“Build a Better Mousetrap” Review

Another Brian Clemens script which again hints at the future direction of The Avengers, but – unfortunately – even beyond the Mrs Peel era and into the cartoonish excesses of the Tara King series. Comical explosions (“Don’t you think you’re using too strong a cheese?”) and juvenile wordplay (the National Distrust) abound.

Age is an unsubtle theme here – Cathy goes with a gang of bikers (cue ‘youth’ scenes with the youngsters dancing); while the elderly sisters in the mill dislike noise and stay home knitting and inventing. There is a very uncomfortable scene where the middle aged barman comes on to one of the young girls. (The gag about the barman’s wife having ‘passed on’ is hilarious, though.)

Up to now, Avengers stories that have begun with Cathy or Steed already deeply involved have been very good a giving a quick retrospective explanation. But in this one… Why was Cathy with the gang? Was it planned or was it coincidence? Why did Steed come in? Why focus on the mill?

So it’s not so tightly plotted, there’s an embarrassing obsession with youth, and there’s a premature slide into juvenile absurdity. Despite all that, it’s still very enjoyable.

About Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more...

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