The Avengers

with Emma Peel, Season Five

Warning: This is a large and growing file.

Tape Episode Title Air Date
7.27 Return of the Cybernauts 9/30/67
8.28 The Hidden Tiger 3/4/67
8.29 The Joker 4/29/67
8.30 The Fear Merchants 1/21/67
8.31 The Living Dead 2/25/67
9.32 Mission: Highly Improbable 11/18/67
9.33 Never, Never Say Die 3/18/67
9.34 The See-Through Man 2/4/67
9.35 Something Nasty in the Nursery 4/22/67
10.36 The Superlative Seven 4/8/67
10.37 Who's Who??? 5/6/67
10.38 You Have Just Been Murdered 10/28/67
10.39 The Bird Who Knew Too Much 2/11/67
11.40 Dead Man's Treasure 10/21/67
11.41 Death's Door 10/7/67
12.42 Epic 4/1/67
12.43 The 50,000 Breakfast 10/14/67
12.44 Escape in Time 1/28/67
12.45 From Venus With Love 1/14/67
12.46 A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Station 4/15/67
12.47 The Positive Negative Man 11/4/67
12.48 Murdersville 11/11/67
12.49 The Winged Avenger 2/18/67
13.50 The Correct Way to Kill 3/11/67
13.51 The Forget-Me-Knot 1/12/69

Return of the Cybernauts

Steed Pulls Some Strings
Emma Becomes a Puppet

Sequel to "The Cybernauts" in the previous season, this one features Peter Cushing as the brother of the slain cybernaut inventor, Dr. Armstrong. To put it in Monty Python terms, it gets entirely "too silly" toward the end when the mind-control devices are introduced. Makes me want to walk onto the set in a suit of armor and start hitting people over the heads with a rubber chicken. A shame such a notable guest star should wind up in such a poor effort.


The Hidden Tiger

Steed Hunts a Big Cat
Emma is Badly Scratched

Is an escaped tiger on the loose, mauling businessmen and prize bulls to death? As the mystery unfolds, Emma enlists the services of P.U.R.R.R. to help find her missing cat, Little John. Mr. Cheshire is a classic goofball. Great episode for cat-lovers such as myself. Wonderful giggle from Emma at the very end when we discover Steed's true feelings toward his partner. Who could blame him?

Best line: Mr. Cheshire: "And how wonderful it must be for you when she is curled up in your lap." Indeed.

Best scene: Don't miss the Jones phone book sequence. "He's the heavyweight champion of where?"


The Joker

Steed Trumps an Ace
Emma Plays a Lone Hand

Emma is lured to the home of an elderly bridge expert, only to find his house in the care of a very strange young woman. The night that follows is filled with bizarre events, as a voyeuristic spy tries to avenge his broken heart. One of the most stylish episodes of the second season. Emma's reaction to seeing Steed at the end will tug at the old heart-strings. Also briefly features Emma in a delightful state of near-undress. Trivia: Superbaddie Max Prendergast (Peter Jeffrey) made a previous appearance as a good guy in "Room Without a View."


The Fear Merchants

Steed Puts Out a Light
Emma Takes Fright

Key businessmen in the ceramics industry are suddenly dropping like flies. Seems they are literally being scared to death as their worst fears manifest themselves before their eyes. Trivia: Round two for the head of the marriage bureau (Patrick Cargill) from "The Murder Market."

Best line: Steed: "Magnificent!"


The Living Dead

Steed Finds a Mine of Information
Emma Goes Underground

FOG, or Friends of Ghosts, competes with SMOG, or Scientific Measurement of Ghosts, in yet another variation of the underground-organization-preparing-to-infiltrate-the-country theme. The ghosts are presumed to be the victims of a mining accident, when in fact the accident was staged in order to cover the project. "Ssshhhhh-hmmmmmm." Trivia: Julian Glover, who plays Masgard, previously appeared in "Two's a Crowd," and later went on to lead the ground assault against the rebels in The Empire Strikes Back. And the man from SMOG appeared previously in "Room Without a View."


Mission: Highly Improbable

Steed Falls Into Enemy Hands
Emma is Cut Down to Size

People and things--like full-sized tanks--are disappearing into thin air at an army base. Seems an absent-minded professor accidentally invented a powerful shrinking machine, which naturally has fallen into the hands of some dastardly types. The title says it all, and it's a great deal of fun. "It's a dream... a very tiny dream." Shaffer is a more tolerable imbecile than Brodney. Emma has a wonderful line when she is restored to normal size.

Best line: Emma: "Everything?"


