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Snakes and bombs and guns and helicopters

Richard is on a foreign assignment in the Australian outback, when he's badly injured and left with amnesia. He's uncovered something important, but he has no idea what it is, who he is, or what he's doing in the middle of nowhere. Craig and Sharron are worried about him, but can't make Tremayne listen. They're busy covering the security for a special atom bomb test, and Tremayne doesn't want to think about anything else right now. Richard, however, may very well be running out of time.

This is another episode where, on the face of it, very little happens. It's everything that "Nutcracker" fails to be, though. Yes, the actual plot is pretty thin on the ground - basically Richard stumbles about the desert a lot, and a large bomb fails to go off - but it's certainly not lacking in tension and drama. It's a tight little episode, even if there's not a lot going on. I like it. I do wish that the gang wasn't so split up, though. They're supposed to be a threesome. Stop splintering the team, damn it! I don't mind so much when it's Richard and Craig who are together, as at least then we get jokes, teasing and fun. Sharron's such an ice queen, though. When it's Craig and Sharron who are together, and Richard off elsewhere, there's practically no character interplay at all.

So, anyway. Richard is working undercover on something of his own devising, having uncovered a plot that he feels he can't tell Tremayne about. It's "too mad", apparently, although I can't really believe that he would keep something of such vast importance to himself. In fact he wouldn't, would he. Even if he didn't feel that he could tell Tremayne, he'd certainly tell Craig, and probably Sharron as well. As it is, though, secrecy is important for the plot to work, so consequently he's kept it all under his hat. Whatever it is, it involves radioactive material and Michael Gough, which is certainly an interesting combination. As it turns out, it also involves an Australia that's completely devoid of Australians. Deciding that it's time to unmask himself and clean up the operation, Richard is incredibly stupid on a helicopter, and gets himself knocked overboard. Serves him right, to be honest. He winds up in the company of a battered old wandering prospector-type, who tells him that there's a nuclear bomb about to go off nearby. So, no pressure then.

The outback. Or stock footage of something like it, at any rate. Scenes actually featuring Richard will in no way be filmed in a studio that bears only a slight passing resemblance to the film.

Richard fails at disguises.

Whatever's going on, this is the only real clue as to its nature. The rest, Richard is keeping to himself for now.

Richard sets off in a helicopter with two dastardly criminals who are planning something so deadly that he can't possibly tell anybody about it in case... no, still drawing a blank there, Richard. Sorry.

Richard decides that balancing on the edge of a helicopter without doors would be a good time and place to suddenly announce that he's a secret agent. Oddly, the bloke sitting next to him decides not to take this quietly. Neither does Michael Gough, who promptly tilts the helicopter.

The result is predictable, to everybody except Richard.

Back in Geneva, Tremayne plays Sharron and Craig a tape of Richard's last telephone call before he lost contact. Both of the other Champions are immediately concerned, but Tremayne's mind is on other things.

Just in case we'd forgotten that Richard's in a desert.

Since that's precisely what he's done.

He's also forgotten his name, although fortunately he's got a handy key fob to answer that question.

What kind of secret agent, particularly one given to going undercover, carries a key ring with their name on it, for goodness sakes?!

On a plane to Australia, to help with the security for an atomic test (you'll never guess where the bomb is due to go off), Craig and Sharron sense that Richard is very confused.

Ouch. That's a hell of a walk.

Richard's none too impressed either.

Given that there are no roads, you have to wonder just how many of these signs 'Joe' has left scattered all over the outback.

Flying to the test site, Tremayne chats away to a random (completely non-Australian) military guy about matters security and atomic. Craig and Sharron have other things to think about.

Meanwhile, Richard has found civilisation, although rather conspicuously no people.

Until a wandering (completely non-Australian) loner ambles on by.

I'm not sure why this has made both the other two go for their necks, though. Richard's isn't in any jeopardy.

Back in the outback, Richard's attention is drawn to a large thing with a bloinky thing on it, that stands outside of Joe's Place.

His wandering friend doesn't care about it. He'd rather swig from green bottles. He does tell Richard where they are, though - in a place call Bad Joke Springs in the back of beyond.

Meanwhile, having arrived at the nuclear testing facility, the Nemesis lot get a briefing about the atomic bomb. It's a 'clean' bomb, so although there'll be a gigantic explosion, there won't be any fallout. There will be a ten mile wide crater, however.

And the epicentre will be a little place called Bad Joke Springs.

The rest of the Champions are increasingly convinced that Richard is in Bad Joke Springs. That's not peril enough for Richard, though. Oh no.

It's a snake. :) Hello snakey. It's rather cute, and I'm not at all happy with the army for wanting to blow it up.

It bites Richard whilst he's trying to save his new friend. I imagine that the knife that's in shot there was intended for poison-removal surgery, but Richard is declared dead before it can begin.

