After the horror of Gnaws, my faith shaken, I needed to watch another episode straight away – and thankfully, this one seems to get better and better every time I re-watch it. It’s one of The Avengers‘ military episodes, and like The Golden Fleece it concerns a rogue army division. It’s always interesting when the carefully constructed world of The Avengers intersects with another extremely rigorously defined artifice like the military, even if The Golden Fleece was a bit of a disappointment. This one, though, is very nearly as good as Esprit de Corps with a solid and well disciplined unit hiding a mystery. (The commercial nature of the reveal is only a tiny bit disappointing, after the build up.)
It’s helped by an excellent cast – John Castle as “Mad Jack” Miller, with Stephen Moore as Major Prentice (a year before his debut as Marvin the paranoid android) and Alun Armstrong and John Challis in smaller roles.
Steed and Prentice play with his miniature military figures, a callback to Requiem. Purdey is not impressed.
“I’m sorry to disturb you at playtime.”
Points off for Gambit doing another accent (what the hell is it supposed to be this time?) and the‘bra-vo’ at Purdey’s ‘double barrelled slingshot’.
But though Steed, sadly, is deprived of the action in this one again, it’s a great ending as he lowers champagne from a helicopter to Purdey hanging from a rope ladder below…