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Headscratchers / Blackadder

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  • So, at the end of Blackadder II, how did Prince Ludwig survive? I mean, he was fatally stabbed twice.
    • That's what he wanted you to think.
    • On a related note, how the hell did he get back into the castle and murder everyone?
    • He got better.
    • Or, if you want to go a different route, it was his Dying Dream.
    • He refers to himself as "Ludwig the Indestructible". The final gag is partly to show us that it wasn't just a boast.
    • He's a master of disguise as he says and how it is shown. I think it reasonable that he was able to disguise himself as a corpse so elegantly and take action when everyone's guards were down.
  • How come Ebenezer Blackadder be such an arsehole to Baldrick? I can understand him doing that to other people, since they always took advantages of his kindness. But Baldrick is the only one who truly cares about him, his only fault is being stupid.
    • Because he's decided to embrace his Blackadder-ness to the fullest. That mean he'll be an asshole to anybody, even for something small like being an idiot. Plus, after seeing that dismal vision of the future, he may have been also felt like putting Baldrick in his place.
    • As a rule, the Blackadders are not the types to suffer fools gladly. Baldrick is the fool to end all fools and the Blackadders throughout history cannot help pointing it out at every opportunity.
    • Also, let's remember that Ebenezer is getting back at everyone who ever got on his nerves. Baldrick gets on his nerves regularly, even though he's not doing it out of malice.
  • Why did Edmund try to escape Dr. Johnson's wrath when all was lost? The supposed destruction of the dictionary was not exactly his fault to begin with, but we understand he tried to make things smooth anyway for the hope that Dr. Johnson will help publish his novel. And then when Monday came he tried to escape; why? Why not just point the blame to Baldrick, say?
    • I always thought he was worried that everyone would assume he'd done it because he'd been criticising the dictionary so much, making himself the most likely suspect.
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    • It's an issue of responsibility. Baldrick is only Blackadder's dogsbody, remember, so Blackadder is going to take the blame for anything he does wrong. Dr Johnson had left the dictionary at the Prince Regent's palace and Blackadder, as the head butler, was responsible for what happened to it.
    • Didn't Dr. Johnson and his friends threaten Edmund's life at some point?
    • They did indeed tell Edmund of what they would do to whomever had burnt Dr Johnson's life's work. Coupled with the abovementioned Baldrick being Edmund's only dogsbody and its no wonder.
  • In the very first episode, Edmund proclaims himself "the Black Adder", implying that he's first in the dynasty. If that's the case, why is Robin Hood (who was around long before the Wars of the Roses) familiar with a Lord Blackadder in Blackadder Goes Back and Forth?
    • There's also the Roman Blackaddicus. Let's say Edmund was naming himself, most likely unawares, after his slimy predecessors.
    • I think it's Blackadder: Back & Forth instead, which has a lot of plotholes anyway. It's an unplanned plothole, plain and simple. Perhaps they retconned it. If we want to do Wild Mass Guessing, perhaps the the original Baldrick knew of his master's Blackadder roots and leaped to the chance when the latter christened himself a Black Vegetable.
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    • Prince Edmund could've just been really bad at history.
    • Don't know whether it's canon, but the script book Blackadder: The Whole Damn Dynasty traces the family from the prehistoric era to World War I, which would imply that Prince Edmund is far from the first.
    • There is a fan theory suggesting that Dougal Mac Angus' father is descended from the Mac Adder clan, linking Prince Edmund to the Blackadder line via his illegitimate parentage. Maybe Edmund's true parentage was more widely known than he thought, leading to Baldrick's suggestion?
    • Edmund doesn't initially proclaim himself The Black Adder: his first attempt is The Black Vegetable. It is Baldrick who then makes the alternative suggestion. Perhaps he was aware of Edmund's ancestry even if Edmund himself wasn't.
    • If one really wishes to give a Watsonian explanation we could argue that messing with time-travelling resulted in alternate histories where the Blackadder family appeared before the main series continuity.
  • Why did George suddenly change his early attitude and declared his love for Amy Hardwood near the end of "Amy and Amiability"?
    • Because Prince George is a) shallow and b) an idiot.
    • Just watched the show again, he said "yuck" to her mannerisms, but was instantly pretty impressed once he saw her.
