A couple of episodes ago, we got a snatch of filming in Paris. “The Lion and the Unicorn” is set in the city, the first of three episodes to be largely set in France, and sees our heroes capturing an international assassin. The Unicorn has been avoiding Steed for a decade, only to have the assassin’s incompetent associates – I mean “Lex Luthor keeping Otis around” incompetent – unwittingly shoot their boss dead from across the street while aiming for Steed. As long as the baddies don’t know that their boss is dead, everything’s fine. But then they kidnap some small-fry European royalty and demand an exchange.
Our son was incredibly pleased with this one, but the execution fumbled for me. It starts in England, with both a very good car chase and a small appearance by Gerald Sim before we move to Paris and a supporting cast of French actors.
In France, there’s another car chase which had our kid in stitches and me appreciating his good humor more than anything that made it onscreen. There’s nothing wrong with playing a car chase strictly for laughs, but without the budget and ability to close the Parisian streets like a Bond or a Bourne film, and risk any parked cars, we keep getting the silly after-effects of cars that have just sped by without us seeing them. Throw in a climactic explosion which only lacks a comedy womp-womp soundtrack, and you’ll probably wonder whether the director thought he was making a cheap Inspector Clouseau film instead of The New Avengers.