Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Growing Old To Get Back To

Whilst in the midst of my evening washing-up, I was suddenly struck by the most poignant and ethereal memory. For merest fraction of a second I recalled with complete clarity the downstairs bathroom at my Grandmother's home in Don Mills. An odd room to remember so vividly, one might ask? Perhaps, but it is a room imbued with much memory. It wasn't always a bathroom. I believe in my very youngest days it was some sort of closet, or perhaps a pantry, I am not sure. Indeed, it may have always been a bathroom, and my memories are merely engaged in their constant habit of lying to me. When I was quite small, my grandparents decided to renovate their kitchen and dining room, a process that would, as I aged, be extended throughout the entire house until, when we sold it a few years ago, very, very little of the original sixties decor remained. I remember only seeing the white coverings over the kitchen hallway, and of visiting with my grandparents in the always chilly basement, where for the first and last time in my life had what I think were Ladies Fingers, a type of long confectionary cookie that have been an unrequited desire for the last seventeen odd years since I tried them. In addition to the kitchen redecorating (which would create a rather bizarre placement of electric ranges at an odd angle to a wall mounted oven, something I never understood), the little pantry or what-have-you was rebuilt into a small bathroom. Simple furnishings, just a sink, mirror and a toilet, with not even a counter or shelves. The mirror was oval (I think), functional if nothing to write home about, the sink a tad spindly and the toilet an unremarkable example of its species. The wallpaper was green, bright but not lurid, multi-hued but not overbearing, pseudo floral without ever merging into a precise geometric shape. A little white wicker wastepaper basket stood between the sink and the toilet, and there was a toilet brush behind. The toilet paper dispenser equally white and functional. The floor tile was the same as the hallway and the kitchen and dinning room, large six inch tiles of alternating terracotta and pale brown, with grey mortar in between. In fact, I think it was the only original furnishing still extant on the ground floor, the heavy stonework on the fireplace not withstanding.

Why is this little water closet so enshrined in my memory? Well, it largely has to do with its location, which I shall attempt to illustrate with some simple ASCII art:

,,,,, __ [->
->] ^

Those three lines are three doors. Following the arrows from left to right, you would go OUT from the the bathroom into the hallway, up and IN through the door to the kitchen, and the THROUGH to the living room via the door on the right. Make sense? Capital. That little bathroom was therefore at the almost intersection of the two most important rooms in the house. And that little rest room was quite pivotal. The always lovely smell of the soap (my grandmother never bought anything less then the nicest of soaps) would mix with the smell of roasted French chicken as you would stop to wash your hands before sitting down to dine. The agony of having to leave a fascinating conversation or witty story behind in the leaving room as you darted to the washroom because you urgently needed to pee. It was also a temperature affair. With the fireplace on, the living-room would get quite hot, and when dinner was under construction, the kitchen would be equally warm. That green sea of sweet smelling soap was then a place of refuge from the heat, a moment of cooling the senses before returning into the social fray. I would often dart out to that little loo and then stay in the relative coolness of the hallway; thinking back on it now I would venture to say that this may have been an incipient symptom of what I have decided to euphemistically call my “Screaming Child Early Warning System”. Those gathering could get quite noisy, and spending time in the cool and quiet bathroom and hallway was a way to disengage from all that noise.

I miss the house. I grieve for it, to be blunt, and miss it with a longing that fills me with such sorrow. I don't feel this way for many people. For me, what that house represented was serenity, a refuge from the chaos that was the world. It was in the economically troubled and oft-times emotionally turbulent house in Creemore, and in my less cash-strapped home in Guelph, that I spent most of my growing up, but my grandparent's home was the bulwark against turbulent change and uncertainty. With my grandparents death, and the loss of that house, I have at times felt anchoress. With no Grey Havens to find my way too, my feelings of being adrift seem only to have intensified.

When I was younger and in some ways dumber then I am now, one of my recurring fantasies was that was the home I wanted to settle down with my partner, perhaps renting from my grandmother, and start a family after attending some no-doubt prestigious Toronto university.

