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There are boffins in Antarctica, and verily they are boffinly. Intrigued by strange readings, they send a team of other boffins out to investigate, but the team does not return. Neither does the team sent out to find them, or the team sent out to find that team. It may be time to stop sending teams; that really isn't a good success rate. However, further boffins have determined that the strange readings that sparked off all these disappearances can only have been caused by a nuclear explosion. There's trouble afoot. It must be time to send in some Champions.

It's just Richard and Craig on this mission. Sharron, for some reason, has to remain behind in Geneva, although it's probably just as well. Last time she went somewhere snowy, she insisted on wearing an extremely impractical fur coat and a silly hat, so maybe it's a good idea to leave this mission to somebody else. Cue the boys, who have so far resisted the temptation to wear anything very bad... until now. I'm trying to ignore that shirt, Craig, but it's not easy. The two of them aren't going to be completely alone, however, which doesn't impress them in the slightest. A boffin will be helping them, because they don't know enough about the terrain, or about travel by dog sled. This may be a good point, but it's rather hard to be a secret superhuman when there's somebody watching you all the time. Craig and Richard resolve to do the best they can, and don't even complain when their boffin insists on wearing a bright orange coat for their ever so secret sneaking-up-on-the-bad-guys mission. I suspect he may have missed the bit about not letting anybody know that they're there.

Boffins. You can tell they're Antarctic boffins because of the facial hair. Somehow, only an Antarctic boffin would sport a beard like that one.

An evil South American. This episode is full of them, but we never discover which bit of South America they're from. An evil bit, clearly.

Oh look. Richard has a very nice Alfa Romeo.

Here it is from a slightly different angle.

Craig and Richard are briefed on their latest mission by Tremayne.

A penguin.

En route to the international research base in the Antarctic, Craig and Richard swap chilly trivia, whilst not in any way wearing a really ugly shirt.

Richard has a hat because it's cold. Craig doesn't have a hat, on the grounds that it might snap his hair.

Misbehaving superheroes.

The local boffins are not impressed by Richard's poodle joke.

I love this. Three actors in thick coats, stumbling about in a white-painted studio in an effort to pretend that they're cold. Nowadays the Antarctic wastes would undoubtedly be recreated using CGI, and everybody would say how much more realistic it looked. Except that it wouldn't. It would just look more expensive.

I also love how the stock footage and the studio scenes completely fail to match up. Outside, in the near dark, a rowdy gang of many dogs is tethered to a sled.

Whilst back in the studio, where it's much brighter and considerably less windy, three dogs relax and put their feet up. One of them literally.

The mission to find the many missing missions proceeds, but one morning, awakening in the tent, Richard suddenly gets a Feeling. He clambers out and soon discovers, buried in the snow nearby, the machine-gunned body of one of their predecessors. So the superpowers also include the ability to detect dead bodies, apparently. Craig radios back about the murder, but the broadcast is jammed halfway through by some lurking evil South Americans. All of whom apparently failed Subtlety 101. Eventually, with the help of a few of their super powers, Richard and Craig capture some of the enemy and dress up in their clothes, intending to sneak onto the enemy base. Sadly the boffin in the orange coat proves a hopeless prison guard, and is strangled by his captives, who radio back home to warn of the approach of spies. Richard and Craig manage to avoid capture by joining in the search for themselves, which is certainly inventive. I do think that Richard might be pushing things rather when he shouts out that he can't find 'them' anywhere in a blatantly obvious English accent. Fortunately no two of the South Americans seem to have matching accents anyway, so he manages to pass unnoticed.

Richard hones his dead body detectors, apparently completely oblivious to the fact that he's wandering around the South Pole with no gloves on.

Craig is also strangely determined to get found out. Gloves. On. Now.

An icebreaker, filled with dastardly South Americans who are anxious to do unpleasant things to Craig and Richard.

The little party spot a plane, and attempt to see where it goes, in the hope that it will give away the location of the enemy base. The presence of a man in a bright orange jacket is in no way compromising their mission.

Not that, if we're honest, Richard and Craig's disguise is a whole lot better.

And this one isn't exactly an improvement.

