EPISODE 32 Ė "THE INQUISITION"
"I need something more substantial than anything youíve told me so farÖ"
Captain Black, Lieutenant Green and Symphony Angel are also glimpsed in flashbacks to old episodes but thatís your lot, Iím afraid.
"We have observed the Spectrum organisationís attempts to counter usÖ"
Itís bloody well taken you long enough.
"Ö but one of the members of Spectrum will betray you all. We will be avenged."
Captain Blue and Captain Scarlet have taken each other out for dinner (why?) when the former orders a post-meal cup of coffee. The coffee, however, was drugged and when Scarlet returns from getting their coats he discovers that his friend has disappeared.
Captain Blue wakes up in Cloudbase but the man sitting at the Colonelís desk is not Colonel White. He introduces himself as Colgan, of Spectrum Intelligence, and demands proof of Captain Blueís identity, preferably the Spectrum cipher codes. Blue refuses to do this but, upon prompting, relates some of the events of Big Ben Strikes Again instead. Colgan urges him to introduce some clips from Crater 101, following which Blue also throws some segments from The Trap into the bargain for our entertainment. By this point Colgan has got bored of this onslaught of old footage and demands that Blue tell him the cipher codes but, again, Blue refuses. The threat of a truth serum injection is made, Captain Blue dives out of the window and it turns out that the control room heís been sitting in is in fact a mock-up in a company warehouse. Captain Scarlet arrives in an SPV, meets Captain Blue and blows the place up. The End.
And thatís twenty-five minutes of my life that I wonít be getting back.
The Mysterons own a relatively large warehouse.
Correction: they owned a relatively large warehouse.
Oh, and Captain Blue is seemingly menaced by Blake Edwards holding a syringe. The horror, the horror.
Courtesy of The Trap we once again get to witness the sight of Scarlet getting repeatedly shot in the chest with machine guns and then blown up in the decimation of a Scottish castle.
Nothing bad happens to Spectrum. At all. Itís just us, the viewers, who are cruelly afflicted.
The Mysterons fail to get the cipher codes due to the stoic heroism of Captain Blue so the score now rests at:
Spectrum: 26 Mysterons: 6
And so thatís the final score. Quite a wide margin there. I honestly thought that the Mysterons had notched up more successes than that overall but, well, I was wrong. Deeply wrong. Deeply, pitifully and wretchedly wrong.
Captain Blueís exposition introducing the clips is functional but not atrocious.
COLGAN: "You know Captain Scarlet?"
BLUE: "Of course I know Captain Scarlet! Probably better than anyone."
"I took him out to dinner! He rubbed my knee under the table! It was magical!"
Captain Blue, talking of the atomic device theft from Big Ben Strikes Again, says, "The situation was explosive!"
The final lines of dialogue spoken in the series:
SCARLET: "You can tell me all about itÖ back on the real Cloudbase."
Itís all gone wrong somehow.
COLGAN: "Who are you? And what are you doing here?"
Since Captain Blue has only just woken up Iíd imagine heís here because you carried him here, you eejit.
BLUE: "I know everyone on Spectrum Cloudbase!"
"Except Dr Fawn, I donít know him. Bugger never says anything."
BLUE: "This should prove my identity beyond all reasonable doubt!"
Then he tells the story of how he went on a Scottish holiday in The Trap. Thatís a bit pathetic, surely? Doesnít establish his identity as Captain Blue; he could have been the porter.
BLUE: "There was an air conference at Glen Garry Castle. The story was never released to the press but, as itís only Class C security, Iíll tell you."
COLGAN: "Oh, thatís interesting."
No it isnít.
Captain Scarlet seems to be the only man sent to rescue Captain Blue, turning up at the end in time to blow the Mysteron buggers away without stopping to enquire as to whether the warehouse contains any innocents.
The Mysterons donít kill anybody. In fact the most dastardly thing they do here is to spike the coffee.
Spectrum loses nothing, even if we all do.
The final episode doesnít give us any top-notch cliff-edge vehicular trauma, not even in the clips from old episodes.
Thanks to the clips we see lots of explosions when the Mysteron lunar complex and Glen Garry Castle are blown up. Within the episode proper we get two adequate bangs when Scarlet launches the offensive on the warehouse.
"Are you feeling all right, Adam?" Forenames are allowed at the dining table, it seems. Scarlet also repeats the name upon realising that Blue has disappeared.
Blue gives his real name to Colgan Ė "I am Adam Svenson!" Ė who claims to already know it.
And a final "Come on, Adam," at the end. Riveting stuff.
The Colonel isnít even in it!
