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Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

A man crouches in undergrowth near to a secret military base on Salisbury Plain. Leaping the high fence in a single bound, he proceeds to make short work of a sentry, karate-chopping his rifle in half, before leaping over hedges and breaking into the nearby buildings. Shocked at his prowess, the staff wait outside the lift as he rides it up towards them, in the process proving that, whilst he may be fast and very good at jumping, he's a lousy tactician. Take the stairs, you fool! When the lift doors open, however, there's no highly trained soldier waiting to attack them - just a mindless, babbling wreck, lying on the floor. Something odd is clearly going on.

And something odd is clearly going on elsewhere, too. In a room somewhere in Geneva, Richard blindfolds Craig, and then proceeds to wrestle with him on a big mattress. It's all part of their training, apparently. Of course it is. Meanwhile, Tremayne - who has actually escaped from his office for once - meets with a dodgy doctor, and tries to quiz him on whether or not the earlier attack at Salisbury Plain was actually possible. The dodgy doctor fobs him off with talk of optical illusions, which Tremayne seems to buy into - but when he calls Richard and Craig together for a briefing, it turns out that he has security film of the whole event. So why ask if it was possible?! He tells them to investigate, this time without Sharron, who has mysteriously been given leave.

Arriving in London, Sharron is watched by some shadowy figures, who try to follow her taxi. The taxi driver gives them the slip, and then tells her that he's with the security services, and has been sent to offer her protection. The dodgy doctor from earlier wants to meet her, to offer her a place on a secret course that he's running. He thinks that it's possible to train people to be super humans, and has been busily working with agents from a number of secret services around the world. Sharron is sufficiently intrigued to stick around, and agrees to take part in a few experiments. These mostly involve playing ball games, where the film isn't in any way speeded up. Honest.


A potential superman lurks in a spare bit of jungle on Salisbury Plain.


He may be a superman, but he has the daftest way of jumping.


Boys... it works better if only one of you is blindfolded. Really it does.


Richard sulks in defeat. It wasn't defeat, though, it was clearly a draw, as they had one fall each. So either he's surrendering for the hell of it, or Craig is a little over eager.

Either way, I am absolutely sure that nothing dodgy is going on.


Tremayne meets with a doctor who is clearly Up To Something.


Craig and Richard, shown the security footage of the bloke from earlier, are rather shaken to see how similar his abilities are to their own.


Elsewhere, the third member of their team is being watched by a shadowy figure.

For goodness sakes, look at that headline. 355 Vietcong killed. Is that really such a great headline to be flashing all over the TV as part of a scene in a family adventure show?! It's not quite as bad as the first ever episode of Rentaghost, where during a gag with a newspaper, the paper itself is open on a page reading Shot dead - the baby at the centre of a family feud, but it's not really all that far off. Directors... how about reading the newspapers you decorate scenes with?!


Sharron, in her worst jacket yet, is uneasy. Something odd is clearly going on around her.


Her decidedly smarmy taxi driver helps her to get rid of her pursuers, and then announces that he's with a secret British secret service, so secret that nobody has ever heard of it before.


And she's wearing pink again.


Sharron meets her fellow trainees in the Build Your Own Superhuman class.


Swords!


Fencing foils, technically. Never could get into fencing. It's not half as much fun as proper swords, and there seems to be very little swinging from chandeliers involved.

While Sharron plays with her new friends, Craig and Richard are trying to work out what happened at Salisbury Plain. A doctor explains to them that the previously super soldier is now incapable of communication, so they have no way of finding out what happened to him. Much of his brain is no longer functioning, and the only clue that they have is his apparent fear of the electroencephalograph. The doctor takes Richard and Craig off to look at his data, and whilst they're away, Sharron's smarmy taxi driver nips in and kills the poor no-longer-a-super-soldier. You know, technically that's murdering a toddler. Smarmy taxi driver is truly a git.

Back in Superhuman HQ, Sharron is undergoing a battery of tests to see if she is fit enough to join the experiments - or so she's told. Dodgy doctor and his associates have other plans in store for Sharron. She's obviously worried about what's going on, as she transmits something of her unease to Craig, but everybody's super powers seem to be behaving oddly in this episode. Sharron's malfunctioning danger detectors are only a part of the problem.


It's the Brigadier!


Smarmy taxi driver is mean. He does have quite a nice gun, though.


Look! See! It's the Brigadier!


Craig is sorry that a man is dead, whilst Richard ponders who killed him and why. The differences between them nicely displayed in one quick scene.


Sharron is rather alarmed by the sudden interest in her brain.


Whilst the doctor examining her grumbles that she seems oddly unhappy about the idea of having her brain x-rayed. Well wouldn't you be?!


Craig picks up on Sharron's nervous brainwaves, and he and Richard wonder what's going on with her.

