5.15 - The Joker

Rate The Joker

10
19
68%
9
3
11%
8
1
4%
7
1
4%
6
1
4%
5
2
7%
4
1
4%
3
0
No votes
2
0
No votes
1
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 28

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Topaze
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Post by Topaze »

Thank you Frankymole!
I must watch this episode again 8)
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Post by Timeless A-Peel »

Frankymole wrote:It was "House of Cards", with Derek Francis as "The Bishop", Purdey's stepfather. (I think her blood father was shot as a spy before the events of the series.) Derek Francis is a famous comic actor and can be enjoyed in, amongst other things, Doctor Who playing Emperor Nero!!
Franky's beaten me to the punch (no pun intended), and he's dead-on about the fate of Purdey's actual father. :)
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Post by paulpdjh »

I have to admit that this is an episode I could never get into and its popularity has always baffled me. It just feels like a pointless remake when the original was so much more atmospheric. I guess for me it just reinforces the feeling of a general lack of innovation in season five and the desire to play things safe, which is why season six came as such a breath of fresh air.
Last edited by paulpdjh on Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Frankymole »

Good point, Paul. It's certainly not as interesting as the Cathy Gale version, which had a much better sense of danger. With Emma, we just know she'll despatch any threat, like Superman she's too invulnerable to engender a proper sense of jeopardy. Also, what is that weird veiny POV shot about? Does Max Prendergast have some awful eye disease?
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Post by Lhbizness »

I actually prefer this episode to the Gale one - I think it's better suited for film. The Gale episode feels a little confined in terms of camera movement etc. due to its live format.

I think the episode does a spectacular job of building Emma's vulnerability and fear. At first she's convinced that she can handle anything that happens, but the terror of the house slowly begins to get the better of her. It's a rare instance of taking a very strong character and placing her in a position where she begins to doubt her own abilities, and finally gives in to terror. It avoids victimizing her, but also gives her the space to be vulnerable and show real confusion and terror. It works because it builds slowly to her breakdown - much like The House that Jack Built. Arguably the finest episode of Season 5, and the best use of suspense and the talents of the leading lady in any season. Rigg plays it beautifully right across the board. It works because it's subtle and it builds - if you want young women screaming off into the night, you won't get it. But if you want a strong female character actually showing vulnerability and trying to maintain control even in the face of danger and terrifying odds, then it's brilliant. Practically a haunted house episode. Nothing before or after managed to equal it.
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Post by Frankymole »

The Joker is a darn sight less subtle than Don't Look Behind You - even the incidental characters are less underplayed. Maybe it's a consequence of the "comic strip technicolour" season 5 direction, maybe it's because of trying to appeal to a broader, international audience, and so having less British underplaying and hints of subtlety (that might be missed or construed as woodenness). But like the shadows, the layers seem to have been thinned out.
Last edited by Frankymole on Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Lhbizness »

I do think that The Joker is developed as a late-60s thriller - it does have broad strokes, and as such is more caricatured in a certain sense, but it likewise establishes an undercurrent of surreal menace the like of which is more akin to a Bunuel film than to Carol Reed, whose style is very similar to the mis-en-scene of Don't Look Behind You. So some of it might be what is most appealing to the individual viewer. I do think that Don't Look Behind You is limited by its set-up, while The Joker allows for the central female character to have a greater range of movement.

It does have subtlety, particularly in the performance by Rigg, but it is a different kind of subtlety than the Cathy Gale episode. Both have their points; I would simply argue not to dismiss The Joker as a lesser version. It's a different version, which I personally prefer. (In fact, I once wrote up an extensive analysis of the episode which demonstrates just how layered it truly is, but I cannot find it at the moment).

I really won't comment on the "international appeal" bit, which is just far too subjective and impossible to determine to be worth argument (and kind of insulting).

Anyways, I like The Joker. I think it's an excellent episode, and one of the reasons why I like Season 5 so very much.
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Post by paulpdjh »

Lhbizness wrote:Anyways, I like The Joker. I think it's an excellent episode, and one of the reasons why I like Season 5 so very much.
The variety of styles over the years is one of the great things about The Avengers. People are drawn to different aspects of the show - I'll probably never get the love for season five, just as, no doubt, you're baffled by my love of season six (which, for me, it's up there with season four as the two best Avengers seasons).

My opinion on this episode is also hugely coloured by the fact that I find the character of Cathy Gale much more interesting than Emma Peel. Cathy's relationship with Steed intrigues me far more than any of his other partnerships - just when I think I've worked it out, something happens that makes me question my conclusion.
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Post by darren »

Clemens simply reused the script as he loved Don't Look Behind You and wanted to show it to a wider audience. I wonder how many long term UK viewers noticed.

I love both equally, they both shine in different ways.
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Post by paulpdjh »

I doubt many did notice. The first time I watched either of these episodes was when they were released on videocassette - I watched them one after the other, which probably helps explain my feelings about The Joker.

I did quite enjoy the audio version of The Joker from the South African radio series, which I didn't listen to until many years later.
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