The Young Avenger
Direction: Two out of five. After impressing us with "House of Cards" and "Target!," Austin seems to have lost his touch with this studio bound hour, which really does show the age of the series. The actual sewers crossed with footage of a real rat make for a terrible inconsistent thing, which really should not have been done.
Plot: One out of five. From unprepossessing beginnings, this episode goes from bad to worse as each twist fails to keep our attention, and seems equally unlikely. As well as this, there are no easily identifiable villains who are out to destroy the world: just two scientists who made a mistake. This does not make for a very good episode, I am afraid, and Dennis Spooner should definitely have though about rethinking this one significantly.
Music Cheese Factor: Three out of five. The year before had been the first in the Jaws trilogy, and there are certainly many references to this in the score. This is not necessarily a good thing, but at least we have no rock guitar solos to contend with.
Wittiness: Two out of five. Purdey manages a fairly witty line, but the rest of the episode, rather like our old friend "Invasion of the Earthmen," has precious little dialogue in order to show off the ghastly special effects. "I am a woman. Women are allowed their idiosyncrasies."
Action: Five out of five. I am hesitant in awarding this episode such a high score, but I must because it is immensely violent with all those people getting eaten by a giant rat! All the same, there is a great fight between Purdey, Gambit and a Russian agent, before they realise that he is not the villain at all. Ah well, it is good fun anyway.
Cars/Sets/Locations: Two out of five. Oh dear. This is the only time that you will see me give a New Avengers such a low rating in this category, and it is totally justified. There is hardly any location filming, and what there is of it mainly consists of an agent getting dragged through a wood after being killed, and then a mechanic fixing a BMW in a garage. That is it. No cars of note either, and the sewer sets are frankly, embarrassing. Not good at all.
Introduction: One out of five. I have never seen a weaker introduction than this in my life! A man is caught breaking into a security establishment by a security guard who used to be a Marine. There is then a surreal conversation between the two where the burglar knocks out the Marine, then saying that he was in The Guards. Why would anyone go round a security establishment unarmed? Ah well, at least this is better than someone breaking into their own office, which is what happens next!
Freeze Frame: A security guard getting hit over the head in a government office. Not a very well-conceived shot, either.
Overall Impression: A dire episode with a horrid introduction, appalling special effects, lifeless direction, rather wooden acting, no location filming and just generally a bad feel to it. I have only ever watched this twice, and I cannot bring myself to sit still for another time to watch it again! An embarrassment to poor old Patrick Macnee if there ever was one, and Purdey's fashions are simply horrid in this one. Fortunately, not all of them were like this.
Rating: One out of ten.
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