The Young Avenger
Direction: Four out of five. Although we know that James Hill's direction varies an awful lot, ranging from awful ("Epic") to brilliant ("Something Nasty in the Nursery"), this is one of his better ones. Just watch the scene where Steed's double is creeping up to the side of his house! It is very scary and well done, considering that Macnee had to play two characters at once. The episode is also very well paced. A fitting end to Hill's career as an Avengers director.
Plot: Three out of five. Although this has been done so many times before in the series, it still seems rather fresh and different, even though the pretence was actually used in both "Two's a Crowd" and the Champions episode "The Mission." It is so full of twists that it is almost impossible to get it all the first time around. A very good score for a non-original plot.
Music Cheese Factor: Three out of five. It is very average, not too cheesy, not very good either. There is actually not very much music in the episode, which is a shame as Johnson could have complemented this one very well.
Wittiness: Two out of five. We do not get very many witty lines in the first half (thank you, Brian Clemens) but Spooner really does seem to come romping home with one of Steed's best ever lines. "He looks like me and he even has the same habits as me. I locked him in the cellar. I bet he is halfway through my '61 Claret."
Action: Three out of five. For no particular reason other than Clemens' fixation with abandoned airbases, Purdey faces Mullins in an abandoned airbase, whilst looking for Gambit. Then there are the various methods of disposing of the real people, which are good fun.
Cars/Sets/Locations: Four out of five. The episode has a very good contrast between the claustrophobic studio sets and the lovely mid-summer weather where most of the action takes place on location. We also get Rover P5s, Rolls-Royces and Purdey driving around in tears. A very good score.
Introduction: Three out of five. Although they are not trying to cram in too many ideas here, they have nonetheless thoroughly gone over the top do that we can get the message about the doubles. We do get a nice freeze frame shot, which is detailed below.
Freeze Frame: a man getting shot by an arrow after diving off a high board. Rather a good shot, and very difficult to obtain.
Overall Impression: Number three on my list and deservedly so. Brilliant action, excellent performances from Joanna Lumley and Gareth Hunt, great direction and Steed gets shot! Shame that it starts with Steed's umpteenth best friend being shot.
Rating: Eight out of ten.
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