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Recap / Sharpe S 5 E 3 Sharpes Waterloo

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The armies of Europe is uniting, under the banner of the Duke of Wellington, against the armies of an escaped Napoleon. Sharpe returns to service as a Lieutenant Colonel in a Dutch-Belgian regiment and reunites with friends and comrades in the final battle against Napoleon.

Tropes that appear in this episode:

  • Adapted Out: The episode omits Major Peter d'Alembord, Charlie Weller and Sharpe and Lucille's son Henri (since her pregnancy had been removed from the adaptation of Sharpe's Revenge). Others, such as Dunnett and the Claytons, had been killed in earlier episodes, although Harry Price was retained despite a character of the same name apparently dying in Sharpe's Company.
  • Benevolent Boss: Wellington, in contrast to the prince.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Napoleon and Jane Gibbons.
  • Bittersweet Ending: With the last two of Sharpe's chosen men and battle brothers dead, he says goodbye to Harper and strides off at the end, leading his old regiment and disappearing into the mists. He finally achieved what he wanted, which was seeing Napoleon in the flesh. While it's not the end of his story by a long way, it still feels like he's Riding into the Sunset, never to be seen again.
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  • Boom, Headshot!: Hagman's fate.
  • The Dandy: The Prince of Orange.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Harris is killed at Waterloo. In the book, he wasn't even at the battle and later survived the series.
    • Lieutenant colonel Joseph Ford doesn't die in the book.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation:
    • In the film, Hagman is killed as a result of Orange's orders. In the novel, he dies in the main battle.
    • In the novel, Rossendale is killed by a peasant woman looting the battlefield. In the film, he's bayonetted by French soldiers.
  • Dirty Coward: Rossendale is afraid to fight Sharpe like a man and literally pisses himself when Sharpe pulls a sword on him during a party. He resorts to cowardly attempting to murder Sharpe during a battle with the French... but can't go through with it, and ends up paying Sharpe off instead. He finds his steel eventually, but by then it's too late.
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  • Gaining the Will to Kill: Rossendale starts the episode as a coward, but learns how to kill on the field of Waterloo. He still doesn't survive the battle, though.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: During a tense exchange with the staggeringly incompetent Prince of Orange, Sharpe's "Fuck you", while clearly visible on his lips, is inaudible thanks to the sound of cannon fire.
  • Glory Hound / Fearless Fool: The Prince of Orange, a deadly combination that gets good men pointlessly killed.
  • Hidden Army Reveal:
    • Sharpe tells Upper-Class Twit Prince of Orange that the battlefield is not empty, as the Prince keeps saying, because there are heavy cavalry hidden in a patch of dead ground behind a rise. The Prince gets a nasty shock when the cavalry turns up.
    • Napoleon is surprised by a sudden appearance of reserves for Wellington's army, because Wellington had some of his troops (also Real Life example) lie on the ground just behind the crest of a hill so they could not be seen until he gave the order to stand up.
  • Humiliation Conga: Rossendale has a very hard time in this episode.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Harris is speared by a French soldier.
    • Rossdale gets bayoneted by French soldiers.
  • Lady Macbeth: Jane had made a turn for this in the previous episode, but it's at the fore here. She demands that Rossendale murder her husband in the chaos of battle.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Rossendale crosses the line when he agrees to murder Sharpe for Jane, but can't bring himself to pull the trigger when the time comes.
    Rossendale: I love her to distraction, you know. More than honour. But to keep her I must kill him... He's a far better man than I, sir.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: An attractive prostitute clad in a bedsheet offers herself to Sharpe for a shilling, after telling him he's likely to be killed in the ensuing battle. He declines, as he's got to get off and get killed.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: The episode begins with Sharpe, Harper, Harris and Hagman, the last of the Chosen Men, coming back together from France, Ireland and wherever the other two have been to see Napoleon defeated once and for all.
  • Rage Breaking Point: By the time Hagman and Harris are killed, Sharpe has already had it by the utter incompetence of the Prince of Orange and has been sitting out the battle, ready to walk away from the army forever. The Prince's cowardice causing the deaths of Sharpe's men drives Sharpe to try to outright murder the worthless jerk.
  • Suspiciously Small Army: The show only had a limited number of extras and tried to obscure it by tight framing despite the real Battle of Waterloo being an epic engagement that involved the armies of multiple countries.
  • Take a Third Option: Rossendale is counselled to fight like a hero in order to win the day.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The Prince of Orange is a snivelling brat and an incompetent military leader who has caused the deaths of many, many of his own men. One of his immediate subordinates has finally had enough:
    Doggett: You did it again! Colonel Sharpe said you would do it again, and you did! All those men dead because you wanted to get out? You coward!
    Rebecque: Doggett! His Royal Highness cannot be called a coward.
    Doggett: No, dammit. No, not cowardice, not that. Just so he can dance and prance, and make high cockalorum, while men die? Horribly? It is too much, I declare, too much! I shall say it! [hesitates, then plunges on] You sir, are a silk stocking full of shit! [rides away]
  • Series Fauxnale: This was meant to be the finale, until two mini-series came in 2006 and 2008.
  • Tempting Fate: Rossendale gets his first taste of battle and screams that he can do it, he can kill like Sharpe, he can kill Sharpe. It's surely providence that guided that bayonet into him.
  • Unfriendly Fire: Discussed between Jane and Rossendale; their plan is for him to murder Sharpe in the midst of battle, leaving the shooter ambiguous. He doesn't have the stomach to do it, though. Later, Sharpe finally has enough of the Prince of Orange and gives him a taste of this too. It doesn't kill him, but it does injure him enough that he has to leave the field.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Sharpe breaks Rossdale's pistol and sword in a standoff.


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