Sinbad 1.05 REVIEW
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Writer: Jack Lothian
Director: Brian Grant
THE ONE WHERE Taryn creates a creature to hunt Sinbad, and Gunnar is called to task for past crimes by some warriors known as the Khaima.
VERDICT Although the main plot of the week is as thin as the lycra round the crotch area of an Olympic cyclist, and the monster of the week looks like Morph’s saltier brother, this episode is much, much more fun than last week’s, mainly thanks to the fact that the lead characters are finally interacting on a level other than feeding each other the plot.
Sure, Sinbad and co aren’t exactly Buffy’s Scooby gang yet, but the business with the tattoos at the start of the episode, and the scene later when Anwar fails to knock a bloke unconscious (leaving Nala to finish the job with a sarcastic, “Good thinking – distract the guard”) show a welcome lightness of touch that helps make the characters more endearing. It might help, though, if Marama Corlett (Rina) would actually try acting, rather than reciting her lines while looking vaguely irritated.
Ironically, though, just as this (albeit often grudging) camaraderie begins to kick in, the show also finally addresses the reason why this crew is still together and why they didn’t all go their separate ways as soon as they sailed into the first civilised port they came to. Ironic, because you have to agree with Gunnar; Sinbad making them all outcasts is surely more of a reason for them to loathe him rather than follow his lead. The whole chat between Gunnar and Sinbad at the end of the episode, despite some good lines, rather unwisely emphasises the artificiality of the situation.
There’s not much of a plot to write about. Some never-adequately-explained self-imposed warriors of justice with a love Parkour and Doctor Who ’s “Tooth And Claw”, capture Gunnar and decide to execute him for his Viking raping and pillaging past. Quite where their authority to act as judge and jury comes from is never explained, but Gunnar rather meekly gives in them (after trying to lie his way out of the situation, which doesn’t match his usual code of honour). You have to assume this isn’t the last we’ll see of them.
Meanwhile Taryn has found a much easier way to track down Sinbad than all that sitting around in graveyards swallowing furballs she went through a couple of weeks back. Now she just adds some spices to her soup and hey presto, she’s located him. Having done so she creates a naff-looking blobby man to hunt him. Mr Blobby has a fatal flaw, though. He’s rubbish. And apart from that, all Sinbad has to do to get rid of him is to stop being angry.
Okay, it’s a metaphor. The whole, “Let go of your anger,” theme is laid on really, really thick throughout the latter parts of the episode. But having an already silly-looking monster defeated by Sinbad taking a few deep breaths and counting to ten is a severe anti-climax. You almost feel sorry for the poor thing as it disintegrates, presumably from embarrassment.
But definitely a step back in the right direction after last week’s tedium. Not enough of the cook though.
HISTORY LESSONS Valsgärde is the site of a Viking burial mound in Sweden, but there wasn’t ever a Viking horde known as the Valsgärde. The name of the warriors in the episode – the Khaima – appears to be named after Ras el Khaima (meaning “top of the tent”), one of the seven United Arab Emriates. Quite why is anyone’s guess.
Gunnar: “Perhaps this was all meant to be. Fate. Destiny. Bringing us all together.”
Sinbad: “Do you really believe that?”
Gunnar: “No, not really. I just thought you’d like to hear it.”
Sinbad airs on Sky 1, Sundays, 7pm