EPISODE 21 Ė "FIRE AT RIG 15"
"If either the wells or the refinery were destroyed, it would be disastrous for Spectrum."
During a briefing scene, we also get cameos from Captain Grey and Dr Fawn. Yes, I know, Dr Fawn! Amazing, isnít it?
"We have observed the pathetic attempts of Spectrum to combat us and we have decided to render them powerless. We intend to immobilise the whole of Spectrum."
Succinct and insulting. The perfect Mysteron threat. Doesnít stop Captain Blue from saying:
"We were wondering exactly what they meant by it."
I weep for that boy, I really do.
The Mysterons cause an inferno at a Spectrum oil rig, one of the many facilities that takes up oil for use at the Bensheba refinery, the place at which all Spectrum fuel is synthesised; all Spectrum vehicles and aircraft depend on the fuel. The foreman at Rig 15 calls for Jason Smith, an explosives expert who specialises at putting out fires "like a candle" via carefully placed and powerful explosive charges. The Mysterons kill and duplicate Jason during the operation and then send him on a kamikaze mission to ram the Bensheba refinery with his charge-laden truckÖ
The Mysterons use their powers to open the master valve at the oil so that the drilling pressure causes the rig to explode. This eventually brings Jason onto the scene, who is then killedÖ somehow. Like Shadow of Fear itís never really explained. Jason is standing before the fire, making some last moment checks before the bomb goes off, and Captain Black is watching him through some binoculars. Black stares at him from afar for a while and then Jason just collapses, unconscious (and is then, of course, consumed in the explosion and crushed by a girder). I recall that this happens again in a later episode set in the Arctic, where some guy just seems to be standing around outside for a while doing nothing at all before suddenly keeling over to get duplicated.
Captain Scarlet manages to divert Jason away from the refinery before seemingly crashing his SPV and decimating the refinery himself. Fortunately it turns out that he only rammed into some peripheral oil tanks but I was left wondering for a moment.
Aside from the mishap detailed above, Spectrumís competent this time round.
Spectrum: 17 Mysterons: 4
Two workmen swap exposition:
CHARLIE: "This special oil for Spectrum is certainly a long way down."
KINLEY: "But ultrasonic drilling is pretty fast. Weíll soon strike."
Yes, I think Charlieís probably aware of that. Itís his job, after all.
CHARLIE: "I hear Spectrum want this fuel urgently for their refinery at Bensheba."
KINLEY: "Now thatís a place you should see! The processing plant there is unique."
This would be like if two bank clerks at Lloyds TSB were talking to each other and one suddenly exclaimed, "We really ought to have a day out at Natwest!" i.e. very improbable.
Captain Blue and the foreman, Kinley, appear to be sharing a cool night out together at the episodeís conclusion, accompanied by quiet, soothing music. UmÖ
And, again, no intentional humour.
A bit of a change from the norm, when Scarlet is brought back to Cloudbase:
"Give him VIP treatment. Heís done a great job. And erÖ Iím sure heíll effect a complete recovery. Just make him comfortable. Heíll do the rest."
You half expect him to volunteer to read Scarlet a story before plugging in a nightlight.
WHITE: "Dr Fawn, we have a patient for you Ė an old patient."
Old? Blimey, Colonel, Scarletís only 32!
And, er, thatís it. Yeah. Thereís hardly any dialogue in this one at all. In fact I struggled to find material even half worth mocking.
Another mission for Scarlet and Blue, though Melody Angel flies about on surveillance. Far more interesting is a fleeting glimpse of the elusive Dr Fawn, who hasnít been seen since, I think, episode 8. Cunningly tucked away in the right hand side of the frame, Fawn seems to have decided to turn up in his officerís togs, hat and all, despite the fact that all he had to do was walk down one corridor to get there. Itís quite strange that his suit is white considering that, well, itís the same colour as that worn by Colonel White (it goes with the nameÖ obviously). I suspect thatís why Fawn doesnít get to do anything: the Colonel hates him for having the same uniform so keeps him locked up in the medbay, where he can patronise Fawn from a distance over radio-link.
Jason is killed and his duplicate buries the body with the poor chapís own truck. He doesnít make a good job of it, though, as the dead Jason is discovered instantly the next morning.
