Man With Two Shadows
In my opinion the best of the Cathy Gale episodes, "Man With Two Shadows" is a good indication of the strangeness that was to come in the later episodes. Small wonder that the idea of doubles was used again in the Peel episode "Two's a Crowd" and the Tara episode "They Keep Killing Steed." The character of Peter Borowski is superb and has a darker tone when you realise that one of his multiple personalities is a Nazi, while Borowski appears to be a Jew (going by the name, anyway). Terence Lodge, who played Borowski, is magnificent, and for me the best performance by anyone in the series, barring Peter Bowles in "Escape in Time" and Patrick Macnee as his own double in "Two's a Crowd." His Gestapo character has great German line-after-line rapid-fire.
I would put this in my top two episodes. I thought the first scene where Gordon's double shoots Gordon was a bit laboured, though; the way Gordon fell after being shot made everyone who watched the episode with me laugh. Neverthelessm a superb episode; I'd give it 9 out of 10.
Man With Two Shadows
This episode ranks as one of my favorite Cathy Gale episodes, if not my favorite. It has a great story and great supporting characters, with great actors behind them.
A number of classic elements of style for which the series is best known are present in this episode. The opening scene of Gordon discovering his double in the closet… the delightfully crazy Borowski… the fight scene choreographed to the "Blue Danube Waltz"… plus the rare treat of seeing Cathy walking towards us (the camera) clad only in her underwear, and Steed's sly grin after watching her walk away.
Terence Lodge gives an excellent performance as the brainwashed Borwoski, switching between personalities with believable ease. Daniel Moynihan comes across convincingly as the Gordon's double, showing nervousness, but not enough to make anyone (who wasn't in the know) suspicious. Philip Anthony also turns in a great performance as Cummings, and Paul Whitsun-Jones is excellent as Charles—a more realistic prototype to "Mother."
All in all, this is a great episode, one that I will no doubt watch many times over.
Man With Two Shadows
"Fun, but I shot myself. Now I know how I look like dead," says Steed to an skeptical Mrs Gale. The number of times the doppelgangers theme has been approached not only in The Avengers but also in The New Avengers is surprising. What's not surprising is that Steed was the main candidate to be "copied" in all cases for being one of the best agents of the British Intelligence, and basically a man of "many talents, many faces" who posed a real threat for the enemy.
This first episode dealing with "Steed in duplicate" also offers many details not only about Steed's behavior in situations we had never seen him before, but about his enigmatic past life as well. The interrogation Steed carries out on Barowski (skillfully played by Terence Lodge, who'd return soon after to stand out again in "The Wringer") is extremely revealing in several aspects of Steed's personality. Although Steed has always been ruder and more severe here than in the following seasons, at first it is hard to understand the ferocity he shows in treating Barowski, even before his boss Charles. But his change of attitude once he manages to get the information he's looking for, and the way he reacts to Brahms' Lullaby Song the lunatic is singing, leads to an interesting conclusion—Steed was not only affected by what he just did, but he seems to have once endured an awful experience like Barowski's. The latter is especially evident when Steed listens again to that melody at his flat and begs Cathy to turn the radio off. Such scenes sustain the premise that Steed may well have been imprisoned in an earlier stage of his career, likely subjected to some sort of torture as well. Only two episodes during the upcoming seasons would reinforce this speculation—"Room Without a View" and "Take-Over."
In addition to the fascinating approach to Steed's past life, this episode also has great significance for the Steed-Gale relationship. If in our imagination we sometimes fantasized about the idea that Steed and Cathy were something more than just partners, then "Man With Two Shadows" offers strong clues as to bear the argument out. As a matter of fact, she does not look in the least embarrassed about wearing only underclothes in Steed's presence (unless the garment was a two-piece bathing suit...)—when he can't help but throw her a libidinous look. And the reason why Cathy giggles while Steed whispers something in her ear about his easily recognizable "identifying marks" could be only understood in terms of a very close friendship.
All performances are at their height in an episode fairly regarded by some as the best of the Gale season. The characters of Charles, Gordon and Cummings look solid and convincing. The use of a naïve, infatuated girl who only speaks about marrying Gordon adds a colorful factor the villains haven't thought of, but it doesn't seem to get in the way of their plans, either. The holiday camp setting is more believable than one could have expected for a show produced indoors, although the lobby looks more appropriate for a revue show than for The Avengers. However, the odd setting is more than compensated for by the scene where Cathy fights one of the bad guys almost in step with the Blue Danube music background. This subtle touch gives an exotic dimension to the fight, drawing the edges of what The Avengers would be a few years later.
Moreover, "Man With Two Shadows" indeed contains plenty of that surreal magic of the Peel era, and, additionally, a delightful Mrs Gale-Steed interplay. "In our game you learn to recognize your own kind," Steed affirms. He's right, and Cathy knows it as much as he does. That's why Steed stays alive after all!
Man With Two Shadows
This was the first of the many episodes involving doubles. Others include "Two's a Crowd," "They Keep Killing Steed," and "Faces." TMWTS is the best of them all for many elements. For all, this is one of the best Cathy Gale episodes.
Plot: Doubles are being created to replace agents... well, it is not very original today, but back in 1963 it sure caused an impact. The storyline is more interesting than most Gale thrillers, and it never fails to capture your attention. (5/5)
Villains: The doubles are not very memorable villains, but they are still menacing. They have no easy task however, and the scenes where the nervous Gordon double gets stuck are very effective. And you do feel sorry for the Steed double. On the other hand, the strong henchman disguised as a waiter is very forgettable. (3/5)
Humour: This is not a very funny episode, but the brainwashed personality-switching Borowski is already worth watching it for one of the best performances ever given for the show. He is disturbing, funny, and wicked. The girl talk at how good Gordon looked with the bathing suit is also amusing. But the best is the tag scene: "What's for breakfast?" "Cook it and see." (3/5)
Action: There is an excellent fight at the end of this episode between Cathy and the henchman at the restaurant. It is wonderfully choreographed and executed, being no doubt one of the best ever from the Gale era. The fact that it is played with "Blue Danube Waltz" on the background adds an extra touch of humour. Good work! (5/5)
Steed/Cathy: Honor Blackman has a really bad hairstyle in this episode, and thank goodness it wasn't permanent. It almost ruined the episode for me. But the interplay is still nice. We get to see Cathy walking around on her underwear, and suspecting Steed is dead. And what did Steed whisper? (4/5)
Intro/Tag: The intros are usually a problem in the Gale era, but not here. It is much better when you don't know anything about the episode at all, so I won't spoil it. The tag has the "cook it and see" line, as well as a hint that something naughty did go on between Steed and Mrs. Gale. (5/5)
Overall: A very good episode from the Gale era. If you ignore the bad hair, you get a nice plot, little wonders, good performance from brainwashed agent, great final battle, fast pacing, and a rather Mission: Impossible-like manipulation ending. Plus, there is Paul Whitson-Jones in a more realistic Mother-like role. (5/5)
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