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Friday Roundup

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Bear with me during the site redesign, please. It's a work-in-progress at the moment; I'm not in love with it, but it'll get there, I hope...


The Duranalysis book will be released on April 20th, barring catastrophe. Looks pretty snazzy, right? I'm very happy with how it turned out. You'll be able to preorder the ebook on April 1st or thereabouts; the print book probably won't be able to be preordered, but I'll make sure to provide everyone with purchase links, plus I'll probably try to do a pre-release giveaway or two, either here or at the Duranalysis Facebook page.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: “The Apple-a-Day Affair”

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At a newsstand, Illya and Napoleon make contact with a traitorous THRUSH agent, who slips them THRUSH’s latest top-secret project—a bag filled with apples—in exchange for cash. Their transaction is interrupted by a gaggle of armed THRUSH goons, who swoop in and retrieve the apples. In the resulting melee, Napoleon hurls an apple at the newsstand, which explodes on contact.
Back at headquarters, Mr. Waverly explains the assignment: THRUSH has developed a new strain of apples laced with nitroglycerine, which they plan to use to blow up a nuclear stockpile. The apples given to U.N.C.L.E. by the THRUSH turncoat were wrapped in paper bearing the label of an orchard located in what Waverly dismissively refers to as “hillbilly country,” so Illya and Napoleon rent a jeep and, posing as a pair of traveling encyclopedia salesmen, head into the Appalachians to find the orchard. Illya looks at the rustic surroundings and sniffs, “I have a feeling we’re not going to dispose of too many encycloped…

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: “The Hot Number Affair”

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In Greenwich Village, a villainous THRUSH agent named Buuder (Joe Mantell) harangues a struggling artist, Jay France (Kelton Garwood), who custom-designed a fabric print with a secret THRUSH code embedded in it. The print, which was supposed to be exclusive to THRUSH, popped up in a photograph in a fashion magazine on a dress worn by a model. Under duress, France admits he gave some of the fabric to a friend, a fabric cutter and aspiring designer named Jerry, who works for a struggling design company named Agnes Sue. Buuder and his henchman stab France to death with a pair of scissors, then set his studio on fire. Illya and Napoleon, who are are canvasing the neighborhood in search of France, arrive at the studio just as it explodes into flames. Always two steps behind the plot, gentlemen. You’re off to a good start.
In Mr. Waverly’s office, Illya and Napoleon examine the magazine photo and brainstorm ways to find the dress before it falls back into THRUSH’s hands. Illya flips throug…

Friday Roundup

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Hello! I’m back in business. Putting the site on hiatus throughout most of February turned out to be exactly what was needed—I got my upcoming Duranalysis book finished, edited, and typeset. Cover's done, everything's good to go. Right now, publication date looks like a pretty firm April 20th. It’s good.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: “The Napoleon’s Tomb Affair”

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Pop the champagne! U.N.C.L.E. is back!

We open in Paris, where President Tunick (Kurt Kasznar), ruler of a struggling north African country, is visiting with his trusted advisor, Malanez (Joseph Sirola). A noted Francophile, Tunick worships Napoleon Bonaparte. He’s eager to tour the country, but Malanez cautions him to moderate his expectations: Their country was once under French rule, and Malanez suspects they’ll be regarded with disdain.
At his fancy Parisian hotel, where Illya is posing as a very fetching bellhop, Tunick is greeted respectfully by the staff. All goes well, until an elderly French rabble-rouser starts hurling pointed Gallic insults at him (“You shatter the eardrums of everyone present with your vulgar bellowing!”); the word “nincompoop” is frequently invoked. Tunick shouts insults back at him, and fisticuffs ensue. While trying to protect Tunick, Illya gets accidentally punched in the face, whereupon Napoleon pops out of nowhere to come to his aid, whereupon Napol…

Hiatus!

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I'm midway through a big project that I'm trying very hard to finish by the end of the month, and to make that work, I need to chisel out a chunk of extra time. Ergo, U.N.C.L.E. recaps and Friday Roundups are going to be on hold until the end of the month. It's a necessary evil. Duranalysis Facebook page updates may continue, albeit sporadically.

Take good care of yourselves and be kind to each other. Illya, Napoleon, and I will see you back here in March.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: “The Yo-Ho-Ho and a Bottle of Rum Affair”

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Illya and Napoleon hang out at the docks in Hong Kong, being all delightful and charming while spying on a ship chartered by THRUSH. Illya sneaks on board to search for THRUSH’s latest fiendish device, a contraption that can generate deadly tidal waves. Displaying his usual level of competence, he somehow accidentally ends up locked in the hold. The ship sets sail while Napoleon remains behind on shore. 
This is the last scene Illya and Napoleon will share together until the final seconds of this episode. It’s not a terrible episode or anything—by the grotesquely lowered standards of season three, it’s pretty darn watchable—but it does make the key mistake of keeping Napoleon and Illya separated the whole time, thus depriving viewers of this show’s major strength, i.e. the magnificent chemistry between the leads. This is the first episode Norman Hudis wrote for the series, and, despite some problem areas, he did a decent job of it: The pacing is sluggish, but the characterizations ar…