The Young Avenger
A Surfeit of H2O
Direction: Four out of five. After a triumphant debut in "The Cybernauts," Sidney Hayers came back to the series the very next month to do this finely crafted piece of film. Although the direction is not utterly outlandish as one might expect from Fuest or Hammond, there are some particularly effective shots in this story which keep it going, notably in the end fight.
Plot: Five out of five. Although this is possibly the least believable plot ever used on the series, it is as much fun as "Dead Man's Treasure" and "What the Butler Saw," and adds a science-fiction element not present in the other two to make this a truly Avengers story. It is terribly bizarre, but easy to follow, and even includes elements from the bible. Shame on the film for copying it.
Music: Four out of five. There are a few bits seemingly composed specially for this episode, but on the whole, there is a great deal of recycled material used in the score for the story. At the same time, most of the bits that are new in the story are reused in later episodes, so it is fair. Extra points to Laurie Johnson for using a great deal of the music from "Too Many Christmas Trees," even though this was transmitted a long time afterwards.
Wittiness: Three and a half out of five. Finbow seems to have scoured his thesaurus for some of Steed's lines when he visits the wine factory, which has hilarious repercussions, but there is an excellent line by him when he is in the wine store with Joyce Jason. "Now I know why cows have that contented look. I always thought that it was something to do with bulls."
Action: Four out of five. This episode does not quite have the best fight sequence in it of the series, but the one that is there, is utterly incredible: daringly directed with real water gushing everywhere. For once, it is not just Steed and Emma who have to fight the villains on their own either: the mad Jonah joins in as well. All this silliness is accompanied by the fight music from "Too Many Christmas Trees." It does not get much better than this.
Cars/Sets/Locations: Four out of five. For once, the continuity between location and studio is not bad at all, and it is refreshing to see Emma driving a Mini Moke, because Steed gets drive a Land Rover sometimes as well. The rain is very convincingly done, as is the Barker cottage, and it is left to bad clashes between day and night to upset the continuity.
Introduction/Tag: Four out of five. The introduction is short, but rather brilliant, as Ted Barker dies by drowning underneath rain in a field, which proves to be one of the more bizarre deaths of the series. It somehow sums up the seriousness of what Sturm has invented. The tag is also excellent, but the mode of exit is somewhat predictable.
Overall Impression: I cannot believe I had to wait two and a half years to see this episode. It is utterly incredible! Even Steed spending most of his time in the same place does not dull the story at all, and he shows himself off to be an incredible eccentric as well, which certainly helps. The direction is also superb, as is the plot, which gets a very rare full-marks score. However, there are a few little things that prevent this one from going right to the top. First, there is Emma's appearance in a revolting cheetah-print overcoat, but this is made up for by her weatherproof catsuit a few scenes later. Second, there could have been more witty lines, but then this is Finbow's only effort. Third, the continuity is not utterly what it should be, but who cares? Noel Purcell wins the eccentric of the series award.
Rating: Nine out of ten.
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