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Recap / Blackadder S 4 E 4 Private Plane

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Flash is NOT DEAD!

Woof! Lord Flashheart is back! This time as a dashing flying ace. Blackadder decides to get out of the trenches by becoming a pilot and joining a Royal Flying Corps squadron with such a relaxed work ethic, it's called the Twenty-Minuters. Soon he, George and Baldrick learn that after twenty minutes the planes come down alright. Behind enemy lines, as a result of being shot down by the Red Baron.

Episode Tropes include:

  • Anachronism Stew: Although Lord Flashheart is given the rank of Squadron Commander, the Royal Flying Corps actually used standard Army ranks, not the ones that the future Royal Air Force (which was formed in 1918 as a result of merging the RFC with the Royal Naval Air Service) would use. Flashheart's rank would have been Major.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Blackadder snarks repeatedly about Baldrick being born to a female gorilla at London Zoo.
  • Brick Joke: Flashheart says that the only qualification for being a navigator is "knowing your arse from your elbow" to which Blackadder replies: "That rules Baldrick out". A short while later, Baldrick says they should join the Royal Flying Corps as it's better than "just sitting around here on our elbows". And guess who Blackadder's navigator turns out to be...
  • Caught Monologuing:
    Baron von Richthofen: Ah, and Lord Flashheart! This is indeed an honour! Finally the two greatest gentlemen flyers in the world meet! Two men of honour, who have jousted together in the cloud-strewn glory of the skies... face to face at last! How often have I rehearsed this moment of destiny in my dreams! The valour we two encapsulate, the unspoken nobility of our comradeship, the— (Boom, Headshot!)
    Flashheart: WHAT A POOF!
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Blackadder learns that the Germans' plan for him would be vastly preferable to staying on the front line of war. He's therefore not too pleased when Flashheart turns up to take him back to the Allied trenches.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: The planned Fate Worse than Death for Blackadder is to have him teaching at a German girl's school for the rest of his life, completely unaware that that would actually be paradise for Blackadder.
  • Europeans Are Kinky: Baldrick's concerns about Germans doing anything that moves are proven correct when Richthofen tells him he'll be out 'round the back of the supply bunker if Baldrick's interested...
  • Everyone Has Standards: Even Flashheart is disgusted by Darling's refusal to rescue Blackadder, so he headbutts him and knocks him out. It doesn't improve Blackadder's opinion of Flashheart.
  • False Reassurance: Blackadder, on the quest for an easy life, gets this not once but twice.
    • Early on, he decides to sign up for an RFC squadron called the "Twenty-Minuters" on being told that on average, that's how long they spend in the air. During his initial pilot training, he soon learns that that's actually how long they spend in the air before being shot down.
    • Later, after being taken prisoner, he learns that his fate is to become a teacher of home economics in a German girls' school. He's perfectly OK with this. Then Flashheart shows up to rescue him.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Or a fate worse than a Fate Worse than Death. Subverted, though, as the "fate" that the Germans have in store for Blackadder is in fact something of an Unishment.
  • Gag Penis: Implied with Lord Flasheart, who claims he goes commando because "the underpants haven't been built that'll take the job on!" This is following him telling several ladies off-screen, "HEY GIRLS! LOOK AT MY MACHINERY!" and their screams of delight.
  • Going Commando: Lord Flashheart boasts that he wears no underwear, because "the pants haven't been built yet that'll take the job on!"
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Young Rik Mayall was a very handsome man, and the brown leather longcoat did absolutely nothing to detract from that.
    Rik Mayall: I mean, you don't think of World War I as particularly sexy, but when I put on the costume, the leather coat and the lariat and. It. Was. So. Sex. I mean, I was a walking penis!
