The Young Avenger
Page 5 of 110

Dead On Course
By Joseph A.P. Lloyd

Direction: Three out of five. This was Richmond Harding's first episode for the series, and it was in "The White Dwarf," filmed almost nine months later, that he was able to able to really shine. From what I have seen of season one (the only surviving episode to be presently available on videotape), this would seem to be the standard type of direction for the episode. It is a shame that the dead pilot blinks when he is brought on at the end of that act, although this has probably very little to do with him.

Plot: Three out of five. Rather a more mundane plot than many even this season on the surface, this episode does actually develop into something to which there is just more than an air crash and a world's worst Irish accent contest, which it initially seems it will be. The deception of Vincent himself really is not very well explained at the end which is a shame, because it is possibly one of the most surprising plot twists ever. King actually gets a good share in the work as well, although it is more mundane than Steed's.

Music: Two out of five. For the first episode in the season it must have been a slight disappointment to the production crew when they found out that exactly the same old music was going to be played. There is little variety in this episode, which adds nothing new to the series in this department at all. Nothing more to say about this, really.

Wittiness: Two out of five. Unlike Keel, King is a thoroughly likeable character, and he just seems such a nice chap. The reason for this is that he is a lot more human than either Steed or Keel ever were, and he does actually seem to care about people in general at a much more personal level than Cathy or Emma's generally humanitarian principles. The best humour in this episode comes from Steed and King discussing the mission in hand. King really is a long-suffering partner!

Action: Three out of five. After an episode which really does lack action in this sense, it is a very refreshing change to see the Mother Superior pulling out a machine gun and attempting to murder all three of the people above her up the ladder! It does not give a chance for us to see if King is as good a fighter as Keel was, however, which is a shame.

Cars/Sets/Locations: Four out of five. A very brave attempt to mix studio footage with stock footage should be applauded. We actually have the two mixed as the aeroplane plummets towards the ground, and then see it hit the pylon, and then fall and break up into its various different pieces. Much better than even the similar attempts in "Death Dispatch." The Irish pub, airport and convent sets are also rather well-planned, although those pillars in the convent look incredibly fake. Good aeroplane interior as well, but no cars.

Introduction: Three out of five. Very much like the start of "Propellant 23," this episode begins aboard an aircraft on which everything appears to be normal apart from something which appears unexpectedly in the cockpit. Then the actual land in front of the nose of the plane does seem incredibly real and frightening, despite that overplayed scream. No tag, unfortunately.

Overall Impression: This episode could have been a great deal worse if it were not for excellent performances from Bruce Boa, Donal Donnelly and Peggy Marshall. The plot twist right at the end also creates some confusion, but if this had been well-handled, it would have been remembered as one of the cleverest in the history of the series, which it is. The Irish accent of the rescuer (is this man actually Irish?) is also absolutely incredible, it is worth watching the episode for this alone. However, the special mention goes to Jon Rollason. His Dr King character is ever such a nice person, and also seems terribly human for a change, which means that we are able to identify with the leads much more in this episode. Others might call him weak, but I think that his portrayal is very effective indeed.

Rating: Six and a half out of ten.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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