Everything about this dud reeks of trying too hard. From the opening title – where ‘Death’ appears alone on the screen, to be ‘dramatically’ followed by wipe revealing ‘a la Carte’ – through to the cheesy fake accent reveal at the end (for which we had to endure those accents – oh, those accents).
Steed and Cathy are undercover at a hotel, working to protect a visiting Emir who is visiting London. Steed is in the kitchen where there is a lot of unfortunate ‘comedy’ with the chefs (it’s a surprisingly relaxed kitchen) for which we get some new wah wah musical cues (“You great big steaming nit!”) Steed apparently passes as a chef (his pheasant is ‘magnificent’) which is surprising, considering the difficulty he had making an omelette in The Big Thinker. The Emir, on the other hand (somewhat unusually) doesn’t make it – it’s a feeble twist though, since it has little dramatic consequence. There’s a contrived injection of drama (Steed gets onto a high window ledge) and more brutal violence than usual. The Emir is – unfortunately – played by a blacked up Henry Soskin. Probably best not to say any more about the episode – but it’s worth mentioning that Soskin (also a faith healer) writing as Henry Lincoln, co-created The Great Intelligence and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in Doctor Who.