The Young Avenger
The Hour That Never Was
Direction: Four and a half out of five. One of only two episodes to be made by Gerry O'Hara, this debut certainly makes him one of those who will be mentioned at the bottom of the directors list, but unfortunately, he does not quite make it on there. This is the inspiration for "The Morning After," and it certainly has the right kind of air to it, even if some of the special effects are a bit suspect. Well done!
Plot: Three and a half out of five. This works remarkably well for an episode that was written after a location hunt to an airfield, and was only done around that particular location. It does not seem such to those who do not know, however, and the idea of the dentist going to conquer the world with his drill is hilarious. Another great Marshall idea.
Music: Four out of five. That jaunty theme at the beginning is a little bit dated, but when you have some of this music (about five seconds) being repeated in Invasion of the Earthmen (this kind of thing always brings a smile to my face, although it should not), then it must have a high score. Well done to Laurie Johnson again.
Wittiness: Four out of five. Another great Marshall script (this makes two in a row because "Dial a Deadly Number" follows it), this has plenty of good exchanges between Steed and Emma which certainly help us through the first twenty minutes. "How is it?" "A few knocks ought to get it back into shape... Oh, the old girl!" Steed picks up his bowler, with Emma thinking he is referring to the car!
Action: Three and a half out of five. The music might have been the same for the end fight in "Castle De'ath," this one, "Silent Dust" and "The Danger Makers," but this ranks above him, I think, as we have the silly laughing gas bit, where the fight turns into a joke between Steed and the dentist. Shame there was not any more.
Cars/Sets/Locations: Four and a half out of five. I am very tempted to give this a maximum score, as so much of it is done on location, the sets do not disgrace the production at all, there is a large number of cars, including a Hillman Super Minx cabriolet, and it was done in July, so the weather is very appropriate. However, it is all done in the same place, but this is necessary.
Introduction/Tag: Four out of five. That little dog running through the undergrowth might not be the best way to start an episode, but the striking direction as Steed comes to rest against a tree, and then clambers up in the car seat make it worth watching. The tag is very funny, and I disagree with the ABC producers about it: it is fun, just a joke! Having a milk float was bound to be a laugh!
Overall Impression: Gerald Harper, Roy Kinnear and Dudley Foster do not get a chance to live up to their potential here, and I suppose the pacing is a teeny bit off, but we do get some of the greatest Steed/Emma moments ever, enjoy superb direction and a hilarious end fight. The script is witty, the sets and locations are great and we get to see Emma's summer fashions. Also worth it for the nostalgia value of the Second World War and the sheer absurdity of the dentist going to conquer the world with his drill!
Rating: Nine out of ten.
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