Unfortunately, overall it doesn't quite hang together. There are scenes that drag and others that don't make a lot of sense if you're trying to follow the plot. The art gallery scene is one of these – because we've already seen Tibbs and the photographer stealing the chalice, the only possible purpose of the gallery scene is to give us the connection between Tibbs and Sangster. Which we get, but first we're treated to a nice view of the Lads wandering around with champagne glasses, supposedly "improving their minds" at CI5's expense, but mainly looking slightly bored. It's one of those scenes where they don't know why they've been sent somewhere, and which Cowley never really explains, and it makes little sense. Of all the artworks in all of the world, how would anyone know which one is the next target? The scene is also very slow, which wouldn't be a problem if there weren't several more such scenes scattered through the episode.
Then again, maybe we're supposed to pick up some clues about the relationship between Tibbs and Sangster. Tibbs refers to a "liberal education" – I wonder.
Moving along (except for mentioning that I don't mind the lemon yellow T-shirt all that much, and the jacket is nice)…
A quick scene of Cowley providing some pretty prosaic advice to the smelter manager. The break-in. Armitage kills Higgins (establishing himself as the violent brute of the ep) and Ullman objects. "Why stretch him?" Tibbs has no respect for the photographer and puts him in his place. A good scene… if only they'd been able to keep the tension going…
Credits. Bodie and Doyle are waiting for Cowley. Doyle's fiddling with a key ring. He has nice hands :-) Bodie looks tired (so what did you get up to after the gallery do, hmmm?) A little art joke ("steel works"). A different jacket for Doyle, and a dark shirt – Bodie's in his black leather jacket and white shirt. Nice quip from Bodie ("Last year's Derby winner?"). Cowley meets Galbraith for some plot filling in. I'm interested in the location & the frieze behind them. Then, a scene with Sangster & Tibbs that's pure info dump, but not handled too badly. And by now we do have a desperate need to know more of what's going on.
Bodie and Doyle investigate the break-in and report back to Cowley. Bodie says "I can't get worked up about some Saxon pot." I go grrr… but Doyle looks nice, driving with the wind in his hair and just a touch of grey at the temples.
Next scene is between Sangster and the Chief Super and only serves to show that Sangster is very much the local lord of the manor, the "go to" person of influence. Get a move on, please.
The scene after that is another odd one. Cowley talks to the Lads about capturing a couple of small time crooks laden with industrial planning documents, which makes the whole business of the Arden Billings plans being stolen as well as photographed a little hard to understand. Oh well. The point of the scene is to send them out looking for a porn industry type who has suddenly got the money to go up in the world. Besides, Doyle looks terrific in a tweed jacket and white shirt, while Bodie's wearing black and tan. And the lovely weather makes the gold Capri look positively yummy. If only that car could talk *g*.
This is followed by a Sangster scene, where the Colonel tells Armitage to "itemise" Ullman. Nicely cold-blooded, underscoring how ruthless the baddies are.
And now for some of my favourite bits. Bodie and Doyle are in Trafalgar Square. I only wish we could hear more of the dialogue. Bodie accosts a photographer – seen from a distance, it's clear that the photographer (who seems like just an ordinary bloke) is terrified of Bodie. I'm not sure exactly why they've run him to ground here. I have a hard time deciding whether it works or not. The little girl running in front of Doyle suggests something particularly nasty, but I'm unsure if it's deliberate. I love the end of the scene, when the camera moves in and they're both moving with such intimate awareness of each other.
Then we switch to Soho, and dialogue to die for:
BODIE: What a turn-off.
DOYLE: It was your idea. You can put exotic dancers on your expenses.
BODIE: Yeah, I'll put it down as technical research.
BODIE: If someone had told me I'd have got tired of the female anatomy, I'd've laughed.
BODIE: I hope we get lucky this time. I'm losing my appetite, you know)
Ah, boys – you protest too much. It's nice to hear the cheerful verbal exchanges too, as there haven't been many of them so far this episode. I have noticed that they behave much more circumspectly in Cowley's presence, which could explain things.
In between we have Doyle getting a parking ticket, Doyle calling in favours from the Vice Squad, Sangster and Sarah having a mercenary little chat about Anglo Saxon relics, bank vaults and oil, and Straiton Four is mentioned for the first time. The plot's humming along.
