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Death! Mayhem! Brainwashing!

Paul Eddington, who I think wins the prize this season for appearing unexpectedly, drops a man called George off at Nemesis headquarters. He's not happy, poor old George. In fact he seems quite ill, and wanders lifelessly into Nemesis. People say hello to him, but he walks on past, seemingly focused on one specific end. Finally another man says hello to him, and this time George does respond. He draws a gun and shoots the other man down, apparently for no reason at all. It takes some doing, mind. Six shots in the chest at close range, and his target is still staggering about saying "Oof," so possibly all Nemesis agents are at least mildly super-powered. He goes down eventually though, whereupon George is jumped on by half the employees of Nemesis. It takes all of them to overpower him, for George is clearly a man on a mission. He is very, very determined to make sure that his victim is absolutely dead. Blimey. You really don't want to get on the wrong side of George.

For once, then, the Champions don't have to be sent for, as they're already on the premises. They're all friends of George, who was a very popular agent. Now he's a comatose wreck, strapped to a bed and occasionally prone to violent and mindless outbursts. Tremayne wants to know what's going on, as does poor George's wife, who is apparently also best friends with everybody in the building. I can never quite work out how secret Nemesis is supposed to be, but I guess "Not very much" is the answer, if agents' spouses wander in and out of the building at will. Mind you, my beloved Torchwood manages to be a secret organisation whilst speeding around Cardiff in a huge black truck with flashing blue lights, and "Torchwood" written down the side, so you never know. Anyway. Tremayne details his three only best agents to find out who is responsible for brainwashing poor George, only to promptly get kidnapped himself. He's returned soon enough, but like George before him, he's no longer in his right mind. He tries to blast away at the doctor detailed to caring for poor George, and it takes the combined powers of all three Champions to pin him down and prevent him from carrying out his task.

Things aren't looking so hot for the good guys this week, to put it mildly.

Paul Eddington drops poor George off at Nemesis HQ. I don't know why I'm surprised to see him, as at one time he guested in nearly everything being made. This is, after all, the man who managed to appear forty-one times in The Adventures Of Robin Hood, as forty-one different people, before being cast as a series regular. And that's just one TV show.

It's nice to see him, anyway.

George is taken down by almost the entire staff of Nemesis.

But doesn't fight for long.

Tremayne and Craig discuss poor George, whilst the actor playing the local doctor does his damnedest to get himself noticed in the background.

Paul Eddington fixes his nails. He does a lovely job with his character, playing him as some kind of neurotic, neatness freak.

His partner in crime then shows him who their next victim is to be. By stealing the property of their victims, they make kidnapping them easier, as Paul and his policeman's uniform can neatly pick them up under cover of returning the stolen items.

Oh dear. Poor George. The fact that he has a loving wife really only serves to seal his fate, doesn't it.

Tremayne attempts to shoot the staff doctor, for no apparent reason.

Sharron stands on a table, just in case that helps.

Whilst Craig and Richard, in wrestling Tremayne to the floor, suddenly realise that they're dressed absolutely identically. This massive fashion faux pas shocks Richard so much that he's completely off his game for the next few hours.

With Tremayne now in the same position as poor George, the pressure is on for the Champions. The doctor is able to tell them that they're up against some sort of drug, that has a powerful effect on the brain and causes it to degenerate. George and Tremayne are both going to get steadily worse and then die, unless a cure can be found - but without a sample of the drug, figuring out a cure is impossible. As ever, though, things are about to get worse. The next member of Nemesis to lose a piece of their property is Richard, who is clearly the next intended victim of Paul Eddington and co. The gang work out that he's a target, but when they attempt to take control of the situation by utilising their super powers, everything goes badly wrong. Richard is whisked off to a phoney police headquarters, whilst Sharron and Craig, acting on a telepathic tip-off from him, go to the real police HQ instead. There is conspicuously no Richard there, and equally conspicuously no drug. George is now dead, Tremayne is well on the way to following him, and Richard is set to be brainwashed. Things just keep getting better and better.

