The Young Avenger
Direction: Three out of five. Roy Baker, who did such a good job in Too Many Christmas Trees and then faded away to nothing, is back after three years to direct this grim, old-fashioned tale. The camera angles, particularly at Lord Barnes country residence, are wonderfully well-chosen and superbly interesting. Shame he had to leave.
Plot: Three out of five. A cross between two Philip Levene episodes, "Never, Never Say Die" and "Who's Who???," Clemens actually manages to pull off this recycled Rigg episode with not inconsiderable flair. Kartovski was a name used in "A Touch of Brimstone," but as he was shot in October 1963, and that episode was transmitted in 1966, this must be a different character. As it is, though, it all holds together well, except for Steed's multiple visits to Lord Barnes' house.
Original Music: One out of five. Laurie Johnson seems to be on form this week: on annoyingly bad form. The stinger he uses, reminiscent of "The Fear Merchants," is just so irritating! Not a good score.
Wittiness: One out of five. Apart from the "wemarkable" Christopher Benjamin, there is very little wit to go around here, for the subject matter is too nasty. There is one good line here. Steed cutting Tara's ties when she is tied to a table: "I can't promise you'll play the violin."
Action: Three out of five. Steed fights a possessed Lord Barnes in the dark at his house in a wonderful sequence. Also, we have one of the great fights of the series between Himmel in the mind-swapping hospital.
Cars/Sets/Locations: Three out of five. We have Tara's sports car, an ambulance, and an Aston Martin DBS (a la George Lazenby) all in the same episode, although I think that Nigel Davenport's particular car must have been a prototype. The sets are rather good, as well, with Barnes house, the mind-swapping set and the calligrapher's office all deserving mentions.
Introduction/Tag: Two out of five. If I have to put up with Steed wearing another one of those foul, patterned early seventies shirts in another tag, I'll buy one myself, and get laughed out of the house by my mother. Sorry, the introduction. It is rather strange, but somehow I can imagine it as the beginning of one of the Cathy Gale episodes. That is a recommendation if there ever was one!
Overall Impression: Although not as bad as others would have you believe, this story falls down in two main areas. 1) There are no good lines. 2) The plot is not very smooth. I can just imagine this with Cathy Gale in it, and if it had been made in 1963, then it would have had superb Peter Hammond direction, great Steed/Cathy interplay and Julian Glover brilliant in black and white. Ah well, at least it does have Glover, Benjamin and Davenport all in the same episode.
Rating: Six out of ten.
materials copyrighted per their respective copyright holders.