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AVENGERS '65 SET #2: VOL 4
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Worth the price of purchase alone is this volume's bonus episode, "Too Many Christmas Trees," which one Avengers-appreciation Web site ranks as the best Emma Peel episode of all time. This "fascinating exercise" (to quote one devilish character) concerns a psychic experiment that gives John Steed deadly nightmares that are coming true. Among the many highlights is the girl of our dreams, Mrs. Peel, helping Steed open his Christmas cards ("Who is Boofums?"). Listen for the in-joke reference to Rigg's predecessor, Honor Blackman, who left the series to star in Goldfinger. Regarding the card from Mrs. Gale, Blackman's character, Steed ponders, "What can she be doing in Fort Knox?" And the sight of Mrs. Peel costumed as Oliver Twist may also cause some sleepless nights!
This volume also contains "The Man-Eater of Surrey Green," a bit of straight-faced silliness about, yes, a man-eating plant from outer space. More down-to-earth is "Two's a Crowd," in which "king of the spies" Colonel Pesev (pronounced "Zev") comes to town. Patrick Macnee does extra duty as Steed and his double, a fashion model ("wearing slacks built for action") named Webster, who is recruited by the Russians to infiltrate a vital meeting of the defense chiefs. Will the unwitting Mrs. Peel be able to tell the difference between the two? In "Dial a Deadly Number," six "dynamic, indispensable" company chairmen have suddenly keeled over. Who ya gonna call? Steed and Mrs. Peel, who make a connection between the untimely deaths, a "bleeper" (pager) pocket pen, and Fitch, a sinister "backroom boy" and mechanical genius. The umbrella-toting Steed actually fires a gun in this episode. The most taut suspense is reserved for the scene in which Steed engages in a duel of palates at a wine tasting. To paraphrase one character, do not deprive yourself of this DVD's company. --Donald Liebenson
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