2.05 - Obsession

Rate every episode of The New Avengers.

Rate 'Obsession'

10
2
13%
9
6
40%
8
1
7%
7
3
20%
6
2
13%
5
0
No votes
4
1
7%
3
0
No votes
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0
No votes
 
Total votes: 15

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2.05 - Obsession

Post by darren »

Written by Brian Clemens
Directed by Ernest Day
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Post by Rhonda »

9 for me
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Post by anti-clockwise »

What is the general consensus on this episode regarding the ending with Gambit killing Purdey's fiance? Did you think it fit? If those 2 ever got married she would have to say, "Oh yes my husband killed my ex? I personally think it's a wee bit strange.

This episode was kind of interesting from the perspective of learning more about Purdey. It certainly had potential. But I was not really happy with the execution of it. I did not feel it really held together too well. The relationship between Purdey and Duma, her fiance was very stilted and his character was very one dimensional.
And that wig at the beginning did not come off well IMHO.
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Post by hatpeg »

I'm not too critical of this episode because :

"She's Purdy" "She's a woman".
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Post by darren »

I don't know if it's just the line or the way that Macnee says it but it just comes over as a bit naff and condescending.

There's some good scenes in this but it's no especially a favourite.

7/10
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Post by Timeless A-Peel »

anti-clockwise wrote:What is the general consensus on this episode regarding the ending with Gambit killing Purdey's fiance? Did you think it fit? If those 2 ever got married she would have to say, "Oh yes my husband killed my ex? I personally think it's a wee bit strange.

This episode was kind of interesting from the perspective of learning more about Purdey. It certainly had potential. But I was not really happy with the execution of it. I did not feel it really held together too well. The relationship between Purdey and Duma, her fiance was very stilted and his character was very one dimensional.
And that wig at the beginning did not come off well IMHO.
TNA's characters were supposed to be "thicker cardboard" than their original series predecessors, and I don't think the cardboard ever comes thicker than it does in this one. It's a gut-punch of an episode--it blindsided me and left me gasping. It doesn't fit with the usual format--there's not a lot of humour to offset the grimness, the case of the week is mostly pushed into the back in favour of a character piece. It's hard to "like" it because there's a lot of unpleasant stuff going on, but I think it's well-done and hugely significant.

This was the series' "Purdey episode", and it sketches her character out hugely. We learn so much about her and who she was pre-TNA. Purdey circa 1970 wants to build a perfect fairytale with Larry Doomer (not Duma, although a lot of people mishear it as Duma(s)). Given that those scenes take place not that many years after Purdey lost her father, I find her relationship with Larry entirely believable--she wants an idealistic family life, and she feels like Larry can give her that and take care of her. She's so starry-eyed, she doesn't catch the subtle hints that he's not the best guy to get into a relationship with.

When Larry slaps her, it's hugely significant for two reasons. One, because having the Avengers woman in what amounts to an abusive relationship is huge. I was shocked when I first saw that scene. It's completely unexpected, and a very brave choice on Brian Clemens' part. Two, because it shows not only why it is that Purdey became so self-sufficient, but also why she's so leery about relationships. Her engagement ends horribly. It'd do a number on anyone.

For that reason, I think it's hugely significant that it's Gambit who kills Doomer. Given that his relationship with Purdey has consisted of her keeping him at arm's length, he's probably had his theories about why she acts the way she does, but I don't think Doomer occurred to him. Neither Gambit nor Steed knows that they were engaged, and they certainly don't know about the slap. Both of them probably would have acted differently during the course of the episode if they did. But whether he knows it or not, Larry's the biggest obstacle between any further development in Gambit and Purdey's relationship. Purdey can't shake Larry's ghost anymore than she can kill him during the stand-off, so Gambit does it for her. I think it makes complete sense symbolically.

Also, kudos to Gareth and Joanna for their acting in the immediate aftermath. Joanna does a great job of portraying Purdey as she unravels--we don't get raw emotion often in Avengerland, but Joanna doesn't hold back. Gareth is at the other end of the spectrum, quietly taking whatever Purdey dishes out, even when Joanna's screaming really, really loud right in his ear, which really had to hurt. It's a great scene. It's the sort of episode that makes me desperately wish that this wasn't an era where there was continuity between stories to keep the broadcast order flexible. Hitting the reset button instead of dealing with the aftermath feels like a cheat. It's the sort of episode the original series never would have done.

