Opening channel D.
Solo breaks into a pawnbroker’s shop watched by a strange but attractive woman with dead eyes and spooky outstretched zombie arms. Great staring into the lens perspective. The woman rips apart a wire fence to get to him. Superhuman strength! Bullets have no effect. She has poor vision however and can’t tell difference between a man and a dummy. Something I imagine a lot of women might sympathise with.
We’re two episodes into the third series now. I don’t like this jazzed up version of the theme tune as much as the original.
Sci-fi writer Harlan Ellison wrote this one, I hadn’t realised he wrote for this sort of thing.
So THRUSH needs a huge bank loan but what’s it for? It was Solo’s mission to find out but no-one believes his crazy bulletproof lady story so he’s ordered to sort himself out, stop making up silly stories and sent to a spa for some Indian head massage and a pedicure. Kuryakin is sent on the mission instead, to pose as a Swiss banker and meet with THRUSH.
But wait…there’s an advertising promo being filmed in the street, just as the two agents walk past. A really tacky advert in which a semi naked model flashes her product placement body art…oh dear. I’m quite used to this sort of thing here in the sixties. Suddenly pre-credits zombie/android lady walks past – the actress model recognises her as Muriel, her roommate! Muriel’s a great name for a zombie/android.
A new character: the man who ‘built’ Muriel is Dr Pertwee. I’m sure you’ll agree, Pertwee seems like an unlikely name for a Doctor. Dr Pertwee is a classic batty old misguided professor.
Muriel catches up with the two agents and tries to give Solo a relaxing shoulder massage ahead of his spa break. I’d be delighted, but a jealous Kuryakin tries to intervene and Muriel casually knocks him across the street, so he shoots her. The body is taken back to HQ for an autopsy. Turns out Muriel is a cyborg. Except it’s 1966 and the word cyborg isn’t in common usage, so she’s an “artificial human”.
So Solo wasn’t losing his marbles and now he gets to pose as the Swiss banker and infiltrate the THRUSH meeting, and Kuryakin gets to team up with the bimbo model and visit a New York fortune teller.
Solo’s in the finance meeting with THRUSH agents Mr Lash and his lady colleague Margo who is flirting like mad with the spy. He is most definitely “in there”. The loan is for production of an army of artificial humans: A77s. ‘Production’ involves turning real live sexy ladies into robotic servants. Muriel walks in…except it’s not Muriel, she’s Denise. Mr Lash is raving mad…he starts ranting and breaking pencils. Flirty lady calms him down gently. This reminds me of the bonkers landscape painter in the Fast Show who goes loopy when he thinks of black, and his patient wife/partner/friend (“Johnny…”) Everyone looks uncomfortable. Denise drinks acid. Not even for a bet. They literally ask her to drink acid so she does it.
Meanwhile, bimbo model shows some unexpected depth and points out a cunning subtext in the script: “Being a symbol of consumer culture I sometimes forget how to be a human being.”
Pertwee’s long-winded answer phone message is amusing. Answer phones are not common in 1966, so we need instructions spelled out in fine detail.
Flirty Margo tells Solo all the company secrets because he asks. “I thought bankers only dealt with one kind of figure.” They soon dispense with all the innuendo though, and Solo lays his metaphorical cards on the metaphorical table…he wants to join THRUSH! This naturally drives Margo wild with desire.
Mr Kuryakin and his new model friend are banged up in a cell but soon escape. They find Pertwee. He’s got a gun, but Illya has a fake gun so Pertwee agrees to cooperate.
Solo is in luck. Flirty Margo has a rotating sex bed in her office. He has planted a bug so UNCLE can listen in on his love poetry and champagne clinking. Kuryakin and the model burst in and blow his cover. They all escape via the sex bed. There’s a big sixties corridor chase and an army of remote controlled a77 ladies are unleashed. Most of them aren’t as hot as Muriel though so they have to wear creepy masks of her face to hide their own. There’s a spot of sixties fisticuffs in the control booth and a short circuit puts paid to the robot ladies.
That was a fun episode, packed full of all the kitsch, colour and zaniness you want and expect from this era. Reminded me of the Avengers.