In various ways, all those elements are now long gone, and mostly to my detriment, although I note with a touch of deep humility that I am astonished to find myself in a relationship far more healthy, stable, loving and noteworthy then those that preceded it. I must then ask myself a question, and that is this. If such dream-elements can become true again, then may it might not be a sign that I am finally coming out of the sea of uncertainty that I have found myself lost in over the past few years? If this postulate is true, then one can only wish that I will find another serene harbour for a second home.

I can only hope it has nice bathrooms.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Captain Scarlet Episode 2

Previously: Captain Black blew the mysterious Mysterons up real good. The Mysterons vow the destruction of all earthly life, starting with the assassination of World President Number Six. Six is saved, and agent Captain Scarlet is rendered apparently indestructible. Incredible Helmet hair is observed.

If anything was missing from my last review, it was any sort of analysis which makes these reviews more than just a blow-by-blow of the action. If I were to rate the Mysterons, I'd probably give it a C. It is not bad little episode, but its need to dump all the exposition on the viewer means that the pacing becomes rather glacial. A large cast is introduced, but we get no chance to know them. And annoying little questions are left unresolved- what happened to Scarlet's original body? Why did the Mysterons switch from assassination to kidnapping? What did it net them?

Anyways, this next little episode is much tighter affair. Let's go to press:

Winged Assassin. Original UK Airdate: October 6th, 1967 (ATV Midlands)

With a cymbal crash, we're back in. The opening narration has changed a bit, it is now the standard voice-over that will remain for much of the series. "The Mysterons, sworn enemies of Earth, possessing the ability to recreate an exact likeness of an object or person... but first they must destroy. [Cat howl] Leading the fight, one man fate has made indestructible. His name... Captain Scarlet."

We open with an establishing shot of a hotel. Inside the ugliest hotel room I have ever seen, a man is rappelling down in front of the window. As he is about to fire about the man in the bed, BANG! He's shot by Spectrum agent in the doorway.
In Her Majesty's Secret Room Service

That, despite a colour palette maddening close to Captain Black, happens to be Captain Grey. The sleeping man sits up, and is revealed to be wearing a goofy pseudo-asian dressing gown. The title of the episode superimposes itself over his dressing-gown logo, and that's scene. This is, in television parlance, known as the teaser. after every teaser in the opening of Captain Scarlet, we cut to a series of vignettes of each character- Captain Blue driving. Colonel White rocking his desk- while the name of each character is shown on the screen. Over this, the voice of the Mysterons states their desire for vengeance, and then states what their plan-of-the-week is. Today's gameplan is to assassinate the Director General of the United Asian Republic , which I hope will be carried out with more efficiency then their rather pathetic attempt to kill, and then Kidnap, World President Six. The Mysterons have a motif, by the way, that every-time they talk, little white circles drift around the screen.
That is such a white trash name.

Captain Black is in the opening, by the way, hanging out in a misty graveyard. You know, 'cause he's a villain. On Cloudbase, Colonel White is chatting up the troops via videophone, informing them of the Mysterons plan to kill the Director General, who aparently is the elected leader of two hundred million people. I'm pretty sure that that is a smaller population than any current Asian country. Maybe there was a war or something? Anywho, Captain Blue is watching the broadcast from the Cloudbase lounge, where Colonel White is appearing via the world's most useless wallclock.

In tonight's performance, the roll of Big Brother will be played by Lorne Green

Blue leaves to help with security while Captain Scarlet is still under medical observation. He has a flashback to the moment before the crash ("something we don't understand"), but remembers nothing else past that point. He is free of the Mysterons, now. According to the doctor, he now possesses the Mysterons ability of retro... something. He will take damage, feel the pain, even die, but the Mysteron science will bring him back, good as new. The Colonel will take the risk of Scarlet's Mysteron connections- he restores the Cap'n to active duty, and Scarlet jet-sets off to London with Blue, who apparently hasn't left yet.
He looks so cute with his hands like that

The Colonel tells Lieutenant Green that they've switched to Plan B, all Angels launch! There's a great little shout out to Fireball XL5 when Green tells the Angels that their radio call is "Zodiac". There is also a odd moment when Green says "Yes Sir!" in such a smooth, seductive sort of way that you almost think he is channeling Isaac Hays. Meanwhile, in New York, an absurdly heavy airplane is about to leave for a flight to London, but a smirking Captain Black in the terminal tells me that things aren't going to go so well.

