'NOTHING TO PLAY WITH'
by Jeffrey Scott
I.Q., Tracy, Gordo, Phoebe, Trevor, Mr Milbanks, Captain Plank.
Synopsis: One night in
Hong Kong, the owner of a toy factory, Chow Ling, is running scared in
his own warehouse - chased by a walking doll that's crying deadly acid
tears. The doll is being controlled by Babyface, a crook and
self-confessed big kid, who warns Ling that if he doesn't comply with
his demands, the doll will cry all over him. On the other side of the
globe, it's Warfield's annual Fun Festival, and James and his friends
peruse the various fairground stalls. I.Q. tries out one of his latest
gadgets on the arcades - a glove that ostensibly controls electronic
devices - but he ends up blowing the machines to pieces.
Meanwhile James wins Tracy a teddy bear at the shooting gallery, but
when its head falls off they find a note inside from Mr Ling with an
address, asking for help for his daughter, May. The gang decide to head
to Hong Kong to help out, but Trevor catches onto what they're up to
and buys a ticket to Hong Kong too. At the toy factory, Captain Walker
D. Plank and Babyface discuss the details of their plan: to distribute
deadly toys equipped with weapons, that can be controlled remotely to
wreak havoc and rob banks. The first one comes off the assembly line -
it's a scaled-down replica of Captain Plank, equipped with its own
miniature laser gun. They resolve to send it to an unsuspecting
customer to test out.
James, I.Q., Tracy, Gordo and Phoebe arrive at the address from the
note. Tracy's worried that May Ling will be a 'knock-out Chinese girl'
that James will fall for, but when May opens the door they realise
she's just a child. With Chow Ling trapped at the factory, she's been
left home alone for several weeks - S.C.U.M. has sent her a note saying
not to tell anyone he's missing, or he may not be alive for long.
Tearfully, she begs James to find her father. While the others go out
to find him, James nominates Tracy to stay and look after May Ling -
which Tracy isn't too thrilled about. Trevor has arrived in Hong Kong
in the meantime, and asks around about James and the others - but the
locals misunderstand and direct him towards a truckful of seals.
On a boat at the harbour, the first Plank doll is delivered - a father
has unwittingly bought it for his young son. The pair are terrified
when the doll leaps from the boy's hands and begins attacking them! The
doll wreaks havoc on the ship with its laser gun, but James and the
gang are passing in another boat and overhear the commotion. James
climbs on board and is shocked to see the Plank doll, which then turns
on him, all the time under the real Plank's control. The doll traps
James's leg in the anchor chain before winching him overboard, and
James comes dangerously close to the ship's propeller - but he uses his
watch to cut the chains and escape, before throwing 'Plank' overboard
The gang track down the toy factory, but in order to gain access they
decide to pretend to be from a company called 'Boothroyd Toys', looking
for manufacturers for a brilliant new toy design. Chow Ling is about to
hang up but Plank sounds interested, sensing an opportunity to fit the
new line with deadly weapons, and tells Ling to arrange a meeting. When
they arrive, the only thing they have to pitch is I.Q.'s awful glove
invention, which gives them away, alerting Plank to their true
identity. A battle commences, during which Babyface unleashes a whole
squadron of Plank dolls, explaining that they can come together to form
giant fighting machines - and that now they have Ling's factory, they
no longer need him.
Babyface ties James, I.Q. and Mr Ling to a toy train track, and sets a
model train filled with nitroglycerine on a collision course with them,
before he and Plank leave the building. As insurance, the crooks pull
the knob off the transformer and throw James's watch out of his reach.
James switches the points with his mouth, buying them some more time,
while I.Q. tries to use his glove to stop the train, but only succeeds
in shorting out the transformer. This causes a fire, however, which
allows James to burn through his ropes, free the others and escape with
seconds to spare, as the building blows up. Plank and Babyface get in
their satellite van and head off to orchestrate the robbery of the Hong
Kong Bank - and James and company follow in a forklift truck.
