Visitor Reviews
Page 146 of 164

Tale of the Big Why
by Iain Clarke

While probably not my favourite favourite episode, it certainly lands in the top five. The plot for me is reminiscent of an original Avengers storyline, different groups after a hidden treasure (think "Dead Man's Treasure" or "Legacy of Death"). Robert Fuest brings his usual directorial excellence into play here—the wonderfully misty plane shot as it lands, the expansive shots in the countryside, showing just how big the place is, and the now surely legendary tracking shot past the pub with the pint of beer being used to show the passage of time. The gorgeous summer weather adds a nice feel to it too, more relaxed than the tense, oppressive heat of "Cat Amongst the Pigeons" which, for me, added to the tension.

The plot is suitable twisty, too; we are kept guessing right until the end as to what Brandon has been hiding for so long, and who has the most to gain/lose. George A. Cooper (Mr. Griffiths from Grange Hill for me!) gives a typically bullish, if brief, performance as Bert Brandon, and Roache and Poole are straight out of a Tara episode, right down the quirky humour when they've taken it apart (What do we do now? Put it back together?), even if they are a bit overplayed at times.

For the better part of the episode Steed reverts back to his old-style self (for once none of his old friends have died or betrayed him, or the girlfriend of the week get in the way, so he seems OK), a carefree gent who cheats at games in a likeable way (think the "Game" tag scene), enjoys a drink with his visitors, has a typically humourous approach to the actual book and Bessie's mating habits, and explains how he "disarmed" the villain (though he might hurt himself) are all old-school Steed. The only real difference here is that he is more in charge of the others, and slightly more seasoned—the double entendre with "think of your soul" shows a man more adapt to going distances without than Gambit.

Purdey and Gambit's relationship seems to have alternated again from old married couple to sibling rivalry; the dinner scene, the chase scenes after Roache, Poole and Turner, their interaction when Gambit finds Purdey in the field, is all more ribbing than flirt. Much has been said about Purdey's name being all over the back of her jacket, so we'll leave it there. But it's nice to see that it was used in the opening stunt, which provides us with the first "What's going to happen here?" freeze frame we've had in a while—it's just a good action shot to freeze!

8/10.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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