In the vermin camp, Redtooth and the other rat are presenting their chest to Cluny. They exaggerate how they had to fight 50 or so beasts in order to win it for him. Standard vermin stuff. "Treasure for you", they tell Cluny. Cluny responds "And promotions for you" as he breaks the lock with his tail. He looks inside then kicks the chest on top of them. At that moment, an owl from the circus troupe swoops down and drops a flier in front of Cluny. He grabs the flier, reads, then growls as he looks off towards the direction of Redwall.

Back at Redwall, the two moles are telling Matthias and Ivy how they saw two rats take the chest. Matthias exclaims that he needs to tell Mortimer of this-- if Cluny's rats are so close they need to get ready. Ivy runs after him, reminding him that he promised to introduce her to the Abbot. Inside, Mortimer is meeting with Basil and Constance in front of the tapestry. Basil points out that Cluny may have enlisted some of the woodlanders in the circus to be spies. Constance agrees and says everyone coming in must be searched. Mortimer sighs, saying that it will be a great inconvenience to their friends. Constance replies that it only takes one to open the gate and let Cluny in. Mortimer relents and gives them permission to search the newcomers. As Basil is about to leave, Matthias and Ivy arrive. Matthias introduces her to everyone. Basil comments that work must be done before play and he's sorry he'll miss her show. Ivy gives him a free demonstration of knife-juggling, amazing everyone there. Sheathing her daggers, Ivy steps forward and looks at their plans, asking what they intend to do to protect everyone from Cluny. Constance and Basil exchange curious glances.

Back to the vermin, Cluny waves around the contents of the trunk-- clown costumes. Throwing two of the costumes at Redtooth and the other rat, Cluny informs them that they will be joining the circus.

Inside Redwall, the circus troupe sets up their performing area inside Great Hall. Matthias shows Ivy the space where Martin's part of the tapestry rested before Cluny stole it. Matthias explains how he has to get the tapestry back and find Martin's sword, as well. Ivy amusedly takes his hand and begins reading his palm. She lets out a gasp and tells him that they need to start his knife-lessons, because someone will die soon. Matthias' eyes widen and the scene fades to a target. Two knives strike dead-center and Matthias marvels at Ivy's skill. She gives Matthias a knife to try with-- it hits hilt first. As she hands him another to practice with, Cornflower watches suspiciously from the Abbey. She tells Basil and Constance, who are with her, that Ivy seems to be very good at throwing knives. Basil agrees and Constance points out that who she plans on throwing them at is in question. Outside, Matthias once more fails to stick his knife into the target. He sighs over his lack of progress, but Ivy tells him he'll need the knives-- that's why they were in his dream. Matthias asks how she knew of his dream and she reminds him she's psychic.

Elsewhere on the Abbey grounds the circus troupe is entering Redwall one-by-one, each being checked by an otter or a mole. Pushing through the crowd, Redtooth and the other rat (dressed as clowns) run into Redwall drawing laughs from the others. In the Infirmary, Methuselah suddenly sits up, calling for Matthias. Cornflower runs to his side as he tells that Matthias must beware, then falls back to the bed.

In Great Hall, the circus performance is underway. Trapeze artists, jugglers, tumblers.... all the standard circus performances. Sitting in the audience, Matthias asks Cornflower where Methuselah is, saying he thinks the old mouse would enjoy this. Before Cornflower can reply, Ivy walks up and takes Matthias, leading him over to a flat board. Walking back and blindfolding herself, she throws five knives at Matthias, outlining him perfectly. The crowd explodes into applause. As she walks off, Cluny's clowns (hence the episode title ;) come out and begin their performance. The clown (Redtooth) draws a dagger and advances towards Matthias. Matthias gasps, notices the tail, and shouts out that he's a rat. The Hall explodes into confusion and Redtooth points the dagger at Matthias' throat. He tells them all to open the gates. Mortimer yells for them to open the gates, as he asked. The other rat runs to the gates. Opening them, he waves a flag to the rest of the horde and Cluny begins to advance. In the Hall, Basil grabs a torch and throws it at Redtooth, pinning the rat's mask to the flat board and causing it, and Matthias, to fall backwards. At this time, Ivy returns to the Hall, shocked to see what's going on. Matthias grabs one of the daggers from the board, but before he can attack Redtooth Constance is upon the rat. Ivy tells Basil that was a good shot and he demands to know why she didn't spot the rats. Growling at him, she walks off. Without pause, Basil runs off to close the gates, just in time for Cluny's horde to run right into them. In the Infirmary, Methuselah once more cries out that an enemy is near to Matthias.

Later, Redtooth and the other rat are locked in a cellar with a mole standing guard outside. At that moment, Cornflower and another mousemaid come down with the prisoners meal. As they round the corner, they find the rats standing over the unconscious guard. They scream as Redtooth grabs them.

