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Swords! Guns! Dubious cookery!

Some men break into a villa, and brutally murder a mannequin. It turns out that it's a practice run for an assassination attempt on a deposed dictator, currently living in exile somewhere imprecise. Word of the attempt has got out, however, and Nemesis have been alerted. If the dictator is killed, his country could descend into anarchy, so he must be protected. It's a dangerous job. More to the point, it's a comedy episode. Nonetheless, somebody's got to do it. Better send up the Champion bat signal.

The Champions, however, are testing out another of their super powers, this time in a casino. Sharron has realised that, using her amazing mathematical and observational abilities, she can correctly figure out the logical outcome of each spin of the roulette wheel, based on pressure applied. She's winning well, until there's a switch around with the staff. Now she has to start her calculations all over again. Before she can do so, she's hauled away from her would-be life of riches by Craig, who has just taken a call from Tremayne detailing their latest mission. Back to the Bat Cave they go, for a quick briefing. They have to act as undercover bodyguards to the legendary Iron Man, former dictator of Somewhere Made Up And Televisiony, who mustn't know that they're really there to guard him. Sharron will pose as his secretary, Richard as his cook, whilst Craig assumes a brilliant disguise. To hide the fact that he's really a bodyguard... he'll be pretending to be a bodyguard. Okay. Off they go to somewhere vaguely European to begin their latest assignment.


The gang play the roulette wheel, as Sharron enjoys herself putting her new skills to dubious use.


Who sleeps like that in a car?! Richard and Sharron attempt to learn new skills for their exciting undercover assignment, whilst Craig flaunts the fact that he doesn't have to.


The Iron Man himself, enjoying some clay pigeon shooting. The shooting is used throughout the episode, as an indication of the irritability of a character. This is the first major alert that this isn't an especially serious episode.


The Champions ponder security issues. Richard's expression of faint distress suggests that he's just noticed what Sharron is wearing.


Checking out the kitchen, his new empire, Richard meets his certifiable assistant.


And Craig begins his new job as he means to go on - by continually arresting the maid as she and 'El Caudillo' attempt to carry on an illicit affair.

Their latest assignment is an awkward one, because the man they've been assigned to protect is vain and difficult. He hates to be bested at anything, which is a complicated thing to avoid when you're the best at everything. Wishing to test his new bodyguard, he challenges Craig to a fencing match, which Craig wins easily without blinking an eye. Realising his mistake, he speedily hands his own sword to the disarmed El Caudillo, and then feigns bafflement at how he was beaten so easily. El Caudillo appears fooled, if confused, but is soon off killing poor, innocent clay pigeons again, so presumably he realised something of what happened. Craig is definitely not a success.

Meanwhile, the assassins take up position near the villa, planning to carry out their mission with a specially built long-range rifle. Probably wishing that he was amongst them right now is Richard, who has been detailed to cook a splendid meal in order to prove his worth as a chef. This involves extreme brutality towards a cucumber, and various tussles with the insane kitchen assistant, whilst Sharron tries out her secretarial skills next door. El Caudillo is revealed to be decidedly lecherous, which is somewhat uncomfortably played for laughs. Sharron, however, is not for the taking. Sadly she doesn't test out her super strength, but instead relies on spectacular dedication to secretarying. El Caudillo goes back to the firing range, and Sharron is, like Craig before her, definitely not a success. She is very good at taking dictation, though.


Swords!


Swords are good. If I had my way, everybody would have swords.

And possibly waistcoats.


El Caudillo apparently does not share my love of swords. Philistine.


Poor clay pigeon. :(


An evil assassin.


Another evil assassin, in a potentially evil shirt. This assassin is played by Steven Berkoff, which makes him even more evil still.


Richard is wilfully cruel to cooking ingredients.


Sharron and the world's worst shirt attempt to take dictation, whilst avoiding the amorous advances of a dictator who isn't used to being turned down. Sharron deals with him very classily, to be fair to her. I'd have advised that she go for the swords long ago, but instead she just resorts to being firm. Sadly it's the clay pigeons that are ultimately going to suffer.

