A ridiculous melodrama about soldiers gold smuggling for the benevolent fund. On the plus side, it features Warren Mitchell, in the first of his 3 performances (his next two – unusually for The Avengers – will be playing the same, wonderful, character). It’s an odd lurch backwards away. There’s no interesting villain – and just mawkish political sentiment. There will episodes where The Avengers makes more effective use of this theme of autonomous cells within the military – Dirtier by the Dozen springs to mind (although it’s New Avengers) as the most interesting, even if it has its flaws.
The Steed-Gale dynamic in this one is interesting: once again Cathy is annoyed by Steed’s lack of candour (and that “ridiculous rigmarole with wine and Chinese proverbs”) but after throwing things at him, the row ends in laughter. It doesn’t stop Steed manipulating things again – even feinting irritation that she’s taken a job (“I’ll call a truce in the underworld.”) which it turns out he himself has arranged for her. But despite the friction there’s a very strong sense that they’re both having fun – unlike some bad tempered exchanges in previous episodes.
There’s a rare reference to Cathy’s life in Kenya. At one point Steed is reading Tintin in his flat. When Steed goes to the barracks he is carrying a weapon – with which he shoots Jason – though presumably it was deliberately a non-fatal shot. And we see a dog at Steed’s flat, but I don’t recognise it. Is it Katie from Death of a Batman?