The Young Avenger
A Sense of History
Direction: Three and a half out of five. Although not up to the standard of either "The Master Minds" or "The Murder Market," this one certainly has a good, dark air about it which means that it seems like a Cathy Gale episode. The scenes in the archives room in the dead of night are particularly well, but this is not enough to win it the same score as the others.
Plot: Four out of five. As a student of the great dictators, I was very interested in the plot of this one, which comes straight from the second or third season, and seems extremely out of place here. The conflict between Communism and Fascism is very deep, and especially prominent this century, so it is interesting to see it done here in such a way. Shame it was the wrong season.
Music: Three and a half out of five. Laurie Johnson comes up with rather a superb, chivalrous main theme to accompany this episode, but it seems just so far removed from the style of the rest of the series (as indeed the episode is) that it cannot earn a high score.
Wittiness: Three out of five. Woodhouse, who apparently had a very high IQ, certainly was never known for large amounts of wit in his stories. However, there are some rather funny lines here, culminating in Steed's sword. "That looks a bit droopy." "Wait until it's challenged."
Action: Three out of five. Steed, as the Sheriff of Nottingham, versus an innumerable amount of students (all in fancy dress) in the classrooms. Then there is Emma against Duboys and in the awfully creepy archives room they knock out all the possible suspects for the ringleader. Great!
Cars/Sets/Locations: Three out of five. The entire thing seems to happen in one cloister or courtyard of the university, which is immensely unrealistic, as we do not get to see any of the rest of it. I suppose the classroom sets are perfectly indicative of how they were in 1966, but that studio caravan set does not encourage me to give this one a good score. Oh dear.
Introduction/Tag: Four out of five. The appearance of the man in his Rolls Royce, gently driving along down the driveway, and then meeting the dead body in the road is wonderfully inexplicable, as is the subsequent shooting of him with an arrow. It rather sets the scene well for the rest of the episode. The tag is brilliant, because it is Emma who climbs on the bike, and Steed who squeezes into the cockpit beside her. Then she cannot hear him! It just gets better.
Overall Impression: Patrick Mower is a bit part heavy in this. Some of the sets are not too good, either, and the direction is not up to Graham Scott's usual standard. However, I love The Avengers in a University without having to suffer the torment of Julie Stevens, Patrick Macnee looks wonderful in a gown, and the student rebellion aspect of it really does appeal to me. Martin Woodhouse's last script for the series can be seen as probably the most intelligent ever. Who else could get the conflict between right and left wings successfully into an episode?
Rating: Seven out of ten.
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