Whilst all of this is going on, Richard has finished his cooking extravaganza, ready for inspection. Suitably impressed by his culinary knowledge - the result of some super speedy reading, and a super photographic memory - El Caudillo is less interested in his food, and throws the dish away. He prefers to eat simply, apparently. This time it's Richard out being mean to the clay pigeons. Richard may be a success, but he's definitely not happy.

The first day, then, has not been great. The first night proves even less brilliant. Awoken, due to super hearing, by the alarms being switched off, Craig creeps out of his room and discovers that the guard outside El Caudillo's bedroom has been drugged. He quickly summons Richard via telepathy. Telepathy! Ha! Now why did you keep failing to use that during the last episode?! There's a lovely moment when Richard pretends that he can't 'hear' Craig, because he wants to stay sleeping, but he eventually agrees to go and join him for some midnight sneaking about the place. Together they heroically apprehend the maid, who is again trying to indulge in a secret tryst with El Caudillo. Whoops. Back to the clay pigeons we go. (Although not until morning).


Richard is clearly as impressed as I am by the ubiquity of Cornish Blue chinaware. That stuff really did get everywhere back in the sixties.


I have no idea what this is that he's cooked, and I don't want to. It looks ghastly.


El Caudillo deposits the day's work into the bin. Richard is Not Happy.


Neither are the clay pigeons. In an act of even greater cruelty than usual, this one is tethered. Isn't there some kind of rule about hunting captive clay pigeons? Can't they at least be given a chance to get away?


It's too late for this one, though. :(


Meanie.


Richard and Craig sneak about the house in the middle of the night. Why don't they invite Sharron to join in their secret night-time shenanigans? Inquiring minds want to know.


The maid does not appreciate being manhandled by two under-clad men. Possibly due to her obvious religious convictions?

The assassins have now taken delivery of a special rifle with a range of up to three miles. They attempt to use it, but Sharron senses the danger just in time, and pushes El Caudillo out of harm's way. Now that the bad guys have made their move, it's time to step up security. Guessing that another attempt will be made soon, and this time by more direct means, the Champions prepare to greet some uninvited guests as soon as it's dark. The local security team are entertainingly useless, and nobody seems to have noticed that El Caudillo's closest advisor is a traitor (actually, I don't think he's been unmasked even by the end of the episode, which doesn't bode well for the future). Nonetheless, a stand must be made, and the Champions do at least have each other to depend upon. As a trio of assassins break into the villa, Craig uses a combination of super hearing, super speed and super strength to knock out two of them in the garden, whilst Steven Berkoff sneaks off upstairs to kill El Caudillo. Richard and Sharron are more than ready for him, however. Apparently this means that the game is over, although presumably it's perfectly possible for more assassins to be sent? Nonetheless, El Caudillo is satisfied, and decides to decorate his saviours. Amused by this, they wonder what Tremayne will think of the idea.


Steven Berkoff and his evil shirt prepare to assassinate El Caudillo, only to be foiled by Sharron and her super senses.


Faced with the task of getting the security team in shape, Craig tries to give them a pep talk. For some reason I love this scene. The bit where he wakes up a sleeping guard, only to bashed in the face by the poor fellow's hat, is strangely wonderful.


Night falls, and the Champions await the expected assault.


All at various vantage points around the villa.


Do they really all need to check their watches, though? Surely one can check the time, and then tell all the others?!


Evil Steven Berkoff is evil. Less successfully than usual.


Success! And gratitude from El Caudillo. But don't look at the camera, it's disconcerting.


Thank you.

And what would Tremayne's reaction to news of their decoration be?


More cruelty to tethered clay pigeons, apparently.


Let it fly free, Tremayne. It's only fair.

