The GLG Reports
Page 7 of 67

The Wringer
By Grant L. Goggans

"They're our rules. We make them and occasionally we break them. That is our privilege, Mrs. Gale." This is an astonishing episode, a bizarre hour that feels less like typical Avengers than it does Callan. Proving that diversity is something the producers welcomed, this doesn't feature a Steed-partner team-up in anything like the normal sense. Mrs. Gale is busy trying to convince Charles that Steed is innocent while Steed languishes in the downright twisted hands of the Wringer, who's read too much Kerouac and has a library of hallucinatory film images and white noise that he can use to break down the mental barriers of any agent. The down side, as was often the case in the first three seasons, is in the budget-free cheap video production that demands the actors do it in one take. The eternity a guard takes to open a cell when the prop lock won't turn is amusing, but the shaking of a small "air vent" set while Macnee and Blackman crawl through it is distracting and laughable. Happily, the outstanding script and the great acting more than make up for these foibles. This was Paul Whitsun-Jones's second and final appearance as Steed's third season superior Charles; he would later play the villain Chessman in "Room Without a View." Writer Martin Woodhouse, who leaned more towards the international espionage element of The Avengers than the surreal vision of England, would only contribute one more episode of the show, 18 months later.

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