The GLG Reports
Page 4 of 67

Box of Tricks
By Grant L. Goggans

"And this is the best treatment for me? It doesn't involve exercise or diet or anything nauseating like that?" That voice! That haircut! Yes, it's Venus Smith again for what's bound to be another exercise in tedium and bad singing. Surprisingly, Venus is nowhere near the worst thing about this incredible turkey of an episode. The dialogue is actually very good, and Henrietta is a simply superb, albeit underused, character, but Peter Ling (later to create Crossroads) and his co-writer managed to create the worst possible coincidence-mad plot to go around them. Secrets known by a friend of Venus's dad just happen to be passing through the very club where Steed got Venus a job! Imagine that! And it's a good thing Steed is on the case, because the London police seem to be unable to make a connection between two pretty girls both dying in the same magician's cabinet. You don't suppose magician Gerry Weston has anything to do with it? Then there's the faith healer and his magic boxes, full of crystals and cosmic rays and which must never be opened, but must remain hidden, but in close proximity to the general who is passing secrets. Gawrsh, ya don't reckon there's a tape recorder in them thar boxes, do ya? Compounding the totally unbelievable faith healer is the sexism that surrounds him. The only characters to believe in his boxes are all women: Kathleen and "the girls at the club." Steed and General Sutherland are intelligent enough to know it's all hokum. Kathleen, incidentally, is quite simply the stupidest character to ever walk through an Avengers set. Even after Steed opens the box that she brought to the club and —shock revelation— produces the tape recorder, she just can't believe Dr. Gallam could possibly be an enemy agent and goes to ask him why his boxes need tape recorders. It's a dark, dark day when Venus's two songs are more welcome than further plot developments. Add to these a boring fistfight, a gunfight that proves Dr. Gallam couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, never mind Steed two feet in front of him (three times!), and the directorial stylings of Kim Mills, who never could make an episode tense, and you've got one almighty failure. Perhaps I shouldn't rag on Kim Mills too much, because you couldn't have given this script to Truffaut and got anything good out of it, but this really is a waste of tape.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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