Comments

( 11 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
eandh99
Jan. 26th, 2010 04:21 pm (UTC)
the obvious strings! The evil dictator's poufy hair! Can't wait to get my hands on this - not officially available in Canada, but VE HAFF VAYS.
swordznsorcery
Jan. 26th, 2010 07:20 pm (UTC)
Amazon.co.uk should be able to get it you if nobody else can. I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Are the kids into this sort of thing?
idontlikegravy
Jan. 26th, 2010 05:04 pm (UTC)
gratuitous waistcoat/sword!porn
Waistcoats+swords=Immortal!Ianto *grin*
swordznsorcery
Jan. 26th, 2010 07:06 pm (UTC)
Re: gratuitous waistcoat/sword!porn
I'm afraid I would have to set Kronos on him.

And Kronos would win. :p
idontlikegravy
Jan. 26th, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC)
Methinks, being serious for a mo, that the reason their powers are a bit on the fritz is due to the dubious running order shenanigans. I know they mucked about with it during the original schedule and subsequent showings have thrown it all into chaos, which seeing as the series was about their developing powers was not a wise move on the part of ITV bosses!

My mum owned a dress like the one Sharron's wearing in that last shot! I wore it once when I played the mother in Blood Brothers XD

Impressive cooking or not, you'd never see Delia putting whipped cream on a savoury dish. *nods*

And Craig's fencing is all the more impressive since he's clearly never handled a sword before in his life.

Steven Berkoff is less evil and more the Man in Black when he sneaks in. All he needs is a box of chocs.

And Tremayne is very naughty. Just because Mr Meaker jumped off a balcony two episodes ago does not give Tremayne the right to nick his suit and hat.
swordznsorcery
Jan. 26th, 2010 07:12 pm (UTC)
The cream made me blink, I must admit. It certainly seems to be a savoury dish, since it involves sliced boiled egg and cucumber. I think Richard must have been smoking something peculiar when he came up with that one.

According to the booklet with the DVDs, the running order was supposed to be flexible, because they couldn't be sure that all the different channels it got sold to would get the order right. I do think that you're right, though. It's quite clear that their powers are supposed to develop over time, yes.
elfbert
Jan. 26th, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
Awwww, I do love the tethered clays - how could they have known that one day, someone would get their footage, be able to play, pause and frame-by-frame skip through it, take captures and post them on a world-wide 'net' of information??? But I bet they're wishing they'd seen the future now...

And I have always wondered what sort of horror that was that Richard created. Looks vile.

The one thing this episode always makes me think (and forgive me for jumping through the episodes here) is:

"El Caudillo, ALWAYS! (Except when I'm a dodgy Greek shop keeper in 'Reply Box 666' - then not so much, okay?)"
idontlikegravy
Jan. 26th, 2010 06:52 pm (UTC)
LOL

Clearly the number of actors who were/could pass for Mediterranean/Latino was about as many as Chinese actors. Hence the ubiquitous Burt Kuok. *g*
swordznsorcery
Jan. 26th, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC)
I didn't need to play it frame by frame! The string on the clay pigeons is painfully obvious. It's just on two of them. The director obviously wanted them to fly dramatically at the camera for those two shots, so they were put on strings, and probably swung from the sound boom or something. It's just that it's horribly obvious they're on string. Might just be because the episodes were all cleaned up for this release though.

I love it when they reuse actors. I have no idea why. There's a lovely early sixties series called The Adventures Of Sir Lancelot, starring William "Ian Chesterton" Russell. Derry Nesbitt guests as a different character almost every week. Shades of the old fifties version of Robin Hood, where Paul Eddington played half a dozen different bad guys in the earlier episodes, before taking up a regular position as Will Scarlet. I suppose it stems from rep theatre. One of those things they're not supposed to do nowadays, because it might confuse the poor little modern viewers.
ladygretchen
Feb. 13th, 2010 07:47 pm (UTC)
Funny blog for a 'funny' episode. Why in the world is Richard putting cream on a vegetable/egg platter??? El Caudillo's hair is uber high, it's unnerving. Great blog! I'm noticing this plot with the Vain diplomats and his necessity for bodyguards all over the place, it's very overused. lol.
swordznsorcery
Feb. 13th, 2010 08:31 pm (UTC)
The general consensus appears to be that it's best not to think too much about Richard's cookery. Really, the mind boggles.
( 11 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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