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Recap / Blackadder S 2 E 2 Head

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The second episode of Blackadder II involves Edmund becoming Lord High Executioner, with Baldrick as his headsman. Of course, Edmund changes the dates of the executions around, Baldrick executes the wrong man, and Queenie changes her mind so many times about who she really wants to kill and...hijinks ensue.


  • Acquitted Too Late: Averted. It looks like Farrow has been pardoned just after Blackadder moved up his execution, but then he learns that it was a different death row prisoner that Baldrick executed.
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  • Amusingly Short List: After Blackadder comments that being Lord Executioner is itself a death sentence, Melchett says he has a list of candidates. He announces "Candidates for the position of Lord High Executioner", unrolls a scroll, says "Lord Blackadder", and then rolls the scroll up again.
  • An Arm and a Leg: When Blackadder impersonates the imprisoned Lord Farrow (whom he's never seen), he guesses wrong about how much of his limb the one-armed Farrow is missing. When Farrow's wife notices the discrepancy, he ad-libs a story that uses this trope, about how he'd lost the remaining portion of his arm in a fight with another prisoner.
  • Artistic License – History: Nursie mentions how she put ointment on Queenie's sister after her head was cut off. Except that would have been Mary I of England, who was not beheaded, but died of natural causes. The one who was beheaded was her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots. However, it's very possible that Nursie just got the two mixed up, especially since Ludwig correctly says in "Chains" that it was Mary, Queen of Scots who lost her head.
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  • Ax-Crazy: Queenie reaches new heights of Ax-Crazy in this episode.
  • Comforting the Widow: Edmund tries this on Lady Farrow. Unfortunately it doesn't work.
  • Drama Queen: Lady Farrow tends to burst into tears at the slightest provocation, along with being generally very melodramatic.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:
    Percy: [Looking at a decapitated head] Wait a minute, that's not Farrow!
    Blackadder: Isn't it?
    Percy: No, it's Ponsonby!
    Blackadder: My God! Ponsonby! (kisses his lips) That genius Baldrick's killed the wrong bloke! We're saved.
    Percy: Saved!
    Blackadder: Farrow is alive and we're saved!
    Percy: Hurray!
    Blackadder: And when the Queen comes back from seeing Ponsonby... OH GOD!
  • "Fawlty Towers" Plot: It all starts when Edmund changes around the execution schedule...and culminates in Edmund impersonating two women's husbands with a bag on his head.
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  • Felony Misdemeanor: Blackadder has accidentally had Lord Farrow executed (or so he thinks) before his wife is supposed to meet him one last time, so is forced to impersonate him by putting a bag over his head. In a meeting with Lady Farrow beforehand, he tries to prepare her for this by saying her husband has 'changed', which she takes to mean he's been tortured:
    Lady Farrow: What have you done to him?!
    Blackadder: We have put... [Dramatic Pause] ...a bag over his head!
  • Fiery Redhead: Queenie.
  • Freudian Slip: Edmund to Lady Farrow: "Well, the thing is, you see, none of the other prisoners have such shapely widows, baa, wives I should say..."
  • Have You Come to Gloat?: The gang finds out that Lord Farrow (whom Edmund is trying to impersonate) was missing an arm. He sends Percy to speak with Lady Farrow and find out which arm, but the only idea Percy can come up with is a Something Only They Would Say test to prove that she's not just a "gloater" pretending to be a relative so she can mock the condemned man.
    Blackadder: "Gloaters"...you really are a prat, aren't you Percy?
  • High Turnover Rate: The post of Lord High Executioner. According to Edmund, nobody survives it for more than a week.
  • Mathematician's Answer: From the opening, when Edmund is trying to teach Baldrick how to count:
    Edmund: Now, let's say I have two beans. If I add two more beans to those, what do I have?
    Baldrick: Some beans.
    Edmund: ... yes... and no.
  • Moment Killer: Baldrick has an epic one when Lady Farrow is about to...do a wife's duty...to what she thinks is her husband. Edmund is not pleased.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: What is done to Lord Farrow:
    Blackadder: He will not be quite as you remember him.
    Lady Farrow: (covers her eyes) You fiend! What have you done to him?!
    Blackadder: We have put...a bag over his head.
  • Name's the Same: Referenced in-universe. Mr Ploppy and Mistress Ploppy are not married or related in any way, but have the same name by pure coincidence. Baldrick then offers to change his name to Ploppy "if it'll make things easier" on Edmund. For the rest of the episode, Mr. Ploppy refers to Baldrick as "Young Ploppy". And of course, Ploppy's father Daddy Ploppy, AKA "Ploppy the Slopper".
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Edmund Blackadder with a bag on his head =/= Lord Farrow. However, Lady Farrow doesn't seem to notice, other than his voice initially being too high-pitched, and his left arm being completely missing instead of just cut off below the elbow (and even then, Blackadder quickly makes up an excuse that covers it up). Blackadder's later disguise as the one-legged Lord Ponsonby is even less convincing.
  • Please Spare Him, My Liege!: Lady Farrow and Earl Farrow beg Queenie to spare Lord Farrow's life. Once Queenie figures out what's going on, she decides to.
  • Plot Hole: After Farrow's execution, Percy describes him as a tall man with a loud, clear voice, which we later learn is a more-or-less accurate description of Lord Farrow. However, it's later revealed that the man who was executed wasn't Farrow, but Ponsonby, who is a small man with one leg and a speech impediment. Percy couldn't possibly have seen the man he described at the execution.
    • Of course, considering the intellectual standards of all involved, Percy may have confused one of the other executed men for Farrow/Ponsonby when reflecting on their final words.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It is later revealed that Baldrick has executed Ponsonby in place of Farrow, so Edmund must then impersonate Ponsonby with... a bag on his head. And a lisp. Hopping. So, when Edmund was impersonating the actually-alive Farrow, where was he if not in his cell?
    • If they thought Farrow was Ponsonby and vice versa, presumably at the time, Farrow was in Ponsonby's cell.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Or more like, Bag, No Arm, Deep Voice.
    • And at the end, Bag, Hunch, No Leg, Lisp.

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