“Small Game for Big Hunters” Review

A poke at colonialism and those who hanker after it, this episode is a mix of fun (a tropical jungle in Hampshire) and discomfort (casual references to primitives and savages). At first the themes seem remarkably similar to those in Warlock: a local farmer, missing for four days turns up dressed in safari gear, and in a coma suffering from what Emma’s expert considers to be Shirenzai, a form of voodoo curse. Emma seems all too ready to give his theories credence. Unlike Warlock the veracity of these suspicions is unambiguously settled – the motive, if not the means, for the rather spectacular diagnosis is revealed.

The Kalayan jungle is in a sort of bio-dome in the grounds of ‘The Willows’. The Kalayans are mostly extras, dolled up in war-paint, and are referred to by Steed as natives (which, in Hampshire, would be more likely to be anglo saxons, no?) Steed and Emma do some Tarzan stuff (Steed does the cry as he swings on a vine) and there’s some tedious “Me Steed” “Me Emma” nonsense. On the other hand, one of the Kalayans turns out to be working for the new independent government in security – which is the target of the plot, and is portrayed here as a Good Thing – and has rumbled Steed long before Steed has even begun to think of entertaining any suspicions about him. And he confidently makes an approach to strike up an alliance. Also, Emma in the Kalayan dress. Wow.

Steed also gets his Dirty Harry moment, 6 years before Dirty Harry was released: “You’ve had your five.” (The gun goes off.) “My arithmetic is shocking.” The influence of The Avengers is everywhere!

Tag scene transport: a canoe – making up for not using the punt in Silent Dust, perhaps?

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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