Recap / Blackadder S 1 E 6 The Black Seal

Edmund has had the last of his titles relinquished, no longer is he Duke of Edinburgh. Annoyed that he is even further from power, Edmund, Warden of the Royal Privvies, decides to seek out the most psychopathic murderers in England. On the way he meets a Morris dancer to be his replacement for Baldrick.

He gathers his party: Sir Wilfred Death, Three-Fingered Pete, Guy de Glastonbury, Sean - the Irish Bastard, Friar Bellows, and Jack Large. They agree to call themselves "The Black Seal," and all agree to attack the castle when Blackadder sends them a signal, of something black.

Whilst camping out, the Morris dancer reveals himself to be Edmund's long-time rival, Philip of Burgundy, also known as the Hawk. He imprisons Blackadder, leaving him to die, along with Mad Gerald (Rik Mayall). 12 Months Later, Gerald is showing Blackadder his companions; Mr Rat and Mr Key. Edmund escapes and takes six black carrier pigeons, and sends them out. He heads to take the castle before the Hawk.

The Seal arrive at the castle, and are met with the Hawk, who after learning how evil the Hawk is, they decide to join him, and kill Edmund. They tie him up to a torture chair, and go ahead to kill the royal family. They see some maids (Percy and Baldrick in a Paper-Thin Disguise) who offer them goblets of wine, which were poisoned. The Seal and the Hawk all drop dead, but they are too late to rescue Edmund.

Edmund lay on his deathbed, surrounded by his family. King Richard calls him, finally using his name correctly, "Edmund." It is then revealed that Percy had accidentally poisoned the entire vat of wine, and as the court toasts the Black Adder, or "The Black Dagger", they all fall down, dying. Edmund wonders whether it was the wine that was poisoned, so he tests it on himself.

"No, seems perfectly alright to me. And now at last I shall be k..."

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: After initially assembling the Black Seal, Edmund proudly announces his plan is for he and his new minions to break into the castle, dispose of the guards, seize the throne and... exile King Richard, the Queen and Harry. The others are rather let down by this, and Edmund reluctantly agrees to kill his family.
  • Character as Himself: Mad Gerald is billed as "Himself." It's Rik Mayall, presumably playing one of Flasheart's ancestors that he'd rather not talk about...
  • Dramatic Unmask: Subverted in one of the first series' few genuine Crowning Moments of Funny - in "The Black Seal", an old and unkempt man Edmund has been travelling with transforms, apparently by magic, into a tall, striking nobleman with fine clothes and powerful-looking facial hair, asking if Edmund recognises him. Edmund does not. The man then reaches up and removes two fake-looking bushy eyebrows, revealing... two completely identical bushy eyebrows. Edmund immediately recognises him as Philip of Burgundy... The HAWK!
  • Evil Versus Evil
  • Historical In-Joke: Edmund's naming of the midget Jack Large, 'Large Jack' is an inversion of Robin Hood naming the giant John Little 'Little John.' Of course, unlike Little John, Jack Large not only does not get the joke, he takes offense.
  • Immune to Drugs / Made of Iron: It takes two cups of lethal poison to kill Sean The Irish Bastard.
    Sean: It has a bit of a sting in it's tail!
  • Kill 'em All: The survivors of a rather large cast this season are Percy and Baldrick.
  • Legion of Doom
  • Magnificent Seven
  • Master of Disguise: Phillip of Burgundy seems able to magically transform into a much shorter old man.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Percy manages to poison the entire royal family after mishearing Baldrick's instructions.
  • Mood Whiplash
  • Out of Focus: The entire main cast (barring only Edmund) take a backseat in this episode, appearing in the first scene and then not appearing again until a few minutes before the end.
  • Robotic Torture Device: Edmund is strapped to one:
    The Hawk: In precisely one minute, the spike will go up your nethers, the shears will cut off your ears, then these axes will chop off your hands... and I do not think we need to go into the attributes of the coddling grinder. Then these feathers will tickle you under whats left of your arms. And that is the amusing part.
  • Sedgwick Speech
  • Sinister Minister: Friar Bellows.
  • Time Skip: Mad Gerald's year-long laugh.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Edmund taste-tests the wine to see if it was poisoned, though to be fair to him, he's barely conscious after being tortured. Percy also counts too, for inadvertently poisoning the entire castle's vat of wine rather than just the goblets they prepared.
    • Sean The Irish Bastard as well. Having seen what the poisoned wine has done to the Black Seal and to himself, he drinks a second cup.