Historical accuracy is not a term that was likely ever intended to be associated with Sinbad, and if it was not clear enough already, the latest episode well and truly cements it.
After a seemingly harmless nautical drag race against a passing ship, Sinbad and his crew moor at an apparently desolate port in desperate need of supplies. No sooner has Sinbad taken his first tentative step on land, now all the more aware of the curse firmly wrapped around his neck, then the ship Sinbad had spent the opening minutes racing against pulls up right alongside them.
The captain of this mystery ship turns out to be a wealthy merchant by the name of Abdul-Fahim, (guest star Ashley Walters) who as well as sounding like an East London gangster, also happens to like a flutter or two. With Sinbad and his crew urgently needing supplies to continue their journey, Abdul-Fahim cannot resist luring them into a life or death gamble.
While Sinbad and most of his friends decide to moan about their situation, Rina slips away with the ship’s treasure and the supposedly sensible Anwar takes it upon himself to take a gamble against Abdul-Fahim which results in him losing the ship and almost certain death for Sinbad.
For the first time in the series, we see friction between our heroes and more emphasis is put on Sinbad’s curse of being unable to spend more than one cycle of the sun on land. Unfortunately, while this tension is refreshing and adds drama to the situation, it is the only positive to take out of this episode as one can only assume that the writers’ water source must have been tampered with during the writing process considering the events that follow.
In a daring plan to win their ship back, Sinbad and his remaining friends set off in search of Abdul-Fahim. Their search sees them wander into the Middle-East’s own Las Vegas, a vast gaming house run by twins clearly inspired by the equally irritating Jedward.
Considering that this is a series set in the ancient world, the sword strapped over Gunnar’s back is the only reminder of the setting as all the characters spend most of their time gambling and arguing with dialogue resembling what is heard in an average soap opera. Even the set piece action Sinbad has been praised for takes a back seat as a terrible finale fails to generate even a spark of excitement and is barely worth mentioning.
While there are many things that can be said about the latest episode of Sinbad, one can only hope that this is merely the early blip that all new genre series encounter and that Sinbad can return to the action sequences that have given it so much promise.
Aired at 7pm on Sunday 22nd July 2012 on Sky1.
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