Never, Never Say Die

Steed Meets a Dead Man
Emma Fights the Corpse

Fans of Christopher Lee might get a kick out of this uneven tale of a man who endures several lethal accidents and keeps coming back for more. Another variation of the androids-taking-over-the-country theme. The model boat sequence is classically goofy to the extreme. The man who keeps running over the errant android is also Mr. Hooter from "How to Succeed at Murder," and Stone's assistant appeared, sans two fingers, in "A Touch of Brimstone," and then again as the traitor in the tree in "The Forget-Me-Knot."


The See-Through Man

Steed Makes a Bomb
Emma is Put to Sleep

The brainless Brodney returns, this time confronted by an "invisible man" in a plot to bankrupt the government. I'm sorry, but even though The Avengers is supposed to be goofy, he's just too much to take. Trivia: The scientist who invented the formula for invisibility was also Hickey from "The Hour That Never Was."


Something Nasty in the Nursery

Steed Acquires a Nanny
Emma Shops for Toys

Wow, great drugs! Missile site secrets are leaking from high sources, as a tough-as-nails nanny uses a drug with a curious delivery mechanism to extract the information. The sequence when Steed arrives at the nanny training center is classic, as he is left in charge of a room full of vocal infants. "Mother" makes a return visit, still sans wheelchair.


The Superlative Seven

Steed Flies to Nowhere
Emma Does Her Party Piece

Ever wonder what Donald Sutherland did before Invasion of the Body Snatchers? He created an army of trained killer fighters on an island somewhere off the coast of England; his client was the karate teacher in "The Cybernauts." Although the plot is not the most original, it is still a well-done episode with a few good twists and turns.


Who's Who???

Steed Goes Out of His Mind
Emma Is Beside Herself

Never mind that mind-swapping is way over the top; the performances are not to be missed. In fact, the baddies do a better job of impersonating the heroes than the reverse. The "special announcements" after each commercial break are hysterical, as the announcer becomes more confused than the viewers after each break. And wouldn't you just love to know what the (alternate) Mrs. Peel whispered to the alternate Steed so that he knew with certainty it was her? Freddie Jones (Dune) guest stars as Steed's evil counterpart.

Best line: Steed: "A man would bite the ends off of cigars is capable of anything."


You Have Just Been Murdered

Steed Chases a Million
Emma Walks Off With It

A bunch of paranoid millionaires are being extorted by creative means. Mr. Needle (who hides in a haystack--get it?) is quite reminiscent of Mr Teddy Bear from the Cathy Gale episode of the same name. So-so, with some decent Emma-watching, most notably the fight in the river.


The Bird Who Knew Too Much

Steed Faces Pigeons
Emma Gets the Bird

A priceless parrot disappears, along with some military secrets. Not a favorite; the fight scene at the end is so choreographed that it looks more like a dance number, and the characters are too contrived, even for The Avengers. Still, Emma is always worth watching, especially as she takes on an assassin in a swimming pool.


Dead Man's Treasure

Steed Rallies Around
Emma Drives for Herself

It's almost one continuous chase scene as our heroes follow clues in a car rally. Unfortunately, it does not seem to go anywhere. Lots of vintage automobiles to admire. There are echoes of "The Danger Makers" as Emma is subjected to a torture test in a race track simulator machine.


Death's Door

Steed Relives a Nightmare
Emma Sees Daylight

Every time a delegation arrives at a hall for a crucial conference, the key muckety-muck inexplicably turns tail and runs at the last minute. Worse, after he is killed in an automobile accident that he foresaw, his replacement begins to have the same problems. This is a very clever story with some good twists, plus some effective nightmare-perspective scenes. And who could forget Steed trapped behind the shooting target?

Of this episode Alistair McGown writes: "Nice visuals, shame about the pacing of the story and Luton Town Hall as a location. Ah well, it's all good stuff really."



Steed Catches a Falling Star
Emma Makes a Movie

A crazed film producer traps Emma in an old studio lot, with the intent to dramatically chronicle her actual death on film. What could be regarded as a knock-off of "The House That Jack Built" is saved by some hysterical over-the-top performances and avant-garde imagery. "A Z.Z. Von Schnerk Production!"

Best scene: Emma's wedding/funeral sequence is mysteriously mesmerizing.


The 50,000 Breakfast

Steed Dabbles in Tycoonery
Emma in Chicanery

A man shows up at a hospital with a stomach full of priceless jewels. There are some very interesting characters in this episode, which is actually a remake of "Death of a Great Dane," Blackman season one; in fact, much of the dialog is intact (but delivered with more style). This is a tough one to rate; some days I feel as though it might be a three-bowler, but on other days I find that it drags a bit. Creepy music score. And Glover's plan for using his millions is rather unsettling. "Shop!"


Escape in Time

Steed Visits the Barber
Emma Has a Close Shave

How are modern criminals turning up in historic photographs? The only possible explanation is a time machine. Some fine period sets and costumes in this episode.

