Visitor Reviews
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Escape in Time
by Mike Cheyne

The color season's first great episode, "Escape in Time" is amazingly entertaining no matter if it's the first or twelfth viewing. This is a darn good, although far from perfect, episode. The thing I love the most about it has to be the music. For maximum effect, listen to the music from all the other episodes, and then notice how much of it comes from this episode (although this probably came from the black and white shows, which I really need to see).

For starters, there's that addictive ditty that plays when Mrs. Peel is chased by Mitchell on the motorbike. This is used in "The Bird Who Knew Too Much," "Something Nasty in the Nursery" and probably others. The end part is used in "The Bird Who Knew Too Much" and "Death's Door." The brief piece played when Mrs. Peel clobbers Mitchell is used in "The See-Through Man" and "The Correct Way to Kill," among others. The funky piece played for the end fight is used in "Death's Door." And while this piece is unused in other episodes, I truly adore the one played accompanying Mackadockie Court.

This is a great episode in many other respects. Mackadockie Court features inspired direction by John Krish and extremely lunatic scripting by Philip Levene, as the escape route involves a complex code involving stuffed animals, shaving, nuns, Hinduism, and twin doubles. I must admit that this episode improves on subsequent viewings, as it grows on you more and more. The villains are remarkably colorless (which includes Nicholas Smith from Are You Being Served?), save for their leader, Waldo Thyssen, who is an apparent schizophrenic, and well-played by Peter Bowles.

What else is good? The teaser is memorably "What the heck?", with a Shakespeare-like character blowing the snot out of one of those "best agents" the Ministry keeps losing. The end battle between Steed and the Executioner is done well but is too brief. Geoffrey Bayldon is also quite good as the perplexed friend of Steed's (Steed has a lot of these friends—most of whom die).

So what's the problem? Why not perfect? Well... it's a bit too silly near the end. The villains are idiotic stumblebums, and Steed deflates the viewers' wants of a fight scene by providing fancy footwork and Bond-like gadgets in the mix. Oh, well—this is supposed to be a light episode, and it definitely succeeds. Top marks.

Escape in Time
by Richard Pride, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

My favorite Avengers episode! The sequence in Mackidockie is excellent because it's mainly silent (no dialogue) and the set itself is smashing. Also, Peter Bowles is the best villain ever. I also loved him in "Get-A-Way!" which is also one of my favorites. I really think this episode has the best sets—Thyssen's mansion and the time travel chamber are awesome. Emma's period costumes were well done and Emma's comment about women's lib being accepted or not accepted in certain time periods was a nice touch.

Escape in Time
by Terylene

With Philip Levene in his own element and an episode that shines not only in color but also in creativity, what else should one need to enjoy something of the best The Avengers' fifth season produced? After all, the escape from reality in the most unusual, outlandish way was another of the lovely gifts the 60s gave us, in which the imagination flowed from human minds in the midst of the Swinging London and the Flower Power's paraphernalia.

"Escape In Time" is completely immersed in that atmosphere. With a fitting music score throughout, those amusing scenes played at Mackidockie Street invite the viewer to get pleasure from a good show. And even though Thyssen's game is clearly worked out from the beginning, one finds it impossible to not like those moments capturing the baffling look on the trespassers' face when caught by the centrifugal force as they slide away down a "tunnel time" to wake up at a strange time of coaches and paladins on white horses. As we see, everything's leaning toward the absurd and peculiar.