Spectrum loses some of its oil tanks at Bensheba and, of course, Rig 15.
Captain Scarlet does indeed crash the SPV but, sadly, not over a cliff edge.
Some good special effects means that we get five big explosions and three small ones, not to mention one absolutely massive fireball when Rig 15 goes up.
A far softer and happier Colonel than usual, as evidenced by the fact that he coos like an old and caring relative over the hospitalised Scarlet. "Howís my little Champ, eh? Heh heh!"
Isnít it a bit silly for Spectrum to get all of its vital fuel from one source? They were just waiting for somebody to knock it out, werenít they?
The chap voicing Jason Smith is either attempting a weak Kentucky accent or an even weaker Australian one Ė itís impossible to tell.
This week an SPV is requisitioned from an empty oil storage tank. I enjoy thematic relevance in Captain Scarlet no end.
Something I donít entirely get hereÖ The Mysteron agent is rather cleverly following the pipeline from the rig to the refinery, meaning that should anybody try to bomb his truck the pipeline will go up with it. Scarlet therefore has to chase after him in the SPV but is miles behind. He therefore decides to make a shortcut across the desert to catch up with Jason Ė but the pipe runs completely straight so how does that work? The SPV goes off at a 90į angle and zooms away into the wilderness, meaning that it ought to be going even further away from Jasonís current location. Yet, of course, he manages to catch up with him anyway. Itís also strange that when he finally rams Jasonís truck off its current course it simply ambles into a mild incline and obliterates itself.
And, umÖ right. Iíve been saving this for an emergency. Thereís so little of note to talk about in this episode that Iím reduced to analysing the end creditsí sequence. Now, for those that donít know, the end credits of Captain Scarlet are laid onto lots of paintings of Captain Scarlet involved in a variety of moments of deadly danger, reinforcing his indestructible nature. However, it has to be said that the paintings depict a very curious mixture of scenarios for Scarlet to be caught up in as only a minimum of them seem as though they could conceivably occur during the series itself Ė most would have been entirely impractical for the puppeteers to achieve! Itís quite strange, then, that they chose to illustrate in their end credits lots of scenarios far more dramatic than anything ever witnessed in the episodes themselves. To counteract this effect they also include some slightly sillier paintings of Scarlet involved in situations marginally more perilous than being 2p short for some stamps at the Co-op. In order, then, we get:
Scarlet sinking in a pit of green quicksand in a jungle. Thatís quite scary in a way, as being indestructible would mean that heíd be stuck down there for an eternity, dying over and over again Ė though, of course, nothing so horrifying happens to him in the series itself;
Scarlet falling off a gigantic skyscraper and plummeting to the street below, in which Scarletís face appears to resemble that of my Uncle Derek. But, er, thatís neither here nor there. As far as Iím aware, my uncle isnít indestructible, by the way;
Scarlet tied up with ropes and being menaced by a cobra; oh come on, when on Earth would that have happened in this show?!
Scarlet falling out of a car as if he was pissed on a Friday night;
Scarlet underneath an avalanche of boulders and reaching desperately for some dynamite (what was he going to do with it? Eat it?);
A combination of some of the above as Scarlet is tied up, weighted with boulders and plummeting towards the bottom of the seabed whilst being menaced by sharks (!!!)
Scarlet dynamically holding some walls lined with deadly spikes apart, trying, perhaps in vain, to prevent himself from being crushed to death, a state from which heíd never recover;
Scarlet looking up as some boxes fall on him (sigh);
Scarlet dancing on a scrap heap like Michael Flatley and looking as if he gets his jollies from being crushed by military vehicles;
Scarlet jumping by some canisters, seemingly backstage at a burning theatre.
And there we go; the Far More Dramatically Satisfying Adventures of Captain Scarlet! Still, Dr Fawn appeared in this episode and you canít beat that.
A fair enough episode with some good special effects but nothing outrageously decent otherwise.
Apparently Bansheba is a place we should see, so hereís a picture of it. Iím not very impressed, personally.
Spectrum road rage. Grrr.
"Have you suffered an accident at work that wasnít your fault? Call ĎClaims Directí now onÖ"
Spot the medical practitioner and win a prize. Or, er, just a greater sense of self-esteem.