The GLG Reports
Page 13 of 67

A Surfeit of H2O
By Grant L. Goggans

"Wonderful weather we're not having!" If you were to judge who is the best Avengers writer purely on their gem-to-dross ratio, then Colin Finbow would win without argument, because his sole contribution is an absolute treasure, and one of the very best episodes of the series. The only flaw in this hour is in the continuity, as Steed's wardrobe varies from one location to another. The script, acting and direction are all superb, with some really well executed shots in the rain. Typical Avengers weirdness abounds, with no need for chalk outlines of the victims, since they leave a man-sized indentation in the wet fields after they die. There's a magical scene in which Mrs. Peel takes tea under umbrellas in Talfryn Thomas' cottage, and Noel Purcell is magnificent as the "Hallelujah!"-crying Jonah. For a few minutes, you might think Jonah's the villain of the piece, but then we learn a scientist named, wait for it, Dr. Sturm, is in charge of the winery, and it becomes a matter of waiting for the inevitable unmasking. Sturm has a wine press in his lab, and the instant you see it, you just know Mrs. Peel's going to end up trapped underneath it. Still, she takes it in stride, deadpanning "You diabolical mastermind, you," as Sturm leaves the room. The very best scenes, though, feature Steed going undercover as a wine merchant. Macnee is having a blast and, considering how often our heroes play straight man to a lot of wacky eccentrics, it's a rare occasion where Steed is the focal point of some hysterical dialogue, as he insists catalogs are no good to a true connoisseur. The closing fight, with the Avengers and Jonah battling Sturm's thugs in a room where artificial rain has poured for a year, is a bizarre and beautifully-choreographed triumph, though heaven knows how they got Diana Rigg out of her leather catsuit after it got so thoroughly soaked. Best of all, though, this is simply a really original script, with many great one-liners, and it's structured so well that, until the last act, the audience wonders what Dr. Sturm is up to with all that rain. And it's got Diana Rigg in a cheetah-print overcoat!

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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