Yet mark’d I where the bolt of Cupid fell:
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before milk-white, now purple with love’s wound,
And maidens call it love-in-idleness.
The honey-trap is a familiar ploy in espionage, but it’s rather a sordid one. Cruel and unpleasant and degrading. Not really subject matter for The Avengers, especially late-era fluffy Avengersland Avengers. So rather than a straight seduction, we have love-in-idleness; except it’s not a potion, it’s some kind of subliminal-microdot-watch-battery-thing (I really didn’t understand how this was supposed to work). Someone should have mentioned that Shakespeare’s out of copyright; they could have just ripped off the potion part as well the “madly dote/Upon the next live creature that it sees” part.
The micro-dot isn’t the only thing that makes little sense: the script is poorly edited with several non-sequiters. The film editing is sloppy too; it’s not always clear what the intention is. The bait in the honeytrap is a frumpy cleaning woman (I was reminded of the fact that Rebekah Brooks once posed as a cleaning woman to get a story). Except she’s beautiful, made up to look plain. So she’s making herself unattractive, then using the microdot to make herself attractive?
Mother’s security organisation is once again useless – they’ve been monitoring the department from which all the leaks have come for 2 months, but haven’t even begun to suspect the cleaner. Then, rather than take a murder suspect into custody, they let him stay in his room with two guards – outside. That’s outside his room. Which is on the first floor. And which has a balcony. Sigh.
Mother’s HQ is supposedly under a street. They apparently maintain secrecy by… leaving the manhole cover open? And in another piece of poor editing, Steed drops in through the manhole into the lair (without breaking his legs) only for it to be revealed in a later shot that the ceiling is about 40 feet above where he landed.
This episode does blatantly break the ‘no police’ rule. We get a WPC on her first day – policing illegal parking (didn’t they have traffic wardens in the 60s?)
Tara falls in love with the diabolical mastermind; Steed knocks her out with his steel bowler. Steed uses the microdots himself, and the diabolical mastermind falls for him (a unusual example of same sex attraction in The Avengers).
It’s another really poor episode, but at least Laurie Johnson’s music is excellent. A haunting theme, with an Ipcress File twanginess. Mine ear is much enamour’d of thy note.