The Young Avenger
Page 96 of 110

Sleeper
By Joseph A.P. Lloyd

Direction: Five out of five. If anyone ever had any doubts whether someone would come along who was as good quality as Robert Fuest, then these doubts are dispelled here. Clifford takes painstaking care over every shot, plays with
our expectations, and really makes this an enjoyable episode. Although this is his only episode, he really makes it a feast for the eyes. They should have asked him back to direct more, then the viewing figures might have risen!

Plot: Two out of five. Although it is very strange seeing Steed and his team fighting street-level crime, is does work very well and we are never left with the impression that they are not capable of solving the problem. However, Clemens seems to have used one of the ideas that we did not see acted upon in his earlier Thorson episode, "The Morning After." The gas does indeed spread right across the town, as his captive Merlin had forecast. Shame that there was not a little more made of Steed's friend, though.

Music Cheese Factor: Two out of five. We have a very good score here, when it is played, because Johnson has put his guitars on hold for a week, although they do make a reappearance at some time. There is a really bad bit, though, when Purdey is running across a railway viaduct for no reason, accompanied by some awful sounds.

Wittiness: Two out of five. Although this episode is known for its lonely shots of a deserted London, we also have Steed at his most sardonic in a restaurant, in between calls to his "oldest friend" a hugely overused device. "An uncle of mine had nineteen children. He was a keen cyclist."

Action: Three out of five. Predictably, Steed and co. do have many encounters with the terrorists, and there really are too many short moments to count, although one could mention Purdey's fight with a thug in front of a shop and a clothes rack, which is very amusing. Then we have Steed and Gambit pretending to be asleep at a bus stop, before knocking out two more.

Cars/Sets/Locations: Five out of five. Purdey steals a ten-year-old Mini Cooper, with the driver still inside, and then gets chased by a pair of machine-gun toting thugs in a Volvo 144. And she enjoys it! The whole of this episode is either shot on location, or, in a very small way, on excellent sets. But the number of banks that the villains blew up must have been a little embarrassing for the citizens of London.

Introduction: Two out of five. Although it is not too long, we have a very cheesy seventies shot of a helicopter towering over London to start us off. Then we have an abduction and swap, and a demonstration all before the title. Not very good, and terribly unexciting, but important.

Freeze Frame: A fake South American's face. Back to the old series for once.

Overall impression: A very funny episode, with some very good set pieces, particularly when Gambit comes across a pretty girl asleep in a taxi, and covers her legs up. Then we have Purdey posing as a shop window model in order to escape some of the villains. She looks like the models, as well as posing like them! Then Purdey leaves her car radio on when she dumps it, and we hear some romance coming out of the speaker. However, it does drag a bit, and get a little repetitive, but it is still a cut above most of the season's offerings.

Rating: Eight and a half out of ten.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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