The Young Avenger
School for Traitors
Direction: Two out of five. Like Kim Mills, Alwyn does not seem to go in for interesting shots, which makes this a very dull episode in these terms as well as plot. I do not think that they could even have persuaded Peter Hammond to direct this!
Plot: Three out of five. Perhaps it is because both my parents went to Oxford, and I am really clued in on the University scene, but I think this is actually a very good plot, and something that could happen in a real University. But this is also its downfall. Again, Mitchell tries to make it extremely realistic, but this is not an Avengers story, like "Immortal Clay."
Music: One out of five. I do not know how many times I am going to repeat this, but the songs by The Kenny Powell trio are just too irritating! The other music is also badly chosen, and there is not very much of it.
Fights: One out of five. I have only actually seen this episode twice, and the first time I fell asleep in the middle (sorry to James Mitchell, this is becoming a habit), but the one fight I remember is actually rather good. Shame Venus cannot really do anything.
Wittiness: One out of five. The best lines are in the bar at a snooker table. But did you see Macnee's adlib! It is the best thing about the episode!
Introduction/Tag: One out of five. Oh dear, the Kenny Powell trio are in the first scene. The scene at the end in the bar is not very funny either. They should have had the tag scene with the Kenny Powell trio playing us out! Then I could have given it nothing!
Cars/Sets/Locations: One out of ten. No cars, no location filming and some awful sets really let the side down. One point for the office of the senior tutor, which is actually what Oxford College interiors do look like.
Overall Impression: One might think that I have maligned this episode enough for it to get two. But it gets more than even "The Big Thinker" for two reasons:
1) I can confirm that it is a realistic portrayal of University life in the 1960s, which is all credit to Mitchell, for he is the only realist writer in the whole of this season. I do think the plot is rather good, and getting sent down from Oxbridge really is a big thing. It can make the difference between social acceptance and working-class status. (I know, I am a snob!)
2) Anthony Nicholls is so like a head of an Oxford College it is not funny. And when it is revealed that he is the mastermind, no-one could have expected it.
Rating: Five and a half out of ten.
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