The GLG Reports
Page 56 of 67

Take Me To Your Leader
By Grant L. Goggans

"Oh, Mr. Steed, don't shatter a little girl's illusions." Like a lot of seventh season Avengers, this carries a huge notoriety among fans both devoted and casual. It's "the one with the talking briefcase" and a lot of people remember it since the concept is so audacious. Others remember it because it's so wretched and boring. I've become a big fan of Robert Fuest's work since his New Avengers material was so good, and honestly, this does contain a few interesting flourishes (shots through holes, mesh, windows, cobwebs), even if Fuest overdoes them at times. Yet no matter how cute or even enthralling the look of a show, it must have a strong plot and script to keep you looking for the fun stuff, and "Take Me to Your Leader" has neither. The chase idea isn't necessarily a bad one if done as a B-plot (which TV writers didn't discover until the 1980s anyway), but this quickly becomes a tedious exercise, and you'll just want Steed and Tara to get on with it and get the case to Mr. Big so something different will happen. Instead, the case just gets to another in an endless line of couriers with an odd quirk, among them a womanizer, a little girl, Penelope Keith from The Good Life, a dog, and a musician with a sword in his clarinet. What makes this even more pronounced is that, twice in two weeks, The Avengers totally fails at keeping something secret, and we meet Mr. Big after twenty minutes. Unlike "Stay Tuned," the mystery isn't overtly unmasked, but thanks to some way-too obvious dialogue by Nation, anyone with any experience of action teevee clichés will be able to spot the villain in seconds. Mr. Big is finally dealt with in the last two minutes with barely any repartee or wit, and then gets "hoist on his own petard" and "undone by his own creation" (more clichés) with no effort from Steed or Tara. The Avengers was frequently able to just do whatever the heck it wanted, be very weird and give no quarter to the audience (see "Look - (stop me if you've heard this one) But There Were These Two Fellers..." for a perfect example from this season), but to do so it still had to have a good enough script to engage the audience's attention. "Take Me to Your Leader" doesn't, and while there are still a couple of Avengers that are worse than this, it's still an abject and total failure.

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