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Recap / Sharpe S 4 E 3 Sharpes Mission

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Sharpe teams up with Major Brand, a legend in the British Army, to blow up a store of French gunpowder — unaware that Brand is a traitor and a French agent.

Tropes that appear in this episode:

  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: When Sergeant Pope is captured by Sharpe and Pyecroft. He confesses everything.
  • Anti-Villain: Captain Crake is far less antagonistic than Pope and Brand, and vehemently denies spying for the French, while confessing to the murdering and looting.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Pyecroft's left forearm ends in a hook hand.
  • The Atoner: Captain Crake becomes this in the final scenes of the episode.
  • Attempted Rape: Sergeant Pope attempts to rape Ramona.
  • Bald of Evil: Major Brand is mostly bald along the top of his head.
  • Big Bad: General Calvet, with Colonel Cresson as The Heavy.
  • Broken Pedestal: Sharpe has nothing but praise for Major Brand at the beginning. He discovers Brand's butchery of helpless gypsies and French soldiers, as well as his part in Colonel Cresson's plan to capture Ross. By the end,1 he has nothing but scorn for him.
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  • The Brute: Sergeant Pope is the most vicious member of Brand's Boys.
  • The Butcher: Major Brand thinks nothing of slaughtering helpless soldiers.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: Sharpe pushes Major Brand down a well in front of a room full of people (right after the man gloats about how he'll get away with it all). Haper, when asked by Wellington's spymaster what they just saw, says "Ah, he's a funny old fish, sir. I just saw him jump head long into the wishing well!...why do you think he'd want to do something like that, sir?" Later, Wellington gives orders for the man's death to be reported as a heroic one in combat, and that appears to be the end of the matter.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Pyecroft's skill with explosives also comes in handy when figuring out the shoddy powder that was given to the French deserters, helping the protagonists get closer to figuring out Brand's plot.
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  • The Chessmaster: Cresson concocts a plan to capture Ross by luring him to a French powder magazine.
  • Cultured Badass: Harris thwarts a man trying to woo Jane by pointing out the gaps in his knowledge of poetry.
  • Cutting the Knot: For Cresson's plan to succeed, Calvet has to organise some captured French deserters into two groups - the Sheep, who will run at the first sign of trouble, and the Goats, who will fight. He solves this by simply throwing a half-eaten chicken leg among the prisoners. The ones that dive to get it are then designated Sheep, while the ones who refuse are dubbed Goats.
  • Demolitions Expert: This was Pyecroft's role before the accident. Wellington recruits him to fulfil it again.
  • Disney Villain Death: Sharpe executes Brand by pushing him down a well headfirst.
  • The Dragon:
    • Major Brand to Colonel Cresson and General Calvet.
    • Captain Crake is Brand's second highest ranking officer. For Cresson's scheme, he is more in line with the Dark Chick.
  • Due to the Dead: Pyecrot buries Zara's parents and commends them to the Lord.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Major Brand is celebrated as a British hero back home and is anything but.
  • Famous Last Words:
    Crake: Alright, lads! Let's show these frogs how to fight!
  • Frame-Up: Brand frames Harris for the murder of a gypsy Camp Follower.
  • The Gadfly: Gaston pretends to consume a poisoned mushroom in one scene.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars:
    • Averted by Major Septimus Pyecroft, who is missing a forearm and whose own facial injuries necessitate the wearing of a leather hood, but is also one of Sharpe's allies and defends a gypsy girl from rogue English troops.
    • Major Brand seems to have a duelling scar.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Wellington sees to it that Brand's demise is reported as a hero's death.
  • Hold the Line: Captain Crake leads the remnants of Brand's Boys in the defence of the powder magazine, to allow time for Sharpe, Ross, Pyecroft, the Chosen Men and the Prince of Wales volunteers to escape and destroy the magazine.
  • In the Hood: Pyecroft wears a leather cowl to cover his burns.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Pyecroft manages to coerce Pope into spilling Colonel Brand's plan to capture Ross by depositing a pouch of blast powder on him with a lit fuse eight minutes long.
  • Kick the Dog: Sergeant Pope drives his boot into the chest of a French deserter that tries to surrender.
  • Kill It with Water: Harper drowns Sergeant Pope, which he follows up with slamming his head against a rock.
  • Leitmotif: Major Brand and his troops seem to have their own theme following them, a stirring piece of music that becomes ominous and sinister as it goes on.
  • The Mole: Brand is passing information to Calvet and Cresson.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Sharpe offers Crake and the rest of Brand's Boys this. They accept.
  • Remember the New Guy?: The episode features an opening flashback set just after Sharpe's Eagle, but no mention of Major Brand is given before.
  • Sadistic Choice: How Wellington recruits Pyecroft; either help demolish the French powder magazine or be sent back to England, where children can point and stare at him. Pyecroft chooses the former.
  • The Social Darwinist: Major Brand champions the notion that the strong survive and that the weakest die. He has no second thoughts on leaving the injured behind.
  • The Uriah Gambit: Following the failed plan, Calvet offers Cresson some mushrooms, some of which are poisoned. The one he eats is not. He is still shot.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Major Brand is still regarded well at home and tries to use that to leverage better terms following his capture.
  • The Voiceless: Save for some cries of fright at the start and crying in grief for her parents, we never see Zara speak onscreen.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Harris when he finds three murdered Gypsies.
  • Walking Spoiler: Major Brand's loyalties spoil at least half the story.
  • We Have Reserves: Cresson's plan hinges on using French deserters to lure Ross into the trap. He divides these between the Sheep - soldiers who turn tail and flee, and Goats - soldiers more willing to fight.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Pyecroft was close friends with Major General Ross before the accident that burned him, for which he blames Ross. They reconcile in the end.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Sergeant Pope is sent to kill Zara.
  • You Have Failed Me: Calvet has Cresson executed for failing to capture the fort.
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