The Young Avenger
The Curious Case of the Countless Clues
Direction: Three out of five. Straight after "Invasion of the Earthmen" (writing that always brings a cheeky grin to my face), Don Sharp shows that he was capable of making it far better than he did by a substantial improvement in this one. There is the close up of Steed's face as he wakes up, which is rather striking, although no other shots really stand out. "Get-A-Way!" is better done, but not much.
Plot: Three out of five. I suppose that it is rather original to have the clues actually being the crime, but this is about all that is original in the plot. This is what the problem was with Levene going back to reality: as he was the man who gave us the science fiction in The Avengers, it is strange to find him writing something like this, but he seems rather good at it. I cannot help thinking that Cathy Gale would have been more at home here.
Music: Three out of five. Laurie Johnson, just like in "Invasion of the Earthmen" (there I go again), gives us a very dated main theme, which most people think is pretty kitsch, but I think is all right for the age of the programme. There are some good repeated themes from the colour series, but most of the time we are subjected to all sorts of electronic delights that Johnson can come up with.
Wittiness: Two out of five. I have watched the final three-quarters of this episode again and again, and there are still no outstanding lines that I can pick out. Where is the characteristic Levene wit?
Action: Four out of five. Tara, having been rather irrelevant all episode, suddenly comes out of her ineffectual self, and has a really very good fight with Earle and Gardner, which seems even better than that which Steed has with the mechanic, even though he has done most of the work. A well deserved finale.
Cars/Sets/Locations: Three and a half out of five. The Bentley makes its final series appearance in this episode due to the bizarre transmission order, and it is good to see it again. I have been raving about the Citroen DS19 for many years as the ultimate villain's vehicle, and this is utterly true in this episode, where it is as sinister as it can get. Some of the sets are a touch tacky, but the location filming is very good for that time of the year. It is good to see Flanders' Bentley as well.
Introduction/Tag: Four out of five. The operation scene from "The Gravediggers" is aped here with us not knowing quite what Tara is performing on until the middle of the scene. Steed is wearing rather a horrible shirt this time, unfortunately. The introduction seems to be a perfectly normal crime, and when Dawson arrives in his flat, and falls neatly on the white outline, you know that it can only be The Avengers.
Overall Impression: G.A. Cooper, Anthony Bate and Edward de Souza all put real humanity and great characterisation into their parts, which prevents this one from sinking below its close rival, produced the month before (I can't say it, you know what it is). It is good to see Levene back in action for the series, but worse when one realises that all the wit has suddenly vanished. The direction and music are also a bit average. What makes sure of the episode's score are the two fights and Steed's relationship with Janice Flanders, who should have been his new girl.
Rating: Seven out of ten.
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