Opening on the steps of Montmartre, it’s exciting to be abroad. When were we last abroad in The Avengers? Does The Superlative Seven count? If not, was it Second Sight? Anyway, this time, we’ve even left the studio!
Even more interestingly, this episode starts out with just Steed and Purdey, giving us a taste of what The New Avengers would have been like without Gambit. Imagine if they had been an Avengers style duo (Purdey could have been an amateur, like Mrs Gale and Mrs Peel, with Steed luring her away from the ballet to help on assignments). Actually, though it feels disloyal to Gareth Hunt, it works rather well. And though he gets a lot more to do later in the episode (including swinging through a window for the second time in two episodes), the whole plot feels remarkably like a series 5 storyline (Death’s Door, perhaps?)
We also get to see a lot of the organisation our heroes work for, finally showing that not all operations are run out of Steed’s house. In fact, Mother’s ‘quirky’ HQs aside, this is the most we’ve seen of the actual bureaucracy since The Sell-Out. They sit down and have a meeting, almost like they are actually at work.
Steed loses another chum: “There goes one of the best friends I ever had”. On the bright side he seems to have lots of close pals. Though they must be close to running out by now…
There’s an embarrassing disco and some ‘Dad dancing’. When Steed goes through this, we don’t get to see his dancing. And he doesn’t get undressed on the sunbed! He’s not quite so ready to disrobe as he once was.
Steed hears a voice when he’s in the maze; it’s not an internal voice (as in The House That Jack Built but memories of an instructor during his training). While he hears it, we see clips from Dirtier by the Dozen and Target! though they’re clearly intended to be shorn of context and not to refer to the events of those episodes.
Notable guest appearances in this one are from a young and very attractive Lindsay Duncan, one of that year’s Bond girls Caroline Munro, and Pamela Stephenson a few years before Not the Nine O’Clock News.
Probably the most Avengers-ish episode of The New Avengers and no worse for it. Solid.