Episode Analysis

03

Steed, Beresford, and the Tie of Death in “Return of the Cybernauts”

This was originally posted on my tumblr in response to celluloidbroomcloset.tumblr.com’s excellent work on the use of color in this episode. I haven’t had much time or energy for non-fictional Avenging lately, so I figured I’d resurrect some of my old stuff for a new audience here on WordPress.


General Notes

The clothing and ties worn by Steed and Beresford (Peter Cushing!), and the ties worn by a few other characters, seem to work as sartorial commentary on the plot in the Season 5 episode, “Return of the Cybernauts”.

When Beresford is interacting with Emma, he always wears the same suit with the same black late-19th-century-style black tie, but Steed’s ties and suits change throughout the episode, and with one exception (grey suit, gold tie), Steed doesn’t wear the same suit twice with Emma.

Steed’s ties change color throughout, but the last one he wears is black. The colors of Steed’s suits also change throughout the episode, ending with the black suit and light-colored shirt at the end.

The use of black and white for the men’s clothing in these situations has symbolic significance with respect to their relationship to one another and the trajectory of the plot, and also harkens back to the original “Cybernauts” episode, which was shot in black and white.

(more…)

Thoughts on “Obsession”: Part 2

A continuation of my blog on the TNA Season 2 episode, “Obsession.” Read Part 1 here.
⊕ Content warning for discussion of intimate partner abuse

“A Beautiful Woman Belongs to the World”

One of the themes of the episode is whether anyone has the right to possess Purdey, and therefore her status as a woman vis-à-vis Steed, Gambit, and Larry as men. The way each of these men interact with Purdey is different. Larry is Purdey’s former lover and fiancé, but he’s also her former abuser and still thinks she belongs to him. Gambit is Purdey’s colleague and friend. He doesn’t have a romantic relationship with her, but from time to time he hints that he would like one. Steed is Purdey’s friend, supervisor, and mentor. She looks to him for guidance, and in other episodes we see that she would also like a romantic relationship with him, but that this is something that Steed himself does not want and cannot give her.

There are also overlapping needs that drive the interactions among these characters. Larry needs to get Purdey back, and he also needs to make sure his rocket gets launched. Gambit needs to protect Purdey from Larry, and he also needs to catch the bad guys, which in this episode includes a man that he knows Purdey still loves despite her past history with him. Steed needs to help Purdey face her fears so that she can stay on track with her job, he needs to cultivate Larry as a witness and suspect in the case, and he has to stop Larry from carrying out his plan. Purdey needs to navigate her complex and conflicting feelings about Larry while both protecting herself from him and also dealing with him as a suspect and, as it turns out, the villain of the case. All of these needs, personal and professional alike, hinge on Purdey in one way or another.

(more…)

Thoughts on “Obsession”: Synopsis and Part 1

⊕ Content warning for images and discussion of intimate partner abuse

“Three Bullets and a Fractured Thigh”

avengers-unsorted-caps2017-04-28-21h53m04s496

   Purdey and Larry dream about their future together

It is 1970, and Purdey is a member of the corps de ballet at the Royal Ballet in London. She also is engaged to be married, to a young RAF pilot named Larry Doomer. They seem happy together: Larry already owns some land, on which they plan to build their dream house. Larry hints that he’d like children, and Purdey seems open to the idea.

But then Larry gets word that his father was executed in an unnamed Arab country, purportedly for espionage. He finds out that a leader of that country will be departing the UK that morning. Larry goes to the airport to assassinate him, but Purdey discovers what Larry intends to do. She stops him just in time, saving the Arab leader’s life. Larry does not take kindly to this; he backhands Purdey in retaliation. Purdey is frightened, angered, and hurt by this. (more…)

Bowlers, Brollies, and Vulnerability in “Dead Men Are Dangerous”

avengers-unsorted-caps2017-04-03-16h13m36s303It’s 1967. The Cold War is chugging along nicely. Steed is driving a fellow agent and old school chum, Mark Crayford, to the border between East and West Germany. Uncharacteristically, Steed is wearing a flat cap instead of his usual bowler. Little does he know that his friend is about to turn traitor. Little does he know that his friend is about to try to kill him.

avengers-unsorted-caps2017-04-03-16h21m26s624They get to the drop point. Steed goes towards the fence with Mark, who turns to announce his plans to defect. Then he takes a shot at Steed. Steed’s hat falls off as he flings himself the ground trying to escape Marks’ bullets. Steed shoots back, hitting Mark in the chest.

(more…)

The New Avengers Meet the Champions

 

thechampions-theavengers-01  TNA.steed.gambit.purdey.noepisode
The Champions: Richard Barrett, Craig Sterling, and Sharron Macready (L)

The New Avengers: Purdey, Mike Gambit, and John Steed (R)

A while back I started a new blog series about confluences between the 1968 British television series The Champions and the original Avengers series. (You can find the others by scrolling to the bottom of this post or by going to the category menu and selecting Themed Blog Series: The Champions Meet the Avengers.) Soon after I started that set of blogs, I got my copy of the complete New Avengers disks (SQUEE!!!) and started watching those episodes. And what to my wondering eyes should appear but a TNA ep that had many points of confluence with a Champions story. On reflection this is unsurprising, partly because of the precedent already set by Champions in reflecting earlier Avengers stories, and partly because Dennis Spooner, one of the co-writers of the TNA episode, happens to have been one of the creators of Champions. (And now I also have the complete Champions DVDs—also SQUEE!!!—so I can make stills and gifs that actually have decent quality!)

(more…)

Superlative Steed

This was something I originally posted on my tumblr blog, but it seems appropriate to repost it here, with a few modifications.


In “The Superlative Seven,” Steed and six others are lured onto a plane by a criminal mastermind (Donald Sutherland!) who is trying to sell his method of martial arts training to a foreign buyer. The captives on the plane include a fencing master, a bullfighter, a sharpshooter, a big game hunter, a military man who has created his own system of unarmed combat (Brian Blessed!), and a strongman. And then there’s Steed. The seven of them are being taken to a remote island in order to put to the test the fighting abilities of the mastermind’s protegé, who is hidden among the seven.

avengers.strongmansteed.02avengers.strongmansteed.01While the seven are on the plane, the strongman bends a poker, which he then tosses to Steed. Steed proceeds to unbend the poker, much to the chagrin of the strongman, who had been billing himself as “the strongest man in the world.” We later see Steed engage in a bit of trick shooting with a revolver.

(more…)

The Champions Meet the Avengers

thechampions-theavengers-01Herewith the continuation of my series examining confluences between two 1960s British television programs: The Champions and The Avengers. For the basics about The Champions, follow this link to the initial blog.

The Champions: Richard Barrett, Craig Sterling, and Sharron Macready

Case Study #2: Master-Minding the Panther’s Nutcracker

the master minds: written by robert banks stewart; julian wintle, producer; uk release date 6 november 1965
shadow of the panther: written by tony williamson; monty berman, producer; uk release date 15 january 1969
nutcracker: written by philip broadley; monty berman, producer; uk release date 2 april 1969

LOG LINE: A highly placed public servant breaks into a super-secure vault and attempts to take top-secret documents. He accidentally trips an alarm and is caught in the act. He can’t explain his actions because he has been brainwashed.

The beginning of the Avengers Season 4 “Master Minds”? or of the Champions “Nutcracker”?

(more…)