‘Sinbad’: Episode 5 review

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The latest instalment of Sinbad is somewhat of a conundrum. Not a great deal happens, but it manages to fill its screen time without too much trouble.

In keeping with the series’ lack of historical accuracy, the episode opens with Anwar crying like a drunken student over the prospect of getting a tattoo, and not even the setting of an 8th century middle eastern city is enough to suggest the writers knew what time period they were writing for. However, the whole episode, and our heroes, are given a wake-up call as guards from Basra are spotted carrying a ‘wanted’ poster featuring a strangely accurate sketch of Sinbad himself.

This triggers everyone into action, and following a rather amusing distraction provided by Anwar, Rina and Nala, the intrepid crew make a break for it, with Sinbad and Gunnar heading for a cave on the other side of the island and the others attempting to make it back to the ship.

It is ironic that for a series set largely at sea, the best action sequences so far have been in the warren of city alleys and streets and this episode’s early action is no exception. It may not be the madcap chases and death defying leaps on rooftops we have seen so far, but the attempts to sneak past the Basra guards  through the city’s labyrinth of streets is as tense as, well, any tense scene seen so far in this series.

Nala, Anwar and Rina manage to make it back to the ship without too much trouble but are soon in more trouble than they could imagine as they soon discover the ship has already been taken by Basra guards led by the sorceress, Taryn, who is determined to find out Sinbad’s location. The interrogation is all too easily concluded and Taryn quickly discovers where Sinbad is heading.

However, the real drama soon unfolds as we see the worst case scenario of leaving loose hair lying around as Taryn uses it in a concoction that creates a creature looking like a man caked head to toe in sugar, and sends it to capture Sinbad.

Meanwhile, Sinbad and Gunnar are ambushed by a mysterious band that are revealed to be martial art experts with a sense of justice that takes the meaning to the extreme. They capture and escort Gunnar back to their seemingly impenetrable fortress (which Sinbad later breaks into with ease) and want to execute the man from the north for the atrocities he committed in his Viking past. Sinbad, as expected, intervenes just as Taryn’s creature shows up and once again Sinbad finds himself being pursued.

Fortunately for Sinbad, the creature, in what can only be described as a design flaw, acts based on Sinbad’s emotions and it does not take Gunnar long to calm Sinbad’s mind, thus rendering the creature useless. Gunnar’s persuasion skills are enough for him to avoid execution which feels a bit too simple as an escape route and you have to wonder whether the writers have the capabilities to create a really compelling situation, but with over half of the series left time is on Sinbad’s side.

Aired at 7pm on Sunday 5th August 2012 on Sky1.

> Order the Series 1 DVD on Amazon.

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