Having dashed home to change, so that he and Craig are no longer wearing matching suits and ties, Richard draws back up outside Nemesis HQ.

This is the Alfa's last appearance in the show. Bye bye little Alfa.

I love these scenes that show the gang's fascinating connection. Here, Craig is confused by a non-existent person getting in his way, just as, downstairs, a man bumps into Richard.

The man lifts Richard's wallet, but it's not Richard who notices this, it's Craig.

Sharron, who has apparently left her IQ at home today, thinks that Craig is losing it. Hello, Sharron? Telepathic connection, remember? It's been happening every week for thirty episodes?!

Am I allowed one last height joke before the end of the series?! No, all right. I won't. ;)

Although you know, it strikes me that if Gene Barry had ever bothered to watch this show, he could have saved himself and Stuart Damon a whole lot of bother. Also, he wouldn't still be the butt of cult TV geeks' jibes forty years on.

Actually, he probably would.

The gang figure out the connection between the missing briefcases of Tremayne and poor George, leading Craig to suddenly realise the significance of Richard's missing wallet. Richard is overcome with joy at the prospect of becoming the next brainwashee.

The doctor pronounces doom for Tremayne in the near future unless a drug can be synthesised to save him. Richard has little choice but to wait to be reeled in.

And here comes Paul Eddington to fetch him. Noticing the abduction courtesy of Championsvision, Craig and Sharron give chase.

Look at the little Fiat 500! It's adorable.

Richard suspects that Paul Eddington may not be a policeman after all. He has to play along, though, and hopes that his friends are not far behind. However his telepathic directions are not as much help as he might have hoped, and they go to the wrong place entirely.

Meanwhile, Richard has a momentary breakdown in superness. Being bashed over the head isn't supposed to take them down that quickly. What gives?!

Craig and Sharron, and Craig's impressive Merc, arrive at the wrong building.

Where the real police attempt to arrest Craig for... I have no idea. Really, really no idea. This policeman just randomly walks up and tries to put handcuffs on him. Maybe he just fancied having his very own Stuart Damon?

This is another good scene, though, that again shows how connected the gang are. Craig insists that Richard was brought into this building, and "Through that door there!" Although of course in this police HQ there is no door there. The false headquarters, that Craig was clearly seeing through Richard's eyes, differs from the real thing in that one respect.

Well, that and being in a completely different place, obviously.

Back at Nemesis HQ, Tremayne is worsening, and the gang are no closer to finding him a cure. Now they've lost Richard as well.

Sharron, who has for some reason gone home to change, discusses the medical implications for Tremayne with the doctor. If one of your friends had just died, another was dying, and a third, very special friend, was missing, would you go home and change into a bright pink coat?!

Elsewhere in town, an evil scientist injects Richard with a revolutionary new drug cocktail, and sets about the business of brainwashing him. Just like poor George and Tremayne before him, he's going to be programmed to kill one, specific target.


As the brainwashing continues, and the drug helps to break down even a superhero's amazing mental powers, Richard gradually gives in, and is soon ready for a small test.

Yep, I think he's ready.

Now all that Paul Eddington and co need to do is wind him up and watch him go.

Back at Nemesis, though, Craig and Sharron have had a breakthrough. They know that Richard was taken away in a police car, supposedly to police headquarters - although they now know that it wasn't to the real one. Craig is able to narrow things down to a section of town within a five mile radius, containing some ten thousand buildings that they'll need to search, but Sharron is oddly unenthused by this development. She soon realises that they do have one important clue, however. She reminds Craig of when Tremayne returned to Nemesis HQ earlier. He was dropped off by a police car, which they saw arrive. Well actually Craig didn't see it arrive, as he was on the telephone to security at the time, and was facing in the opposite direction, but we'll let that pass. Anyway, never one to be discouraged by such small details, Craig remembers the license plate exactly. Only in this show could that apparent slip up not only be swept under the carpet completely, but also appear to be intentional. After all, he also saw Richard's wallet being stolen, and saw what door in a building Richard was taken through, all without being present at the time. I'm honestly unsure whether this instance is a mistake or not. At any rate they have the license plate, which is all that really matters, and are soon able to trace it to an abandoned building in the same section of town as the real police headquarters. Inside they find Paul Eddington, and after a little encouragement he tells them where they can also find Richard. They're hugely relieved to be reunited, but the relief is short lived. One sight of Craig sends Richard into a raging fury, and Craig is soon forced to fight against his greatest friend.

