Sinbad 1.09 Writer: Jack Lothian, James Dormer Director: Colin Teague
THE ONE WHERE Sinbad goes in search of a stone that can predict the future, and is pursued by an assassin.
VERDICT After a couple of really enjoyable episodes, Sinbad loses the momentum slightly with an episode that’s not poor, exactly, just a tad dull, and full of missed opportunities. The biggest of these missed opportunities being the way the show introduces new Providence crewmember Tiger. She’s an intriguing enough character, sure, but her conversion from bounty hunter, to Sinbad groupie all seems a bit sudden and perfunctory. She has some good fight scenes, does an exquisite backflip and her sci-fi style killer collar (which would be triggered if Sinbad strayed to far from her… any else seen Wedlock?) was a nifty idea, so she’s certainly made her mark if nothing else. You just can’t help feeling Sinbad hasn’t done enough in the episode to justify her suddenly giving up on her bounty. A bit more frisson rather than mutual appreciation would have been more convincing.
The main plot is a kind of Beginner’s Guide to predestination versus free will, but it doesn’t really explore the possibilities to any great extent. Mainly because most of the episode seems to be spent endlessly exploring corridors instead. There’s an awful lot of filler here, and it’s not very well disguised filler. The killer traps in the catacombs are particularly unexciting (nobody seems to realise you just need to kneel down to avoid death), while Riff, the evil, ambitious son, and Azdi, the noble father (and keeper of the fortune-telling stone) are drearily one-dimensional characters, and the “twist” is pretty obvious to anyone who’s ever… well, formed a thought, really.
There are plenty of good moments, though: the first ship-board scene once again crackles with that infectious, new-found sense of camaraderie; Gunnar’s method of getting the truth out of Riff (threatening him violently); Sinbad using a corpse’s hand to leave his friends a clue; the chase between Sinbad and Tiger when he realises the flaw in the killer collar plan (Taryn will only pay the bounty on Sinbad if he’s alive). Sinbad’s decision to break the stone rather than peer into his future is an impressively shot sequence, giving the otherwise humdrum finalé a bit of a kick.
Ultimately, a fairly average episode of Sinbad, but over the past few weeks, the show has redefined (upwards) what an average episode of Sinbad means. This may not have been up to the level of the past couple of weeks, but generally the show is moving in the right direction.
ANACHRONISM OF THE WEEK We’re pretty sure Timberland Boots (or something similar, judging by that sole pattern) weren’t on sale back then.
COLLARED AGAIN It’s surprising that Sinbad doesn’t make some comment about a dislike for magical collars considering his curse from earlier in the season.
COUNTDOWN TO LOCK-UP After a break last week, the trusty Sinbad cell scene is back with a vengeance. 20 minutes into the episode Gunnar, Rina and Anwar are thown in jail.
SLAVE TO THE PLOT When asked how he’s going to execute Sinbad, Azdi replies, “Poison… it’s the surest way.” Erm… NO! Beheading. That’s pretty sure. Hanging, drawning and quartering. Pretty sure too. A sword through the heart… not a traditional method of execution, but a darn site surer than poison. In fact, death by poison is possibly less sure than sentencing Sinbad to imprisonment in a brothel and hoping he catches a particularly nasty STD. As soon as you hear the word “poison”, you know someone is going to substitute it for a drug that induces a death-like state. Guess what…?
BEST LINES Cook: “Don’t you people know anything?” Gunnar: “We know when you’re trying to pass off rat as chicken.”
[A little later…]
Cook:“It’s not rat… but it’s… um… not chicken either…”