This show features one of the smoother and most convincing villains of the series. Charming and cold-blooded, Tony Heuston is true "champagne" bad guy, a money-grubbing mathematical mastermind who uses a racing stable as a cover for a pyramid scheme to extort money and train hired killers.
Tony H. takes great pride in his intelligence and increased social standing, especially in pushing about a young upper-crust kid who gets over his head with gambling debts. He also rules his working-class majordomo like his personal "serf," something the fellow resents loudly a couple times. He also has his romantic hooks into the innocent daughter of a compromised stable owner.
There's more than a bit of class friction going on in throughout this episode, frictions that would be almost erased when the show got more "Americanized" in the following years.
It's also a good example of the more "realistic" episodes from the Cathy Gale era. Although there are no actual locations and the sets are minimalist at best, the jargon seems right on the mark. It's also helped immensely by the fact that Honor Blackman can be totally convincing in a critical scene where, displaying her talents as a mathematical odds whiz, she walks right into the office lair of the villain and lands a cushy job with a very, very shady turf accounting firm and charm the socks off the owner so he lets down his guard.
"Who's the bird?" one of Heuston's cockney henchmen asks. "She's got brains," he replies.
And, as he will find out later, she can dish out a bit of fighting acumen as well.
It's fun to go back to these 1964 episodes and see how Steed is evolving as a character. The first time we see him at the race track track he "chats up" a "tote girl" and talks her into a late afternoon pick-up date he apparently has no intention of keeping, and then crosses to the track bar to make rather childish and unsporting fun of Cathy cheering on her horse in a televised race. The later Steed would never be so casually insensitive. Cathy/Honor gets some of her own back with the "I'm a bit rusty on my tic-tac" line a bit later. It seems like that line could have been ad-libbed, especially when Mr. Macnee looks to be a rare bit of a loss for words for a moment, perhaps trying to think up a topper.
Further on the track of the John Steed Evolving Survey: in a later scene, Steed does a stake out in a horse stable where we see him spreading caviar on a water cracker (so far, so good—definitely old reliable classic Steed) and then he takes a swig right out of a champagne bottle! (Who the heck is this guy?)
At least he doesn't bite off the tip of a cigar again.
The finale and the wrap-up are handled pretty well, although I wish the director had got a close-up at the end when Steed discovers (courtesy of Mrs. Gale) that something's rather amiss about the horse the Sultan gave him as a gift. It would have made for a good deal better tag scene.
"Trojan Horse" has none of the tension you'll find in "The Wringer", say, or "Mr Teddy Bear" but it does deliver some fun provides a good runabout for our intrepid duo. It most certainly earns its three bowler rating from Mr. Smith.
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