The GLG Reports
Page 54 of 67

Killer
By Grant L. Goggans

"Perhaps he was killed by a consortium of crazed creditors." This is how every episode of the last season should have been. While never perfect, "Killer" stands well above the average we'd been used to and reintroduces, for one week anyway, both sex appeal and a natural surrealism that is never forced or stilted. Jennifer Croxton's magnificent work as Steed's temporary partner is actually quite depressing, because she's so much better than what we got. Lady Diana, or Forbes as she's called, is a more dynamic and assertive character than Tara, and she's played with more confidence and subtlety than Thorson was capable of giving Tara. Add to this a set of elegantly simple costumes and Forbes ends up looking like a real agent, and not the wacky hausfrau in action that Tara was. Unfortunately, she's also given a couple of uncomfortably racist lines about her time in the Orient, so thank you very bloody much Tony Williamson. The other great thing about this story is the depiction of the villains. Far too often, TV villains are able to get away with their nasty schemes because the heroes are written as dumbbells who rely on luck and coincidence to catch them. The Avengers rarely did this, and "Killer" certainly doesn't. Despite the grandiose and somewhat unwieldy scheme of luring agent after agent, all of them too stubborn to phone in to HQ, to a single factory in Little Storpington, REMAK's creators are smart men, who react quickly and believably to Steed beginning to find their plan. REMAK itself is realized about as well as late 60s computers could be, and he even has a nifty bus full of mannequins to throw off spies. On the downside, the plot moves a little slowly for a while, as a line of overly eager, underly intelligent agents rush to their deaths, and the climax is bogus beyond belief. While 1960s audiences might have readily accepted something so trite, it holds little water today. Despite these admittedly large fumbles, "Killer" is very entertaining for much the same reason that many seventh season episodes are not: this has Forbes instead of Tara.

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