The Young Avenger
Death of a Great Dane
Direction: Four out of five. Right from the start after the introduction, it can be seen that this episode is going to be incredibly well-filmed, and a joy to watch, and the viewers are not disappointed. This is well up to the standard of Hammond's other work for the show.
Plot: Four out of five. The hint of weirdness in the plot lifts this episode, which was later remade as the slightly worse "The £50,000 Breakfast," from the ordinary realms of the second season. The idea that an entertainer could be friends with a millionaire and then be smuggling diamonds out in such a bizarre way is utterly in keeping with the series.
Music: Three out of five. Dankworth manages to restrain himself from utter awfulness this week, but it is a shame that he cannot prevent other people (Cathy) from playing such awful early 60s light Jazz in their flats. This explains the low score here, but we still have a long way to go with the same music.
Wittiness: Four out of five. The best jokes in "The £50,000 Breakfast" are all found here, and somehow they seem even better used here than they did in the episode which this one takes after. There is a scene which did not make it into the remake, where Steed examines Cathy's holiday photos. "Birds don't just sit there and pose for you, Steed." "They do for me."
Action: Two out of five. Admittedly, the fights are an awful lot better in the remake, but this is only due to the respective ages of the two episodes and the fact that this one did not really seem to have enough rehearsal in it. There is a brief one at the end, but it is a very scrappy affair.
Cars/Sets/Locations: Two out of five. The sets in this episode are actually very well designed, but unfortunately, this is interspersed with random location shots of London, which does not make for a satisfyingly realistic portrayal of the city at all. No cars, either, but there is Sir James' car, 'a '61 Elondel. I wonder what that looks like?
Introduction/Tag: Three out of five. The lack of real tag at the end of this episode is a bit of a disappointment, as we know that sometimes there can be very good ones in this season, but the introduction is fine enough, if one can live with the awful studio set for the graveyard. It is an interesting twist to see that it is not a human being buried, but a dog.
Overall Impression: Despite the lack of cars, good sets and a decent tag, this episode still manages to succeed (incredibly), where others in the season miserably failed. Being a wine-lover, I am particularly fond of the scenes in the cellars, where Steed shows off his palette. Then there are Cathy's photos, which also create a much more satisfying beginning to the episode than is present later. Leslie French and John Laurie also have a good double act.
Rating: Eight and a half out of ten.
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