Outside, Matthias is walking along the battlements with Ivy, explaining the Redwaller's position. Ivy is outraged that they think she'd help this Cluny, especially after giving them all a free show. At that moment, Redtooth and the other rat (a pity he was never named ;) arrive on the ramparts, dragging Cornflower and the mousemaid behind them. Cornflower calls out to Matthias, who begins running towards them. Redtooth holds them over the wall and tells Matthias to open the gates or he'll drop them. Matthias turns to tell Ivy to run, but she's already gone. Unable to think about it at this time, Matthias tells two otters to open the gates. As the doors swing open, the circus troupe's wagons immediately file out. Ivy looks back at Matthias, who narrows his eyes. Still not wishing any bloodshed, he yells for Cluny to let the circus troupe pass. Growling, Cluny steps aside and commands his horde to do the same. Once they vanish over the hill, Cluny proclaims that Redwall is his and his armies advance. Down the path, however, the circus performers abandon their wagons, running back towards Redwall.

On the battlements, the other rat swings his sword at Matthias as Redtooth drops Cornflower and the mousemaid over the wall. Matthias leaps over the other rat, but he's too late to save them. Redtooth draws his blade, holding Matthias at knifepoint. Outside the Abbey, Cornflower and the mousemaid land safely in a net held by two of the circus squirrels (the stiltwalkers). Flaming arrows begin flying over the wall, one landing between Matthias and Redtooth. Grabbing the arrow, Matthias herds Redtooth away, back into the catapult. Grabbing the dagger, Matthias cuts the rope holding the catapult and sends Redtooth flying over the wall. The rats inside the Abbey are driven back outside and the gates are swung shut before Cluny and the rest of his army are able to gain entrance. Redtooth's partner, however, is still inside. Kicking Basil aside, he begins fighting a mole when Ivy and Cornflower leap through the fire on the back of the circus otter. Grabbing one of Ivy's daggers, Matthias throws it at the rat. True to form, the dagger hits hilt first, but, is successful in knocking the rat onto his back. In a flash, Constance sits on him and Matthias points the dagger at his throat. Then he hears Martin's voice once again, telling him that he will wield the sword. Understanding, Matthias tells Constance to let him go. Picking the rat up, Constance throws him to the ground and he's drug out by the circus otter. Matthias tells them to let it be known throughout Mossflower that Redwall spared his life. Picking up the dagger, Ivy comments that it's just as well Matthias never learned to throw it right. She explains that they were her father's and that he told her that if she ever hurt anyone with them, they would hurt her. She thanks Matthias for reminding her of that. She says she's proud to have met Matthias, then includes Cornflower, as well. Removing her coat, she gives it to Cornflower as a peace offering. Cornflower shakes her head, saying she couldn't, especially after suspecting her. Ivy insists, saying she'd be hurt if Cornflower refuses, claiming it's a circus tradition. Relenting, Cornflower hugs Ivy. Ivy gives Matthias a hug, saying that she envies Cornflower-- having a real warrior to carry her colors. Waving goodbye, the circus troupe leaves Redwall. Once outside the gate, Ivy turns around and tells Matthias to forget what she told him when she read his palm-- fate is what he decides to make it. She blows him a kiss, then leaves. As the gates swing closed, Abbot Mortimer walks up behind Matthias saying that he brings grave news.

In the Infirmary, Matthias kneels at Methuselah's bedside as the old recorder tells him how proud he is. A true warrior does not strike his enemy when he has fallen. He admits that Matthias has far to go, but he must trust in himself and follow his dreams. Tears streaming down his face, Matthias rests his head on Methuselah and tells him he loves him as the old mouse passes away.

The scene fades into the tapestry shots of the ending-- the first shot is of the Abbey with five daggers standing on the path. The second is of a wagon traveling down the road. Finally, the third is of Matthias standing at a freshly dug grave. It zooms in onto Matthias' face and the episode ends.


CHANGES FROM BOOK

- Technically, this entire episode is a change from the book. Entirely new, which is why it's summarized, in it's entirety, above. There are two basic changes to the order, so I'll list them.

- Methuselah's death, delayed from being at Chickenhound's hands, occurs now. The messing with the timeline here should be obvious.

- Despite killing Methuselah late, they also killed him too early. One final task that remained for the old recorder was to restore Martin to the tapestry. As they haven't recovered the tapestry at this stage, that means Methuselah won't be the one to fix it (it'll probably be Cornflower).


VOICE CRITIQUES

Wild Ivy - Technically, there's not much need to critique Ivy's voice. She wasn't in the book, she's completely original, and the voice is the character. No way for our expectation to be otherwise. Ivy's voice was good, though. A tough British accent is evident and suits that of a traveling performer nicely.


CRITIQUE

Well, surprisingly, this episode wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It wasn't the plagerization of the Mattimeo scene I expected. Unlike Mattimeo, only two of the circus performers were rats. The rest were entirely new characters. It all came together to be a rather enjoyable episode, although I would sacrifice it in a heartbeat to include some scenes of Matthias and Methuselah's riddle-solving antics.

As a special bonus for this episode, we got five tapestry shots instead of the three at the end. If I didn't know these episodes were two years old and prepared long ahead of time, I'd almost think someone was paying attention to these reviews! ;)

There's really not much else to say. As this was an entirely original episode, there were no changes to bug me. It was a nice look at the television-Abbey's daily routine and we saw more of the Abbey than before (the cellars and a fantastic bird's-eye-view of the Great Hall)! Don't let the naysayers fool you-- this episode is not half as bad as they'd have you believe. It's simply not from the book. As enjoyable as it is, I'm ready to get back to the main story, so let's get on with episode #6!




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Matthias