Why the Hell are Scarlet and Blue still wearing their massive jackets (still buttoned up) at the dining table? And why did they apparently wear big, fur-lined coats to the restaurant as well? Would you really feel the need to leave the house wearing a business suit AND a winter-coat over the top of it? The fact that Scarlet goes to get the coats before even receiving a bill also indicates that he had no intention of paying for the meal anyway.
The coffee that Captain Blue orders arrives within six seconds. This is not realistic at all as in real life a waiter, upon realising that youíve finished your meal, wonít give a stuff as to what you want afterwards as youíll already owe the house upwards of £40 including a service charge, and so they can feel free to take their merry time over getting you your final hot beverage and after-dinner mints. In my experience.
We keep getting lots of close ups and shots of the bloke playing the piano at the restaurant, as if heís going to become a figure of vital significance. Itís therefore a surprise when he never appears again. The waiter, with his pink livery and evil goatee, looks unfathomably suspicious as well.
Colgan, the guy giving Captain Blue a grilling as to his identity, appears to be none other than USA President Roberts seen a few episodes ago in The Launching, except thatís too baffling for words.
We see the opening segments of Big Ben Strikes Again, showing the Mysterons stealing the atomic device transporter Ė but no more from that episode. So whatís the point? Itís not a very exciting segment in the first place but why bother if youíre not going to remind the viewers how the situation was eventually resolved? Itís like having a clip show of Jonathan Creek where Creek says, "Remember that time we found that comedian dead with bullet wounds in that bunker despite the fact he couldnít possibly have shot himself?" followed by a flashback to the first five minutes of that episode, after which Jonathan decides that it wouldnít be very interesting to remember any more of it anyhow.
At least we get to see those nice Mysteron city shots from Crater 101. And Ė by the magic of repeated footage Ė a final appearance from Monkey Bastard!!! Hurrah! Bonus!
The ad-break cliffhanger to this episode is the same as that of Crater 101; itís during the flashback, when the Mysteron agent Fraser tells Miss Nolan that Captain Scarlet is going to die in the crater. But, since we know this is a flashback, why should we care?
Owing to the fact that the climax of Crater 101 Ė Nolan getting a message to Scarlet by sending a rocket with a code on it Ė relies on an earlier scene to make sense, we actually have to have a flashback within the flashback to give the sequence narrative cohesion. These episodes werenít very well chosen, were they?
Apparently the events of Crater 101 were "fully reported in the newspapers and on TV." Um, why? Isnít all that sort of thing meant to beÖ secret? Does MI5 and the FBI or whatever launch a press conference when one of their missions is a bit of a success?
During the flashback to The Trap, the footage of Captain Scarlet and Symphony Angel chained up in the dungeon is omitted, and a few shots of Scarlet tied to a chair spliced in just before the Air Conference bit. Owing to the footage being mucked about with it seems as though thereís no explanation for how Scarlet escapes (and gets his hat back) as he just turns up at the conference and starts shooting people.
And whilst weíre putting the boot into the episode, why didnít Captain Blue ever think to ask for Colganís identification? Why didnít he ever try to leave the control room to find other Spectrum personnel? And why didnít the Mysterons use the truth serum in the first place?
So itís come to this: a Captain Scarlet clip show. Needless to say, as the final episode of this gloriously entertaining series it fails utterly and completely, giving us no sense of closure and not even entertaining us in its own right. A clip show for a drama series that only has episodes of a twenty-five minute duration isnít a great idea at the best of times Ė Thunderbirds sort of got away with it once as those episodes were double the length so they could pack more in Ė and it also doesnít help that the three episodes recalled arenít the most exciting that the series gave us. Winged Assassin, Spectrum Strikes Back and Place of Angels would have been a far better selection. Instead we donít even get a feeling of a celebratory episode, with the clips themselves even managing to bore us; recall such classic moments as the nuclear transporter decking some police cars, Captain Scarlet getting involved in a kinky Scottish bondage session, and Captain Blue looking like a knob in that space helmet. Not to mention the final bow of Monkey Bastard. I remember when I first watched this episode, with no knowledge of what it contained, that the opening intrigued me quite a bit with its Prisoner-esque leanings. Imagine how my sense of delight slowly turned to one of horror as the first flashback began. This really is a poor conclusion to a great TV show, especially so considering the explosive finale that Attack on Cloudbase could have given us last week.
A great shame.
Monkey Bastard wishes to say goodbyeÖ
Ö as does Blake Edwards. "ĎThe Son of the Pink Pantherí could have worked!" he attempts to explain to us. I donít believe him and neither should you.
"Hi. Iím not really in this. But itís nice to know you appreciate my music."
Captain Blue is ashamed at the way itís all ended, as well he might. I feel embarrassed for him, to tell you the truth. He didnít even get a good cup of coffee either.