The Young Avenger
Direction: Five out of out five. This is Robert Fuest's last great episode apart from the wreck of "Pandora." We have weird floor mounted camera angles, a view of Sexton's head from the engine of the Rolls-Royce rather than the other way around, the camera almost being blown apart by Steed's shotgun at Tara's flat and the most horrible scene I have ever experienced in The Avengers: the operation. Another brilliant Fuest hour.
Plot: Four out of five. Terry Nation must be the most unpredictable writer ever. One week it is "Invasion of the Earthmen," then a Maltese Falcon parody, then now we have a Harold Pinter style thing. It is so incredibly weird and so unlike the series, that at first I did not like it. It is a little slow, and I doubt that it would have worked as well if Robert Fuest had not been directed it, and we had had a different Grenville, then it would not have worked as well. Steed's personal version of "The Joker," right up to him saving himself at the end and Tara being particularly ineffective.
Original Music: None. But actually, who needs more music in this episode? The very lack of it changes its feel altogether, and makes it very atmospheric, as if we have nothing to just gently drift back into. Johnson wisely uses just the snippets from other episodes, and creates the right kind of atmosphere.
Wittiness: Three out of five. Terry Nation does not really need to make any effort to make this episode amusing, but he succeeds anyway with some very touching lines, which almost seem out of place. "I haven't seen a room clear so quickly since Freddie Firman took a skunk into the Turkish baths." "You have an excellent ear, Steed. I hope you hang onto it."
Action: Three out of five. Tara's only real involvement in the episode is to fight Circe, and this fight is mostly done in long shot without any music, which is contrary to most of the series' fights, and she actually looks rather good in doing it as well, unlike most of the time. Steed also manages to join in the fun, even though wounded. Superb.
Cars/Sets/Locations: Four out of five. The episode, extremely unusually, starts in a car, then progresses to another favourite Avengers location, Radlett Prep School. The grounds must be extensive, for we also have Steed's supposed death, really rather cleverly done, in the wood. But the real piece de resistance is the house itself, which is terribly late 1960s. There is also a car in the front room. The Rolls-Royce Phantom V limousine makes a reappearance as Grenville's transport. Very good, all told.
Overall Impression: A very unusual episode, with real human emotion being shown. Harold Pinter and "The Joker" were obvious influences for this, but I cannot give this a score higher than seven and a half out of ten. Although I love Circe and Grenville, the full horror of this and Bassett being mercilessly tortured by three psychopaths makes it seem a little too horrific.
Rating: Seven and a half out of ten.
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