Episode 02 – "Winged Assassin"

"… And I don’t have to spell out the consequences if he’s killed."

Captain Ochre makes his first appearance here, leaning fairly suggestively against what looks like a bar in the Spectrum mess hall. Oo-er.

"… we know you can hear us, Earth men. You will pay for your unprovoked attack on our complex on Mars. We will be avenged. We will assassinate the Director General of the United Asian Republic."

The Mysterons pretty much sum it up above. There’s not much more to this episode than the Mysterons trying to kill off a Director General (utilising a DT.19 passenger aircraft as its "assassin") whilst Spectrum – and a fully recovered Captain Scarlet – attempt to stop them. However, it’s never really explained what a Director General does, which leads me to ponder if the kiddies at home wondered what all the fuss was about. A quick bit of research at Wikipedia tells me that a European Commission Director General is roughly equivalent to a British Permanent Secretary. So now I’m wondering what all the fuss is about…

Dr Fawn states that his tests on Captain Scarlet prove that he has "retained the ability of retro-metabolism," (which means he can heal wounds very quickly) which suggests that other Mysteron agents have the same miraculous ability. This doesn’t explain why an agent at the beginning of this episode gets killed by a single gunshot, though.

The Mysterons cause engine failure in the DT.19 jet and drain the plane of all its power, seemingly from afar, allowing it to crash so that they can replicate it. Like the helicopter from the previous episode, the Mysteron jet flies itself though the dead pilot’s voice is still heard – the Mysterons are good vocal impressionists, t’would seem.

The Mysterons jam the weaponry of the SPV – which suggests that they can sap the power from anything at will. Quite why they don’t use this ability to destroy the SPV immediately remains a mystery, as is why they don’t attempt to directly affect the small private plane containing the escaping Director General, preferring to try and drive a passenger jet into it instead.

Another car crash, another "death" for Captain Scarlet. Prat.

The Angels don’t appear to be able to hit a massive, slow moving jet whilst it’s still on its runway.

Not content with merely sacrificing his own life, Scarlet’s whirligig SPV crashes into a small airport radar installation, presumably killing everybody working inside it. Sigh.

Despite Scarlet’s efforts and a fairly spectacular conclusion (which has echoes of the first episode of Thunderbirds) in which Scarlet manages to put the DT.19 out of action, the Mysterons succeed in destroying their target by a sheer quirk of fate when the Director General’s private plane crashes itself into the disabled jet’s rear fin. No, really. Double sigh.

Still, it means the score now stands at:

Spectrum: 1 Mysterons: 1

No dodgy exposition, though Dr Fawn’s "You’re exactly as you were before the episode," sounds alarmingly self-referential, seeing as it’s a TV show and all.

Captain Grey sounds remarkably threatening towards the Director General’s double – "Wave at the crowd…" No wonder the other chap looks scared out of his wits, as his rather feeble hand waving attests. The real Director General, meanwhile, seems to hate Grey’s guts if his stern replies to any of the poor Captain’s questions are anything to go by.

Dr Fawn leaning in to examine Captain Scarlet is good for a giggle (see screen captures).

Yet another rather dour episode, this.

Actually, the episode finishes at the airport itself, so Colonel White is robbed the chance of a morale-boosting speech.

Ten out of ten for memory on Scarlet’s part when recalling his chat with Captain Brown in the previous episode:

SCARLET: "I remember… I wished him luck…"

FLASHBACK SCARLET: "Well, your first big assignment. I wish you luck."

___

"Gentlemen, we have a job to do!" says Colonel White in a room with only one other man in it. Later on he gets the faintly melodramatic "Within an hour the airport will be sealed… but I have a feeling that somewhere plans are being made to break that seal!"

___

Captain Scarlet brushes off Blue’s congratulations:

BLUE: "It’s great to have you back, Captain Scarlet!"

SCARLET: "It’s great to be back… do we go straight to the airport?"

___

And the closing dialogue of the episode, taking the place of the Colonel’s speech:

AIRPORT CHAP: "A brave man [Captain Scarlet]. Pity he died in vain."

BLUE: "Maybe he didn’t die…"

AIRPORT CHAP: "What?"

BLUE: "… in vain."

The dialogue itself is serviceable, but the gap that Blue leaves before uttering his get-out clause is large enough to drive sixteen SPVs through (before crashing them, obviously).

Captain Grey appears in the opening teaser, swiftly gunning down an assassin on the general’s balcony. He then sticks around to act as the chap’s bodyguard, seemingly supervising operations.

We also see our first bog standard Spectrum soldier bloke, at London Airport – we see a lot of them throughout the series, standing around at key installations, doing and saying nothing and usually letting the Mysteron agents walk straight by…

The pilot and co-pilot die in the plane crash in what is actually a very grim sequence. It’s inferred that there were also a lot of passengers on there too who met with a sticky end in the same explosion. Blimey.

Only one SPV has to be accounted for, allowing Spectrum to regain its losses after losing half its arsenal in the last episode.

We get a repeat of the car crash from the previous episode for our pleasure. However, in interests of fairness, I haven’t counted it in regards to the category below. Captain Scarlet’s SPV also goes haywire but there are a lack of cliff-edges next to London Airport. In Supermarionation Land that’s really rather surprising…

3 large, satisfying ones, and 7 minor.

No first names used here at all. We don’t even learn what the Director General is called.

Another miserable Colonel White guides us through this episode.

The guidelines of Scarlet’s "indestructible" abilities are outlined here, with Dr Fawn telling us that Scarlet can be killed by things that would destroy ordinary humans – and will feel the associated pain – but after a few hours will have healed himself. Scarlet, therefore, isn’t really "indestructible" in the common sense of the word; rather he can resurrect himself after a necessary delay. Incidentally, the camera zoom on Captain Scarlet’s face when he’s told this is pretty wacky.

Another of Scarlet’s abilities is first seen here: he begins to feel ill when he comes into the vicinity of another Mysteron. It’s a curious and frankly rather rubbish ability – who wants a dicky tummy when they’re about to engage in a gunfight? - which is probably why it’s never referred to again beyond the first few episodes.

The DT.19 jet seems to be an old and repainted Thunderbird 2 model with some extra stuff added to it. It’s also bizarre that the Mysteron jet actually comes in to land at London airport, given that it then immediately takes off again once Air Traffic Control realise that mysterious hijinks are afoot. Why didn’t it just fly about in the air for a bit and wait for the Director General’s flight to take off?

As already referenced above, we have our first flashback here to one of the events of the first episode. It won’t be the first time that happens in this series.

Captains Scarlet and Blue seem to get their SPV from a camp steel-manufacturing executive, who keeps it inside a fake holiday caravan. Class.

If the General is so damned important, why does he sleep at night with his window wide open, ready for any old assassin to come along and take a pot shot? And attempting an assassination this soon in the episode’s duration is a bit out of character for the Mysterons, who usually don’t make any decisive moves against their target until they’ve told our heroes about it first.

And finally, the opening teaser finishes with a whacking great zoom on a logo sewn onto the General’s pyjamas. Does said badge have any importance to the ensuing plot? Um… no. Righto then.

Quite an enjoyable little episode and it’s nice to see that it takes place immediately after the previous one, allowing a bit of internal continuity to be built up. The audience is given most of the rest of the info it’ll need to enjoy the rest of the series, and we get our first Spectrum defeat to boot! Good stuff.

 

Captain Grey struts his stuff.

Would you claim a used SPV from this man?

"I… I don’t want this moment to end…"