Peter Bowles and his multifaceted role playing the different Thyssens, from the Middle Ages to the 1960s ("There's no better time than the p-p-p-present," he stammers) proves he's a great regular in The Avengers. From Cathy Gale to Tara King, four episodes speak highly of a talented guest star playing characters who certainly never went unnoticed. Actually, his Waldo's true strategy is somewhat unclear. Did he always kill all his criminal clients (like Josino) after offering them an escape through time in exchange of a huge payment? Or did he dispose of agents who apparently infiltrated into his house, like Paxton and Tubby Vincent? For some reason Waldo did nothing against the "criminal" Steed, maybe because he suspected Steed wasn't an intruder... or mainly because Steed didn't carry any payment on him yet. But in Mrs Peel's case, Waldo gets decidedly mad. Upon becoming aware of her trick, he cranks his slot machine (what a device for a journey in time!) and Emma suddenly staggers from the 1790s back to the 1560s, finding herself in the jaws of death at the hands of the perverse Matthew Thyssen. The ensuing dialogue is quite inspired. Matthew: "These strange clothes you wear. The devil's work! Designed to inflame a man's passion!" Emma: "You should see me in 400 years." And she's right! What would Matthew have said if Mrs Peel had visited him clad in one of her stunning Emmapeelers? The sharp lines between Steed and Emma are also sheer delight, especially Emma's pithy reply to Steed's remark on her sewing skills. Another famous villain of The Avengers also has her place in "Escape In Time": Judy Parfitt, who in spite of her wicked aims winds up tied to a pillar listening to Emma's leg-pulling: "Didn't we get the vote?"

A delightful farce seasoned to the customer's taste, "Escape In Time" suggests an exquisite one-hour relax. An ideal vehicle for stressed people yearning for a chance to cut loose with a first class entertainment, or simply for those who'd be happy to glide across a time tunnel like Waldo's—though not so risky, granted—to explore the jewels of the past. One of the most fascinating things most Avengers episodes have is their ability to play with the viewer's imagination. "Escape In Time" is a wonderful proposal to let it run away with one.

Escape in Time
by Neil Saunders, Fulham, London, England

If "The House That Jack Built" was my favourite episode of the b/w Emma Peel series, this is my favourite from her colour season (or should it be seasons? - I am aware of the disagreement that rages). If nothing else, this is the most psychedelic episode of a series whose assured longevity arose mainly from its studious eschewal of unnecessary contemporary reference. The "Mackiedockie Court" sequences are so obviously sets that the unimaginative contemporary viewer, unaware of 60s sensibilities, would rebel against the obvious artifice. The 1960s, however, was an age of quite deliberate artifice, and the staginess of these sets is a prolonged stylistic joke.

The Heath-Robinson time-machine — an absurdly unconvincing fruit-machine — is intentionally laughable. This merely highlights its obvious fraudulence. The generally high level of artifice marks this episode especially as a fantasy episode. In an age of cynicism, "knowing"ness and literal-mindedness, such artifice is likely to seem heavy-handed and naive. Its antecedents, however, stretch back at least to an older tradition of English whimsy — to the Shakespeare of A Midsummer Night's Dream or to the Carroll of the "Alice" books.

If there is a problem in watching this episode now, it is that we are all somewhat less English than when it was first made and shown. This is a less overt problem in those areas of Anglophonia outside England (i.e. most of them), but not necessarily less of an implicit problem, given the essentially Anglo-Saxon provenance of the English language (the inheritance of all who read this post with substantial comprehension).

The grotesques, Todd Sweeney, the Toy Man, even the beautiful Indian girl, Anjali, are treated in a surprisingly matter-of-fact way. The visual pun (to European eyes) of the late 19th-century house masquerading as a house of considerably greater antiquity is again withheld until the end of the episode.

Escape in Time
by James T. Kearney

This is a wonderful atmospheric episode many of the episodes were in fact and is one of the trademarks of a good production. The scenes and streets empty in many cases eerie music linked with the signature tune makes it a great series indeed. Great use of simple scenes and many bizarre colours. The mood of "Escape in Time" is excellent and the villain Peter Bowls is always good in the villain role. In fact, he appeared in the series throughout in different guises as the villain—"Get-A-Way!" and "Dial a Deadly Number" just to mention a few. This one has our agents going back in time and one of the best actions sequence is where Mrs Peel is been chased by a motor cyclist around a cliff edge and she's put to the test. The sequence is by and large one of the best encounters of the entire series. Villains are reported missing and are on the wanted list by the ministry. But where are they gone to? They go back in time, or so it seems, but it's only a scam. Steed and Mrs Peel show the villain the error of his ways. The story is good overall and it has a certain atmosphere like no other. The different images used throughout—the time machine, the whirl pool image, etc.—are wonderfully used even like a plaything, and the villain uses to scam money from his clients. The narrow little streets and the other minor characters are all used well in the story. The creative use of scenes and streets, etc., as I have said, is really the trademark of the show and very imaginative. It really brought out the style of the show. 6 out of 10 for this one.

