The Young Avenger
House of Cards
Direction: Three out of five. Although Austin is not on as good a form as he was in All Done With Mirrors, we have some shots from interesting perspectives, such as the helicopter view of Purdey grabbing Perov during the end fight when Gambit is circling above in the helicopter, a scene which is replayed in the titles. However, the rest of the episode has rather standard direction, but then one has to remember that he is no Fuest.
Plot: Three out of five. Rather like the old Le Carre thrillers, "House of Cards" goes rather against sci-fi stories such as "The Last of the Cybernauts...?" and "The Eagle's Nest." I never think of this as a real Avengers episode, because of the silly teenage girls at the beginning and Steed's long-term relationship with one woman who is not involved in crime fighting in any way. If there was ever a problem with this episode, it was one of identity: Clemens writes a sort of Martin Woodhouse type story here.
Music Cheese Factor: Two out of five. Actually not that bad a score in this episode, and large portions of it are music-free, which may be a disappointment for those who want everything accompanied by a tune, but for the rest of us, it is nice to have something easy on the ears for once.
Wittiness: Two out of five. Steed has a very funny scene with Purdey's stepfather, encompassing our expectations of what we think he is going to say and what he actually does. Not really very witty, but funny. Steed does have one good line. "We live in an age of euphemisms."
Cars/Sets/Locations: Four out of five. Steed seems to have acquired a shiny new Jaguar XJ6C, which somehow seems to be more in keeping with his character than the dull Rover saloon ever was. Perov has both an Audi (very rare in Britain in 1976) and a helicopter, so extra points here. We also see Purdey's MG and Gambit in the passenger seat, which is very liberated of Purdey to do so. The sets are also rather good, although the airfield at the beginning is rather plain and dull. Vasil's hideout in the windmill is great, though.
Introduction: Two out of five. Serious points lost here for having no type of tag whatsoever, but did you see the introduction—Gambit's pop star clothes and cover-up is utterly hilarious, but totally at odds with the rest of the episode. However, we do get to see Steed meet Vasil, and he takes his bowler off to him, in a very polite way. However, the titles should really be at the start, it always works much better that way.
Freeze Frame: Perov jumping through a window to get after Vasil after Steed takes the Professor away. Hmmm, wasn't such a good idea to do this after all, was it?
Overall impression: Another New Avengers threat from the past plot mars this one seriously, because it prevents our real enjoyment of it. The pacing is also a little slow, and there are a bit too many minor characters to feasibly keep track of. Steed also gets a large number of female admirers, leading to a wonderful scene where he reads out the attributes of his previous female counterparts whilst one of the women looks at the photographs. The best scene in the entire thing.
Rating: Six out of ten.
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