The moment when Tremayne returned to Nemesis. Craig, despite remembering seeing the car draw up outside, is noticeably not looking anywhere near the window. Still, he can always have seen it through the others' eyes.

There's a fault in this plan somewhere, but I just can't see what it is...

Paul Eddington is persuaded to tell Craig and Sharron where Richard is, on pain of getting nasty smudges on his uniform.

Inside a nearby room, they find Richard fast asleep in a chair. He's not asleep for long though, and he has murder on his mind.

Sharron is somewhat surprised by this development.

Richard prepares to dismember Craig.

And Sharron proves as helpful as usual.

It's a good fight. The fight arranger did a seriously good job putting it together, and William Gaunt and Stuart Damon are terrific in it. Needless to say, it's almost impossible to take decent pictures of it, but it makes great use of the available space and props. Richard is well nigh unstoppable, and Craig, stunned and hurt, is clearly fighting for his life.

Richard demonstrates Mad Stares 101.

Whilst Craig corners the market in "I don't want to hurt my bestest friend."

He has no choice, though, and with Sharron's help, Richard is eventually overpowered.

He's still fighting back, however. There's only one way to end this, and that's to knock him out so that he can be taken back to Nemesis HQ and cured. Preferably before he kills Craig.

Craig really, really, doesn't want to do this.

There's nothing else for it, though, and he uses all of his super-strength to punch Richard on the jaw. And yet still Richard isn't going down.

Craig has to hit him again, but this time it's even harder to do. He really has to psych himself up first, while Richard is still straining to get at him.

The second punch does the job, and Richard is at last out for the count.

Utterly distraught, Craig holds him close.

But Richard is completely oblivious.

Obligatory dramatic zoom out.

Back at Nemesis, the doctor is able to synthesise a cure from a sample of the drug that Sharron and Craig have brought him. He administers it to Richard and Tremayne.

Tremayne recovers quickly, and is extremely grateful.

Although he's probably not very grateful to whoever stuck that bloody great light right above his head. It must be shining into his eyes constantly.

Next door, Richard is mostly just sleepy. He's with it enough to ask Craig about the bruises on his face, though.

Craig dodges the issue for now, since Richard clearly doesn't remember a thing.

For now, everybody's just happy that it's over.

And it really is over, too. America wasn't interested in the show, which meant that ITC couldn't make it cost-effective, and despite it doing well in the UK, they chose to axe it. Consequently this was it for the Champions. It's a slightly dissatisfying ending, though. It needs a better tag scene, where Richard actually remembers - or is told - what really happened. He and Craig need another scene together, dealing with their respective guilt. Sadly, sixties TV didn't really do consequences, so it's all dismissed with a throwaway line, and Richard settling back down to sleep.

And that, as they say, is that.


( 3 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Mar. 19th, 2010 06:49 pm (UTC)
I want to comment more, because I think this is a great episode, but right now I don't have a brain.

All I can say is: Isn't this the one where we find out Richard keeps photos of himself and Craig waterskiing in his wallet?? Haahahaha.
Mar. 19th, 2010 08:24 pm (UTC)
I should have known that somebody would pick up on that! Yes, for some reason, instead of just telling Richard outright that his wallet has been stolen, Craig shows him by asking to see the photos of them waterskiing. Thus proving that Richard likes to keep pictures of swimwear!Craig on his person at all times.

Well, it's good to have a hobby.
Mar. 19th, 2010 08:49 pm (UTC)
Awww, I want more!
( 3 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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