Visitor Reviews
Page 50 of 164

Build a Better Mousetrap
by Nick Griffiths

This is just simply one of these episodes that gets better with repeated viewings. Consider the fact that when I first watched it I thought, Hmmm bit mundane, but then I watched it again and, hey, presto! It really appealed to me—it's funny how things work out, isn't it?

The introduction sequence is quite fun, with a gang of leather-clad motorcyclists racing down country lanes. I really did think they were going to be the villains and that it was going to be a dull public service message about reckless youth, but when the two dotty old ladies appeared I simply new this was going to be a fantastic episode. The tag sequence is highly amusing on the grounds that it does make you wonder if they did put a spell on the gang of if they're just barmy.

Like The Avengers at it's best (Tara King season and monochrome Emmas—please don't hit me), the episode focuses more on its dotty eccentrics and wit to maintain interest, with the plot playing second fiddle. John Tate is particularly strong as Colonel Wesker, giving the character a pompous Captain Mainwaring delivery to all of his lines; he is in much better form here then he was in the awful "Killer Whale." Athene Seyler is wonderfully over-the-top as Cynthia, the secrecy obsessed inventor working on—we don't know what. Cynthia is a character who wouldn't look too out of place in The League of Gentlemen. There is one great scene where Steed tries to persuade the two women that he is from the national Distrust, which is pure Avengers.

Peter Hammond, however, lets us down slightly with some below-par direction, although the editing is very engaging there are very few interesting shots—a few overhead sweeps and that's about it. Where this episode really escapes from being a more Avengeresque episode is the lack of fights. There is one big one at the end of act two, but the final fight is a bit disappointing. We get a good performance from Marian Diamond as the wonderfully vulnerable (and aptly-named) Jessy, who gets some of the best scenes—notably the one with the barman, which has an uneasy feel to it—but the barman, like Jessy, is another lonely and vulnerable character.

Personally I think the brief location work at night, with Cathy on her conked out motorcycle, is rather effective. Throughout the episode we get plenty of scenes with Cynthia and Ermyntrude using their "device" to give the episode that distinctive Tara King feel. (That's supposed to be a complement, by the way).

Overall: Four Bowlers

Build a Better Mousetrap
by Darren A. Burch

After reading so many good reviews of this, I was really looking forward to seeing it. Directed by Peter Hammond and written by Brian Clemens, what could be better. Well, initially I was very disappointed. As the quality of the print isn't one of the better ones, it was very distracting to watch. Thankfully I persevered and I'm surprised that Clemens didn't re-make it for the film series.

Peter Hammond's direction, whilst not his best, is very pacey and full of life and movement. Had the original videotapes survived, I'm sure that I would be able to appreciate it more. It show that Hammond can direct comedy just as well as drama.

I think the best aspect of the episode is the Peck sisters. Of course, anything with Athene Seyler is bound to be very funny. My favourite scene is when Steed pays a visit to the sisters at the watermill posing as a representative of the National Distrust. I love the way Steed flirts with Ermintrude and then, once he leaves, there's an explosion and Cynthia appears with a blackened face. The comic timing of that scene is perfect. Nora Nicholson and Athene Seyler make a great double act.

It's quite bizarre for a Brian Clemens Avengers script to have some depth. We have the lonely Pub landlord who is divorced, and the jealousy of Dave's girlfriend. Maybe it is for these reason that Clemens chose not to remake it.

All in all a fun episode. Three out of five bowlers.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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