2.08 - The Decapod

Rate 'The Decapod'

10
1
7%
9
0
No votes
8
4
29%
7
6
43%
6
1
7%
5
0
No votes
4
1
7%
3
1
7%
2
0
No votes
1
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 14

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2.08 - The Decapod

Post by Rhonda »

Venus Smith epsiode, UK 13 October 1962

It's my favourite of hers; 8/10.
Last edited by Rhonda on Mon Sep 23, 2013 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Frankymole »

Here's my review from years back. I was unnecessarily harsh - I can enjoy this episode now. 7/10.

http://www.theavengers.tv/forever/gale1-3vr.htm


The Avenged?: The Avengers' first nude! It is startling that that shower shot was allowed in 1962.

Diabolical Masterminds?: No. He's a wrestler, and approaches embezzlement with a wrestler's subtlety, i.e. none.

The Avengers?: Venus' songs are excruciating, but she's not a bad singer, just unsuited to them. She's a right misery, perhaps not surprisingly the way Steed uses her. Philip Madoc is amusingly sinister, as ever, and gratifyingly always one step ahead of Steed and Borb.

Umbrella, Charm and a Bowler Hat?: With Steed's slapping of the waitress' posterior, Stepan's procurement of 'private secretaries', and Borb groping Venus every chance he gets, this has to be the sleaziest yet.

Bizarre?: Patrick Macnee — clearly not a stuntman — is on the receiving end of a prodigious throw in the wrestling ring. Everyone talks so fast they practically gabble. Steed's description of a decapod is practically unintelligible!

On Target? (Score): It all rather fizzles out. By Venus's second song I was consulting my wristwatch. One bowler (out of four) on a good day. Bring back Cathy now!
Last edited by Frankymole on Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:08 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Post by darren »

7/10

What impresses me about The Decapod is the quality of the set design. The boxing arena is sooo convincing. And it's perfectly directed by Don Leaver. You really see how unsuitable Kim Mills work was when you see how controlled and precise Leaver's work is. I'm full of admiration for him.

In terms of the plot, it's a story that finishes and I'm not quite sure what has happened. All the disguises with the wrestlers loses me. But I just enjoy the whole set up.

I love Venus Smith and her reactions to Yakob Borb and his body guards. Julie Stevens possibly wasn't the best casting choice (Angela Douglas would have done better with the songs at least) but she carries it through with such charm and likeability. Having been introduced to her through the John Bryce reinvention, I can't quite take the big hair and glitter style.

Philip Madoc is always good value as a bad guy.

It's not an episode where I can readily remember the plot but it's watchable.
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Post by Frankymole »

Yes, I rewatched this one a few months ago and the sets are magnificient, and what the director does with the unwieldy pedestal cameras is remarkable. Compared to other early 60s studio drama you can tell why the Avengers was already seen as very stylish.
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Post by Rhonda »

I liked seeing Julie Stevens introducting the episode on the UK DVD release a couple of years ago. She finished by saying she hoped we would enjoy it; it's well rated so far!
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Post by Rhonda »

My grandson is a big fan of the new Disney film Moana which asks the audience to look up what a Decapod is, and we did. I realised I never really knew, and am still wondering, why this epsiode has this title!
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Post by darren »

I see it literally means 'ten-footed' - is it meant as a play on words as in 10 foot for the wrestler meaning he has huge stature and a force to be reckoned with..?
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Post by Rhonda »

The wrestler is seen when the title comes up so it seems very likely.
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Post by Rhonda »

Darren wrote:...
I love Venus Smith and her reactions to Yakob Borb and his body guards. Julie Stevens possibly wasn't the best casting choice (Angela Douglas would have done better with the songs at least) but she carries it through with such charm and likeability. Having been introduced to her through the John Bryce reinvention, I can't quite take the big hair and glitter style....
I like the 1940's Duke Ellington song 'I got it bad' as sung by Julie Steven's better than the Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone versions - I really mean it!
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Post by Lee »

Time to dust some Venus episodes down, as I'm not sure I've watched any in about 6-7 years - may be longer.

It does seem as if Venus is the forgotten Avengers girl: Dr King as I watched recently never really got going, and Venus isn't mentioned along with Cathy, Emma, Tara or Purdey. Perhaps because Venus is totally unaware of Stted's real job and motivations. She has no fight, no status - just a tool in Steed's armoury. Yes, I don't think that Steed wants anything to happen to her, but does he care about her, in the same way he does about Mrs Gale?

In some recent episode reviews, we've discussed how manipulative Steed was of Mrs Gale, often cajoling her into his exploits, or even arranging for job opportunities to come her way because it suited his investigations. With Venus, we really see Steed at his most manipulative. Cathy seems to get what Steed does, and even supports the sense of justice, of right over wrong, even if she disagrees with his methods and his notion of ends justifying means. Venus knows nothing. Throughout, she is unaware of the danger of the situation - mind you, even I would wonder what a talent agent was doing in an embassy with all those body guards and people wanting to kill him. Hmmm....

Did Steed just go to that night club at random and choose Venus at random? Is this one of Steed's clubs and therefore a singer he has seen before? He seemed familiar with the cigarette girl, so may be. Considering Venus (even if not Julie Stevens) would have been introduced in an extended first series, the stories would have taken a very different turn to those with Dr Keel if this type of story is anything to go by. Venus is naive , yet mature as stands up to Borb about where she will stay and what she will do; innocent, yet not too affected by the death of the body guards; malleable, yet able to make up her own mind and make her own choices, for example going to leave with Borb at the end.

I'm quite a jazz fan and the music is really good, but I'm not sure I want my Avengers action constantly interrupted with ballads.

We have really two Venuses (Veni???) presented to us over series 2. At the moment , this more mature version is my preferred one. Perhaps that will change as I know watch her episodes in order.

As others have said, some good direction and set designs. There's even an interesting moment where one of the cameras hadn't changed his lense in time and we are treated to some early technical disturbances which suddenly give us a different psepextive on the type of shot the director was trying to achieve. The print is in quite good condition - I'm beginning to think series 2 has faired better than series 3 in that respect, or may be the restoration was better. A pity Vid-fire couldn't have been applied.

Over all, an interesting little story, with a larger than life guest star. Philip Madoc does a particularly good turn as the foreign diplomat whom you are not quite sure if you trust.

I give this 7.
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