Craig and Sharron are Not Happy.

Neither's Richard. He's clearly frowning, so he can't be all that dead, and he obviously doesn't appreciate being buried. ;)

Back at the facility, Sharron administers heart massage via telepathy.

Which results in zombie!Richard.

Craig, by now extremely worried, tries to get Tremayne to halt the test, but Tremayne won't listen unless Craig can give him something other than instinct to go on. Craig points out that his instincts are preternaturally good, a point which Tremayne concedes - but still he refuses to budge.

Elsewhere, the recent experience has caused Richard to get his memory back.

However the atom bomb test has just entered its final countdown. Twenty-five minutes to explodified Richard.

And Richard has even more troubles to contend with. Giant bombs and poisonous snakes are never quite enough, are they. Michael Gough has returned, determined to make sure that his plan goes ahead. Richard remembers what it is now. The large thing outside of Joe's Place is some sort of container for the atom bomb, and the bloinky thing on it is what was once inside that box with 'radioactive' written on it, from the top of the show. If the bomb goes off with that inside the blast radius, Sydney will be thoroughly doused in fallout. This would be Not Good.

Time's ticking away, however, and Michael Gough has a big gun.


Back at the testing facility, though, Craig has a plan. He's going to commit suicide. This, he is sure, will help. He tells Sharron to pretend to faint, and then when everybody - hopefully - rushes to look after her, he'll throw himself at the controls, and press everything going. I'm really not sure that that's going to achieve anything constructive, Craig - and, as Sharron points out, it's sure to get him shot down. He's desperate, though.

A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, Sharron. Even if it is entirely pointless. Still, I suppose it's sweet that he's that desperate to save Richard.

This is one of the good things about this episode, actually - the two different scales. On the one hand there's Richard going all out in a last, desperate bid to save the entire population of Sydney; and on the other hand there's Craig, who just wants to save his friend.

Richard is not waiting around to be saved, though. Knifing Michael Gough in the ribs long distance, he climbs up to the fuse box that governs the atom bomb. He has no idea how to stop it, but he calls Craig telepathically, and says 'OMG help!!!11!!!!!1!'

Craig is relieved to hear from Richard at last (and is also, presumably, relieved that he now doesn't have to kill himself in a wild bid to be helpful), but they're not out of the woods yet. He now has to convince the bloke in charge to explain, in detail, how to disable the bomb.

He buzzes a copy of the plans to Richard to begin with.

But the blokey in charge is not impressed by the request for full instructions. Neither's Tremayne. They think it can wait until the increasingly imminent explosion is over and done with.

Craig, however, is insistent. The general begins to describe how a hypothetical person, standing on top of a gigantic atom bomb in the middle of nowhere, would go about disarming it.

Richard listens in to Craig's thoughts attentively.

Whilst Craig sends his message step by step. The general is increasingly baffled, particularly when Craig stops him after each section of the instructions, closes his eyes, and has a good think. Craig is today in Blatantly Obvious Super Powers Mode. All pretence at secrecy has gone completely out of the window.

He may come to regret that sooner than he thinks.

Time's fast running out, but at the last moment, Richard succeeds.

The bomb fails to go off, and Craig and Sharron are greatly relieved.

So are Richard and his new drinking buddy.

Tremayne and the bloke in charge are extremely curious, though. Craig immediately volunteers to go check out the area, and when the general tells him that that would be insane given that the bomb could still go off at any moment, Craig cheerfully tells him that it won't. "Your instructions were very clear."

You really are quite determined to give yourself away today, aren't you Craig. He runs off, whooping and hollering, and happily tells Tremayne that he might just run into Richard on the way.

The penny finally drops, some of the way at least. Right now Craig is too happy to care, but his indiscretion is about to have some serious repercussions.

Up next, postponed from its ridiculously premature placing on disc two, is "The Interrogation". It's Craig-torturing time.



( 2 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Mar. 13th, 2010 02:06 pm (UTC)
this show is amazingly casual about atomic explosions - isn't this our third? Is it just the Champions which disregards radiation etc or did all the 60's shows just omit the negative aspects of atomic bombs?
Mar. 14th, 2010 04:54 pm (UTC)
They are a bit free and easy with the things, aren't they! The bomb in this episode is supposed to be a special "clean" one, so it won't irradiate anything (or wouldn't have done, had Michael Gough not misbehaved with it). They always seem to be setting the things off, though.

I don't remember other shows of this nature using them quite so often. They'd sometimes feature in a plot, certainly, with somebody evil setting a bomb, and the heroes have to stop it from going off. This is the only show I can think of where the bombs actually explode, though. This is also the only show I can think of where it's the heroes who actually set them off!
( 2 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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