The GLG Reports
Page 55 of 67

Stay Tuned
By Grant L. Goggans

"You shouldn't touch me. You never know where I might have been." There's a little bit of renown to this episode, as it features both Roger Delgado and Kate O'Mara, later to plague Doctor Who as the recurring villains the Master and the Rani. Unfortunately, the actors don't share any screen time together and Delgado's part is criminally small, but he does make the most of it. Kate O'Mara is very fun, and she and Tara have a great catfight. Linda Thorson is surprisingly good in this one, and a scene where she is forced by Proctor to lie to Steed comes off well. Chaffey's direction is very watchable, and he has a lot of fun with department shrink Dr. Meitner's appearances. He gives us several exaggerated close-ups of Meitner's mouth and glasses, but not the actor's full face. There's also some very good night filming when Steed sets out for the first time to trace his missing memories. Unfortunately, all the good acting and directing fail to bring the show even up to "boring" level. The plot is far too clichéd for any of the hard work done by the creators to have any effect. Five minutes into the episode, it's obvious that Steed has been kidnapped and brainwashed, and five minutes later, we've learned he's been programmed to kill and we know the "kill" word. Perhaps this story might have worked in 1962, but by the time this episode aired, identical or similar plots about brainwashing and programmed killers had been used in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Mission: Impossible and The Prisoner among others, and The Champions was only a few months away from doing it (in a Brian Clemens script). As a result, this feels a lot like a typical sub-par late 60s spy adventure, and rarely like Avengers. Compounding the problem is one of the inescapable rules of fiction: once the audience deduces the mystery, it's awfully hard to keep their interest. Telling us the "kill" word ten minutes in is totally inexcusable, since we then know (from the experience of viewing teevee) that, 35 minutes later, Steed still won't have learned the evil scheme of the unknown mastermind and end up in a room with somebody who he's meant to kill and who'll just happen to say that word. Compounding the boredom is a repetitive, dirge-like soundtrack, déjà vu moments of Steed getting ready to leave for vacation again, and a superior who is, shockingly, even more boring than Mother. You'll also get sick of the thug Proctor taking Steed out with one punch.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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