WE’RE NOW MORE than halfway through RTÉ’s Easter Rising drama Rebellion, and things are starting to look a bit dire for the rebels.
The British have drafted in a load of backup soldiers from, wait for it, ENGLAND, and are quite literally taking no prisoners.
At the beginning of last night’s third episode, we saw a line of British army soldiers executing a rather hipster looking Francis Sheehy Skeffington.
It was perhaps the first time we’ve seen anything approaching the British ruthlessness we associate with the period, and it was the first of many scenes of death throughout the episode.
As you may have noticed in the clip, mustachioed British Army soldier Arthur Mahon (Barry Ward) wasn’t quite up to executing an unarmed fellow Irishman.
Later, he seems to have finally packed it in and deserts his post. That is until his wife tells him that, while he might not be fighting for Ireland, he’s fighting to feed his family. It’s a message that has been prominent in this decade of commemorations in relation to Irish-born British soldiers of that time.
The sad part though is that Arthur will have one less mouth to feed when the whole thing is over. In what was a thoroughly predictable plot turn, his 11-year-old boy Peter was shot dead while out on a scouting mission from the GPO.
Even as a youngster, it’s probably not the best idea to run around a warzone wearing the rebels’ curved hat with an Irish Citizen Army pin.
The child was picked off by a British sniper while munching on an apple and, despite the best efforts of Liz (Charlie Murphy), he didn’t pull through.
The bullet that whistled through the air to hit Peter was just one of the many shots we heard in what was by far the most action packed episode of the series.
Especially for Frances (Ruth Bradley) and Jimmy (Brian Gleeson) who spent the episode running around the city trying to avoid getting shot. They were sent to Northumberland Road to pass on a message from HQ and ended up getting caught in a shootout with a column of British soldiers.
They were horribly outnumbered thanks to DeValera’s no-show and it looked like they were set for martyrdom, something Jimmy wasn’t too keen on.
“I’m not into this blood sacrifice shite,” he told Frances.
There followed a pretty hectic chase scene that was particularly well shot by Finnish director Aku Louhimies.
The game looked up for Jimmy though and he was facing down the barrel of a British rifle until Frances saved his pale Irish skin.
Phoenix from the flames
It’s fair to say Padraig Pearse (Marcus Lamb) isn’t coming off the best in Rebellion and he seemed to reach peak delusion last night.
He gave a rousing oration to his comrades at the end of episode three in which he insisted that they were winning the battle despite the destruction around them.
From our spilled blood, the phoenix of freedom shall arise and our children and our children’s children will enjoy the happiness and prosperity which that freedom will bring.
In fairness to Pearse, he was half-right there.
And finally, from an embryonic Republic to an actual embryo. The metaphor that’s growing inside May’s (Sarah Greene) belly is starting to give her morning sickness.
Not the best thing to happen when you’re hiding out in your married lover’s plush home with his sharp-tongued English wife.
There are no flies on the wife (Perdita Weeks) however, who easily works out that the baby May is carrying is her husband’s.
In a tirade against May, she tells her that a doctor told them that they are unable to have children and that “the fault lies with the seed”. Meaning that the child must be someone else’s.
But May was well up for the fight:
The seed is fine in fertile earth. It would simply seem that I have been able give him what you have not.
Ah goodaul Irish soil, more fertile than that English muck any day of the week.