|Index||4 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When Lord Melchett petitions the Queen to pay the ransom for a cousin
who has been kidnapped Blackadder counsels against it; arguing that
only a fool would get kidnapped so the deserve everything they get.
Inevitably he is promptly kidnapped, followed swiftly by Melchett.
Their captor is Prince Ludwig, an unpleasant German, who both men have
met before but didn't realise as he is a master of disguise. When they
learn that the Queen is planning to have a party rather than pay their
ransom Blackadder tells Ludwig how he can get in to the palace
from that moment his fate is sealed. Once Ludwig has left Blackadder
and Melchett quickly overpower the guards and escape; just in time for
the party where they meet Ludwig one last time.
This entertaining episode provides a good conclusion to the second series with plenty of laughs and a macabre post-end credit twist. There are laughs throughout; I particularly like hearing how Ludwig had met Blackadder, Melchett and, as it turns out, the Queen before especially Melchett when Ludwig disguised himself as Flossy; a sheep Melchett got to know rather well! Equally funny was Blackadder communicating with his Spanish torturer using charades even if it wouldn't have really been possible as not sharing a common language meant they couldn't understand the other's interpretation of the actions! The regular cast all do fine jobs and Hugh Laurie is delightfully over the top as the evil Ludwig. When the episode gets to the end be sure you don't stop watching during the end credits as there is one last scene after the credits which nicely mirrors the end of season one.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
To close Blackadder II we needed a good one. Series one was an example
of how a poor finale can almost get a show cancelled but this shows an
example of how to effectively guarantee another series with a good
The episode is full with funny moments from end-to-end with Edmund's explanation of how you have to be a total idiot to get kidnapped (which makes Percy - in his final appearance - panic) before he and Melchett get immediately kidnapped. The two go to a dungeon in Germany owned by the evil Prince Ludwig The Indestructible, played by Hugh Laurie. Edmund is locked up in a separate room inside a steel box and forced to communicate with a torturer who threatens to chop his nuts off for being head-over-heels in love with Satan and all his little wizards.
Ludwig (or Shorty Greasy Spot-Spot) claims to have been a waitress that Edmund 'Mr Floppy' Blackadder got off with (such a disappointment for a girl) and a sheep that did the same with Lord Melchett (Baaa! Series four Melchett will use this as a catchphrase). He speaks with an accent that sounds like one a young Hugh might have used at school to make classmates laugh - much to his teacher's frustration! This is a villain who is both a master of disguise and a criminally insane madman and Laurie clearly has a lot of fun with the character.
The best bit is also the painful to watch as the two kidnapped lords figure out how to get out of their prison by smacking their guards in their nether regions."Trust me to get the hard one!" remarks Edmund. Makes me both laugh and wince every time. Also funny is Queenie's party (Has anyone seen my udders?) and how the torturer's insult to Edmund is done through charades. Blackadder gets each word in slightly longer time than he needs to which allows the audience to get there first and makes it all the better for it. His response is to call his torturer a fornicating baboon. "You are a fornicating... Err... I can't really do it in this box..."
The episode only gets a nine out of ten because the final defeat of Ludwig The Cow is not done especially well and the post-credits comes across as a cop-out ending. These are only minor issues though and forgivable given how strong the rest of the episode is.
Also, it's SO SATISFYING to finally see Edmund catch the balladeer at the end and smash his head in the fountain with his own instrument. As my summary says: "Tremendous fun; Excellent conclusion!" and that's just about all there is to say of it.
On the whole, Series 2 was better than Series 1, and elevated
Blackadder's status from slightly dull to a must-see. Thank God for Ben
Elton is all we can say. Series 2 may have ended, but Blackadder is far
from over. It has reached a peak, and will stay at that peak forever,
and become one of Britain's best comedies, and a highlight of the 80s.
Anyway, let's start the review of the episode.
Chains spends no time lingering on details - Blackadder is kidnapped about 3 minutes into it, with Melchett. Blackadder's true colours are revealed in this episode - he is nasty to everyone, even if he is stuck with them, and never loses his cool. Hugh Laurie is great as Prince Ludwig - from here onwards, he will appear in every Blackadder episode. The episode once again reaches hilarious heights - Melchett's shameful past is revealed too subtly, though. We once again switch between Blackadder's situation and Queenie's situations, but while Blackadder's scenes have brains, Queenie's situations aren't brilliantly written and should have been left out. The episode is clearly resolved in the end - as it is with all Blackadder episodes - but there is a surprise ending - do not press stop on the credits sequence.
On the whole, Chains is a very funny episode, and a worthy close to what has now become a great comedy. Spiffing close to a spiffing series, which is soon to become even greater. 9/10
While any Blackadder episode is better than no episode at all, I really
disliked this final installment of the second series. While I noticed
that the other review was quite glowing, I had a much, much different
reaction. For the most part, the episode was undone by a rather dull
plot and horrible overacting (even for this series) by Hugh Laurie.
The show begins with learning that there has been a series of kidnappings. As for Edmund, he is completely unsympathetic about this and recommends to the Queen that she not bother paying the ransom, as anyone stupid enough to be captured deserved to die. Naturally, only minutes later, he and Melchett are both victims of this bizarre gang. Bizarre because the men doing the kidnapping speak Spanish and their boss is a German (Laurie) with an outrageous accent. Every second he's on camera, he mugs horribly his accent is about what you'd expect from a middle school student who is trying to make his classmates laugh--without much success. I frankly found the character completely incomprehensible--one of the worst characters from any Adder series. As for the end, it comes COMPLETELY from left field and actually makes no sense at all--like is was tacked on as an afterthought. The only pluses I can find in the show is the costume worn by Nursie and Blackadder's great one-liners. A sad disappointment to a great series.
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