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Showing posts from May, 2016

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: “The Deep Six Affair”

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Well, huh. This is a fourth-season episode, and yet it’s actually sort of good. What are the odds?
In the basement of a Chinese restaurant in London, a THRUSH agent named Commander Krohler (“The See-Paris-And-Die Affair”’s Alfred Ryder) holds Napoleon captive, along with an agent from U.N.C.L.E.’s London office, Brian Morton (Peter Bromilow). Krohler has in his possession stolen blueprints for a powerful new nuclear submarine, which he plans to sell to a sinister Chinese gangster, Mr. Yu.
Mr. Yu arrives at the restaurant, and negotiations begin. Oh, lordy. Despite my brave earlier claims, this isn’t good. This is mortifying. See, Illya Kuryakin, Man of a Thousand Faces, has managed to take the place of the real Mr. Yu, which means he’s glued a Fu Manchu mustache onto his lip and is speaking with what I suppose he thinks is a Chinese accent. Mortifying and racist! I can’t watch this. Let’s get through this scene as quickly as possible.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: “The Deadly Quest Affair”

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Illya is in the hospital, where he’s grouchily recuperating from a concussion sustained in the course of a mission involving a bikini model named Margo. Napoleon stops by to provide his partner with sympathy and moral support, and also to casually imply that he’s shagging Margo. Then he triumphantly sails out of the hospital room, leaving Illya sputtering with rage. The last time a bikini model showed romantic interest in Illya, she had to forcibly drag him into a bedroom to get him to notice her, so it’s probably fair to assume Illya’s fury here is due more to Napoleon’s blatant display of one-upmanship than to losing own his shot at Margo. If there’s a single element that defines the Illya-Napoleon dynamic, apart from their deep and heartfelt friendship, it’s the joy they take in delivering a perfectly-executed cockblock.
While Illya recovers, two thugs dressed as doctors break into his room and attack him. Illya tries to fight them off, but they drug him into submission. “Get him …

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: “The THRUSH Roulette Affair”

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Somewhere in the Caribbean, a gaggle of well-heeled gamblers play a high-stakes game of roulette at a private casino. At the stroke of midnight, foppish casino magnate-turned-THRUSH agent Barnaby Partridge* (Michael Rennie, who joins Leo G. Carroll and Anne Francis on the elite list of Man From U.N.C.L.E. actors who get name-checked in “Science Fiction Double Feature” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show) informs the group they’ve been gambling with their lives: Each guest has some vital information that THRUSH wants, and they’ll either tell it to him, or die.
*This makes three episodes featuring THRUSH villains with the last name of Partridge: Along with Barnaby, we’ve got Mrs. Partridge in “The Her Master’s Voice Affair” and crazy old Edith and Emory Partridge in “The Gazebo in the Maze Affair”. Maybe they’re all related! Maybe this was some kind of internal gag! Maybe the writers were too lazy to drum up alternate surnames! We’ll never know.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: “The Master’s Touch Affair”

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In Lisbon, Illya poses as a cabbie and drives Napoleon along a winding mountain road in search of the current hideout of Pharos Mandor, the exiled second-in-command of all of THRUSH. Following a failed coup attempt, Mandor has turned traitor against his former compatriots, supplying U.N.C.L.E. with vital information about THRUSH’s inner workings in exchange for great sums of cash. Illya and Napoleon are trailed by a THRUSH agent operating under the orders of Valandros (Nehemiah Persoff), Mandor’s former protégé and current arch-nemesis. A squadron of Mandor’s personal bodyguards swoop down the hillside and mount an attack. They murder the THRUSH agent, kidnap Napoleon, and leave poor Illya stranded on the side of the road with his totaled cab.
Napoleon is whisked off to a lavish gated villa to meet with Mandor, who is played by Hawaii Five-O’s effortlessly sleek and cool Jack Lord. This is a season four episode, which is another way of saying it’s really not any good—the pacing is sl…

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: “The Summit-Five Affair”

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As an exercise in masochism, all this month I’ll be looking at episodes from U.N.C.L.E.’s dismal fourth and final season. First up: the utterly ridiculous season premiere.
Napoleon visits the Berlin headquarters of U.N.C.L.E.’s Northeast division to inspect the security system in advance of Summit-Five, a meeting of U.N.C.L.E.’s five division chiefs. He’s led around the building by the snooty chief enforcement agent, Strothers (Lloyd Bochner, making his second appearance on this show after “The See-Paris-And-Die Affair”), and a communications expert named Newman (Don Chastain). When an alarm goes off, Newman realizes the building’s security has been grievously compromised*. He barricades himself inside the office of the absent division chief and places an emergency call to Mr. Waverly in New York. The call is cut off; when Napoleon breaks down the office door, he discovers Newman’s freshly-murdered corpse.
*We will never find out how security was compromised, or why the alarm sparked…