  • Historical Badass Upgrade: Inverted; The real Manfred von Richthofen was a cavalry officer who trained as a pilot once it became clear that cavalry was obsolete, and who then insisted on being a fighter pilot because he didn't want to fly transports, and who then became the highest-scoring ace of the war, with 80 confirmed victories. He once flew his plane through a thunderstorm just to see what it was like, and commented afterwards that he was lucky to get away with it and wouldn't do it again unless ordered to. When he was killed, he wasn't even properly shot down; he was fatally wounded in the chest and went on to land his plane with only light damage, before dying in his seat. The fictional Richthofen, while still an Ace Pilot, is an idiot Bond villain type who gets shot. Much funnier, though.
  • Incoming Ham: Lord Flashheart
    • Eat knuckle, Fritz!
    • Hey, girls! Look at my machinery!
    • I-i-i-i-iiiiiiit's ME! Hurray!
  • I Want My Mommy!: Baldrick evokes this while in German prison. Blackadder would want Baldrick's mother by their side, too. After all, who wouldn't want a five-hundred-pound gorilla on their side beating the opposition into paste?
    Baldrick: I want my mum!
    Blackadder: Yes, it'll be good to see her. I imagine a maternally outraged gorilla could be a useful ally when it comes to the final scrap.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Adrian Edmondson could have been cast for the sole reason of appearing against Rik Mayall, his long-time work partner. In their double-act most of the constant violence (and occasional gay jokes) are directed at Mayall, so it seems too much of a coincidence that Mayall's Flashheart immediately shoots Edmondon's Red Baron and loudly proclaims "What a poof!"
  • Language Equals Thought: Edmund claims that the Germans have no word for "fluffy", which shows their cruelty.
  • Large Ham: Lord Flashheart really likes his own voice.
  • Malaproper: Somewhat inverted by Funny Foreigner Richtofen as he speaks quite eloquently and only mangles his English once:
    Richtofen: I can tell how much you are suffering by your long faeces!
  • Pet the Dog:
    • During the apparent air raid, Blackadder orders Baldrick to safety in what (for him) is apparently genuine concern for Baldrick's life.
    • As much of a vainglorious jackass as Flashheart generally is, he does happily help Blackadder get revenge on Captain Darling.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Flashheart yells a homophobic slur (par for the course for 1917 servicemen) at The Red Baron's corpse after shooting him.
    Flashheart: What a poof! Come on!
  • Self-Deprecation: Toilet humor is described as being the basis for all of British culture.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: On being caught by Baron von Richthofen, Captain Flashheart appears to listen to the Baron's gloating speech for about a minute before suddenly shooting him dead mid-sentence with the observation "What a poof!"
    • Possibly to the point of being a subversion, since the Baron's speech is more along the lines of "Wow, I finally get to meet the great Lord Flashheart! As men of honour, we'll surely have so much in common and will have a glorious and dignified duel with each other!" than a Break Them by Talking, not having realised that Flashheart is in it for England, not for personal glory or the love of combat.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Edmund's view on Lord Flashheart.
    Edmund: Unfortunately, most of the infantry thinks you're a prat. Ask them who they'd prefer to meet. Squadron commander Flashheart or the man that cleans out the public toilets in Aberdeen, they'd go for Wee Jock Poo Pong McPlop everytime.
  • Stock Footage: For the flying sequences, footage from Aces High 1976 was re-edited and dubbed over with the actors' voices.
  • Straight Gay: Richtofen certainly seems to have a thing for Lord Flashheart. He also stands out as being the only person in all Blackadder to proposition Baldrick note .
  • Toilet Humour: Richtofen praises English humour, especially this kind:
    Richtofen: How lucky you English are to find ze toilet so amusing. For us, it is a mundane and functional item. For you, ze basis of an entire culture.
  • Unishment: Richthofen intends to punish Blackadder by sending him back to Germany, where he will spend the rest of the war teaching German schoolgirls home economics. He clearly doesn't know who he's dealing with.
    Richthofen: For you, as a man of honour, ze humiliation vill be UNBEARABLE!
  • Worthy Opponent: The Red Baron regards Flashheart as this. Flashheart's response? Boom Head Shot.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Richtofen believes he and Flashheart are locked in a great game of one-upmanship and are worthy opponents and expects them to have a long and friendly chat before a duel to the death. Flashheart, who's actually fighting for King and country rather than personal glory, just shoots him.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: When confronted with Richtofen, Flashheart does.