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Recap / Blackadder S 2 E 4 Money

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Oh, God. The path of my life is strewn with cowpats from the Devil's own Satanic herd.

It's four o'clock in the morning, and Edmund is in bed with an inexpensive prostitute, Molly. But he is awoken by a priest at his door; more specifically the Baby-Eating Bishop of Bath & Wells. Apparently, it's one year to the day that Edmund borrowed a thousand pounds from the Bank of the Black Monks, and he has 24 hours to pay up — or else. Edmund tries a variety of ways to make the money, including doing favours for sailors on the docks, selling his house, and borrowing from anyone he can. Meanwhile, Percy tries to help by inventing gold, but only winds up inventing "green", and Queenie and Melchett keep taking whatever money they make. Edmund almost resigns himself to his death, when Baldrick mentions that most of England hates him. Taking heart from this, Edmund gets an idea for a cunning plan. He drugs the bishop and puts him in what can only be described as a compromising position, and gets it all painted up by the best portrait painter in England.

Tropes features in this episode

  • Actor Allusion: The Bishop menaces Edmund with a poker, much as his actor Ronald Lacey did as Toht to Marion in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • All Devouring Black Hole Loan Sharks: The Black Bank ("Banking with a Smile and a Stab"), who operate by the motto "repayment or revenge".
  • Arson, Murder, and Admiration: The Bishop, after learning the sordid details of Edmund's frame-up job.
    Bishop: You fiend! Never have I encountered such corrupt and foul-minded perversity! Have you ever considered a career in the Church?
    Edmund: No, I could never get used to the underwear.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • Edmund's father blew the family fortune on wine, women and amateur theatrics.
    Blackadder: [about his father] By the end, he was eking out a living doing humorous impressions of Anne of Cleves.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • The Bishop, viewed by the public at large as having no greater vice than a penchant for wine after Evensong, is in fact a colossal and depraved pervert. This allows Blackadder to frame him as being in a very compromising position (involving Percy and a very suggestively shaped hat) which Blackadder uses as blackmail to restore his finances.
    • Arguably if Blackadder had 'defaulted' on his loan he would have been too, given how Baldrick mentions that he is so unpopular (and we've seen plenty of reasons as to why) that people treading in dog mess say 'Whoops I've trod on an Edmund', and he is referred to as 'Privy Breath' by those who like him.
  • Ass Shove: The Black Bank's favoured method of punishing anyone who defaults on repaying them...usually involving said defaulter's bottom and either a sharp spike or a red-hot poker.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Blackadder describes the nature of his house's privies, Mrs. Pants' expression darkens, and she angrily asks if he means that he craps out of the window. When Blackadder confirms that this is the case, she declares that in that case they'll definitely take the house.
    • Also played for laughs with the sailor, who at first makes it seem like Blackadder & Co will be able to get away with telling him a goodnight story, but then demands to know the charge for a "good, hard shag".
  • Bamboo Technology: Blackadder's extortion scheme involves hiring the best portrait painter in England, who so vividly captures the Bishop in a state of utter sexual ruination that the reality is undeniable — in essence, the Elizabethan version of photographing him. When the Bishop moves to destroy the painting, Blackadder says it won't do him any good, as they've got "preliminary sketches" that they can use to send reproductions to the Queen and Archbishop, in the same tone you'd use to talk about photo negatives.
  • Big Bad: The Bishop gave the Queen a run for her money as an individual threat with authority, or more accurately he gave Edmund a run for his money that almost ended with Edmund despairing and even giving a dejected goodbye to the Queen and Melchett.
  • Blatant Lies: When the Bishop comes in his bedroom, Edmund tells him that Molly is his mother, even though she is in bed with him and looks younger than he does.
  • Book Ends: When initially threatened by death-via-Ass Shove near the start of the episode, Blackadder threatens to tell the Queen about the Bishop's sexual perversions, but the Bishop quickly shuts him down by pointing out that Blackadder would have no way of backing up any accusation. At the end of the episode, Blackadder successfully pulls off his second attempt at blackmailing the Bishop after creating the evidence himself.
  • Broke Episode: Edmund has no money for the entire episode and the Queen cons him out of anything he does get hold of.
  • Buffy Speak: Edmund, usually a master of similes, here says: "The grave opens up before me like a... big hole in the ground."
