The Avengers: Season 3, Episode 20

Trojan Horse (29 Mar. 1991)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Comedy, Crime
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 33 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 1 critic

Whilst protecting the race horse of a visiting dignitary in England for the current racing season Steed observes that George Meadows, owner of the livery stables, is behaving oddly. This ... See full summary »

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Title: Trojan Horse (29 Mar 1991)

Trojan Horse (29 Mar 1991) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
...
...
Basil Dignam ...
Major Ronald Pantling
...
Tony Heuston
Derek Newark ...
Johnson
Arthur Pentelow ...
George Meadows
Geoffrey Whitehead ...
Right Honorable Lucien Ffordsham
Lucinda Curtis ...
Ann Meadows
John Lowe ...
Lynton Smith
James Donnelly ...
Kirby
Marjorie Keys ...
Tote Girl
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Storyline

Whilst protecting the race horse of a visiting dignitary in England for the current racing season Steed observes that George Meadows, owner of the livery stables, is behaving oddly. This leads him to uncover a murder organization in which jockeys with high-powered binoculars single out chosen victims and kill them with poison darts. Written by don @ minifie-1

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29 March 1991 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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A Steed Moment
13 March 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Steed uses his ministry credentials to investigate a track that will be hosting a sultan's prized stallion in an upcoming race. John suspects that the track is a front for a ring of hit men. The audience knows that the spy's suspicions are merited from the first scene, a dupe ploy of the Right Honorable Lucien Ffordsham, a young recruit. (The dupe is one of three reasons for the name of the episode, The Trojan Horse.)

This is a Malcolm Hulke (writer)/John Bryce (producer) piece. (When Hulke's work was used by Brian Clemens, the results were horrendous. Since there were only two episodes written from 1965-1969, I think he sort of boycotted the Clemens' years.) Mr. Hulke was a gifted writer for the visual medium. Although he mostly did fan fiction for the Dr. Who series, he also wrote some of their best episodes. Hulke set up compelling images in his work, an employed plain-stating dialogue in very complex situations.

As with much of Hulke's work, there is an ambitious story structure element. Here, the duping of Ffordsham is a competing storyline to the Ministry's investigation. Unlike Hulke's other work for the series, however, this piece is dominated by John Steed. Cathy Gale is a supporting character, and she is not brought in until well into the second half. Steed is not so much undercover, as he is not laying his cards on the table. And this time there is a lot more reaction from minor characters, none of whom like this bowler wearing character hanging around the stables. There are lots of crowd scenes written into the piece, and it's easy to spot that visually, John doesn't fit in. But his knowledge of horses is more than sound.

This story seems to be more in John Steed's element. He's the expert on the subject matter. His duplicity, often on display before the Mrs. Peel era, is warranted. The villain is more of an ambitious crook, than a megalomaniac or scientific mastermind. And the odds might be against Steed, but at least he knows how to switch those to his favor.

Also, give some credit to Laurence Bourne, the director, for the success in this one. The crowd scenes are important for the storytelling arc. It's through the crowd scenes that the Ffordsham story is switched to the Steed storyline, and later on to the Cathy Gale subplot. Bourne uses the mis en scene technique to bring this about. And just as important, he lets the dialogue in these crowd scenes be understandable. In many Avengers episodes, the directors didn't know how to direct a crowd to let the main character's dialogue be understood.


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