Richard, a word of advice. Switch places with him. He seems to be constantly tuned to Empathy FM, which surely does not make for good driving skills.

Craig and Richard have cleverly combined their detective efforts with a visit to a country pub. Whilst there, they ask around about their ex-superman, and a certain smarmy taxi driver, who just happens to be sitting at the bar, directs them to a private nursing home nearby. Another private nursing home? Evil!Jason King was running his criminal empire out of one as well. Never go into a private nursing home. You never know what will happen to you. On arriving, they leap over the wall, and immediately find themselves in a beautiful garden, which they creep about in for a while, like a couple of kids playing at secret agents. Eventually Sharron detects their presence, though they don't detect her - then she talks to Richard, but Craig strolls up a few minutes later, clearly not knowing what's going on. Their powers really are all over the shop today, aren't they. They agree to report in, and then return later. Smarmy taxi driver has called ahead about their presence, however, and the dodgy doctor and his people are now watching Sharron more eagerly than ever.

Richard and Craig return to Geneva, which they seem to be able to dash back to in the blink of an eye when required. They hear from Tremayne that for weeks Sharron has been followed about by mysterious people, and sending her on leave was supposed to give them the opportunity to snatch her, so that Nemesis can find out what's going on. The shadowy people who were watching her earlier were Nemesis agents, but of course they lost her thanks to the smarmy taxi driver. Understandably, Richard and Craig are not pleased. Personally I'm just a bit confused. Sharron was followed for two weeks, and our three walking peril-detectors didn't manage to notice that between them?! And Tremayne didn't think to mention to any of them that all of this was going on? Or to mention to them that one of them is to be used as bait? He can be a pretty ruthless bastard when he puts his mind to it. They dash back to England to help Sharron again, but she's off doing a little night-time investigating of her own. Unaware that she's being watched - her peril detectors really are out of order this week, aren't they - she creeps about the building, and eventually bursts into a control room full of people who are waiting for her. Sharron, for goodness sakes... The bad guys immediately gas her - and in the process nearly gas Craig long distance as well, which is quite amusing. When she wakes up, she's tied to a chair, which must mean it's time for the head bad guy to explain the plot. Having begun work on his superhumans, he realised that there were already superhumans around - namely Craig, Richard and Sharron. Therefore he decided that, before he can take over the world, or whatever it is that he has planned, he's got to get rid of them. Shooting them would clearly be far too complex, although personally I'd have thought that it would have been quite simple during all those weeks of tailing. But no, a far, far simpler plan is to kidnap one of them, study some of her abilities, then lure the others over, and have four of your own pet superhumans fight them. For this, surely, is both foolproof and perfect. And not at all complicated in any way.


A quaint, rural nursing home. They might look pretty and inviting, but if you happen to end up in one, you'll never be seen again. Trufax.


The boys run about the gardens for no immediately obvious reason. Other than it being fun.


Richard makes contact with Sharron.

Who looks after the gardens in that place?! I used to work at a nursing home, and there was never any money for paying gardeners. I guess I must have been working at one of the ones that wasn't filled with international supercriminals, huh. No fair.


Back in Geneva, Richard and Craig hear the full story from Tremayne, and are not at all pleased.


They hurry back to England (via some sort of Nemesis insta-travel device, presumably), and go to meet with Sharron. She's not waiting, however, and is instead busy snooping.


Unaware that she's being watched at every turn.


Breaking into the control room, she's immediately overcome by a powerful gas.


Which nearly causes Craig to black out as well, leading to an attack from the Diagonal Camera Of Doom.


See, Richard. I told you you shouldn't let him drive.


Sharron and her very pink lipstick listen to the dodgy doctor's completely mental plan. With a quick dose of Something Technical from the electroencephalograph, the four would-be superheroes of earlier will be turned into Mega Supermen. If briefly. Their brains will fizzle out, but the plan is that they will have killed Craig and Richard before then.

.
Look at those fabulous computers!


Four little supermen, standing in a row. I can't help thinking that the blokes would be happier wearing the same sort of trousers as the women. Those white things look uncomfortably tight.


Richard and Craig arrive. Still, they've both been repeatedly shown in the past to have particularly good super danger-detecting powers, so that's okay. Except for this week.


They're soon in the thick of a fight. It's a deadly one, although the screencaps inevitably make it look more like a dance. I love how it's clearly the actors doing it all.


No punches pulled, either. Supermen need to be hit super hard, whatever sex they are. You've got to give this show kudos for being a lot less sexist than many.