Look at that thing. How does it get any lift?
Vislor Turlough doesn't trust Black, but Shatner seems unconcerned

To maintain security, Blue and Scarlet land 30 miles from the airport and drive the rest of the way in a Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle. One of the series gimmicks was that these SPVs are hidden in various places all around the world. Last episode it was a tractor trailer, this time ts a mobile home. Meanwhile, on that airplane, complications occur in-flight, the power goes completely out. With everything out, the plane crashes into the ocean in huge fireball as we see a Mysteron replacement plane fly overhead.

This is just tragic.

Wow. See, remember when I said this was a darker series? In Thunderbirds, that plane would sink into the water, and Thunderbird 4 would try and pump air into the sinking fuselage while TB1 and Brains would work out a way to bring it back to the surfacing, saving everyone just as the air ran out. not in Captain Scarlet, oh no no. Here, the Mysterons just kill everybody and go about their business. Like I said, Dark. its a nice scene, and the pilots desperately trying to get control of the aircraft is really rather poignant.

At the hotel from the opening, a decoy Director General gets in a motorcade, while the real one sneaks out back in an oil tanker with Captain Grey. In the control tower, Captain Blue repots that the airport has been sealed and infiltrated with disguised Spectrum agents. At the same time, the Mysteron airplane, Delta-Tango One-Niner comes in for a landing. As it does, Scarlet suddenly acts weird, getting all sweaty and headachy, but it passes. The plane docks with the terminal as the decoy and the real Director General arrive, with the Director getting on board his private jet.
In the future, Air Canada is even less popular

Air Traffic Control gets a report that Delta Tango is acting weird. Apparently they won't open the doors. A quick glance through binoculars proves the aircraft to be empty. Suddenly, while still attached to the terminal, the airplane accelerates, ripping the docking arms off in a flurry of crumbling concrete and driving head on towards the Director's departing jet. Scarlet and Blue rush to the SPV, chasing after it.

I originally was rather annoyed, as the Angels come in to shoot at the plan, and manage to either miss it or barely dent it, odd considering the size of the target. On further reflection, I think it has something to do with the Mysteron invulnerability. Captain Blue tries to shoot the tires off the plane, but the gun is jammed! Scarlet takes matters into his own hands, ejecting Captain Black and taking the suicidal risk of jamming the tires.
Crap, I already made that Rocket Man joke last time...

Scarlet rams the SPV into the landing gear, causing them to rip away! Scarlet's SPV goes crashing into a bunker by the side of the runway as the the plane skids to a grinding halt. The Director's jet almost clears the wreckage but it nicks Delta-Tango's tail fin and it too goes crashing into a giant fireball!



Great job, SPECTRUM

Seriously! An cut away to the inside of the SPV is the rather grisly image of a bloody, dead Captain Scarlet. As an ambulance takes away the body, Captain Blue and an air traffic control survey the wreckage and have this little dialogue:

Controller: "A brave man. A pity he died in vain."
Blue: "Maybe he didn't die....:
Controller: "What?"
Blue: "...In vain"

Its rather tragic that Blue can only make note of Scarlet's rumored invulnerability, rather than note any kind of victory. This was an absolute failure, no two ways about it. The ambulance rides off into a fade-out, and we go to credits. Falling Boxes! Speeding Cars! FILMED IN SUPERMARIONATION

