2.05 - Warlock

Rate 'Warlock'

10
0
No votes
9
4
40%
8
2
20%
7
0
No votes
6
1
10%
5
1
10%
4
0
No votes
3
1
10%
2
1
10%
1
0
No votes
1
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 10

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darren
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2.05 - Warlock

Post by darren »

Written by Doreen Montgomery
Directed by Peter Hammond
Production completed: 7 January 1963

Starring Patrick Macnee and Honor Blackman
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Post by Frankymole »

My review:

http://www.theavengers.tv/forever/gale1-18vr.htm#2

Having decided to watch all available episodes in order, I reach one I've seen many times. Planned as Cathy's introductory episode, with Cathy calling steed "Mr Steed" on occasion, this never quite gels. On the plus side, Cathy seems much harder-edged than in the previously-shot "Death Dispatch", giving Steed's flirting short shrift. Oddly for an anthropologist, she also keeps insisting on the efficacy of black magic, but Steed just wants to concentrate on who killed Neville (the coven's first victim). This is where The Avengers dives into the deep end of fantasy — sorcery and voodoo genuinely work in Avengerland, it appears, despite the bizarre mix of different magic traditions shown here.

The Avenged?: Neville staggers around with one expression regardless of what happens to him, then drops dead of a heart attack. It's almost a relief. His housekeeper is strangled, then found later by Cathy in a quite touching moment: Cathy simply says "she's lost a shoe."

Diabolical Masterminds?: Yes, literally! Peter Arne as the titular warlock is irritatingly laid-back, sleepwalking through it all with a drawling monotone. John Hollis as the sinister bald murderer Markel has to supply all the energy and threat. Oddly, the rushed epilogue reveals that Gallion was working for his apparent henchman, the bland unimpressive Mogam, which makes no sense and isn't even dramatically satisfying. I had to watch it twice before I knew he was there!

The Avengers?: Steed and Cathy have a witty rendezvous — "Poor Yorick," says Steed, inspecting one of the museum's skulls, "I knew him well you know. Fellow of infinite jest." Cathy responds with, "More than can be said for you." Ouch! Later, Cathy grapples Steed to the floor and kneels on his arm — ouch again! One-Ten is needlessly liverish, squinting at his ropey beer and so curmudgeonly when he complains that the barmaid almost bursts out laughing. The action is becoming Cathy's province: the only fight Steed wins is when he chloroforms a guard dog. Delightfully, he spends the rest of the tale, and the epilogue, with a very frayed sleeve! (At least it gives Cathy something to fiddle with.)

Umbrella, Charm and a Bowler Hat?: Cathy seems unusually angry at Steed when she drops him home (he's the worse for drink), but he still attempts to get her into his flat. Luckily Cathy is having none of it and wants to concentrate on the case in hand. It's certainly pleasing that she has begun to be treated as an equal of Steed by the production team. It might be hinted that Cathy is jealous of Steed's 'palmistry' on the barmaid; she remarks on it acidly, but I think it's more that she's merely tired of his immature flirting.

Bizarre?: If not actual deviltry, psychokinesis of some kind is at work. And some very daring dancing!! It's nice to know that in Avengerland, all male coven members wear a smart shirt and tie underneath their cowled robes. Though Gallion's collar is unbuttoned, the sure sign of a cad.

Some misguided merging of voodoo with European demonology, but at least they differentiate spiritualism and parapsychology from devil-worship. A few fluffs (Gallion's clumsy posturing causing his clipboard to vault off a chair; the dog that is docile when needed to bristle in an aggressive close-up, but which only starts barking when the cameras move onto the next scene, leading to a hilariously loud off-camera "Shhh!" from its keeper whilst the villains try to conspire...) and irritating bits (whiny music, the mishandling of the boxed snake, the twirly voodoo candy-wrapper).

On Target? (Score): Two bowlers (out of four) for effort. The real magic was yet to come. 5/10.
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Post by darren »

It's a strange episode this one in that I'm never sure quite how I feel about it. I can never just watch it as another case for Cathy and Steed due to it's excised introduction scenes. Honor is clearly playing it as new to Steed and the joins don't work to cover that fact.

As an adorer of all things Peter Hammond, he's not up to par on this one. The "twirling sweet wrapper" doesn't work but marks for effort. It's seems more shambolic than his usual creativity and there are some awkward performances. He usually encourages a sort of stylised melodrama in his actors but this lot don't have it. The lighting is very harsh in some scenes like in Neville's flat (which is an awful design). I love the almost expressionist lighting in the shop attic which works well with the fight and Markel's dead face.

Aesthetic is quite important to me (one of the reasons I love the series as it looks so great usually) but this is an ugly episode. Coming back to the design. Usually the Avengers at Teddington is superbly designed (they got a bigger slice of the budget and it often shows) but this episode is so slipshod. Neville's flat looks unfinished (there's an amusing moment when Mrs. Dunning goes to check her employers wardrobe for clothes but the bedroom disarray means she can't open the door but she goes on with her line anyway - what a pro:)). It might have been cliché but an older more stylised look might have worked better for creepiness. Terry Green did some excellent sets for The Decapod, Second Sight, Don't Look Behind You, White Dwarf etc so maybe it was an off day.

It's one of those episodes where I think seeing the original VT would help enormously as the film recording isn't good for it (especially on the film location inserts).

The music choices aren't that great (a piece that pops up in Doctor Who later) and don't help the uncomfortable feel of the episode.

I did love seeing the rehearsal photos on the DVD with them practising the dance moves (the dancing is very good actually).

The story does have some good moments but it's balanced by some moments that don't work.

6/10
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Post by cyberrich »

I feel this episode is undervalued by Avengers fans. One of the better ones from season 2. It's a cracking story. Warlock delves into the occult which certainly sets it apart from the other episodes of season 2, many of which deal with quite mundane matters such as smuggling and business corruption. Warlock loses a couple of points however, as the pace slows quite alarmingly towards the end with all that endless black magic dancing! 8/10.
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Post by Rhonda »

3 from me. It seems a bit untypical avengers and I don't think ones about secret cults work that well.
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Post by Frankymole »

Mogom seemed such a non-entity. All he did was usher people in and out. When he was revealed as the "Master mind" I was left wondering "who?". There's no reason Gallion couldn't have been his own agent.
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Post by dissolute »

Mogom being behind it all is not in Doreen's original script at all and I suspect Macnee fluffed his line and was meant to say Markel was behind it all.
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Post by Frankymole »

dissolute wrote:Mogom being behind it all is not in Doreen's original script at all and I suspect Macnee fluffed his line and was meant to say Markel was behind it all.
That would make more sense (though the audience knew he was bankrolling everything up to then, and had replaced previous paymasters for Gallion's services). But he wasn't a truly great villain either, despite being dynamic and very memorably acted by John Hollis. I enjoyed his scepticism! Getting bumped off partway through a story is a bit of an anti-climax for a mastermind. The biggest shock reveal would've been if Steed found out the Alsatian in the back yard was the real brains of the outfit - Steed certainly had an epic tussle with that dog! The humans were a bit weak by comparison.
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Post by mousemeat »

dissolute wrote:Mogom being behind it all is not in Doreen's original script at all and I suspect Macnee fluffed his line and was meant to say Markel was behind it all.
well, if so, that wouldn't be the first time, Patrick fluffed his lines...
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Re: 2.05 - Warlock

Post by Frankymole »

It's the big one! The brothers watch the episode that was intended to introduce Cathy Gale... Warlock!

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