“Let me talk to Parminter…what do you mean he’s tied up?…You mean he’s really tied up?
Plot – Karen Dorron is in Germany, and she’s “apparently the key to some nasty business. She may be in big trouble.” Gene insists that Parminter has to miss dinner in order to rush to her rescue, along with Diane (yay!) and Gavin (woo!). It turns out that some nasty German mining company is planning a takeover bid, or something. Lots of breakfast is consumed by all concerned.
Meanwhile, Gene (boo!) jets all over the world in a desperate attempt to convince the viewers he’s part of the story.
Starring – ‘Starring Gene Barry with Catherine Schell, Garrick Hagon and Barry Morse as Mr Parminter.’ It’s the helicopter-watching life for Parminter again, but I don’t care because Schell and Hagon are back!!! Finally!!! Oh, we are deep in the joyload.
Guest Cast – Patrick Jordan (Ryker), Pippa Steel (Karen Dorron), Frank Barrie (Werner), John Levene (Tony), Andrew Bradford (Max).
Writer – Tony Williamson.
Director – Val Guest.
Locations – Supposedly Parminter and co are in Germany, so I assume that’s where this was shot. Plenty of location work centering on in and around a monorail train, and it’s all very impressive.
Mission Briefing – Um…no, no briefing. Parminter travels to Wuppertal armed only with the information I quoted in the plot summary…
The Bradley Way – Who? Oh, him…
88-Delta once again takes to the skies in this episode, and this week’s special guest co-pilot is none other than Sergeant Benton himself. Gene’s having a few troubles this week, which take him from Sydney to Bangkok with a dodgy engine, then on to Delhi where he is forced to land due to bad weather. We are treated to a split second montage of Chinese and Indian-type things with matching stereotypical music to convince us of these facts.
Other than that…no Gene. No Gene, no Gene, no Gene…yes!!!!
Mr Parminter is a Very Cautious Man – Between the previous episode and this episode Parminter evidently took a nasty blow to the head. Suddenly he’s become a thoroughly incompetent tea-guzzling bowler-hatted twerp, wandering around with his umbrella and big mustache and saying “Oh my word!” and “If you would be so kind…” and “I do beg your pardon!”. It’s a wonderful re-invention of the character and Barry Morse hams it up magnificently. God bless im.
We also get our a second look inside Parminter’s home. A nice cosy little place, it also happens to be the exact same layout as Gene’s, except with different wallpaper. Hmm…
“What About Diane?” – Despite the joy it gives us all to see her back again Diane doesn’t get to do a whole lot here. She proves she’s useful in a fight, overpowering a man with her handbag (before Parminter accidentally punches him out cold). Throughout the episode she and Gavin tend to be three steps ahead of their superior, which is nice. Later on she gets to chase the monorail train in her car, before using said car to block the baddies escape.
And she’s still as beautiful as ever, so let’s have a picture of her.
“And Gavin?” – Gavin’s mainly on hand to beat people up, rescuing Parminter and Diane when the baddies take them hostage by politely knocking on the door and then beating up the guy that answers it.
Parminter’s plan to save Karen and the file or whatever the heck he and Diane found at her apartment is to have Gavin jump onto the monorail train just before it leaves the station, and then leaping off again to retrieve it once Parminter has handed over the documents and they’ve released Karen. He doesn’t do quite so well in this second fight, but it’s still a pretty impressive performance from the lad. Worth noting are a few small jumping-from-a-reasonable-height type stunts that apparently Garrick Hagon did himself.
And he takes two sugars in his tea.
The Oldest Swinger in Town – Gene gets involved in a fight in an Australian hotel at the start of the episode, but it’s all shovings. No elbow-jabs to spines, headbutts to balls…nowt of any interest. Except that he tricks a maid into going in there before him – supposedly to confuse the baddies, but it does look like he’s planning to use her as a human shield…
“Alright, old friend – let me see you!” – No old friends of Gene’s appear here. And neither does Gene, much. Have I mentioned that already?
“Shall we take them?” – Five baddies here – two in Australia, three in Germany – including the head of the operation, who doesn’t even appear until the end of the episode. I can’t give names or anything – they’re a fairly unremarkable bunch, and they all look like they’ve been in the series before anyhoo…
Quotable Quotes –
GAVIN: “I can’t figure out why they…no, come on, it can’t be that…”
DIANE: “Gavin, if you don’t tell us what it’s all about I’m gonna hit you!”
PARMINTER: “With full departmental approval!”
Yay! Banter and actual humor that is funny! Yes, it is! Oh, this is great…
PARMINTER: “Bradley won’t like this. Won’t like this at all…”
Well, tough. I know he’s the star of the series, but he works for you. Not the other way round. At least, I think that’s the way it works. We’re over halfway through the series now and frankly I’m still not sure about its premise at all. Nor I suspect was anyone involved with the making of it.
PARMINTER: “If I’m right, the man who’s behind all this will be waiting at the next station – and Taylor may need some help!”
DIANE (looking up at the cablecar Gavin is clinging to the roof of): “He needs some help now…”
Yay! More banter and sarcasm! Why couldn’t the series have been like this from the start? Why oh why oh why…
GAVIN (to the baddies): “Alright – cool it.”
“You’re under arrest, man. You have the right to remain groovy…”
Cracking Cliffhangers – That bald guy from Are You Being Served? mumbles “Must warn Karen…” before dying..or falling asleep, we’re not told which. Gene looks concerned.
The Irony of It All – “Seems a little sluggish…”
“What’s it all about, Gene?” – This week 1600592 is Parminter’s home phone number, conflicting with whatever the number was back in Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?…which was also written by Tony Williamson…
Parminter Diane and Gavin arrive in a red car, with Gavin driving. Later on he and Diane are seen using a yellow car. Woo.
“It’s all rather difficult.” – Pippa Steel mispronounces ‘mineralogist’ as ‘mineralagist’.
The Defining Moment – It has to be the sequence with Parminter in the train and Gavin up on the roof with Diane chasing after them in the car – both imaginative and exciting, two words that I don’t get to use a whole lot when describing this series.
Ramblings – This episode opens with that jolly little ‘dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee!’ music that I mentioned as quite liking back in one of the earlier episodes.
The Karen we meet in this episode is the third and final Karen of the series. Booyah.
Apologies if this seems shorter than usual – I was enjoying so much I didn’t take many notes…
And finally – I have to comment on Gene’s absence from this episode. He was on holiday, for those of you who don’t know. I’m sure Barry Morse could have carried an episode by himself easily but the return of Catherine Schell and Garrick Hagon is both a godsend and long overdue. The three of them have fantastic chemistry and look as if they’re having a lot of fun, even if their reliance on and adoration of Gene is a little distracting – they don’t need him. This is what the series should have been from the start – two top agents trying to keep their chief from making an arse of himself as he blunders around Europe.
Rating – 5/5. I just have to give this episode top marks. After the previous 15 episodes this is a wonderful breath of fresh air, and for once the climax is genuinely exciting and well-crafted. Barry Morse, Catherine Schell and Garrick Hagon work brilliantly together, and it’s particularly nice to see Morse being allowed free reign to do whatever he wants with the Parminter character.
OK, objectively it still isn’t very good television but it’s an absolute classic for this series, and it’s all thanks to series ‘star’ Gene Barry not being around. Feel free to not come back soon, Gene.
What’s that? You’re away next week too? Oh, result!
I kid the big guy, but still…this is one of the best episodes of the entire series and he’s not really in it. That isn’t a coincidence.