This is the further adventures of secret agent John Steed and his sidekick Emma Peel. I do adore this show, even though the plots are a bit repetitive and there are plot holes everywhere. I am somewhat surprised that anyone’s plans work at all; everyone makes stupid mistakes on all sides. Steed in particular is fond of making phone calls in places where he can be overheard (either insecure location or on a house phone in the bad guy’s territory). Mrs. Peel is not the best sneaker (leaves doors open). The bad guys need to read the Evil Overlord List; they tend to want to gloat when they have Steed and/or Mrs. Peel in their hands.
Steed is good in a fight, and excellent at schmoozing with the men and flirting with the women; Mrs. Peel is not bad in a fight, and is clearly the brains of the operation and has many useful skills (whatever skills are necessary for the episode), though she does have to be rescued often.
The lack of explanation and/or resolution is a bit annoying (why are these people doing this? what did they do about the atom bomb?), but the point of the show is the banter and action and Diana Rigg in a catsuit or other skin-tight outfit, not the plot.
Death at Bargain Prices
The plot in this was bland: a grandiose plan to take over the country. An agent is found dead in an alley; the only clue is a department store receipt from the previous day, which was Sunday and the store was closed. Mrs. Peel gets a job at the store, and ends up working in women’s underwear her first day and in toys the second (wearing the catsuit with space-age boots; there’s a Dalek on the wall with the model planes and other toys). Most of the action takes place in the store, with a little in Mrs. Peel’s apartment; she has the niftiest peephole (an eyeball with lid, though anyone outside would know when she looks through it). While at home, she is writing a paper on thermodynamics for some reason.
The plot in the episode involves a grandiose plan to take over the country by someone who never read the evil overlord list (three men with guns might not be a match for two people who keep showing up where they don’t belong; telling them your plan might be a bad idea). The previous owner of the store lives on the top floor with the discontinued lines; he rambles on about the good old days and how everything is disposable these days. There was a computer system with lots of blinking lights and switches and things (which Mrs. Peel was familiar with). Her fighting style was karate-ish, and she did shoot someone in the shoulder. She did get kidnapped (tied up and wrapped in a carpet) by three armed men. Steed received a black eye early in the episode, and got to hit someone over the head with his bowler. There were all sorts of weapon-ish things around (garden implements) that no one used in the fight scenes; Mrs Peel should close doors behind her when sneaking around.
The fishing industry in Scotland is having problems; there are no fish nearby, and so the fishing fleets must fish farther out, in competition with others. A frogman who was investigating was found dead near Castle De’ath in Scotland. Steed is posing as historian John ‘Jock’ MacSteed, who wants to write about the 13th laird, Black Jamie, who was a traitor. Mrs. Peel is posing as an agent of an organization devoted to advising castle-owners who intend to open their castle to the public how to attract tourists, which causes some conflict between the laird and his cousin Angus. Mrs. Peel wanders through the dungeon, doesn’t close the door behind herself, gets knocked out early in the episode, and is locked in the dungeon (unharmed, slept on the rack). There is an attempt to crush Steed in his bed; the breakfast conversation the next day was interesting. Mrs. Peel can pick locks, use a crossbow, and sketch decently.
…I did not need to see that much of Steed (he went diving wearing a speedo-type suit and was captured); he ends up chained to the wall in his clothes. Sadly, he rescues himself, gets captured again and held at gunpoint, and eventually escapes. Mrs. Peel gets knocked out AGAIN. Angus wears white briefs under his kilt. They actually used the weapons on the wall this time. Mrs. Peel shot someone with the crossbow (implied killed!). I think this episode has the highest death count so far. I’m not sure why anyone was messing with the fish in the first place, though.
The Master Minds
Sir Clive Todd is shot while attempting to steal documents, and has amnesia. Mrs. Peel acts as his nurse, and is not a morning person, and there is a gratuitous pan down her skin-tight outfit when she removes her coat. There is also a Mensa-type organization (RANSACK, IQ 145+); Mrs. Peel completes the entry paperwork for herself and Steed, and is hired as a secretary there (and provides answers to Steed; even with the answers, he scores less than 100!). RANSACK members are staying at a school near a military base, with tests and meetings and exercise and hypnosis to plan and execute the bad guy’s plot.
This episode actually has a decent plot, though there is no reason why the bad guys are plotting beyond generic trying to gain power.