Drassil wrote: ↑16 Sep 2018, 14:33
I've been rewatching and rethinking this clear-as-mud episode recently. There will be some new opinions to share in due course.
1. When the team read the scroll telling them that 'Fair trade is no robbery', the only information they had was that they needed magic and a red gem. On the table was a green gem. They should have taken it. Not doing so put them in losing status.
2. Aesandre had set a trap and Julius Scaramonger was part of that trap (whether by bribery or coercion). To play that part, he had to sell Chris something that would impede or doom the quest.
3. Scaramonger gave a description of the Potion of Impurity that indicated it would not meet the team's needs:
"[You want] spells? Ooh, magic ... you don't want to bother with that stuff ... I would be doing you a very big disfavour if I sold you any of that stuff ... let me sell you this Potion of Impurity."
Had they been swayed towards it (or indeed towards the sword that Scramonger also offered), Treguard or Pickle would have swayed them back.
4. When the team reached the frozen firestone and cast the spell, it would have swapped the gems around AND turned him into a goblin. As we know from Tim Child's articles and interviews, he had sworn off the 'wastage' of earlier series and the Chroblin scenario (as Billy Hicks called it) was not going to go unused.
5. The material written for Brother Mace (i.e. recalling his lizard experience) is too good for it to have been optional. I can't accept that the scene wouldn't have happened, but I suspect that he wouldn't have said all the Motley stuff. Perhaps he'd have turned Chris back himself, though the idea of any non-magical character undoing cast-locked sorcery is not easy to imagine.
6. To get the most out of the Chroblin-not-in-losing-status situation, perhaps there'd have been an encounter with an oblivious Skarkill - or with Sylvester Hands, who was supposedly on Chris' trail in Level 1 but was not seen. (Indeed, we saw Hands fooled by a disguised dungeoneer Chris one series later ("Mrs. Witchy") and by another disguised dungeoneer in Series 8 (Daniel and the Fearsome potion).)
7. I suspect there'd have been no Blocker encounter. Even if there had been and Chris hadn't survived, Treguard wouldn't have said that Motley would have given them the password. To do so would have been a false post-mortem, like Series 4 Quest 5 where he implausibly suggested they needed magic to cross the Block & Tackle.
In having a dungeoneer unexpectedly turned into and locked into a goblin form, the production team had come up with a great idea. It's a shame that they didn't allow themselves, the questing team and the watchers to get more out of it. The flawed 'disembark Smirkenorff to re-embark Smirkenorff' premise and the harsh four-clue-object table detracted from it.
As for the clue scroll accompanying those four clue objects, it is so ambiguous that the team may well have been better off without it. No other scroll came close in unfair vagueness: I recorded all 70+ in the Interactive Knightmare Lexicon here
to prove it. For example, Barry's team in Series 7 had 'Rock and Roll, hot and Slow!' to help them choose two clue objects - from a smaller selection (3) - on a lower level (3).