  • Bullying a Dragon: Despite knowing full-well the Bishop is a baby-eating murderer, when Blackadder tries to invoke the Queen's name to get him to back off, he also insults him.
    Blackadder: What would you do if I said "I'm very going friends with the Queen, and I think she'd be very interested to hear about Molly and the wimple, so why don't we just call the whole thing off, eh fatso?"
    Baby-Eating Bishop: Firstly, I would say the Queen would not believe you, and secondly, you'll regret calling me fatso, later today!
  • Characterisation Click Moment: This is where Blackadder's schemer side began to take hold.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Subverted; as part of his plot to blackmail the Bishop, Blackadder asks Baldrick to secure the services of a prostitute, which along with the Bishop being a regular client of Molly's might make you think that's how she's going to re-enter the plot. Instead, they end up resorting to having Percy pose in a degrading position with the Bishop.
  • Consummate Liar: Edmund considers himself one of the finest liars in England and proves it by fooling Percy. To be fair, Percy is one of the most gullible people in England to boot and by far, the most easily fooled by Edmund.
    Edmund: My god, Percy. A giant hummingbird is about to eat your hat and cloak!
    Percy: Oh no! [Runs out of the room]
    Edmund: [To Baldrick] You see? I'm terrific at it.
    Percy: [Coming back, embarrassed] It seems to have gone, now.
  • Continuity Nod: When the Bishop offers Edmund a job with the church, he replies that he could never get used to the requisite undergarments. Back in "The Archbishop", Prince Edmund became Archbishop and when confronted about why he'd dressed up as a nun, claimed that he only did it because he couldn't resist the Hessian undergarments.
  • Cornered Rattlesnake: At the absolute end of his rope, robbed of what little money he's managed to scrounge together, Blackadder is motivated into action by Baldrick telling him people think Blackadder's a piece of shit at the moment and his demise is likely to be heavily celebrated.. This so angers Blackadder he comes up with a Cunning Plan, which works.
  • Corrupt Church: The Black Bank and the Baby-Eating Bishop of Bath & Wells.
  • Depraved Bisexual: The Baby-Eating Bishop of Bath and Wells, who reminds Molly the prostitute of a forthcoming appointment and later sleeps with Percy.
  • Dirty Old Monk: The Bishop, a self-proclaimed colossal pervert who regularly plays "Nuns and Novices" with prostitutes.
  • The Dreaded: The Bishop has enough of a reputation that name-dropping him is apparently a good way to get rid of unwanted visitors. Unless he is the unwanted visitor.
  • Eats Babies: The Baby-Eating Bishop of Bath & Wells, unsurprisingly.
    Bishop: You haven't any children, have you Blackadder?!
    Blackadder: No, I'm not married.
    Bishop: In that case, I'll skip breakfast and get straight down to business!
  • Everyone Has Standards: The Bishop, a self-confessed "colossal pervert" who is up for any manner of depravity imaginable, is shocked (and impressed) by the "corrupt and foul-minded" nature of whatever act Edmund staged for the painting, saying it's a new one on him.
  • Expospeak Gag: Blackadder is attempting to sell his house to a couple, with the wife repeatedly asking about the privy. Eventually he describes it as "the very latest in front-wall, fresh-air orifices, combined with a wide-capacity gutter installation below", which the wife translates into plain English as "you crap out of the window". Despite what one might expect, she's actually happy about this and agrees to buy the place immediately; she hates having to deal with chamberpots.
  • Expy: The greatest painter in London, bearded, self-described genius, Leonardo Acropolis. Blackadder hires him to paint some porn.
  • Extreme Omnisexual: The Bishop will do anything to anything, animal, vegetable, or mineral.
  • Fanservice: Rowan Atkinson revealed in bed wearing nothing but his underpants has made many a fangirl happy.
  • Feet-First Introduction: Before Molly introduces herself, all the audience sees of her is her bare feet on Blackadder's pillow.
  • Fetishes Are Weird: Percy is revealed at the end wearing crimson tights bound in straps and chains, spiked black leather bracers, a huge codpiece, black hoops with copper bells around his waist, a black ruff in place of his white one, and a black, fur-lined red leather hood with an extraordinarily phallic tip. What exactly he did while wearing it is left up to the audience's imagination, but the perverse nature of the painting astounds even the Bishop.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: The Bishop of Bath and Wells already has an appointment with Molly the Inexpensive Prostitute and freely admits that he is a colossal pervert who will do anything to anything, "animal, vegetable, or mineral," but his flock is none the wiser. So Blackadder drugs him and has him painted in a rather lewd position with Percy, then uses it as blackmail to get out of his loan.
