The Young Avenger
Dead Men Are Dangerous
Direction: Four and a half out of five. Sidney Hayers ended his Avengers career with this story, and he certainly goes out in style. The far distant memories of the past, such as Crayford's defection are played with real emotion, and every shot seems to reinforce this dark, reminiscing style. Very well done.
Plot: Three out of five. Although this is the episode that defines the threat from the past story, it really works. The pacing might be a little slow, but for all those who have been to English public schools can relate to this so easily, and Clemens gets the balance between action and nostalgia just right. Unfortunately, all those overseas viewers get lost by this, so I cannot give it more than three. Shame, but this was by now an international show.
Music Cheese Factor: Half a point out of five. After giving us some of the worst music ever heard on television during the first season, Laurie Johnson is right back to his 1960s glory with this one. The best score of The New Avengers, it really helps the action rather than hinders it, as in most episodes.
Wittiness: Two out of five. Despite the lack of humour in this episode, there is some wit amongst the horror of Steed's psychological destruction. "Maybe if I could stay, I could help you unpack." "I moved in four years ago."
Action: Two out of five. Amazingly, Gambit keeps his violent tendencies at bay here, only running after a speeding Fiat 124, and jumping through a window, both times unnecessarily. The best fights are actually between Gambit and Purdey in a gym, and then Steed, Crayford and two Berlin border guards. But this episode is not about action...
Cars/Sets/Locations: Four out of five. In 1967, Steed seems to have procured himself a Mercedes 300SE fin-tail saloon, which is Alex Lloyd's car, for those of you who read the stories. The Fiat 124 is a little boring, though, but at least we get Steed's Jaguar at the beginning. The sets are very good, apart from Gambit's flat, but that is just a matter of taste rather than appropriateness. The early spring filming also lends the story a dark edge that it needs. A good score, but the school is the same set that was used in "Medium Rare" as the Ministry.
Introduction: Four out of five. But for the presence of Steed, you could be forgiven for thinking that you were watching a different programme in the first five minutes of this episode. There is hardly any music, no person to be killed and then the body to be discovered. Steed is also wearing a flat cap and a suspicious overcoat. Even though it is humourless, the emotion that comes through is so great that it just seems totally appropriate.
Freeze Frame: Mark Crayford falling backwards after being shot by Steed. The season starts well, but it is shame that the standard could not have been maintained.
Overall Impression: A story which defines Steed. We learn so much about him, and we get to like him even more. It is also a great Gambit story, for all you Gareth Hunt fans. We also learn just how sympathetic and comforting Purdey is. But the show has to be stolen by Clive Revill, who is a first-class mastermind and gives Steed the worst time ever seen in the series. If they had all been as good as this, then there would have not been the financial problems that forced the moves abroad. The best New Avengers episode.
Rating: Nine and a half out of ten.
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