The Young Avenger
Direction: Three out of five. Norman comes off rather well in this episode, with some excellently scary camera angles that Hitchcock would be proud of, especially in the train sequence with Sally Nesbitt being thrown out of the open door. However, the rest of the episode does seem rather dull.
Plot: Two out of five. Although the title is weak and meaningless, the plot is classic Avengers. However, it is handled in such a bad way (the train sequence should have been done as the introduction) that I cannot give this a high score. Tara has absolutely nothing to do here, which is a shame considering that it is her last episode. They might at least have given her credit for this, but no. Here we have Cordell, who seems to be trying so hard to be Gambit, and gets killed for his troubles. It is all too New Avengers, and heaven is just too cheesy to be anyone's idea of paradise. What can Clemens have been thinking of?
Original Music: Two out of five. Apart from the new version of the theme that we all know so well, Johnson gives us an immensely bad score, interspersed with acid guitar music and awfully dated dance numbers. Why couldn't he rely on music that he had used so many times before to great effect, as he had done in so many other episodes?
Wittiness: One out of five. The master can only be awoken from his trance by the sound of flicking bank note. Not very funny. There is also Roy Kinnear's character's name, the last true sign of an Avengers eccentric. But we are clutching at straws here.
Action: Three out of five. Rather like "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Station," there is an all against all fight at the end, accompanied by the best piece of music in the episode, a great new version of the theme. This is actually a very funny fight, much funnier than the lame dialogue. Just fast forward to the end.
Cars/Sets/Locations: Two out of five. We have here a mostly studio-bound episode (just look at the awful graveyard set!), but there is some good location filming, especially in the title, and the snows of February/March help to add to the atmosphere of the thing. Unfortunately, the exterior shots of the train are in the daytime, when Helen is supposed to have fallen off during the night. Say goodbye to Steed's Rolls-Royce as well, you will never see it again. But would you really want to be killed by being over by a Bedford Beagle estate?
Introduction/Tag: Three out of five. Despite the real introduction being later in the episode, the one we have here is short, and certainly extremely strange. It does fit in, but it could have been longer. The tag is very silly, and just shows what was on people's minds in 1969, even though this was made before the moon landings!
Overall Impression: The last episode ever, and a bad way to go out. Even "Emily" was better than this. We have an obviously non-Oriental villain dressed up for no reason, a boring housewife and a proto-Gambit all in one episode. This is no good thing, but it does deserve more than two out of ten. First, Leslie Norman's direction is rather good in places. Secondly, we have Sally Nesbitt again, in a real Avengers plot, however badly handled it may be. And we get rid of Tara!
Rating: Four and a half of ten.
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