The Young Avenger
Take Me To Your Leader
Direction: Three and a half out of five. Being a fan of Robert Fuest's work, I found this fairly disappointing. It isn't as bad as "The Rotters," but it's still pretty poor. When compared to "My Wildest Dream," "Game," "They Keep Killing Steed" and "Take-Over," Fuest doesn't seem to have been particularly inspired. If it had been shot in summer, maybe that would have helped. The shots of the Airfield and the Crypt are amongst the better ones. An honourable mention has to go to the shot of Penelope Keith screaming - so simple, yet so effective and very funny.
Plot: Three out of five. I quite like the idea of a talking suitcase, with a different type of key for every link in the chain, but Terry Nation doesn't really take advantage of it. He could have used it as a device to introduce unusual locations and eccentric characters. It's a shame that Colonel Stonehouse is so transparent as the Villain and an extremely dull one at that.
Music: Three and a half out of five. Howard Blake's music is quite entertaining but certainly not as good as "Who Was That Man I Saw You With?". It may sound a little dated (not that I care), but as the series was made in the 60s, what else do you expect.
With Music From: "The Town of No Return," "The Cybernauts," "The House That Jack Built," "From Venus With Love," "Escape in Time," "The See-Through Man," "The Living Dead," "Who's Who???," "You Have Just Been Murdered," "The Curious Case of the Countless Clues," "Look - (stop me if you've heard this one) But There Were These Two Fellers..."
Wittiness: Four out of five. The good score is mostly for "AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH" and the very amusing scene in which it takes place, but there are several funny little lines sprinkled around, such as, Tara: "I thought you could play the Tuba... You've got one in your apartment." Steed: "That's to put flowers in." This is definitely Terry Nation's funniest script.
Action: Four out of five. The judo fight is quite good, but due to sloppy continuity between shots, Tara's kick just isn't enough to send Captain Tim though the window. The best fight is the one at the musicians flat, as it's well directed and ends with a really awful pun by Steed. Also, the dance school fight is quite amusing.
Set Design/Locations: Two out of five. I think that Robert Jones must have been having an off day, as apart from the crypt, marvellously OTT with the skeletons and cobwebs, the other sets are all very mundane (not a word I want to associate with The Avengers). The only location of any merit is the atmospheric airfield, evoking memories of "The Hour That Never Was."
Introduction/Tag: Two out of five. If I didn't know about the talking case, the introduction might have been interesting, but as I do, it isn't. Even though I love dogs, the tag scene is pretty poor and not very amusing.
Overall Impression: It was the little things that I found really enjoyable about this episode, like the odd pieces of Robert Fuest's direction, the crypt scene, the airfield chase and the dance school. I'm troubled by the denouement, as it seems rushed and doesn't stand up to close examination. Steed and Mother have obviously just got the case and don't know what to do with it, yet in the next few seconds, the suspects turn up and then suddenly, they have a recording of the case's voice to trap the traitor. It would work if split into two scenes but as one it doesn't. Watch it and see what I mean. Had Steed and Tara's visits created greater interest, with better characters/ locations, this could have been a much more enjoyable episode. However, as it stands, I guess it's not bad. Incidentally, I don't care what anyone says, that is definitely Macnee as Steed in the location footage of the bubble car.
Rating: Seven out of ten.
materials copyrighted per their respective copyright holders.