The Young Avenger
Direction: Four out of five. Although not Sidney Hayers' best (that would come later in "The Superlative Seven"), this is a very good debut effort for someone who would later become the best colour season director. That wonderful scene of Steed in the lift, boyishly spinning round the outside with a big smile on his face, and than taken from a low angle is just one example of Hayer's brilliance. Then we have the beginning of the karate scene, which looks as if the experts are about to get the camera. Wonderful.
Plot: Four out of five. Although it might have been used a large number of times before and since, it is good that such a typical plot of the series was used to introduce the American audiences to Steed and Emma. It certainly sets the tone for a large number of following episode, without being too unoriginal itself. The pacing is also very well worked out.
Music: Five out of five. The Cybernauts' theme is wonderfully composed, very appropriate for the villains, with a nice dark sense of getting louder and faster as the deadly assassins approach. Then there is the touch of Oriental music that also gives it an exotic flavour. Very good all round, in fact, used to great effect in Killer as well.
Wittiness: Five out of five. What a start to Levene's career as a writer! From the very start, we have sharp Steed/Emma dialogue, culminating at a high point towards the end where Steed is about to leave for the factory, and he says, what could be considered as a fairly ordinary line, but then Emma has such a great reaction. "If I'm not back by 11:30, I'm staying for breakfast!" "You don't eat breakfast."
Action: The cybernaut attacks make for mightily impressive television, especially with that characteristic quick cutting that comes with the attack itself. But did you see Emma versus the female karate expert? One of the first examples of an all female fight on television that does not look silly. Then there is cybernaut versus cybernaut, which certainly makes a refreshing prospect.
Cars/Sets/Locations: Four out of five. If there had been more location filming in this episode, I could give it five, but unfortunately there is not, so it will have to reside with only this score. Otherwise, we have Steed in his cool Delaney-Bellville horseless carriage at the end, and Emma's Lotus makes its show debut as well. The sets are also well-constructed and give the episode that wonderful claustrophobic air that it needs.
Introduction/Tag: Five out of five. First we get a man rushing through a door, being chased by some sort of monstrous out-of-control force, obviously superhumanly strong. Then he tries to block himself in to the room. He picks up the telephone, dials 999, but at each digit, the thwack gets worse and worse. Even when he fires two shotgun shells into the unseen opponent, it still does not stop. Then, it barges through the door and disposes of him. In the tag, Steed sits in his car, doing a crossword, and sees Emma arrive. Then, in a stroke of genius, he refuses her pen, claiming the same excuse as in the episode. Wonderful.
Overall Impression: Chock full of great little scenes, oriental technological excellence, a witty script and just a sense of fun between Steed and Emma make this a great episode. Then we have Michael Gough, John Hollis, Burt Kwouk and Bernard Horsfall, some of the best actors ever to appear on the series, in all their best roles. The cybernauts are just such great creations, that it is hard not to be awe-inspired by them. I love every minute of it. However, it might not be as good a piece of film as "Too Many Christmas Trees," but it is just so much more fun to watch with repeated viewings.
Rating: Ten out of ten.
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