  • Why does nobody but me seem to actually think the first season was better, or even as good as the others?
    • Because it was a flop in the eyes of the BBC: It was rather expensive. The latter ones were done in a studio, whereas the others were shot in castles, featured horseriding, large amounts of extras with plentiful design...
    • And the first series Edmund and Baldrick were almost completely swapped around if you view the first series after the others. Edmund's a cowardly, slimy schmuck whilst Baldrick, whilst still filthy, is a damn sight smarter.
    • Conventional wisdom has it that the addition of Ben Elton to the scriptwriting team improved the series immensely. I'd disagree with it, after all some of the lines in the first series are as good as anything as anything in the later series. ('So what you're telling me is that something you have never seen is slightly less blue than something else you have never seen', 'Curses are pretty much the same really. I brought this one for half an egg 'Dear Enemy, I curse you and hope that something quite unpleasant happens to you, like an onion falling on your head'"). But the big change is that Rowan Atkinson horribly overreacts and gurns in the first series...and turning him into a Dead Pan Snarker improves him immensely.
    • It's quite different in feel, approach and tone in many ways than the three seasons that followed it, when a successful formula was hit on and worked with; it's probably just an example of the age-old phenomenon of something not really finding it's feet for most people until it's worked out the initial errors.
    • The first series is basically Mr. Bean without the things that make people like Mr. Bean. Basically, it does a bunch of things decently, but it doesn't do anything well. The physical comedy is good, but not as good as almost anything else contemporary to it. The writing is good, but not as good as almost anything else contemporary to it (the few good lines are direct references to other works), and the biggest failing is that it has no idea what it wants to be. Some of the actors clearly think this is a physical comedy, some think it satirical, some think it is a genuine drama, and some think it will get canceled so they might as well not bother trying.
  • In "Ink and Incapability": Edmund: "No copy? [...] But what if the book got lost!?" That... applies to him too. It just bugs me.
    • First, the hypocrisy might well be part of the point. Secondly, it wasn't the only copy of the book, it was the only copy with the signature that could prove his authorship. Big difference.
      • Where does it say that? And besides, if he had another copy couldn't he have tried to prove the handwriting in the manuscript was the same as his?
      • None of those in either the actual show or the scripts available. Also, he did say it's seven years of work up in smoke. It's not that hard to prove his authorship anyway. It's called Edmund: A Butler's Tale.
    • He might simply be hoping that Dr. Johnson, a well-respected and notable professional man of words with a ton of publications under his belt even before his magnum opus, might be a wee bit more careful and might have more time to devote to making copies of his work than a butler who's writing on the side of a very busy and chaotic day-job.
      • Not to mention that Dr Johnson would have had something crucial that Blackadder didn't: a secretary.
  • Why did the Infanta ask the Queen on "how is Edmund in bed?" What was she expecting? That she knew?
    • She possibly meant if he had a reputation for it.
    • I thought the Infanta was just so sex obsessed that she didn't care who she asked about it.
  • How does the Blackadder line continue, since Edmund dies at the end of three out of four series without (apparently) having children? The only time he DOES survive, he's masquerading as Prince George, so any children wouldn't be Blackadders anyway, and in the other finales he ends up dead!
    • The only likely answer to the first three is probably illegitimate children who became aware of their father's name and adopted it. This is far from made clear, however and a big problem is that Prince Edmund is described in "The Queen of Spain's Beard" as being a virgin, which Edmund doesn't quibble with. You'd think if he wasn't a virgin, he would have objected. Leia, his child bride, was—according to Wikipedia—fourteen when he died, which would technically be old enough to have a child, but this is certainly unclear at best, and unlikely considering that even the final episode of The Black Adder he had no acknowledged heirs, even in utero, and the show ends with his entire dynasty supposedly dying. Lord Blackadder almost certainly fathered some illegitimate children, and there is every possibility that Mr. Blackadder (of the Third) already had at least one before switching identities with the prince. Captain Blackadder could have either got someone pregnant before going to war, or survived the end of the series (since they were never actually shown dying) and had children after. However, in none of these cases is it even hinted that he had any heirs at all.
