Department S 1.24 – Spencer Bodily is Sixty Years Old

It’s occasionally interesting to watch television from fifty-plus years ago and see what psychological and sociological ideas were in vogue then. This time, Department S is working against a pair of American agents, their mission kept very hush-hush, after it gets out that a suicide victim who looks about twenty was born in 1909. There’s a notion that being trapped in a body that will never age will require constant psychological counseling and post-hypnotic suggestion, because this would simply make you crack. There’s another notion that given eternal youth, mankind will just keep reproducing long past the point that the planet could possibly support the population. That’s an interesting point; I wonder whether people would keep having children if the realistic number of years during which a woman can safely carry a child were tripled, or would people have about the same number of children, spaced out more.

At any rate, these questions get a little more screen time than you might expect from a fanciful crime series. It’s not a bad episode, and it features Iain Cuthbertson and Garfield Morgan in small roles, but Wyngarde walks away with it again. At one point, he explains that he has no use for astrology because he knows exactly how he will die: exquisitely of drink and sensual indulgence, enjoying every moment of it. Our hero!

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