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Bugs: Manna From Heaven

A scientist is attempting to solve the world food crisis with slimy green algae; and when some people break into the lab to try to steal a top secret sample, they're forced to flee in a rush from security. Chasing! More chasing! And they explode even before the opening credits! What more proof do you need that this a really good episode?

So, there's slimy green algae, then. It's called Phodex, and it can be turned into any food that you want, presumably by adding all kinds of nasty artificial colours and flavours and stuff, but let's just skirt around that. Following the attack of the exploding thieves, the head scientist at Project: Phodex calls in the Bugs team to help with security - and, praise be, we immediately see that Ed's got his brain back from whichever place it was hiding in during the last episode. Which is a relief, frankly, as there's no way I could have put up with that for even one series, let alone four. Or technically three, as Ed wasn't in series four. Or he was, but he had a different head, a different body, and a different personality, so technically he wasn't Ed, but we weren't supposed to notice. Or something. But that's quite a long way into the future.

Main suspect for the break-in is a fellow named Zander, who works at some kind of rival laboratory down the street. Beckett and the newly re-brained Ed pose as security experts, fake a faulty alarm, and then waltz in to check the place out. They're betrayed by somebody over at the Phodex project, though, and have to escape very quickly. Happily for them, they manage not to explode in the process, presumably because they're not crooks. Meanwhile, Ros is working on figuring out who the traitor at the project is; when head lab assistant Sally, who is gradually turning her personal 'Acting Suspicious' dial up to eleven, lures her into the Phodex incubation room and leaves her to suffocate. Ed and Beckett arrive only just in time to save her. Clearly Sally is Not A Nice Person, which she is at great pains to illustrate throughout the rest of the episode. She's basically carrying around a huge neon sign saying "Evil And Loving It". Also, there's giggling.

Phodex. Mmm. Yummy.

Isn't it more traditional to wear black when trying to creep into a building at night? No bloody wonder they got rumbled.

Unfortunately placed lorry = flambéd crooks. More shows should start like this. Explosions should be compulsory.

Ed proves that he's 4000% improved over his performance last week by rigging the alarm over at the opposition's offices.

He and Beckett then hide in a closet to listen in to what Obviously Suspicious-Acting Rival is up to. Boys... don't do that. Please. If this show was being made now, this is just the kind of scene that would lead to a million slashfics. And they'd all be really bad.

All technology should have pointless flashing lights all over it. That should definitely be compulsory. Here, Ros is being lured to her intended doom by Mad Sally.

Trapped in the Phodex lab, with an empty oxygen canister, Ros realises that she's basically screwed.

Before running away giggling, Sally nicked a file out of the Phodex project's computer system, which she passes on to her confederate, the Obviously Suspicious Zander. This file is about the death of a bloke called Fricker, who used to work for the project, but died. His death has been hushed up, and nobody is allowed to mention his name around Head Phodex Boffin. When Zander announces that he knows all the secrets, Head Boffin turns lots of funny colours, sticks his fingers in his ears, and shouts that he's jolly well not listening, so there. Ros and co are interested to know what this is all about, but Head Boffin won't tell them. Instead he asks them to transport some nice yummy Phodex, which did not in any way, shape or form kill Fricker, over to a hotel, where important delegates from all over the world will see how fabulous and yummy it is, and how it will solve all world hunger problems in an instant. Sadly he's failed to realise that having an enemy who knows the deadly secret of Phodex might be a slight obstacle to giving a really successful demonstration.

Who has e-mail like that?! Even DOS e-mail wasn't that basic.

Ros and Beckett transport some Phodex to its special appointment with many international delegates. This leads to a car chase with the bad guys. Better than that, it leads to a car chase in a tunnel.

A car chase in a tunnel with guns.

Wheeeee! Beckett and Ros win through though (although they may soon wish that they hadn't), and deliver the Phodex into the hands of a top chef. Mad Sally is still eager to do something mad and evil, however, and sets about breaking into the hotel.

Why does this air vent cover have the screws on the inside?! Are air vents actually designed for crooks to crawl through?!

Ed and Beckett do something techy, which enables them to retrieve the file on Fricker. The computer tells them that he was killed by Phodex, which becomes toxic when exposed to ultra-violet light. So, no good at raves, then. Meanwhile, having broken into the hotel kitchen, Sally gives the Phodex a quick blast from a portable UV lamp.

Then waits until the delegates, the boffin and Ros have eaten it all, before sending them a cheery message. But no matter! There's plenty of antidote, apparently.

Ah. That'll be the antidote, then.

Cue one very smug Zander, demanding ten million or else.

However, Mad Sally hasn't quite finished being mad yet, and shoots him. She has a sample of UV-treated Phodex, and she has her own special plans for it.

Beckett and Ros manage to figure out where Zander's phonecall came from, but Ros is sinking fast due to the Phodex-poisoning. Beckett has to go hunt out the bad guys, but there's time for one long, lingering look back. Actually there isn't, but he does it anyway. You know, I think this may be the start of the Ros/Beckett romance. Aw. Usually such things wouldn't get an "aw", as usually they're bloody annoying, but for some reason their relationship worked. Possibly because Beckett's idea of romance basically consisted of a his and hers kidnapping experience, complete with bad jokes; and Ros's idea of a hot date was a high speed car speed chase.

A water works. Where'd they find that? Blake's 7 was full of water and gas works, and none of them were purple.

An alien space ship comes in to land. Either that or the water works has a bizarre lighting system.

With time of the essence, and much that needs doing, Beckett helpfully decides to get himself kidnapped. Whilst this has proved in the past to be a good way of checking on what the bad guys are up to, I would argue that occasionally it's simpler just to spy on them.

And Ros is fast running out of time. Happily Ed has got a lead on some more antidote, but it's trapped behind a time lock, and Ros has got to stop being three quarters dead for five minutes in order to help break in. There's some lovely tension here, even if we do always know that the good guys are going to win.

"And when the water level gets to here, the whole world will die!" [insert evil giggle here]. Mad Sally is increasingly mad. Between her giggles and her plans to poison everybody with Phodex, she keeps demanding that Beckett give her ten million pounds, as though she thinks he has it hidden in his socks, or something. Also he's tied up, but apparently she doesn't think that this is any issue either.

Poor Mad Sally. Doesn't she know what happens to crooks on this show? I guess not, or there wouldn't be quite so much giggling.

I don't know really, but it amused me. I think it's some new kind of dance.

Although how they got from there to here is anybody's guess. "Help meeeeee!" wails poor Mad Sally as she dangles. Hello? Tied up, remember? What's he supposed to do, offer you his ears?

Still, at least she looked quite pretty at the bottom. Now, though, presumably Beckett has to wait for Ed to get the antidote to Ros, and for Ros to recover and remember where he is, so somebody can come and cut him loose. It's not easy being Beckett. Although admittedly that is almost invariably his own silly fault.

Next time on Bugs, the props department decide to clear out the explosives cupboard before the end of the series. Well, it's not like they've blown much stuff up yet, is it.


Nov. 2nd, 2010 07:13 pm (UTC)
Good old Bugs. The acting really is quite awful. :) It's loads of fun, but I can't help wondering how much better it would have been with a few more acting lessons!

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