Really, truly terrible things happening to The Avengers feels like it’s against the rules. It violates the casual invulnerability of our heroes. So death, serious injury, bereavement, betrayal – they can never really be hurt. When it almost happens – like that moment Mrs Peel believes Steed to be dead in Two’s A Crowd it can be genuinely powerful.
But no viewer could really, for a moment, believe that Mother had been killed ((however much we might have thought about it)), or that Tara had both legs broken in an explosion. Which is awkward in a story that rather depends on the audience believing that, and therefore that efforts to find where Steed has taken a protected witness are to warn him.
Tara is kidnapped and brought onto the back lot of a film set. It looks like it might be the same one used in Epic, and is presumably ‘backstage’ on The Avengers set itself. The explosion in Steed’s ‘flat’ features some evidently polystyrene brickwork – unfortunately those believing it to be a ‘real’ explosion will (perhaps fairly) put this down to poor production values. Tara being fooled in the aftermath of an explosion is understandable; it stretches credibility when she makes a second trip and still fails to spot it is a replica. It all starts to get very meta, when Tara finally stumbles onto the set herself and realises it’s fake. We know as TV viewers that the ‘set’ she’s on is not a different set from the… er… ‘real’ um… ‘set’. Which isn’t real of course. It’s very Epic.
Does killing Cleaver just to prevent him talking to Tara make sense – having been involved with the original decoy, might he not also have useful information leading to Steed’s whereabouts?
Tara once again is written as rather incompetent, being completely duped. Eventually she realises:
“Steed had nothing to fear. Nothing except my stupidity”.
“I wouldn’t reproach yourself too much.”
But I’d have happily watched Steed and Angela Douglas playing games for the whole hour. These entertaining scenes (in which she beats him in several re-enacted battles and at chess) are separately filmed. There seem to be a lot of Tara King episodes where one or other of the leads took holiday. This isn’t as Steed-lite as some, but it’s clearly not Steed-max.
Mother visits Steed’s flat again, doing the tedious drink cabinet stuff just as he did in Noon Doomsday. Rhonda takes out two baddies in when they finally (quite cleverly) set a trap for them. And the canon / cannon gag is funny.
Tag scene: genealogy. Sir Steedalot invented the round table (originally it was square, but he couldn’t resist whittling with his sword…)