A dotful of good humour and buckets of bad humour would be an unfair description of "The Rotters". I agree more with The Avengers Dossier than David on this one.
The introduction sequences are quite good with Gerald Sim as one of the Rotters of the title. These are textbook Avenger villains: upper class and quite charming. Their villainy, such as the murder of the butler, could have been made quite shocking, so it's a bit common.
Harold Innocent is excellent as always despite his smaller role than the Dossier says, but he's always been great. Frank Middlemass is terrific as Sawbow, the conniving antiques dealer, and is an Avengers-style CPO Pertwee of The Navy Lark fame.
Linda Thorson and Patrick Macnee are excellent as usual and on better form than usual; the scene in the Old Lady's cottage with Steed and the Rotters is a Gem to be cherished for eternity. With this, "Game," "Legacy of Death," "Split!" and "All Done with Mirrors," there is a firm case that Tara is at least better then Cathy.
A thumping good Four Bowlers.
I've watched this episode again recently, and I honestly don't know why my memories of it weren't very nice. It's an entertaining fantasy with great direction, classic eccentrics (relief for a season that's just a bit dry of them), a pair of thugs who know how to earn your hate, and a diabolical and crazy mastermind. Did anyone say "Season Five"?
Best moment: Steed's scene with Kenneth and George. It exemplifies those embarrassing situations when you don’t know what to said, although I don't know why Steed had to talk about a clarinet. Lowest moment: If you are driving your car down the countryside, and a guy appears with an axe, what would you do? Put the car in reverse and drive away, or get out and run toward the forest? Well, Tara did the latter! (A perfect example of how sometimes it's not a matter of a character being silly, but the writer being stupid). Other (small) negative points were some unlikely bits: why did they bother to feed Tara? Why did Steed, who should be worried about Tara, want to hear Sawbow's history?
The dialogue oscillates between clever and sharp, and silly. Robert Fuest's direction, very good except the aforementioned axe scene) basically allowed the producers to save some money on special effects, although we do have the bit where the white gate on the road disappears (by the way, the steel chain disappeared with the wooden gate. Seems like that spray had more effects that they knew). As I said at the beginning: entertaining.
Nothing rotten here. This is a thoroughly enjoyable romp with The Avengers.
Though not as madcap as "Look - (stop me if you've heard this one)," this episode has most of the elements that keep The Avengers fresh, funky and fun after more than three decades. For instance:
Now for the quibble most of us seem to have with this episode: Why did Tara abandon her car and run from the ax-wielding rotter, rather than simply shifting into reverse and backing away with all speed? Beats me. The only reason I can come up with is that someone wanted to see Tara run and/or fight in her miniskirt as often as possible. As Tara demonstrated, a skimpy hemline can drastically shorten a secret agent's career. No wonder Emma usually wore pants.
Still, 4.0 out of 5.0 bowlers for a charming episode.
Jolly good show, old boy. What a collection of characters. Not one was disappointing. The old lady with the taste for plastic flowers because they last longer was my pick of the show. From her point in life, longevity was of most importance. Wisdom with age so they say.
A nicely paced episode with several fight scenes for Steed and Tara. I just love Tara's eye expressions and body language. Her costumes for the episode were a delightful sight as always.
Best line: "Recognize this?" Reply" "No, play some more and I might." Pyn and Steed.
Now, here's a lovely little episode featuring everything that makes The Avengers great. There's a pleasantly witty script from occasional Carry On writer Dave Freeman, full to bursting with the ripest of dotty eccentrics (a particular nod to Eric Barker for his lovely turn as Pym) and with wonderfully OTT posh assassins, delightfully played by Gerald Sim and Jerome Willis. The plot is suitably absurd (supercharged dry rot? Wonderful!). On top of that, the great Robert Fuest is behind the camera and delivers his trademark mixture of rapid pacing, wacky camera angles and sly humour.
Nice turn from Linda Thorson too; the look on her face when the woodland hut she's hiding in vanishes around her is priceless.
Any quibbles? Well, no, not really; it is just an hour of utterly splendid entertainment. Some people have picked on the scene where Tara encounters the truck in the road. Well, in real life of course she'd drive away, wouldn't she? Well, folks, this isn't real life, and if you expect The Avengers to follow the rules of the real world, you're watching the wrong series. Besides, there's a perfectly good reason for Tara to get out of the car; it means we can have a niftily-directed punch-up (while Tara is wearing one of her foxier outfits, too, let me add). And as for those who don't understand why the thug returns her car after he stole it—well, he doesn't. He takes the car then abandons it eight miles down the road (as car thieves are prone to do). Tara walks down the road and eventually finds her car. It's all there, in the dialogue; mystery solved.
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