Bodie and Doyle visit Ullman and put the frighteners on him. Good tandem act and the studio lighting helps get the point across. Dunno what the "sister in Port Said" reference is supposed to mean, though (one of a few weird remarks through the ep). Also "Snapper" Ullman – I automatically think of "Snapper" Carr, from DC comics, but the nickname could be more widespread.
Herr Doktor Ebert visits Sangster and comes away bruised, but with the goods.
Cowley pressures Galbraith:
GALBRAITH: I have to make a telephone call.
COWLEY: I hope the exertion doesn't tell on you.
More of Doyle & Bodie with Ullman. Ullman gives over what he can remember of Sangster's telephone number. Bodie takes a nudie picture and gets him to write on the back of it (and I'm chuckling, because it's like the last gasp of a drowning man).
They leave, Armitage arrives with Baron (I'm not good on dog breeds, but I'm pretty sure Baron's a Rottweiler and I'm feeling very angry that Armitage has obviously trained him to kill). Ullman dies.
New scene – Bodie & Doyle arrive at ?British Telecom (unnamed). They're laughing and joking as they enter, and I love how they look at each other when dealing with the security man. Cowley's ahead of them, however, so they become more subdued (although there's Doyle's dorky expression to look forward to). And Cowley's news about Sangster isn't all that pleasant. But why they have to go to Cowley's club instead of getting on with the case isn't clear. More delays and episode stagnation. Or maybe a point about to be made?
Cut to Sangster and Sara. She's a right one – absolutely honest about the beginnings of her liaison with Sangster, and revoltingly cheerful about her rewards. And I like Sangster's line:
SANGSTER: Oh, Sarah, my love, the moment you even start thinking about morality, you're lost. Copy politicians. They sign papers, gather millions and men die. Emulate them.
Cowley's club. I like how the lads walk shoulder to shoulder – protecting each other from the oppression of privilege?
Digression – I'm getting a feeling that this is something of what the episode is about. The Minister presumes to order for himself and Cowley – very seigneurial of him. The servants eat later. In both the urban and rural settings, we have mention of every class, from landholder to gypsy, industrialist and Cabinet Minister to pornographer. In between, at different levels, people like Bodie, Doyle, Tibbs, and others with more status like Cowley and C.I .Gillespie. The issues of class and influence do affect how the case is handled. Interesting.
Back to the club – I love how the lads greet their assignments, and how they gently rubbish each other *g*.
And now, on to the country. I so enjoy the scene where Doyle's on his motorbike (*g* guess why you picked this one, BSL) and he appears in Bodie's rear mirror before passing him. Their little interaction is gorgeous.
"Stuff happens" scenes – discussion between Cowley and Galbraith, setting things up for the Straiton Four gambit. Doyle's superiors prepare for his appearance (and I just love a scruffy Martin, biking leathers, bad attitude and all). Bodie checks in at the Sangster Arms.
Doyle does the turn-on-the-music-and-dance thing in the police station locker room (very funny). He encounters Gorton, and behaves badly - btw I disagree with the 'Hatstand' transcript – what I heard was "Fatso here couldn't argue with a black pudding". Felt sorry for Gorton, who did stand up for himself, and who appeared to have some good ideals.
Cut to the Sangster Arms. During this scene and others I noticed that the 'Arms' has Skol lager on tap and advertises both 'Double Diamond' and 'Benskins' bitters. I think that makes it a Tetleys house. Bodie takes his free pint, then Tibbs walks in with Armitage and Baron. Armitage tries to threaten Bodie, who seizes an electric 'fire' (heater). Great scene. I love how Bodie not only makes Armitage back down, but when Tibbs tries to compliment him he basically insults him
New scene – Doyle doing his utmost to annoy Inspector Ralston, and succeeding *g*.
Brief Sangster scene – some way of explaining his motivation?
SARAH: Colonel, darling, Jeremy, you are dodging the entire issue. What they want is the risk and the excitement and the loot, and so do you.
Back at the 'Arms', Doyle is doing his best to act like the disgruntled transfer from the Big Smoke. Betty suggests he talk to the other 'stranger in town' and Bodie eventually comes over. Humorous interchange.