Richard and Craig are soon struggling, as the super souped-up supermen are deadly opponents, and it's four against two. One manages to accidentally knife another, which evens things out a little, but soon the boys are forced to withdraw, Richard having been stabbed in the shoulder. As the bad guys anxiously watch the action unfold, Sharron breaks free of her chair. She's spotted, and dodgy doctor draws a gun, but Sharron manages to switch on a microphone control, that governs the in-house intercom system. Immediately their voices are broadcast all over the house. When the dodgy doctor then falls into the eternal habit of screen bad guys everywhere, and carefully explains everything that he's done, his words are transmitted all over the house. His team of supermen hear that their brains will soon fizzle out, and immediately abandon Richard and Craig. They would suddenly much rather be tearing the dodgy doctor apart. Craig wants to give chase, but Richard stops him. You're a ruthless bastard when you want to be too, aren't you Richard!


The gang upstairs are glued to Superman TV, excited about their insane plot. Just shoot them. Really, it would be much simpler.


When Sharron breaks free, dodgy doctor seems to get a clue, but does he shoot her? No. Although he does threaten to. Now, given that this entire set up is, by his own admission, intended to kill all three Champions, his threat here basically amounts to "Sit down and let me kill you, or I shall kill you." As a bargaining chip, this may need some work.


Sharron is understandably less than impressed by it, and begins broadcasting his words all over the house. He still doesn't shoot her, though. He is clearly in some way allergic to taking the easy route.


The three remaining supermen close in on Richard and Craig.


Who ready themselves for the next onslaught. Or one of them does. Richard's less enthusiastic.


"Don't leave me, Craig!"

I don't know whether Craig is planning to chase after the others in order to continue the fight, or to try to stop them from killing the dodgy doctor. Knowing Craig he hasn't thought that far ahead. Richard's plan is very clear, though. He's basically intending to let them go off and kill the enemy. It's spectacularly cold-blooded, especially for a family show. I'm quite impressed.


By the time the boys get upstairs, it's all over. The super powers have all run out, and the three remaining guinea pigs are as helpless as their predecessor.


It's never a good idea to do the 'two people stuck in a doorway' gag when one of you has just been stabbed in the shoulder. I get the impression that this was the moment when both actors remembered that last little detail. ;)


Collecting Sharron, they decide that it's time to go. Leaving behind them a man with the mind of a small child, playing with a big knife. Which is always a good idea.

Comments

( 9 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
eandh99
Jan. 27th, 2010 07:28 pm (UTC)
A new peak in terrible wardrobe, and not just for Sharron, doesn't the Brig look odd without a mustache, and who is the actor playing the taxidriver? He looks very familiar.
swordznsorcery
Jan. 27th, 2010 07:34 pm (UTC)
Smarmy taxi driver has been in loads of things over the years. Here's his IMDb page. Have you seen "Edge Of Darkness"? He's in that.

And if you haven't, go and watch it immediately. ;)
eandh99
Jan. 27th, 2010 07:39 pm (UTC)
Nope, not seen Edge of Darkness either, will have to put it on my list. Possibly I remember him from the Avengers - which I loved and watched a lot, though I know you don't care for it do you?
swordznsorcery
Jan. 27th, 2010 08:09 pm (UTC)
For some reason it's never appealed to me, no. I don't really know why, as I usually love all those shows. I do quite like The New Avengers, though.
elfbert
Jan. 27th, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC)
I've always been insanely glad that this show never went down the underpants-on-the-outside route of super-herodom, and the three of them didn't have to find a phone box/alleyway/hedge to dive into/down/behind to indulge in a bit of lycra-based costume-change before fighting crime (although at times they might have wanted to try a little harder to hide their powers). Having seen those tighty-whities tptb inflicted on the wannabe supermen, I'm even more grateful.

It is a little bit harsher than a lot of shows, I agree. And not just Sharron's lipstick.
swordznsorcery
Jan. 27th, 2010 10:41 pm (UTC)
Costumes would be good. They could all have a big "C" on their chests. ;)

Mind you, Sharron would probably insist on the costumes being pink.
idontlikegravy
Jan. 28th, 2010 10:38 pm (UTC)
Mind you, Sharron would probably insist on the costumes being pink.

I'm sure the boys wouldn't object to that. *g*
ladygretchen
Feb. 16th, 2010 02:28 am (UTC)
There's always an episode when it's time to meet formidable foes that have the same powers/skills/abilities, isn't there? I actually like the plot to this, in essence it's clever and how the machine affects their mind too. But villains are so over-dramatic, they never shoot first, do they? Great blog post and there's that same pink dress. It's becoming her costume, isn't it? I think the suits are the same on the guys too. Oh well, look at Bogg and Jeff? Characters need identifying marks. :)
swordznsorcery
Feb. 16th, 2010 08:19 am (UTC)
It's a good story, yes. And yes, there's definitely a pattern to their clothing. They're not quite as uniform as Bogg and Jeff, but you can usually count on Craig to wear grey, Richard brown, and Sharron... something hideous. ;)
( 9 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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