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Recap / Sharpe S 3 E 2 Sharpes Battle

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September 1813
Wellington is chasing Napoleon
back through the Pyreness into France.
A final victory seems close at hand,
but the French are fighting a fierce
rear-guard action and each yard of
ground gained is paid for
in British blood...

On the Duke of Wellington's orders, Sharpe must train a unit of incompetent irish soldiers (parade soldiers in spanish service made of irish exiles) in time to battle Brigadier General Loup, a French officer who has sworn revenge against Sharpe.

Tropes that appear in this episode:

  • Adapted Out: Pierre Ducos and Fr. Sarsfield do not appear in the film.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Lord Kiely is much more heroic (and likeable) than his book counterpart (who, notably, is not married; and, rather than the TV version's Redemption Equals Death, is instead Driven to Suicide).
  • Adaptational Villainy: The television adaptation was written before the novel had been finished, resulting in a vastly different second half. So while Lord Kiely gets a much more sympathetic treatment in the adaptation and dies a heroic death (rather than blowing his brains out on realising he's a bit rubbish), Spear Carrier Guardsman O'Rourke, whose main contribution in the novel is to say his name when Sharpe asks him, gets turned into a Turn Coat who kills a couple of likeable characters mostly because they're there.
  • A Father to His Men: Despite being an unabashed war criminal, Loup goes out of his way to protect his own soldiers and does all he can to save a pair of them from execution at Sharpe's hands. His savagery to his foes but fierce protectiveness of his men plays into his wolf motif.
    Loup: I have promised my men, Major, that I would never desert them. Don't make me break my promise.
  • Animal Motifs: Loup's is wolves. Loup is French for wolf, his men wear grey uniforms, have wolf sashes and capes, and leave wolf heads at massacres.
  • And This Is for...: Harper when he stabs a traitorous Irish soldier who murdered Perkins.
    Harper: This one's for Perkins!(stabs once) This one's for Ireland! (stabs again) And this one's for me. (stabs a third time)
  • Apple of Discord: Loup's intent is to sow dissent among the Irish soldiers by printing and distributing false newspapers that speak of atrocities against the Irish people.
  • Berserk Button: For Harper, don't be an Irishman who can't keep his gun in half-decent order. Ain't that right, O'Rourke?
    Harper: I'm ashamed and disgusted, so I am, that an Irishman can't keep his gun in half decent order. Jesus, you wouldn't kill an Englishman with that, never mind a bloody Frenchman!
  • Best Served Cold: Loup wants revenge on Sharpe after Sharpe ordered the execution of two of his men and Loup had sworn to his men that he would protect them.
  • Big Bad: Brigadier General Guy Loup.
  • Big Eater: Colonel Runciman, to the point where other soldiers actually take bets on how much he can eat.
  • Break the Badass: When Perkins is killed, Harper, Hagman and Harris to comfort him in his dying moments, these three hardened soldiers are reduced to Manly Tears by the event, and Harper promptly forgets about everything else to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against his murderer. Sharpe was elsewhere at the time, but the look on his face when he comes back and sees Perkins' body cradled in Harper's arms also qualifies.
  • Call-Back: To Sharpe's Eagle; Sharpe and Harper drill the Irish soldiers to fire three rounds a minute, just like Sharpe did for Simmerson's command.
  • Canon Foreigner: Lady Kiely didn't exist in the books.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: Subverted. O'Rourke and his men are just pretending to be The Cavalry. The real cavalry shows up less than five minutes later.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The fact that O'Rourke doesn't keep a gun in half-decent order winds up biting him in the ass when he comes face to face with Harper during the climax.
  • Colonel Badass: Kiely has the rank of colonel and he is a deadly combatant.
  • Compressed Hair: Dona Juanita's hair is typically up in curls, similar to Annie, but is shown to be more than waist-length during the night.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Harper's Roaring Rampage of Revenge. First he blows away the minor traitors. Then when O'Rourke charges him, he sidesteps, removes the bayonet, and stabs him.
  • Death by Adaptation: Perkins survives in the book. Here, he's not so lucky. In fact, the novel was his first appearance.
  • Death by Irony: Perkins is the only Chosen Man left standing in a melee where the rest are gunned down. Then it turns out the Chosen Men were Faking the Dead. In the ensuing shootout, Perkins is murdered by O'Rourke, making him the first Chosen Man to die onscreen.
  • Defiant Captive: Lady Kiely. She smashes a bottle on Loup's head and threatens to slit her own throat if he tries to rape her.
    "You will not defile me, sir. On my child's life, you will not."
