“Super Secret Cypher Snatch” Review

This really is a well-crafted and entertaining episode. Something of a surprise, because it didn’t stand out in my memory – and it’s certainly not a classic, or one of the greats – but what we have here is a well-paced, stylish, skilfully edited episode that adeptly balances action, espionage, comedy and eccentricity.

The opening is excellent: the veiled woman on a bicycle harks back to The Girl from Auntie and Epic, and is followed by and exciting and well shot sequence involving a helicopter. Even Mother doesn’t annoy me as much as usual here (also, this is the first appearance of his mute assistant Rhonda), and the meeting with Steed and Tara in the meadow – with Tara cross-legged on the bonnet of her car – is an absolutely wonderful image in a beautifully designed & photographed episode. Later there’s an excellent car chase involving a window cleaner…

While I’m never going to warm to the role her character has been given in the show, Linda Thorsen does a good job and gets to go undercover much as Mrs Gale or Mrs Peel would have done in her place.

Yes, the central concept is a bit sci-fi – but in fairness no more so than The Master Minds – and it is extremely well done. The only major flaw to my mind was the ‘comic’ espionage element connected with MI12 and the send up of their gadgetry (which was presumably aimed at the Bond films). That felt a bit forced. On the other hand the tag scene where Steed pretends to accidentally hypnotise himself is very, very funny, thanks to clever character-based comedy writing and a beautiful performance from Macnee.

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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