    Blackadder: And it's so beautifully framed. Which is ironic, really, because that's exactly what's happened to you.
  • Friendship Moment: Subverted: Percy loyally offers his life savings to get Blackadder out of debt, only to have Blackadder casually reveal that he has long since stolen and spent the savings in question. Even Baldrick was in on it, although Edmund stole from him too.
  • Foreshadowing: Early in the episode, Blackadder threatens to blackmail the Bishop with the knowledge that he was sleeping with a prostitute, and the Bishop points out he doesn't have proof. This ends up being the solution to his debt situation.
  • Graceful Loser: After getting thoroughly outmaneuvered by Edmund,the Bishop is more than happy to call it even with Edmund's debt and hand over money so he can buy back his house, among other things.
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: The Bishop's reaction to seeing the painting of himself.
    Bishop: By the horns of Beelzebub, how did you get me in THAT position?!
  • Hello, Sailor!: Baldrick and Blackadder try and make money on the docks doing favours for sailors. Not of the "delivering messages, sewing on buttons" sort.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Edmund had told the Queen and Melchett that he was extremely rich, seeking to impress them. This backfires when the Queen thinks nothing of conning him out of £1185 0s 6d over the course of the episode, thinking that is chump change to Edmund.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Molly, who's nice to Baldrick (perhaps because he's the only character she encounters who is actually nice to her and is not paying for her services).
  • Hypocrite: Lord Melchett eagerly joins in the pranks on Blackadder, but is visibly seething after Queenie plays one on him. Of course, a certain amount of disgruntlement on Melchett's part can be forgiven seeing as Queenie's "prank" was to outright threaten him with execution, but nevertheless.
    • Also the Bishop of Bath and Wells, who switches seamlessly from castigating Blackadder for sleeping with a prostitute to reminding her of his own appointment with her.
  • I Made Copies: Played for laughs, when the Bishop attempts to grab the compromising painting of himself and Blackadder nonchalantly says "No need, we have the preliminary sketches." This is a joke about 20th century blackmailers reminding their victims that there's no point in destroying compromising photos of themselves because the blackmailers have the negatives. In the case of the painting, there's no reason to suppose that the preliminary sketches would be any more authentic than the finished painting, but this never occurs to the Bishop.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The Baby-Eating Bishop of Bath and Wells.
  • Implausible Deniability: Caught in bed with a prostitute, Blackadder tries to pass her off to the Bishop as his mother.
  • Impoverished Patrician: Edmund himself, in this episode.
  • Incoming Ham: The bishop announces his presence by throwing Baldrick through Blackadder's bedroom door and shouting that he IS the Baby-Eating Bishop of Bath & Wells.
  • Inherently Funny Words: Rowan Atkinson gets great mileage out of "bottom", "pants" and "nibble".
  • It Will Never Catch On: Edmund says Baldrick would laugh at a Shakespeare comedy.
    • Toilets.
    Mrs. Pants: I can't stand those dirty indoor things.
    • Also Truth in Television, since what passed for indoor sanitation at the time genuinely wasn't much better.
  • Large Ham: The Bishop.
  • Loan Shark: The Bishop is assistant manager of the Bank of the Black Monks of St. Herod ("Banking with a smile and a stab"). Their motto: "Repayment or revenge." He admits to Blackadder that he hates it when people pay up, as he rather enjoys what he gets to do to those who don't.
  • Make an Example of Them: Anyone stupid enough to take money from the Black Bank and not repay them is buried with a gravestone describing how they died in horrible, bottom-related agony.
  • Never Heard That One Before: The Black Bank are not sympathetic toward the excuse that someone they're demanding money from has lost their wallet, leading to the previous example.
    Blackadder: Where are we going?
    Bishop: To see the last poor fool who... LOST HIS WALLET!
