“The Lion and The Unicorn” Review

While this opens with a very English country lane car chase, for most of the episode we’re very obviously in France (in a neat inversion of location from Angels of DeathThe episode gets sillier as it gets more French, degenerating into a low budget comedy car chase. Steed and Gambit capture an villain Steed has been chasing for years by, er, spraying him in champagne. He then gets shot by his own side, but instead of going home, they have to pretend he’s still alive because… er… they’re fearful of the repercussions from his now leaderless crime syndicate. Sigh.

These repercussions come in the form of capturing a French royal because… (excuse me while I bang my head on the table) WE ALL KNOW the FRENCH are very protective of their ROYALS! What’s extraordinary about this is that the producers KNEW THIS WOULD BE SHOWN IN FRANCE because it was being shot in Paris in return for the French finance being injected into the show (foreign money sees a number of episodes set in France and Canada in this series). The French were a primary audience.

Snaffling this royal is ludicrously easy, as his security guards are as bad as their dialogue (“You know what my biggest fear is? A sniper behind a rock.”) They aren’t the worst characters in this effort, though. The villains send a mute and illiterate to check on their boss – so that he won’t be able to talk if he gets caught. So how was he going to report back then?

This being France, of course everyone speaks English – just as in the previous French episode, Propellant 23 – but this time with French accents. While this is understandable – most of the cast are French – I’m sure they play it up because it’s at a “Why do you think I have this outrageous accent, you silly King?” level.

Meanwhile, Purdey appears to be dressed as the Sixth Doctor. Continuing her particular food obsession, she makes an omelette… Steed declares that it “smells irresistible” so it’s either a plain omelette, or he’s being polite.

This farcical episode ends with a comedy explosion (very series 5). Well, it’s not quite the end – as , unusually for The New Avengers there’s even a tag scene. Alas, it’s just as weak as the rest of the episode… The New Avengers can do humorous dialogue well, but slapstick and farce fall flat.

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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