Escape in Time
by Matthew Moore, a.k.a. Sixofone

Plot: Good. Wanted people wanting to escape is normal. (Pun intended.) The time travel didn't appear convincing except for Josino's appearance in the past.

Humour: OK. "Mrs. Peel in the hands of the enemy, my confederate lying unconscious, a loaded gun pointed at my neck, I'm trapped [Steed grabs the gun and the woman holding it]... shall we dance." Steed's argument with Mrs. Peel over which of Thyssen's characters is the best is funny.

Direction: Good. The time travel sequence features some good cinematography.

Acting: Very Good. A great performance from Peter Bowles.

Music: Very Good. I love the music in the motorcycle scene.

Tag: Good.

Miscellaneous: For Are You Being Served? fans, this episode is a treat because of Nicholas Smith's appearance. The motorcycle action sequence was great. Steed simply presses a button to open the door to Emma's flat—burglars would love that. Steed's umbrella containing knock-out gas is a good, believable gadget.

Overall Rating: 6/10

Escape in Time
by Edward Robson

"Escape in time" is one of the best '67 episodes from the popular TV-series. Criminals who are desperately seeking an escape route find themselves in the claws of a criminal mastermind.

There is enough suspense in this episode. For example, the scene where Mrs. Peel follows Steed through the escape route. Also, the so-called "footage" from Colonel Josino in a 1904 Derby is great; Waldo Thyssen really wanted Steed to believe that travelling through time could really happen.

When Steed has made his journey through time, Waldo said to Steed that he is very fond of diamonds. When Steed explains that he can't get his hands on any immediately, Waldo replies, "But after all, time is our specialty".

Mrs. Peel also follows the escape route, but unlucky for her she ends up waking up in a torture chamber. When she tries to escape, she is driven into a corner by Matthew Thyssen and the Executioner. The next time we see Mrs. Peel, the executioner has taken off Emma's shoes and is locking her bare feet in stocks.

Matthew is preparing a red hot poker on the fireplace, intending to torture the soles of Emma's beautiful feet. Luckily for Emma, Steeds makes a quick journey through different times (while fighting different guards) and finally saves Emma from the stocks. Then the final fight scene starts: Steed against the executioner and Mrs. Peel against Waldo/Matthew Thyssen. Waldo suddenly grabs a gun and Steed says, "Aren't you a little ahead of your time?" Waldo replies, "And your time is running out, Mr. Steed". After that, Steed and Emma are locking Waldo up in a box and Emma is making a final remark to Vespa.

And so, another great episode of the TV-series ends.

Escape in Time
by Simon D

"Escape in time" is one of my favourite Avengers episodes because of its wit and style. I have to confess that the first time I saw it I lost interest during the lengthy shenanigans in Mackidockie Street and missed part of the episode, but the strength of the final part convinced me I should watch it again and pay attention all the way through. The plot certainly has several holes, some of which have been mentioned in other reviews. In addition, it's unbelievable that the confederates in Mackidockie Street wouldn't have recognised both Steed and Emma later after they'd both been snooping around so conspicuously; and it was hopeless and surprisingly unintelligent for Emma to follow Steed along the escape route when she already knew the villains were on to her. But, as Oscar Wilde said, consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

What I love "Escape in Time" for most of all is its wit. This episode contains several of Emma Peel's best ever lines, delivered with supreme archness by Diana Rigg. One example that hasn't been mentioned before is when Thyssen suggests she go back to the Victorian era, Emma replies "They would not be amused". Sending Emma, who was already well ahead of her time in the 1960s, back into history is a comic idea that is exploited well and perhaps could have been used even more. Peter Bowles is excellent as Thyssen and his alter egos. His exchanges with Mrs Peel, both as Waldo and as Matthew, are particularly good. I also love the style of the episode, especially its use of surreal imagery and psychedelically bright colours. It's surely one of the best examples of the style of the 1967 colour season.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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