The Young Avenger
My Wildest Dream
Direction: Four and a half out of five. I don't quite see how you could call Fuest's direction for this episode 'Pop Art' as some people have done, but I will still rate it very highly. Considering that this was his first ever episode as a director, it really is remarkably good, and even improves on the work of people such as James Hill and it certainly points the way for later episodes such as "Take-Over" and "Game" with its unusual camera angles and ability to never, ever seem wrong. There is a glorious moment where the camera is inside the Volvo, and we watch both the villain and Tara jump into their cars as they get ready for a chase.
Plot: Four out of five. It seems very, very obvious who the mastermind is at the start of the episode, but later this image lets up, and we start to find out that it could be any one of a number of people. This is not so much interesting as different, and when it is finally revealed that it is in fact Tobias, who throughout the episode has seemed a lot less sinister than we would have thought, it is even better than the denouement at the end of "The Master Minds." Conditioning is a fascinating subject.
Original Music: Two and a half out of five. The main theme, constantly used throughout the episode almost to the point of obsession, does not seem very well suited to the action, as it is far too light-hearted for the aggressive killings which go on. The action theme, used in the fight in the optics factory, which is to be heard again only about once more in the entire series, is far much better than this, but still it is not as good as a Johnson score.
Wittiness: Three out of five. "Round about Derby day I get a twinge in my fetlocks." Not nearly as good a script as some of Levene's earlier work, and certainly not as good as episodes which would come later in the season, but still better than "Get-A-Way!," this one shows that the talent is still there, but in a much diluted form.
Action: Four and a half out of five. Tara's very, very violent fight with Dyson in the optics factory is one of the best ever seen in the entire series, and Fuest's direction in it means that we do not ever get bored, even considering the length of it. Only one point is lost at the end of the episode for not following the fight into Steed's flat.
Introduction/Tag: Four out of five. Unfortunately, the tag is no way as good as the introduction, which tends to compromise the rating somewhat. The murder at the start, with its sudden switchback from fantasy to reality, is probably one of the best introductions ever seen in the series, and the direction makes this seem even better than it must have been in the script. It is a shame that the high quality could not be matched in the tag.
Cars/Sets/Locations: Five out of five. I am giving this full marks for three main reasons. The first, the villain's car is a Volvo, which was a very rare car in Britain at the time of the episode. Secondly, the observation and optics factory sets have never been bettered in any episode of the series. Thirdly, there is a large amount of location filming, which is particularly effective at the cottage. Need I say more?
Overall impression: A fine episode, with no major flaws and some hilarious scenes with Edward Fox. The high marks in almost every category make us upset that Levene did not go on to write any more episodes at all, and it is the loss to the series. The henchpersons is a novel twist, and everything about this episode is of such high quality that it deserves the high mark that it gets without question. The second best episode of Tara's first season.
Rating: Eight out of ten.
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