The Young Avenger
Direction: Three and a half out of five. Yet again, we have Roy Baker directing (how many in a row is that?) and every time, his direction is different. Here, it is somewhere between his efforts for "Too Many Christmas Trees" and "Two's a Crowd," thankfully veering more towards the former. Who can ignore that Western-style scene where Steed wakes up to find Emma with a bushy moustache?
Plot: Three out of five. Although the pacing is slow, and the whole thing seems to get a bit dull after a while (the first time I watched this I fell asleep), there are too many great riding scenes here to totally ignore it. However, I did not get it first time around (sleep took the better of me) and so I found it hard to watch again without remembering that it had happened the first time. Uneven.
Music: Three out of five. The varations on The Avengers theme during the hunting scenes are a lovely touch, but they do tend to get a bit repetitive. The best music is when Emma is creeping around the farm looking for Steed, a theme often repeated in other episodes. Reasonable.
Wittiness: Three out of five. Marshall has not totally lost his flair, as he gives us one of the best little quips in the series between Steed and Omrod. "Sorry, boil." Omrod refuses to shake hands with Steed. "Sorry, buckshot." Steed refuses to shake hands with Omrod. Not up to the standard, really.
Action: Three and a half out of five. Steed versus a man wielding a menacing looking shotgun is a sight not to be missed (especially as Steed does actually get shot), but then Emma versus Juggins with a whip is far worse. However, there is the hilarious scene where Steed hits the perpetrators with various signs saying things like "Down with Violence." Not the best, but does the job of keeping me awake. Sometimes.
Cars/Sets/Locations: Three and a half out of five. There might not be many cars in this episode, but "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Station" does not have any. At least when one does appear, it is a Rolls-Royce, but I think going by boat somehow suits the two. There is so much location filming that I cannot really argue with it. An average score, but the sets could have been a touch better.
Introduction/Tag: Two and a half out of five. All right, so the hot air balloon is great, and typical of the series, but what about the introduction? Various dead birds are thrown of branches onto the ground by an unseen hand. Come on, Roy Baker, "Invasion of the Earthmen" had better special effects than this!
Overall Impression: The first time you watch it, this really is a very poor episode. Not very much happening, a hard to follow plot, not much action and slow pacing. However, the second time, it did get a bit better, as I got into the Marshall humour, the anti-hunting protests and the riding (which my sister was very fond of, naturally). This was not enough to sustain it, and so, although William Franklyn and Jack Watson give brilliant, stereotypical performances, this is just not an episode that I like to remember as belonging to the same season as "The Cybernauts." Oh dear.
Rating: Six out of ten.
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