Wow. That is a darker episode. Lets see, the DT-19 was about the same size as an Airbus 380, which seat about 520, plus fifteen odd crew and two pilots. Plus the Director General, his pilot, co-pilot and maybe four crew. Plus Captain Scarlet, and maybe on or two people killed when the airplane smashed the terminal docking arms. That's a death toll of about five hundred and fifty people, with absolutely no one rescued or saved. Taking the personal killed when the Mysterons blew up the safe-house in the first episode, the gunman at the beginning plus the rescue of President Six, the current record stands at:

Mysterons: 600
Spectrum: 2

Our heroes, ladies and gentleman.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Captain Scarlet Episode 1

In an effort to shake things up around here and to force myself to write things on some kind of consistent schedule, I am attempting to write a complete review of the series Captain Scarlet. I will commence with an overview, before going on to the first episode. May God have mercy on my soul.

It was 1967, and Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's careers were on the decline, although they didn't know it yet. Coming off the success of Thunderbirds, the Andersons would never again make a product as successful. They had just completely the spectacularly unwatchable Thunderbirds film, and would go on to to create the deeply bizarre Joe 90, jumping around from one thing to the next before their marriage and partnership would crash and burn along with everything else in the making of Space: 1999. But that was all to come. For now, there was the new project: Captain Scarlet.

Captain Scarlet is kind of the distant older cousin of the Andersons' oeuvre- its a much darker tone than its predecessors and the shows that would follow it. Technology had progressed from when the Andersons' had begun Thunderbirds- the device that moved the puppet's mouths was rather large, giving rise to the oversize heads and caricatured expressions one can find on the Tracy family. But these devices had shrunk in size, so that the puppets of Captain Scarlet are much more proportional. Unfortunately, as the puppeteers would complain, being more realistic meant that an audience expected more realism from the puppet's movement- difficult with the clunky fibreglass figures. As an added downer, the smaller faces of the puppets had less charm, less character, and everyone came off as looking rather stoic. This, coupled with the aforementioned darker tone, led to there being much less affection for the series than from Thunderbirds or Fireball XL5.

Don't get me wrong, though, when I say this is a darker series. It's still a mixture of delightful models, goofy dialogue, crazed actions sequences and some of the worst pacing even seen on television outside of eighties cartoons. But I love Anderson's work, and thus this quirky little series has a special pace in my heart. If you want to enlarge the screenshots, just click on the image. Let's go to press:

Episode I: the Mysterons. Original UK Airdate September 29, 1967

With a line of violins and a cymbal crash, Gerry Anderson's fancy-pants new logo appears on the screen, struck through with a rocket. BAM, we're in.

Classic Fifties Pulp-Novel Rocket

A harp glissandos and competes with a crashing Hammond organ chord, and we fade into an dark brown Alleyway, fraught with mystery. A deep voice intones: “The finger is on the trigger. About to unleash terrible powers beyond the comprehension of man. This force we shall know as- The Mysterons”. The font for the credits, by the way, appears to be Metrostyle Extended, one of my personal favourites. The camera pulls a hard turn, a cat squeals and there, in the shadows, is the figure of a man. Harsh lights turn on, a gun is raised in the camera's Point of View, and the figure is riddled with bullets. But they have no effect. The man razes his own sidearm, and shoots the gunner down. We jump in to a close-up, and to thudding drums, across the screen these words are written:

This expression isn't going to change very often

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a title. The sonorous, booming voice returns: “This man will be our hero, for fate will make him indestructible. His name? Captain Scarlet!” The show is really pulling no punches. There will be no dark-horse secondary character rising to take the audience's affections here, no sir. Captain Scarlet will be your hero, and dammit, you're going to like it. Scarlet, by the way, is supposed to resemble a young Carry Grant, but I've never thought so.