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Poor young Perkins dies in Harper's arms, surrounded by his comrades, after being gutstabbed.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation:
    • Kiely is taken from behind by Loup and fatally stabbed in contrast to committing suicide in the book.
    • Likewise, Loup is stabbed by Sharpe as they duel in a dungeon instead of being drowned in a river in the book.
  • Duel to the Death: Kiely's first combat scene involves challenging one of Loup's men to single combat, which Kiely wins.
  • Evil Counterpart: Dona Juanita to Teresa, as a female Rebel Leader who is in a relationship with a British officer, but is helping the French.
  • Evil Laugh:
    • Wellington and Munro have one after they decided to put Sharpe in charge of training for the unwanted irish soldiers.
    • Munro has another one when Sharpe tells him that he once dealt with a royal bodyguard and killing the one who they were supposed to protect! Munro: "Capital, capital. We're sending a regicide to take on a royal bodyguard."
  • Eye Scream: Loup's left eye appears to be dead.
  • Faking the Dead: The entire squad during the final battle.
  • Fat Bastard: Averted. Runciman is more or less harmless, pleasant enough to be around, and fairly well-meaning, which leads to Sharpe taking an odd liking to him. Granted, it helps that his fairly mild nature makes him easy for Sharpe to manipulate to his own ends, but even still.
  • A Father to His Men: Loup promised to protect his men and is very angry when Sharpe orders the execution of two of them.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Dona Juanita when she informs Kiely of his wife's capture and forces him to comply with her and Loup.
  • Frontline General: Colonel Runciman tries to be this, insisting that, as a general, he has to lead the men in battle. He only heads to bed when Sharpe promises to wake him.
  • Gangsta Style: O'Rourke holds his pistol sideways when he murders Jenkins.
  • Gasshole: Colonel Runciman.
    "'Let the effusions out', Sharpe. That's what my doctor says."
  • Glory Hound / General Failure: Kiely, a nobleman with no heir, who is hungry to esteem his family name with prestige and happy to throw his soldiers' lives as well as his own away in pursuit of it; his incompetence in the field causes deaths and desertions. Contrasted with the villain, surprisingly, who while a much worse person, genuinely cares for his men and proves a far more cunning war leader.
  • Good Old Ways: Kiely is a strong believer in the glory of past war.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Colonel Runciman manages to sleep through a battle.
  • Hero Killer: Loup is the first antagonist whose schemes lead to the death of one of the Chosen Men: Perkins. He also gunned down Harper (this turns out to be Faking the Dead) and stabs Kiely to death.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Loup:
    "The chief weapon of the guerilla, Major, is horror. Horror! So, I make sure that I am more horrible than my enemy."
  • Honor Before Reason: Kiely duels one of Loup's men in single combat, and refuses to strike the killing blow when he has the advantage.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: O'Rourke is stabbed by Harper with the bayonet he used to murder Perkins.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Perkins is bayoneted by O'Rourke.
    • O'Rourke is stabbed repeatedly with a bayonet by Harper.
  • Imperiled in Pregnancy: After Kiely learns Lady Kiely is pregnant, she is sent away from the fort, but is captured by traitorous members of the Irish Company so Loup can force Kiely to abandon Sharpe's men to die.
  • Insistent Terminology: Runciman prefers to be addressed as General Runciman, rather than Colonel.
  • It's Personal: Harper toward the four traitorous Irish Company soldiers. During the Final Battle, he seeks them out and kills them all.
  • Kick the Dog: Kiely's quite a Jerkass to his wife, upbraiding her for her response to an insult made by Juanita, and blaming her for the death of their child. He immediately changes his tune when he learns that she is pregnant.
  • Last of His Kind: Kiely is the last to bear the name of Kiely:
    "I am the last of my blood, Sharpe. When I die, the name dies with me."
    • The news of his wife's pregnancy subverts this.
  • Leave Behind a Pistol: Subverted. Sharpe remarks that Kiely in a room with a loaded pistol might be the gentlemanly thing to do, but of little use to the regiment or his family. He gives him a chance to lead a suicidal charge instead.
  • Leave Him to Me!: "No one touches O'Rourke. The bastard's mine."
  • Made of Iron: O'Rourke shrugs off getting shot in the leg with a heavy bullet without even a limp.
  • Master Swordsman: Unlike your average Neidermeyer, Kiely is a highly effective swordsman.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: "My name is Sharpe. Major Sharpe. And I'm going to teach you to be soldiers."
  • Nobility Marries Money: Kiely's wife had money, he had the title.