      • Nieces and nephews? He could easily have brothers in the 2nd, 3rd or 4th series.
      • Nieces would not have explained the descendants looking just like Edmund instead of, say, Harry.
      • "The Queen of Spain's Beard" is set in 1492. The final episode ends in 1499. That's plenty of time for Edmund to have sex with a woman at some point.
    • Perhaps he slept with Leia prior to being stripped of his titles and was unaware that he'd impregnated her. Given that he was trapped for a year in the dungeon with only Mad Gerald for company, the child could have been sent away during that time with him unaware.
    • Notice that the Elizabethan Edmund is a lord, who doesn't carry his great-grandfather's name (Plantagenet), but rather, a name based on his pseudonym (Blackadder). It's possible that Lord Blackadder's grandfather (Prince Edmund's son) was a bastard, discovered by Henry Tudor after the deaths of the Plantagenets. Henry Tudor would have seen this child as a possible rival to the throne and wisely bribed him with a lordship and land. Lord Blackadder himself might have fathered more bastards, who would go on to sire the rest of the Blackadder clan.
    • The Elizabethan Edmund pretty clearly had sex with Bob/Kate (once she revealed her gender). She may well have been pregnant by him when she eloped with Lord Flashheart.
  • What the hell happens in the first series with the Witchsmeller Pursuivant? For a start, there's that black, hooded, cloaked thing which no one seems to see. Secondly, as I recall, Blackadder, Percy, and Baldrick all crouch down, leap up, and then are on another floor of the castle. That's how they escape. WTF??
  • Who the hell reproduced with the various Baldricks?
    • A woman equally as pathetic and repulsive? My mind rebels at the attempt to contemplate the possibility that there are two people alive at the same time as pathetic and repulsive as Baldrick.
      • Alcohol and pity?
    • Since he's getting uglier, filthier and more stupider in every century, maybe something he mated with somebody else who shouldn't contribute to the gene pool. Then again, Captain Blackadder did mention that Bladrick was the only "human child" of a resident of London Zoo...
      • So the Baldrick line has intermarried with...uhm...uh...oh geez. Talk about Squick!
    • Molly in the second series seemed to think he was alright. And let's be honest, there's no shortage of disgusting and stupid people in the Blackadder 'verse.
    • The above point hits the nail on the head, Baldrick is pretty pathetic and repulsive but only because he's seen against the background of high status characters. The servant to either a prince or a close confidant of princes and Queens would be enough to make him the most desirable dungball in the village.
    • A few lines suggest that Baldrick might not be strictly human, and his family tree in "The Whole Damn Dynasty" has several generations that look like they reproduced asexually.
  • In the second series' episode "Head", they believe that they executed a man named Farrow, but accidentally executed another man named Ponsonby. Once they recover the head, Percy recognizes him and notices the error. But...wasn't Percy at the execution and so should have noticed then? Blackadder is excused since he wasn't there and apparently doesn't know what either man looks like. Also, Percy also says that "Farrow's" last words were "my wife might have bloody well turned up!" in his deep booming voice, but Ponsonby is stated to have a horrible speech impediment. So, who said that quote?
    • Yeah...they didn't really think that joke through.
      • Ponsonby's wife may not have shown up and he might have had a sore throat.
    • Percy's an idiot.
      • Given the executioner was Baldrick, the gaoler was Ploppy, and the whole thing was overseen by Percy, it could have been anyone. I doubt they've got the identity of anyone they've executed even approximately right. It probably wasn't Ponsonby at all.
  • So how did the Blackadder line survive Henry VII's purges? Given that he went to the extremes of writing out an entire monarch, he seems a bit shoddy to allow his descendants to openly announce themeslves.
    • Despite Edmund's general ineptitude with women, it's quite possible he fathered at least one illegitimate child, and that child (or their descendants) later rediscovered their heritage and retook the Blackadder name.
    • Given that no-one but Edmund himself ever used the Black Adder nickname, it's entirely possible Henry VII wouldn't have made the connection at all. Alternatively, Edmund had saved his life in the first episode so an illegitimate child might have been spared in recognition, and given the name (which Baldric knows) to cover up the real ancestry.