We fade out and onto an orbital shot of a planet, which the title helpfully informs us is Mars, in the year 2068. As we cut away to a little buggy riding on the surface, our friend the title narrator returns. Apparently picking up where he left off in the credits, he tells us that “This is the trigger. Inside, three men from Earth.” Inside the buggy, he is proven correct. The ground of Mars, by the way, is uniformly grey, and there appears to be no atmosphere to speak of. In fact, if the title hadn't exactly specified that this was Mars, I would have said that this was the moon. Our three little amigos, including the delightfully attired Captain Black, are apparently driving slowly around Mars in search of some signals that were picked up back on Earth by an organization known as Spectrum, which makes me giggle for oh, oh so many reasons.

I'm not sure which I love more, the goofy logo or the see-through visor.

They haven't found anything, but Black, being the conscientious guy he is, wants to keep looking. He suggest they go looking over the next ridge, and we're treated to another shot of the little buggy slowly crawling into shot. Suddenly, the red jumpsuited fellow at the wheel exclaims “Will you take a look at that!” The strings play a jarring a chord and we are treated to our first look at an alien city! It's... um.... wow.

Pictured: Wow.

Usually, given the limitations of what he was using, Gerry Anderson was pretty good at making small objects look bigger than they were, but in this shot, the city just looks really tiny. Do you notice that “unearthly glow” surrounding the city? According to the commentary, the shot was made by putting a sheet of glass in front of the lens and rubbing it down with Vaseline. And boy, does it show. After some blurry establishing shots, we cut inside of the scene, and man.... this room couldn't look more life a set from the original Star Trek if it tried. Giant glowing ball, twisted blue pillars, it even has the seemingly obligatory green and magenta mood lighting. Pretty impressive for one eighth scale.

I think this set shows up in 'I, Mudd'. And 'Mirror, Mirror'. And 'The Cage'. And 'The City on the Edge of Forever'. And 'Spock's Brain'. And....

Suddenly, we hear the a deep booming voice, like the narrator's, but an octave lower and more echoey. The voice gets all dully excited that the humans are here, what with their “curiosity about their universe”, something also shared by the voice. The voice wants to observe them closer, so it says to train the cameras on the earth people. We cut to shot of the turret cameras, which look a little like multi-barrelled ray-guns. This causes Black to IMMEDIATELY jump to conclusions. “They're about to attack!” “Let 'em have it!”. The adorable little buggy fires off a few shots, and then...

The aliens clearly do not have very well-enforced building codes

Man, the whole city just explodes! I hope Black doesn't overreact like this all the time. Goes to the park, sees a kid picking up a stick- "They're going to attack me!". Blows up the playground, bits of backpacks and plastic shrapnel rain down everywhere...

No one in the buggy seems at all affected by their little genocide. They instead calmly talk about surveying the wreckage before going home. Suddenly, a radar dish comes up out of the ground and shoots a soothing blue ray at the ruins. Through the power of Alien Science, the city is restored to perfection. The booming voice comes back, identifying itself as the voice of the Mysterons. Calling themselves a peaceful race, the voice mocks the Earthlings for their inability to destroy them, and then totally chews them out for being aggressive. The voice says that their revenge will be slow, but will lead to the destruction of all life on Earth. So, not that peaceful then. I never quite got it- what is it with aliens specie? One human shows up and does something boneheaded, and then aliens blame every single last member of the human race, often along with anything living on the planet. In this case, for Captain Black's rash destruction of their city, the Mysterons blame everyone from Swifty Lazar to the entire species of Anthonomus Grandis to my mother's old aloe plant. I mean, I know it takes a village to raise a child well, but this is taking sociological blame way too far.

Blah blah blah, resistance is futile, etc. To sum up, The Mysterons will turn one of the three men into their agent on Earth (guess which one!). Their first act of revenge will be the assassination of the World President.

We now get the first example of Captain Scarlet's trademark style of switching from scene to scene. Rather than a fade out or a slide dissolve, CS gives us some drum beats on a timpani and cuts back and forth a few times between the last scene and the new one in rapid succession. Its really disorientating and headache inducing if you watch an episode with out any breaks.

"Dex had a hand in building it. Its kind of a secret. You can keep a secret, can't you Polly?"

