"Noon Doomsday" is one of my favorite episodes mainly because of the location in the country. The Avengers were often using a country setting to good effect. The episode was mainly located on an old farm for agents who were injured in action, so to speak. Steed is confined to a wheelchair, which limits his involvement in this episode. But I think Tara is used very well in the story—she sees more action here than the entire series of 1968/69 in many ways.
The story is, of course, based on the western High Noon and the same themes are effectively used. When the villain Kafta is released from prison he is gunning for Steed so Tara has to get support for Steed which is not forthcoming and the rest of the agents with Steed do not want to get involved in the affair. One character in particular, the diplomat, is seen walking around the area with a arm in a sling and is not interested in saving Steed but only in interested in washing his hands of the whole thing. So much for camaraderie.
This episode is somewhat more serious than previous episodes such as "Game" and "Fog." Here, Tara has to use her skills as an agent to the full and is up against many difficult situations. Some of her colleagues are bumped off one by one and one particular murder is done using a rope and a wheel this is rather violent because in some ways it had a strong touch of realism. Tara was nearly done in herself when she nearly was dropped down a well and again the survival instinct brought her out.
A touch of Irish was introduced in the episode courtesy of the Irish actor T.P. McKenna, a hired hit man who met his demise at the hands of Tara. The fight scene between the two is very good and realistic. There are many interesting gadgets in this episode as well; one that comes to mind appears at the end when Steed, on crutches, is confronting Kafta. Steed points one of the crutches at Kafta and fires a dart—very original in many ways.
To sum up, "Noon Doomsday" is a good episode for gadgets, Tara's greater involvement, and in particular, the action.
Those who had the opportunity to see that classic Hollywood western of 1952, High Noon will find obvious parallels with this episode. In the first-rate Fred Zinnemann's motion picture, the hero Gary Cooper learned that a gunman, in his thirst for revenge, would return to Cooper's town to kill him. As a sheriff and a man of his word, Cooper decided to wait for his adversary, but soon he found out he was left to his fate, since all his "friends" had refused to help.
Few imagined that, 16 years after the opening of High Noon, a British TV series would dust the plot off to show once more, one of the most notable crises of conscience. And it is not accidental that for this kind of plots, Mr Brian Clemens' pen runs behind the credits that attributed the script to Terry Nation. Not only that—Clemens even provided his own farm for the scenes to be shoot outdoors.
There was a factor in the film that counted against the hero, putting the success of his risky mission in serious danger—Cooper was old and on the verge of retirement. Once again such a factor is present in "Noon Doomsday"—Steed is wounded and confined to a wheelchair. In both cases, nothing guarantees they will be the victors, but the effort is crucial to preserve their honor.
Nonetheless, as a mirror of the role played by Grace Kelly in High Noon, our pretty Tara King also does what she has to, proving that women always will play their part in men affairs. Of course, Tara's procedures in some scenes have been severely objected. Want a few examples? Her jumping down a well where one of the good men lay dead, knowing that one of the baddies was on the loose above. Or her determination to momentarily get rid of Steed, hitting him over the head with a bottle of champagne ("I'm sorry, but it was a very good vintage", she remarks anyway) leaving him unconscious and more defenseless than he was before. However, we shouldn't forget that Tara's role was designed to show us a "stupid-girl-deeply-in-love-with-her-idolized-hero." The fact that her role has transcended these canons in more than an occasion, is entirely due to Linda Thorson's appreciable talent. And it wouldn't be a bad idea to admit that "Noon Doomsday" reflects both poles with clarity—as long as she's able to save his idol, the "stupid girl" even puts their own lives in jeopardy! Well, we may call this a juvenile impulse, in an attempt to save her beloved hero, without really thinking about the consequences her reaction might have. Which is perfectly understandable, I guess, in a final result where nobody can complain—or what kind of manliness would Steed have shown, if Tara wouldn't have left the super-villain Kafka to him?
Worthy of mention are the additional contrasts, providing evidence this is not a remake of "High Noon," but an Avengers story instead. The trick of showing Mother making good use of all the spirits Steed keeps in his apartment while answering simultaneously, as usual, a number of phones as multicolor as the beverages he's drinking, adds the necessary and sufficient quota for a hilarious interlude.
And that bad guy who seems to be more interested in deciding the gift for his niece than in waiting for the 12 o'clock in the daytime, immerses us inevitably in that Avengers universe, where as always, everything takes place. Even though, like in this case, the setting for this story has nothing to do with the mythical England the show so much insisted on portraying.
Outstanding... 4 of 4 corks.
Gary Cooper would have been proud of Tara. From the train station, the shells from the revolver, the boots on the rail, to the three walking into town for the showdown... well done. I thought the music was varied and on cue. The fight scenes were some of the best I've seen so far.
Best laugh: The sundial being 2 minutes slow.
Best line: Tara, after smashing the champagne bottle over Steed's head, "I'm sorry, it was a very good vintage."
"Noon Doomsday" is a pretty direct remake of High Noon. If you've seen High Noon, it's kind of entertaining. On the other hand, High Noon does a very nice job of looking at how the townspeople provide support only if it costs them nothing and how they rationalize what they do. The other agents ape this, but in an hour, the issue cannot be explored in the same way. Clocks and time also play a strong element in building the tension in High Noon. This is alluded to in "Noon Doomsday," but doesn't build tension in the same way.
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