  • Nothing Personal: "Sgt. Harper. I've no quarrel with a fellow Irishman." Unfortunately, Harper does.
  • Oh, Crap!: One of Loup's men does this when he's moving among the supposedly dead Chosen Men and taps Harper with his boot; Harper wakes up, and the unlucky man only has a couple moments to back away before Harper's Nock gun blows him halfway across the street.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Lady Kiely miscarried her first pregnancy some time ago and her husband can barely look her in the face after that.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Colonel Runciman holds a very low opinion of the Irish.
    "[The Irish] don't understand their own good luck. I mean, we go and we sort out their country, and all they do is froth at the maw and throw brickbats at us. I mean, there's no gratitude, Sharpe. None, but still, we have to be diplomatic. We have to treat these chaps as if they were English. Well, almost English."
  • The Quisling: O'Rourke is the leader of a group of Royal Irish Company soldiers who are working for Loup.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: O'Rourke threatens to rape Lady Kiely to the extent that she'll wish she was dead.
  • Reassignment Backfire: A company of Irish guard are recruited into the British army, and the high command decides to send them to a far outpost on the edge of the front lines, in a terrible position, so they'll all desert and solve the problem of having to deal with a company that doesn't like England- then sends Richard Sharpe to whip them into place, expecting him to drive them off for good. He makes them crack soldiers instead and decimates an entire enemy brigade. Oops.
  • Rebel Leader: Dona Juanita is the leader of another group of partisans at the Franco-Spanish border.
  • Rescue Romance: Miranda falls for Perkins after he rescues her from being raped by two of Loup's men.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Harper goes on one after O'Rourke, the traitorous Royal Irish Company soldier who murdered Perkins.
  • Rousing Speech: Sharpe gives one to the Royal Irish Company soldiers toward the end.
    "Loup's made you look bloody stupid. Are you going to stand for that? Are you?! 'Cause I'm not. I'm going to kill a wolf. Am I going to have to do it alone? I promised you a battle, and now I'm giving you one. Come on!"
  • Sacrificial Lion: Poor Perkins.
  • She Knows Too Much: Dona Juanita murders Miranda when she spies on her meeting with Loup.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Lady Kiely may seem to be your average aristocrat's wife, but she's handy with a pistol and proves to be a Defiant Captive, as Loup found out the hard way.
  • Skilled, but Naive: Kiely is a very capable fighter, but is untested in the field and cites the romanticised battles of legend, which sets him at odds with Sharpe.
  • Smug Super: Unlike your average glory-seeking aristocratic officer, Lord Kiely can back up all his talk of fighting war in "the old ways" with his prowess on the battlefield.
  • Spotting the Thread: Sharpe proves the newspapers about British atrocities against the Irish are fake by doing this. The papers are allegedly American. But it would take six to eight weeks for an American paper to learn about events in Ireland, and another six to eight weeks for the papers to make it back across the Atlantic. But despite the fact that any real American newspaper would be four months old and talking about two month old news, the papers are freshly printed and are talking about alleged incidents that are days old at most.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Kiely is shocked by his wife handing out rifles to the Royal Irish Company soldiers.
    Kiely: Good God! What the hell does she think she's doing?
    Sharpe: Being a good wife. I don't see the Dona Juanita getting her hands dirty, do you?
  • Straight for the Commander: Sharpe speaks of this trope when he first meets Kiely.
    "[And] the best person to kill on the battlefield is always the enemy officer, remember that. Kill them first, then the sergeants, and then you can kill any poor bastard you want. But if you've shot your ball, then what you do is turn the musket and club the buggery out of the horse's mouth. I guarantee the horse will throw its rider. And when the overpaid, overdressed monkey sitting on it hits the turf, you can finish him off while he's still stunned... We've killed officers in blue coats, red coats, even officers in white coats, because I don't care what army the officer fights for, or what color coat he wears, or what king he serves. A bad officer is better off dead and a good soldier better learn how to kill him, ain't that right, Sergeant Harper?"
  • Together in Death: Perkins and Miranda, who are buried in the same grave.
    Harper: Does anyone want to say anything?
    Sharpe: Yes. He was a brave soldier... and she was his lass.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: O'Rourke murders Jenkins, who saved his life during a battle.
  • [Verb] This!: Before shooting Jenkins, O'Rourke says "Have that."
  • Worf Had the Flu: Sharpe is overpowered by Loup during their duel, but fought with a handicap (he got shot in the arm) and still ends up killing him, admittedly by playing dirty.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: How the Chosen Men get the better of Loup during the climactic shootout.