Spectrum is simply FABULOUS

Welcome to Cloudbase, the headquarters of Spectrum, who I'm pretty sure are some-kind of world police. We arrive to find the station launching jets. Jets flown by women! In the sky! In the FUTURE! The orders are given by a Colonel White, to a Lieutenant Green (A black person! In the sky! In the FUTURE!). Are you detecting a pattern with names here? The lady-pilots, by the way, all have names that are [blank] Angel- Destiny Angel, Rhapsody Angel...

.... Helmet-Hair Angel...

Rhapsody Angel and Helmet-Hair Angel are ordered to their jets, and we come across a familiar Gerry Anderson motif. Ya see, these puppets, while great all, have one little itty bitty flaw- they really, REALLY don't walk very well. Its rather embarrassing. Because its the FUTURE, Anderson cheats. Whenever possible, the puppets ride something somewhere, be it a mobile couch, a chair or moving sidewalk, even when just outright walking would take up a fraction of the time. In this case, the Angels ride little deck chairs right up into their jets. Its not as cool as the epic Thunderbirds secret doors, but it gets the job done.

As pilots, you realize these ladies are wearing diapers?

The jets are away, and Colonel White radios our hero, Captain Scarlet, who finally shows up. Scarlet is totally chilaxing in his rad sports-car with a Captain Brown. The Colonel is calling to tell Brown that he is in charge of the mission, which is to protect the World President. Apparently, the Mars guys brought the message home. Brown is perturbed by The Mysterons, calling them something "we don't understand". This is a phrase that'll come up a LOT. I'll let you know. While the two chums banter exposition, the entire shot suddenly turns the same blue colour we saw on Mars. Suddenly, the car pops a tire, flies off the road, and explodes in a giant fireball!

No! Not these guys! All my favourite characters, dying!

We suddenly see Scarlet's body being dragged by about a foot. The person doing the dragging is none other than - shock!- Captain Scarlet (man, do his pants have a tight crease)! I'm going to go out on a limb here and say "Mysterons did it". We cut away to see the not dead-Scarlet reporting to Colonel White. All security has been prepared.

A Bump-bump-bummm takes us to New York, where Captain Brown (also replaced, apparently) is escorting the World President to a Spectrum safe house. They've pulled out all the stops- the streets are cleared (and unnaturally clean), the Angels and their jets are flying overhead, gunmen on the roof, helicopters in the sky and Brown's armoured car has a bunch of escorts. The face of the World President was driving me crazy, until Wikipedia helpfully pointed out that he was modelled on Patrick McGoohan, which he totally is if you squint enough. Since he is never given a name, I shall proceed to call him President Six until I get bored of doing so.

I am not a president, I am free man!

Pres. Six mentions that they are dealing with forces they they "don't understand". That's two. Our duo reaches the safe-house, where they take a moving sidewalk through a security barrier. The alarm goes off when Brown passes through it, and all these guns are trained on him. There is a close up on Brown's pocket, and a very real and human hand reaches in and throws away a brown metal device- it's a cigarette holder. Good on him, those things are bad for you. Having satisfied the guards, Six and Brown reach the safe-house room where the two of them will apparently be spending the next few weeks. The door opens and... and.... oh god, that's just....

Who thought this was comfortable? Who thought this was pleasant? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS DECADE?

Man, remind me not to have Spectrum design my home. Brown point out the room's cameras before sitting down. El Presidente Seis hopes that Brown play a good game of 3D chess, but Brown is too busy smoking.


I think he borrowed that turtleneck from Wesley Crusher

President Six goes for his intercom, but we cut away to see the building go up in a giant fireball! Man, the Mysterons sure know how to pick up the pace. Destiny Angel, in her jet with her sexy French accent, reports back to Cloudbase with about as much emotion as Black did when he blew up the Mysterons. Good times.