Gaining entrance to the enemy base, the boys soon find a room packed full of nuclear bombs. And what is their solution to this problem? Why, to rig the whole lot to explode of course. Guys... it's an entire roomful of nuclear bombs. Can we not stop to think about this for a moment? Worried that their handiwork will be discovered before it's had a chance to destroy humanity, they decide to let themselves get captured, because this will in no way leave them in any danger of being blown up along with the entire Antarctic continent. Oh no. Of course not. What it does lead to is the pair of them being half stripped and locked up in an icebox. The plan is to let them die of exposure, and then dress them up again and drop them somewhere. This will immediately make people forget all about the suspicious things that have already happened. Apparently. But never mind. Back home in Geneva, Sharron is suddenly surprised by a fit of the chills, which causes Tremayne to become horribly patronising. He gives her a whisky to warm her up, and when she looks at the ice in the bottom of the glass, she gets a vision of Craig and Richard about to freeze to death. Tremayne refuses to launch a search party on the basis of Sharron's suspicions, so she waits until he's left the room, and then organises a search herself. Antarctica is a big place, though. It's really rather hard to see how a search party is supposed to find them in time, so I'm not sure why she's bothering. Still, it gave her something to do this episode, which is nice. Back down south, Craig and Richard are pronounced dead, and are loaded up on a sled. Off go the dogs, but the boys recover on route, and get the drop on their guards – right before their timer ticks down to zero, and the roomful of nuclear bombs presumably causes a major environmental disaster. I think this is one solution that has to count as minor overkill. It's a bit like if they'd blown up the whole of Holland in the last episode, just to catch evil!Peter Wyngarde.

A roomful of nuclear bombs. Small ones, but still, nonetheless, nuclear bombs.

Richard and Craig decide to arrange a firework party.

And then hand themselves over to the enemy, on the grounds that being captured is so much fun. Well, they'd know.

An evil South American of indeterminate origin and accent.

Richard and Craig console themselves with the thought that, when the bombs all explode, it'll certainly warm them both up nicely.

Sharron, meanwhile, suddenly finds that she's really cold. Are those earrings or taps?

Tremayne tells her not to worry her pretty little head over a bit of woman's intuition. Craig and Richard are fine! Of course they are! It's not like they've ever got into trouble before or anything.

Sharron, however, knows differently.

She and her appalling jewellery make a quick call to somebody in order to arrange a rescue for two needles in a haystack.

Still, on the plus side, she and the phone co-ordinate perfectly.

Craig and Richard also co-ordinate perfectly. And don't tuck your trousers into your socks, Craig.

Having overpowered their guards, they catch sight of the time, and throw themselves to the ground just as an almighty explosion goes off back at the base. The dogs remain completely unconcerned throughout, which just goes to show how tough these animals are.

Because Craig and Richard have just blown up the entire Southern hemisphere. Hopefully they won't be needing it again any time soon.


( 4 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Jan. 20th, 2010 05:05 pm (UTC)
They BLOW UP Antarctica with nuclear bombs and no one notices? Wow. Why does Craig keep tucking his trousers into his socks? So many questions.
Jan. 20th, 2010 08:03 pm (UTC)
In all fairness we don't know that nobody notices. Although admittedly the dogs don't.
Jan. 20th, 2010 06:03 pm (UTC)
The switch between stock footage and studio stuff is a thing of legend in this episode. Most of all because stock footage shows a dog...relieving itself, let's say....and then the studio stuff has Craig's (I think, I need to rewatch, clearly) hand trailing through the snow/poo. Which is nice.

You know, I've never appreciated that they did indeed blow up the whole of the Southern hemisphere. The little things that escape notice, eh??

And why, at the beginning, does Craig not have his toasty-warm flying jacket on? He's just looking dead casual in his *lovely* shirt and a regular jacket.

Got to say though, at the end, I quite like Craig's trousers tucked into his socks - and so do the others, by the look of it, as they've copied him. Maybe he had a bad experience with a snake or a ferret or some other creature which enjoys the odd foray up trouser legs in some previous mission?

I think this is also the episode where they enjoy rolling the footage backwards as the ice breaker 'reverses', giving us the answer to global warming - amazing fast-healing ice-sheets! It's a miracle! Or would have been, had the boys not nuked them before yet more boffins could have got out there. :(
Jan. 20th, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC)
Yes, it's definitely the one with the self-repairing ice. I suspect we're not supposed to notice - but then where's the fun in that? ;)

That is a good theory about socks and ferrets. He's unlikely to find any roaming about the South Pole, but once bitten twice shy, I guess.

Poor Craig.
( 4 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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