  • Noodle Implements: We start out only hearing what Blackadder needs for his plan to get out of debt - "Some feathers, a dress, some oil, an easel, some sleeping draught, lots of paper, a prostitute and the best portrait painter in England!". Later, though, we see exactly how they were used to execute his plan.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: The mad beggar in the graveyard keeps clinging to Blackadders's leg while Blackadder tries to prise him off.
  • One-Shot Character: In a show that had a lot of these, the Baby-Eating Bishop of Bath & Wells is one of the most memorable.
  • Platonic Prostitution: Parodied, then subverted. Blackadder tries to pimp Baldrick out to sailors on the docks. They are approached by a very large, very gruff sailor, who, it turns out, wants them to kiss him goodnight and read him a bedtime story, like his mother used to do. Blackadder and Baldrick fulfil this innocent request, which he follows by asking...
    Now then, how much for a good, hard shag?
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Mrs Pants and the sailor Arthur:
    Mrs Pants: What. About. the privies?!
    Arthur: Now then. How much do you charge for a good, hard, shag?
  • Relatively Flimsy Excuse: Blackadder claiming that Mollie is his mother.
  • Reset Button: At the end, Blackadder makes sure to demand enough money to get his house back and then some.
  • Revenge Porn Blackmail: Parodied; To force the Baby-Eating Bishop of Bath to forgive his debts, Blackadder drugs his wine, gets him in bed with Lord Percy, and threatens to send the sordid evidence to the Queen and Archbishop. Of course, being Elizabethan England, the evidence is a speed-painted portrait.
    Bishop: By the horns of Beelzebub, how did you get me into that position?!
    Blackadder: It's beautifully framed, don't you think? Which is ironic, really, because that's exactly what's happened to you.
  • Rule of Three: Queenie plays three pranks on Blackadder, each one beginning with a messenger arriving and telling Edmund to rush to the palace "on pain of death". By the third time, he's barely had a chance to say two words before Blackadder cuts him off and heads out.
  • Shaped Like Itself:
    • When Percy attempts to use alchemy to create gold but ends up with a lump of green something. Quote the Blackadder: "I don't to be pedantic or anything, but the colour of gold... is gold. That's why it's called gold."
    • Also, Edmund (despite being usually a master of similes) says "the grave opens up before me like...a big hole in the ground."
    • And finally the sailor: "I really miss my mother. I mean, she was like a mother to me."
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare:
    Let us sit upon the carpet and tell sad stories.
    • The crazy person hanging around the grave of the last poor bugger killed by the monks starts quoting King Lear, specifically Edgar's Poor Tom persona.
  • Sinister Minister: The Baby-Eating Bishop of Bath and Wells drowns infants at Christenings. He's also a moneylender, with a particular pleasure for dealing with recalcitrant clients with a red hot poker and if he arrives in the morning, he tends to eat their children before getting down to business. He is also by his own admission a "colossal pervert", willing to do anything to anything, animal, vegetable or mineral. Yet despite all this, and his reputation, he's also a Villain with Good Publicity, being friends with Queen 'Liz herself, and his parishioners believe his only vice is "a little tipple before evensong".
  • Technicolor Science: Percy's alchemical setup.
  • Tempting Fate: Just as Blackadder sits down to get some serious thinking done about getting some cash, a messenger comes from Queenie, demanding to see him. Cue Blackadder getting swindled of what little money he had left anyway.
  • Troll: Queenie, Nursie and Melchett repeatedly play pranks at Blackadder's expense, which inevitably involve him having to give them money. Then, after the third time, Queenie declares that she's going to kill Melchett for laughing too hard at Blackadder's misfortune. Turns out, though, she's pranking Melchie this time.
  • Villain Respect: The Bishop is quite impressed by the lengths Edmund went to in order to get leverage over him.
    Bishop: You fiend! Never before have I encountered such corrupt and foul-minded perversity! Have you ever considered a career in the Church?!
  • Villain with Good Publicity: In spite of the aforementioned baby-eating, the Bishop is apparently of good standing with the Queen and his parishioners. "As far as my flock is concerned, my one vice is a tipple before evensong". Blackadder gets the upper hand by endangering his reputation.
  • Would Rather Suffer: Blackadder would rather face death than become a rent boy. Backfires when Baldrick cheerfully plays along and suggests putting on the kettle while they wait.

Take heed the moral of this tale,
Be not a borrower or lender.
And if your finances do fail,
Make sure your banker's not a bender.