Meanwhile, at Cloudbase, Scarlet, Pres Six (not dead, apparently) and Colonel White are going over what happened. They review the footage, wherein we see that Six escaped through a nifty sliding wall panel just before Brown exploded. White says that the President can learn two things from this. 1) He barely escaped with his life and 2) Brown had some kind of bomb on him. I'm pretty sure Six should already know this seeing as, you know, he was there. The President seems shocked that Brown was in on the plot (Again, weird, seeing as, you know, he saw it). The Colonel mentions this as being part of a number of odd occurrences, and reveals the fact that Captain Black went missing after his return from Mars. Scarlet is to fly Six to a new safe-house, escourted by the angels. Remember, White reminds him, they are facing forces they "do not understand". That's three.

The jets take off, using the same footage from earlier in the episode. As they fly off, Lieutenant Green (remember him? Black dude) tells White that they found the body of Brown at the car crash site. White says that something must have happened there that "they do not entirely understand". That's four. White turns his pimpin turn-table desk around to look at a wall chart, and he and Green work out that Scarlet must also be an impostor. They order Scarlet to turn around, but no response. Things just got real.

Guess which one is Lieutenant Green?

Hint: it's not this guy.

Destiny Angels' warning shot is ignored by Scarlet. Pres Six tries to radio for help, but Scarlet bitch slaps him in the face before ejecting them both from the jet. Destiny reports that once on the ground, Scarlet took the President at gunpoint into a nearby car. The chase is on!

I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered!

To help with the chase, the Aryan Captain Blue arrives at a gas station, where a truck is being used to hide a Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle, a bullet shape car that Blue drives facing backwards, looking at a TV monitor of the front of the car. This apparently helps reduce injuries in the case a forward collision or something. Anyways, he goes off after Scarlet's stolen car. To keep him on a single road, Destiny Angel orders one of her wingladies (wingmanette?) to blow up an overpass! Boom! Now Scarlet can only go one way, onto a towering edifice known as the London Car-Vu. As far as I can tell, you drive to the top and look at things.


Scarlet drives up, and Blue is in hot pursuit. What follows is about a minute and a half of the two cars going up that thing, ALL THE WHILE there is a horrible screeching noise of rubber squealing of asphalt. The whole time. Its awful. I had to mute. Finally, they reach the top, and Scarlet takes Six at gunpoint to a girder that's jutting off the building. A cut-away reveals our old friend Captain Black. Remember him? He looks zombieish now. Apparently, he's the Mysterons agent (shocking, I know). He reveals via radio to Scarlet that they (the Mysterons) have taken over a Spectrum helicopter which is coming to get them.

The foulest stench is in the air, the funk of forty thousand years!

Captain Blue reaches the top, and slllloooowly uses an automated chair to get out of his car. He slips on a jet-pack, for some reason. He tries to shoot down Scarlet, but the helicopter shoots at him! A frantic- a decently paced game of cat and mouse is played between Blue and the chopper.

All this science, I don't understand...

Bullets are flying, everything is crazy! Destiny Angel shoots down the helicopter, it hits the Car-Vu and blows it up real good! The Car-Vu starts to tip over. Blue shoots Scarlet, and grabs the Pres! Scarlet plummets to the earth, the Car-Vu blows up, AND THE DAY IS SAVED!!!!

I think he looks more like Richard Hatch

Back at Cloudbase, Colonel White is talking to his staff. Not only is Scarlet still alive, but he is apparently now indestructible. They apparently have some kind of science thing that can figure that out. Also, Scarlet is no longer under the Mysterons control. We have a final shot of Scarlet looking... same as always, while wearing his grandmother's dress. Then the credits roll.

What else could it be?

The credits really are the best part. There is a rocking score by Barry Gray, who also did the music for most of Andersons' other series. The music accompanies a bunch of drawn images of Scarlet in danger, being far more emotive and flexible than the real puppet ever could be. Seeing as he's indestructible, he's not really in any peril. In fact, the credits have more action than the average episode. Scarlet fights a snake! Falls off a building! Surrounded by sharks! Falls in Goo! Wall with Spikes! FILMED IN SUPERMARIONATION!

A force we do not entirely understand. One down, thirty odd to go.