The Young Avenger
Angels of Death
Direction: Three and a half out of five. The series debut of one of The New Avengers-only directors. Although Ernest Day is obviously well-practicised at his art, for there are no shots which could seen as bad here, nothing really stands out as outlandish and different in the way that a Robert Fuest episode does. The best bit is the psychological challenge of the maze, which he copes with very well. However, one is sometimes left with the feeling that some of the scenes could have been a bit tighter.
Plot: Four out of five. This would have worked equally well in 1967, if the awful 70s pop music had been removed from the equation. A plot to overthrow the government from within and a strange way of doing it, which is well related to the society of the time is definitely The Avengers. However, the loose ends such as the pointless trips to Paris and Germany do not make sense and there is a feeling that this is a bit too sickly for The New Avengers.
Music Cheese Factor: Four out of five. Just listen to that track in the disco as the girls from the health farm dance to it! The most cheesy piece of music ever used in the series makes its reappearance here. The rest of the score is recycled from various Season One episodes, which is not a recommendation in itself. Oh dear.
Wittiness: Four out of five. Amazingly, the combination of Feely, who contributed the humourless "To Catch a Rat," and Clemens, whose submission have not exactly been of the highest quality this season, manages to produce the best New Avengers script. "Gambit, I didn't know you had read mathematics?" "I haven't, I do the football pools." Gambit and Purdey in a room with two old ICL machines, trying to work out how many people they should suspect. Naturally, Gambit comes up with the answer right away.
Action: Three and a half out of five. The scene where Gambit is pushed down on the ground by Purdey, who then proceeds to fight three of the "angels of death," is hysterical as well as being violent. Then we have Gambit versus Coldstream, who fires a gun into Gambit's shoulder. Too much violence never did anyone any good.
Cars/Sets/Locations: Five out of five. The soul destroying white maze with its spikes on the top really stays in the mind. Then there is the Paris location filming, which is great to see. Finally, there is Steed's clay pigeon shoot, which settles any more doubt about how good this episode is at choosing places to be shot. Then, we have all sorts of cars, and Steed acquires an Audi 100 (two German cars in two episodes, not very patriotic), Coldstream has a Vauxhall VX4/90 and Manderson has a Morris 2200, one of Piers Johnson's favourite cars.
Introduction: Two out of five. If it were not for Gambit's sense of humour at the end of the entire episode, then this might well have got three, but the lack of tag sequence, the overlong introduction, which seems to take place in three countries for no other reason than to satisfy the French backers, and the bad music mean that it only ends up with two. Shame, they must have enjoyed that trip to Paris.
Freeze Frame: Martin's truck crashing through the barrier towards West Germany, and the two border guards jumping out of the way. Not the best, but rather good.
Overall Impression: Although this has a tendency to have silly elements (like the "let me take you aside and show you the plot for the audience's benefit" scene), we have a large number of repeat appearances from important episodes and all of them, Landen, Alexander and Latimer are wonderfully cast. It also has great Purdey-Gambit scenes (for those who like that kind of thing...) and Steed showing off just what a good agent he is, even at the advanced age that he has reached now. What could be better than Steed ending his life in the arms of the girl he loves? Fortunately, this does not happen, but it goes to prove a point. A very good effort, one of the best this season.
Rating: Eight out of ten.
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