  • In The Black Adder, Prince Edmund is the Duke of Edinburgh, implying that King Richard IV is the King of Scotland. Wasn't Scotland an entirely separate Kingdom from England at that time?
    • That's what Henry VII wants you to think.
      • Brilliant!
    • There were a lot of border skirmishes and minor wars between England and Scotland in the Middle Ages, and a lot of territory around the border changed hands quite frequently. Given how violent and warlike Richard was, it's possible that during his kingdom he either led an attack which was successful enough to capture Edinburgh or, given how friendly he was with MacAngus, that he was successful enough to be declared King of Scotland as well. Then, when he died the Scottish took the opportunity to take it back. And because Henry Tudor was busy rewriting history, everyone decided it would be prudent to pretend that that had never happened.
    • It could simply be a title in pretence: he's not recognised as Duke of Edinburgh in Scotland, but the King of Scots can't stop him using the title in the English court. (Doubtless, Richard IV would similarly have styled himself as King of France, as all Kings of England did until 1808. No truth in the claim, but the real King of France wouldn't have been able to do anything about it).
  • How old was the Flanders Pigeon? General Melchett supposedly reared it from a chick and it was "his only childhood friend", implying it to be about 40 years old.
    • Melchett is a senile idiot. He probably named a carrier pigeon "Speckled Jim" after his childhood pet, and then managed to confuse them so that he ended up thinking they were the same pigeon.
    • Alternatively, somebody was pulling the old goldfish trick and replacing them when they died.
      • That somebody probably being Darling.
  • In "General Hospital" Blackadder believes the nurse is the spy and gets her sent to the Firing Squad. Not really an issue in universe given how generally inept and trigger happy the army is (towards their own people) but would that happen in real life? Would a spy with a non military job receive a court martial or execution on the spot? My instincts tell me it would fall under some form of treason based civilian law.
    • Being a nurse in a military hospital operated near a battleground, she probably fell under military jurisdiction.
  • This page (and I assume a portion of the fandom in general) seem to think the third Blackadder is the most villainous which I find surprising since I found him to be the least villainous (barring the first who's just an idiot). Sure he's willing to kill political rivals and steal but that's a trait common to all the Black Adders. The second Black Adder regularly talked about beating people, executed people early to get half a week of work off and left the sea captain to be consumed by cannibals (he also gave out his piss as a present, not exactly evil but still a rotten thing to do). As for Captain Blackadder it's revealed he joined the army for the express purpose of killing people who can't fight back and happily did it for fifteen years. I can't think of anything noteworthy that the butler version of Black Adder did that would give him a reputation worse than the others.
    • He was much more coldly calculating than the others, like when in his first episode he carried out a string of assassinations to fix an election for a minor objective. The second is crueler but still so self-absorbed and petty it comes off as being lighter; the third is a straight-up calculating Villain Protagonist. He's also the only one who got away with everything.
    • Leaving aside the first Blackadder, and the ones from the one off specials, the Third is the most proactive of the main Blackadders. The second is an oaf, but he was perfectly happy to idle his way through life making fun of Percy and hanging around court and if you left him alone he left you alone. The Fourth joined the army, as many young men of his era did, because it was the sort of thing that young men of a certain class did in order to see the world he was just going along with things too. The Third actively seeks to change his station and is cold and calculating in the way he goes about it, seeing others as obstacles to kill if needed.
  • How does Blackadder keep up the ruse of impersonating Prince George? King George III may be too crazy to notice, but does nobody in Britain know what Prince George looks like?
    • See Baldrick's original suggestion regarding how Edmund could have posed as the prince to trick the Duke; add on the fact that Prince George was an idiotic layabout who only is only recorded as going out to a few key gentlemens' clubs, and it wouldn't be impossible to assume that Blackadder got away with it by attending different clubs from his deceased master and aoiding spending too much time with anyone who knew the Prince that well.
    • Also Blackadder, unlike George, is not a boorish sex-crazed oaf with the intelligence of a broken pencil point. I dare say a substantial amount of people probably were not fooled by the switch but decided that, on the whole, since Blackadder was a trade-up in every possible way they just decided Sure, Let's Go with That.
  • What happened to Edward, Richard IV's elder brother?
    • Probably died of some horrible illness. It was still the Middle Ages.

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