Alistair McGown seems to think I've under-rated this episode. That's possible. I shall have to watch it once again with a more critical eye. (It has been a while--so many videotapes to watch!)


From Venus with Love

Steed is Shot Full of Holes
Emma Sees Stars

Astronomers are being murdered by strange means: Apparently Earth is being invaded by Venusians! While the manifestations of the laser attacks are downright silly (lasers do not have a "very distinctive sound"), the threat on Emma near the end is spine-tingling, with surprisingly good special effects. "All done with mirrors."

Best scene: Steed's eye exam is the highlight of this one.


A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Station

Steed Goes Off the Rails
Emma Finds Her Station in Life

A train conductor with a serious grudge plots a creative assassination attempt. My personal interest in trains maintains my attention in an otherwise so-so episode. "Diddly-dee, diddly-dee, diddly-dum, diddly, diddly..."


The Positive Negative Man

Steed Makes the Sparks Fly
Emma Gets Switched On

An electrifying episode (har, har) wherein an ordinary man takes on extraordinary powers through some high-voltage technology for the purpose of murder and mayhem. Actually plays much better than it sounds. This one is my father's favorite episode, for whatever reason. Steed's reaction to Emma's line, "I don't usually fall for strangers," is a highlight.



Emma Marries Steed
Steed Becomes a Father

One of the high points of the second season. Emma stumbles across a village wherein the entire population is in the murder business. If you want someone disposed of, just drop them off in town and the friendly folks there will take care of the rest. "Looks like rain." An interesting episode in that it gives Emma a bit of a past in the form of a former boyfriend (former in more ways than one), and we are treated to an intense, heretofore unexplored emotional side of her. "And I hadn't even criticized the beer."

Best scenes: In order to be rescued, Emma calls Steed on the phone while being observed, and the cryptic conversation is an absolute riot--doubtless the single funniest scene of the entire series, and source of the classic two-liner above. However, this scene is in steep competition with many others in this episode, including Emma's gut-wrenching attack on the doctor with a phone, the effectively harrowing pond-dunking sequence, Steed freeing Emma from a chastity belt ("I told them you were a wiz with locks"), and the pie-fight in the library. And don't forget the closing sequence with Emma's stuck helmet. What a great episode!


The Winged Avenger

Steed Goes Birdwatching
Emma Does a Comic Strip

Businessmen are the target again, and they're turning up like the victims in "The Hidden Tiger." This time, events revolve around a cartoonist whose drawings tie in a bit too closely with real-life situations. In rating this episode, I was torn between the too-silly anti-gravity boots and Steed's priceless reaction to the cartoon hero's bizarre battle cry, "Eee-urp!"


The Correct Way to Kill

Steed Changes Partners
Emma Joins the Enemy

Enemy agent bodies turn up in unlikely places, and Steed and Emma are implicated. They join forces with the enemy in order to uncover the truth, and it leads them to a gentlemen's training organization. The only mark against this otherwise enjoyable episode is Steed's enemy agent partner, who at times comes off as a female counterpart of Brodney.


The Forget-Me-Knot

The baddies are using amnesia-inducing drugs to infiltrate "The Organization" in a forgettable (in many more ways than one) episode wherein the torch is passed from Mrs. Peel to Ms. "Rah-boom-dee-ay" King. Sorry, but Tara is just too dopey to be believable as a super-spy, and I find it difficult to accept that Steed makes the transition to her from Mrs. Peel so easily. Yes, deep down inside he's a sexist pig like the rest of the male population, but perhaps aside from larger breasts--if that is to be considered an asset (certainly not in my book)--Tara doesn't provide much interest. What makes Emma so supremely appealing is her intelligence and grace, neither of which Tara possesses in abundance. Trivia: The traitor in the tree had appeared, sans two fingers, in "A Touch of Brimstone," and then again as a duplicate in "Never, Never Say Die."

More trivia: Did anyone notice the subtle variations in the opening credit sequence--Steed doing a golf swing with his 'brolly?

Help me: In one of the New Avengers episodes, Purdey notices the pictures of Steed's former partners in his home. As I recall (I haven't seen these episodes since their original broadcast, and I have no videotapes of them), Steed seemed to hint at a particular fondness for Emma. Can anyone tell me which episode this was?

Best scene: I cannot deny the fact that I get choked up every time I see Mrs. Peel's touching and tender farewell to Steed. "Always keep your bowler on in times of stress... and watch out for diabolical masterminds." Oh, it rips my heart out!

Best line: Steed: "Emma... Thanks." This is the one and only time Steed deliberately calls her Emma; he did it one other time, in "Who's Who???"--but he wasn't exactly himself then.

Tidbit: In an old interview, Diana Rigg made the remark that she had grown tired of being a sex object in The Avengers. Ironic, since she then went on to display her charms in OHMSS.


End of page. Copyright 1996 David K. Smith