1.05 - To Catch a Rat

Rate every episode of The New Avengers.

Rate 'To Catch a Rat'

10
2
12%
9
2
12%
8
3
18%
7
7
41%
6
1
6%
5
2
12%
4
0
No votes
3
0
No votes
2
0
No votes
1
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 17

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darren
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1.05 - To Catch a Rat

Post by darren »

Written by Terence Feely
Directed by James Hill
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Post by Rhonda »

7 for me
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Post by cyberrich »

9/10. Ian Hendry is wonderful in this surprisingly poignant episode. Rich.
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Post by Frankymole »

My review:

http://www.theavengers.tv/forever/newave-7vr.htm#2

Some nice but brief fights, pretty countryside, a little light nostalgia. There's nothing to take offense at in this episode, apart from Gambit's tedious "under cover" joke—at least Purdey affects a wonderful blank-but-slightly-disdainful reaction to it. The music isn't too "funked up" and has some nice cold war stings when the events in East Germany are hinted.

The Avenged?: Old agents with peculiar code-names (and even "code-nicknames" their department doesn't know). The opening sequence is good. Gunner's catcher deliberately lets him fall from a trapeze-stunt so that he cannot report to London—for some unknown reason they then put him, albeit injured, onto a ship to England!

Diabolical Masterminds?: Although we can tell who the traitor is before Purdey finds out, we do not know for certain very long beforehand, because both the prime suspects have a gammy leg. One from a break going over the wall, the other from Gunner's bullet. I thought the fact Cromwell's leg had been seen by Purdey, without any remark from her, would have meant the Minister was the White Rat.

The Avengers?: An honorary entry to guest star Ian Hendry, who is literally avenging his double-crossed colleagues from 17 years earlier. Steed's code-nickname was heard as "Nudie", so a busload of nudists was once stopped at the border while he got across fully-clothed. Did this kind of thing happen often in 1960?

Umbrella, Charm and a Bowler Hat?: Cromwell's "dirty old man" approach to Purdey is horrid, but would make sense if he wanted to know what Steed's department was up to. Sadly, he ruins this idea by letting a seductive Purdey get close enough to knee him in the... final scene (very painful, that). A true veteran agent holding a gun on someone never lets their target get within arm's reach. Mind you, who could blame him for wishful thinking. Purdey dresses for dinner—and is even more "Jon Pertwee" than Cromwell is, what with her velvet jacket and flamboyant silk tie.

Bizarre?: It's not entirely clear how Gunner, living rough and on the move, manages to track down all the ex-members of his unit (especially as the ministry is not returning his calls, and it had all been run on a need-to-know basis of cells anyway). It is also unusual to have an episode where some of the older men are more lecherous than Mike Gambit—the records manager hiding his naughty mag (great reflexes!), and the slimy Cromwell, for instance. There are no really amazing visuals, though the trapeze freeze-frame made me gasp, and the sight of Gunner climbing the radio mast gave me vertigo—but it makes me wonder why he wasn't fried!

It loses a bowler for Hendry and Macnee being given virtually no screen-time together. Some dreadful banter between Purdey and Gambit (whilst driving in circles) is redressed by the snarled "I hate you!" act as she flounces from the church—I love Gambit's nonplussed look, followed by an embarrassed sidle to the exit, wearing a fixed "nonchalant" grin/grimace as he pauses to donate a few coins on the collection plate. Back at the car, he appears dubious that Purdey's subterfuge will ensure the locals suspect anything out of the ordinary. Now that's undercover work!

On Target? (Score): Three bowlers out of four. 7/10.
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Post by NickP »

9.

I was about to vote 8 but uprated it after more thought. An excellent storyline and wonderful performance from Ian Hendry.
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PURDEY PHOTOGRAPHS !

Post by shaunodan »

Famed Purdey Photographs - from this episode a couple certainly come ! From which episode do forum members favourite Purdey photos come?
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Re: PURDEY PHOTOGRAPHS !

Post by anti-clockwise »

shaunodan wrote:Famed Purdey Photographs - from this episode a couple certainly come ! From which episode do forum members favourite Purdey photos come?
Dirtier by teh dozen comes to mind with Purdey in teh red dress. Just gorgeous.
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Red Dresses !

Post by shaunodan »

Are some of the best of all the Avenger Girl poses done by Purdey in this stunning outfit ? Is it in fact a 3-piece outfit... mini-dress, hotpants and wraparound ? Of the other girls who appeared in The New Avengers...Midas Touch...girl in Classy Red Dress looks very impressive also 8)
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Post by Lhbizness »

Improves on a second watching, especially when it comes to pacing and tension. I felt bored the first time I saw it, but less so now. Hendry is a fine actor, of course, and the mystery diverting. Some great dialogue early on, with Steed's "nudie" comment. Purdey does well on her own and in her scenes with Cromwell, but her and Gambit are...well, the banter is just awful and very unfunny. The same goes for Gambit's juvenile ogling of another man's girlfriend, even if she doesn't speak the language. Not that Steed is much better in that scene, but at least he has a bit more tact than bad innuendo. A less subtle instance of the series sometimes persistent problems with sexism, and one that honestly left a bad taste. I ordinarily have issues with Gambit's character, but in this one I'm kind of disgusted by him. He's a fourteen year old boy.

Biggest problem has already been addressed: you've got the two ORIGINAL Avengers actors right there and they don't even get a proper scene together. Why bring Hendry in to play a part in which he never interacts with Macnee? Anyone could have played Gunner, really.
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Post by Frankymole »

Id it sexist when both men and women are sexually liberated though? In the very first episode Gambit is propositioned by the German embassy lady; it was the 70s, the post-Pill age of free love and no incurable STDs (they thought), and so the writers are clearly showing that both men and women can be forward in their attitudes to sex. Yes, it seems crude and clumsy in comparison to today's social mores. But it didn't seem sexist to men or women then for them all to ogle each other and more!
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