The GLG Reports
Page 5 of 67

By Grant L. Goggans

"Black magicians have real power, at least over people who believe in them." Perhaps my mind is too closed to truly enjoy this particular installment. I'm all too happy to accept shrink rays, alien plants and positive-negative men, but pitting the Avengers against witches and black magic, particularly a pathetic, sub-Hammer treatment of the "men in black robes" version of witchcraft that has nothing whatsoever to do with true paganism and everything to do with public expectations of "Satanism in t'old churchyard," seems a little foolish. As such, I never felt that the plot advanced one millimeter from every cliché of occult and devilry that the British film and television industry tends to wheel out instead of doing some research. In its defense, while the plot does not ring true, its surface trappings are far superior to the average second season entry. The episode has a very good script, and it's directed with vivid, claustrophobic flair by Peter Hammond. John Hollis is really excellent and unnerving as Markel and both the leads do fabulous work. There's also a hysterical bar scene in which One-Ten keeps eyeing his beer suspiciously, his face screwed in distaste, before pronouncing it bottom of the barrel. The elements are certainly there to have turned this into a remarkable episode, but sadly the hackneyed presentation cripples it. The idea of "hexes for hire," however, is a nifty one.

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