Cut for some rather gorgeous stock footage of a helicopter taking off from an oil refinery. Lovely midnight blue sky.
Cowley talks to Galbraith about borrowing Straiton Four and We Have Title! *g*
Sangster takes the bait (and we learn that he attends church and reads the lesson).
In fairly quick succession Cowley signs for Straiton Four, the transfer job is assigned to Huey (poor Huey!) and Doyle makes sure his D.I. stays mad at him by provoking Sangster. More gorgeous scruffy Doyle on bike, acting tough.
The next scene is Doyle and Bodie sharing a pint, and I love it not so much for what it says (it's more info catch-up than anything*) but because they are so happy together. Bodie is wearing the horrible grey leather jacket. Doyle a sweatshirt with a horizontal stripe.
* although - Ullman's neck was broken? That's a clever dog.
Jump a bit and Cowley comes across Bodie tossing something (stones?) into a pond, looking bored. The scene is played wrong. While there are still a lot of facts to be gathered, it's pretty certain that they're homing in on Sangster. Cowley wants him to take a big fall – we only find out the cost later. We're in the duck pond and sinking in the mud here.
Next, another scene that I love. Bodie waking Doyle, who for some reason is sleeping in the estate. Nice banter, and Bodie looks pleased just to be there, even while he's teasing. I think he's attention-deprived at the moment.
Silly scene where Doyle refuses to "attend an affray". Rather pointless.
Huey's van with Straiton Four on board is hijacked by Sangster and his men. *Whimper*.
Doyle and Bodie are having a picnic. Awwwww. They like being together, they're as comfortable as 'old marrieds'. Doyle groans when they're called away to work.
We learn that the van crew have been "terminated with extreme prejudice". *more whimpering*.
The climax of the episode is (finally) at hand. Bodie & Doyle do a nice bit of running and hiding to get close to the airfield hangar where Sangster runs his business. They see Sarah speaking on the shortwave and figure out how Sangster takes his stolen goods out of the country. Sangster gets back with Armitage, Tibbs and Baron. Baron scents Bodie. Bodie realises, decides on a course of action (love the decisive way he does this, and how Doyle just clicks in with him, although he looks worried). He wraps his arm in his leather jacket and runs out from his hiding spot next to the hangar, then forward, crashing through a window and somersaulting as he hits the ground (it's done in 2 cut scenes, and the latter part of the somersault is all Lew, padded up). Baron attacks him. He beats Baron down (we don't see what happens to Baron).
Bodie then fights Armitage and Tibbs, and there are great cutaway scenes to Doyle, who is busy spilling the plane's av fuel (a fair bit of which must have landed on himself) as well as tipping over some drums labelled "Aeroshell oil W100". I think they're meant to be av fuel, but given what Doyle does next, I don't want to know for sure.
Sangster gets the drop on Bodie, who surrenders, holding out his hands for the cuffs without argument (and thereby satisfying one of my drop-dead, bullet-proof kinks).
They herd Bodie out towards the plane. Doyle is seen, and Sangster tries to shoot him, but he lights a rag and threatens to light the oil/fuel trail. Bodie breaks free and attacks Armitage and Sangster. Doyle drops the rag (safely, we presume) and joins in a bloody glorious punch-up. Three to two, with Bodie handicapped by the handcuffs, yet they get the upper hand before the police pull up. Meanwhile Sarah has nicked off and we don't learn what has become of her. Ah, well.
The police take the gang away, and also Bodie, who is mistakenly identified as a villain. All Ray can do is laugh. *Sigh* I think he'll get his just desserts later, and I'm sure he's looking forward to them.
I'm going to ignore the epilogue scene. It's possibly the worst ever.
End note: I don't have the novelisation for this one, so I couldn't check it for any clarifications etc. Any suggestions welcome.
ETA: Thinking about it, the part of Bodie's comment that Tibbs took most exception to wasn't "adjutant", but "Same as you... shilling a day". Tibbs is a complete snob (i.e. the 'liberal education' quip). That a beet machinery salesman could have the gall to call himself an equal is something our Tibbsey (and what a god-awful nickname that is) can't abide. Hence sulking.
Yes, I got carried away *g*