Joanna's flashback wig is lousy, though, I agree.
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Post by anti-clockwise »

A lesson to all. If you want an ideal life, never marry a guy name Doomer. :wink:
Last edited by anti-clockwise on Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Post by anti-clockwise »

And as you say Timeless it's kind of amazing for her to have been in an abusive relationship. Especially with a terrorist. I mean this guy was not just the average abusive husband.

I'm not sure I was convinced by the actor playing Doomer. He did not seem emotionally "obsessed" or maybe did not seem crazy enough for the part. Not sure. But most terrorists are fanatics and Doomer did not seem to quite have the right personality for that part.
Maybe he was obsessed with Purdey. I guess I missed the part where Doomer himself goes off hating all these people enough to kill them. It seems that Purdey is the one to explain his actions.

Once again TNA is before it's time. Today this behavior of terrorist bombing sadly seems to be a common occurrence in the world. Back then, it was much more rare.

You know early on that Doomer has to die. What do you think would have happened if Gambit or Steed had not come along? Would Purdey have intercepted his plan?
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Post by Timeless A-Peel »

anti-clockwise wrote:And as you say Timeless it's kind of amazing for her to have been in an abusive relationship. Especially with a terrorist. I mean this guy was not just the average abusive husband.

I'm not sure I was convinced by the actor playing Doomer. He did not seem emotionally "obsessed" or maybe did not seem crazy enough for the part. Not sure. But most terrorists are fanatics and Doomer did not seem to quite have the right personality for that part.
Maybe he was obsessed with Purdey. I guess I missed the part where Doomer himself goes off hating all these people enough to kill them. It seems that Purdey is the one to explain his actions.

Once again TNA is before it's time. Today this behavior of terrorist bombing sadly seems to be a common occurrence in the world. Back then, it was much more rare.

You know early on that Doomer has to die. What do you think would have happened if Gambit or Steed had not come along? Would Purdey have intercepted his plan?
Well, Larry's motivation was revenge for the death of his father, so it wasn't as if he was living a double life the entire time. He's already hinting at some none-too-positive character traits, but his dad being killed pushes him over the edge so that he shows his true colours. The fact that he doesn't *look* crazy doesn't contradict what he does, at least for me--he's plotting revenge, and he's doing it quite deliberately, which is even worse than him just flying off the handle. Even Purdey says he's not mad. He's definitely single-minded, definitely obsessed--both with Purdey and his mission. Losing one no doubt contributed to his drive to follow through with the other. It's only when Purdey turns him down again that he seems to quit caring about what'll happen to him if his plan succeeds.

What would have happened if Gambit and Steed hadn't showed up? It's hard to say for sure, but one of them would have to die. Despite Purdey's protestations to the contrary, there's no doubt in my mind that Larry was about to shoot her before Gambit took him out. The last time she rejected him, he finally managed to tear up her pictures, which suggests a mental break on his part. He'd given up on ever getting Purdey back, so killing her wouldn't be a problem. It'd all come down to whether Purdey could make herself pull the trigger and take him down first. Otherwise she'd have ended up dead, and the rocket would have gone off.

I've always thought that her past with Larry made Purdey mistrustful of men to a certain extent--she seems leery of letting anyone get to close. Through the nature of their work, she's learned she can trust Gambit and Steed. It's interesting to note that the way Purdey relates to both of them deteriorates as Larry's presence in her life reasserts in her life. She argues with Steed more than once and shoots out his tires. She snaps at Gambit and won't tell him anything. Everything they try to do to help just makes her cut them off more, as though all her old mistrustfulness is coming back. It's also interesting to note that both Gambit and Steed put their arms around her and stand quite close when they're telling her about the "plum job", which is slightly unusual. But the way they do it is friendly and companionable, whereas every time Doomer does it, it’s forceful and possessive. I’m wondering now if that was an intentional choice on the director/writer’s part. It’s as though they’re subtly drawing parallels between Gambit and Steed on one hand, and Larry on the other. And yet Purdey just can’t shake Larry.
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Post by anti-clockwise »

Very nice observations Timeless. That makes more sense. She behaves so very differently in this episode. That likely explains why. I wasn't sure if thye had time to think it through so carefully but maybe they did.
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