The Young Avenger
The Little Wonders
Direction: Three out of five. Possibly one of the more average efforts this season in this category, this episode really does not contain anything which can instantly be identified as an interesting or an out of the ordinary shot. What does stand out, however, is just how much of this is due to the actors' performances. The episode is carried not by shooting through cardboard rolls but by the brilliance of the actors themselves. This certainly makes for a rather good episode.
Plot: Four out of five. This might be quite a hard episode to follow, but it is certainly worth it for the plethora of elements which it contains. The old crime syndicate is something which is very unoriginal, because this is probably a reference to the Mafia in some shape or form. The church metaphor for gangsters also seems to be a contradiction in terms, but somehow very appropriate seeing that you can never judge by appearances. Perhaps Lois Maxwell's entrance with the machine gun was once too far, however.
Music: Three out of five. The absence of music before the shooting at the school really does affect the mind, since one might expect there to be some kind of stinger which leads up to the deaths of so many people. However, the score itself is not alone in producing the tension, since such a scene was unexpected. The use of music this time would be improved in two episodes time by that of Mandrake.
Wittiness: Four out of five. Probably the funniest episode in terms of slang ever seen in the series, "The Little Wonders" even features Polari! "Nanty more bets and we're off!" It is a shame that I have not watched this episode more often, and I am not able to quote the excellent lines in this because of that! "I said go in peace, Reverend, and I mean it!"
Action: Three out of five. This is not so much an episode of fights as one of sheer senseless destruction as Lois Maxwell takes out the vast majority of the Bibliothek members with one of the biggest machine guns ever seen on television. Steed being able to defeat the entirety of the group with very little help is also useful, but in the end this end fight does fall a little flat in comparison with what was about to be recorded a mere two weeks later.
Cars/Sets/Locations: Three out of five. That blackboard sliding back looks incredibly unreal. I do not think that I have ever seen something like that in a British classroom in my life. The idea that Paice has of holding the conference itself in a school is rather a strong message about "loss of innocence" as Terri puts it, however, and it is a shame that those massive windows do not contain more than just the usual painted backdrop. The dolls' hospital as well is not a particularly interesting location and neither is the doctor's surgery. No cars or location filming either.
Introduction/Tag: Three out of five. Nothing really to write about here which is special. The only thing which is interesting about the introduction is the discovery of the gun in the Bishop of Winnipeg's luggage, and this does not really lead onto anything more other than the story itself, so that is neither bad nor good. The tag also seems very weak, if you can call it one.
Overall Impression: I am not sure how far to analyse this one. I would like to give this a good eight out of ten for the amount that I enjoyed it, simply because of the characterisation of all those different members of Bibliothek. This is not the only strength of the episode. The plot is actually rather good, although it can be very confusing with the first time that this episode is watched, and there are two brilliant elements in the episode which only become apparent when it is actually watched through properly. The first is the Steed/Cathy kiss, which Cathy does only in the line of duty, and it looks incredibly forced on both the actors. However, it is clear that Steed could have got away with not doing it, but he thought that Cathy might forgive him. He is lucky that she does. The second is the wonderfully incomprehensible Polari!
Rating: Seven and a half out of ten.
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