The Young Avenger
Page 32 of 110

The Master Minds
By Joseph A.P. Lloyd

Direction: Four out of five. Peter Graham Scott was, for a long time after this one, a director on The Prisoner. This might have been made a long time before the series of The Prisoner was started, but with scenes such as the surreal fight at the end behind a screen and the upside down camera angle of the first reel of act two make this an unusually directed episode. Good effort.

Plot: Three out of five. Albeit a little hard to follow, the idea of a club for egg-heads, as Steed puts it, is right up my street. However, the pacing is a little strange, and the trip to Westminster is a little unnecessary, so this cannot achieve top marks.

Music: Two out of five. Although not nearly as bad as some of the things that we are treated to by Johnny Dankworth, this episode has a particularly dull music score, as if Johnson had to rush it into transmission, and there was no time to write new music for it. Shame.

Wittiness: Three and a half out of five. Although it does not quite measure up to the standards of "Dial a Deadly Number" or "Death at Bargain Prices," Robert Banks Stewart does give us a fair amount of good lines. There is that scene where he is talking to the psychiatrist, for example. "Traces of an incipient inferiority complex. I should watch it!"

Action: Three out of five. There might be only one fight in the scene, but it is very well done, to the background of shots of an RAF base in alert mode. When it is pushed backwards by a careless person, it is even more hilarious! Harvey Hall and Patrick Macnee show that it is possible to have fights without at least one person wearing a collar and tie.

Cars/Sets/Locations: Four out of five. A fair amount of location filming is in this one, although most of it happens at the start of the episode showing the Bentley arrive at Sir Clive Todd's house. Apart from that, there are random shots of the House of Parliament, and then of the school, where the club is being held. The sets are all right, but nothing special.

Introduction/Tag: Three out of five. The tag is a little unoriginal, but at the time, there might not have been the universal acceptance that Steed's Bentley was going to be his real mode of transport. It is funny, though. The introduction is quite confusing, but perhaps, this time it does go a little too far towards strangeness.

Overall Impression: Although this episode has a reasonable plot, some rather funny lines and good direction, the whole thing is a bit uneven. Steed and Emma spend far too much time at Sir Clive Todd's house, when it would have been far more interesting for them to be at the RANSACK headquarters. However, it is not all bad news. There is some wonderful S/M rapport, especially on the trampoline, and then there is the picture of Mr Muscles on the door of Steed's cupboard. Steed, Emma and Harvey Hall's reactions just show the difference in their characters. Hmmmm.

Rating: Seven out of ten.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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