At the Lings' flat, May Ling tricks Tracy into letting her tie her up,
so she can escape to find her father. May takes a bike and rides into
the street; Tracy unties herself and follows. From the forklift, James
watches the crooks stop outside a toy store - where by coincidence,
Trevor has seen a toy robot he'd like and heads in to buy it. But it
turns out the robots are part of Plank's deadly toy shipment, and to
Trevor's horror they begin climbing out of the packets and joining
together to form a huge robot as tall as the store! It breaks out of
the wall, wreaks havoc in the street and heads over to raid the bank,
following electronic instructions from Plank's remote. But the robot is
interrupted by May Ling, who rides onto the scene. It picks the girl up
and is about to crush her, when James throws I.Q.'s glove into its
The glove causes the robot's circuitry to fry - it drops May Ling into
James's arms, before lumbering back towards the satellite van and
falling on top of it, causing the van to explode as a singed Plank and
Babyface run away down the street, Plank screeching that he'll be back.
May Ling and her father are reunited, but Trevor is still spying on
James and friends. They play a trick on him, returning to Warfield
while he believes they're still in Hong Kong thanks to some lifelike
puppets Mr Ling has made. When he calls Milbanks, James is already home
- but the headmaster demands to know what Trevor is doing in Hong Kong!
This is a very silly but thoroughly
enjoyable episode, which brings a whole new meaning to the phrase 'made
in Hong Kong'. As this is only Plank's second episode, it's surprising
that it all takes place on land (with the brief exception of the doll
attack on the ship, which doesn't feature Plank in person) - but this
doesn't appear to be at all detrimental to the story, as Plank is just
as amusing running a toy factory as he is sinking cruise ships. One
scene, in which he stands in the corner of Mr Ling's office in full
pirate outfit as Ling talks to people they think are potential clients,
is pure comedy gold. Despite the rather menacing opening and their
poignant introduction to May Ling, there's also plenty of room for
humour here - I.Q.'s infrared glove is his most disastrous gadget yet,
Tracy gets her just desserts for her jealousy when it's revealed she'll
be babysitting today's guest girl, and even James's character isn't
played too seriously (see 'Highs' below). There's also a rather
self-knowing and ironic feel to the episode; since one of the key aims
of the James Bond Jr franchise was to sell action
figures to the show's audience, it's fitting that the theme should be
explored in one of the episodes. Sadly the real action figures weren't
of quite such a high calibre as those depicted in this episode -
although at least they didn't come complete with deadly weaponry.
Highs: It's genuinely amusing when for once James messes
things up: first by being forced to think of false names for himself
and I.Q. on the spot and coming up with 'James Boothroyd' and 'Mr
Horace'; and secondly by pitching I.Q.'s glove of destruction (see
below) to Ling, thus guaranteeing an utter dog's dinner of a meeting.
Lows: Why does Babyface draw attention
to the toy factory his plan relies upon by blowing up one of the rooms
with the model train? Surely this would attract suspicion, or at least
the fire brigade?
to Remember: Trevor to the airport
ticket vendor: 'Did five obnoxious teenagers just come in
here and purchase tickets?'
Plank doll, as it winches James overboard: 'I'd
throw you a life preserver, Bond. But I'm not interested in preserving
Gadgets & Gizmos: I.Q.'s latest
masterpiece is an infrared remote access glove, which appears to serve
no other tangible function than to make electrical appliances explode.
The acetylene torch in James's watch makes an appearance...
S.C.U.M. on the Surface: Yes
- as soon as Plank is mentioned, I.Q. concludes that S.C.U.M. is
responsible; and later James recognises two of the guards on the toy
factory as S.C.U.M. operatives.
O Mother Where Art Thou: Despite
the fact her father has been kidnapped, there is no discussion
whatsoever of whether little May Ling still has a mother, or where she
might be. It's as if the main characters simply assume her mother is
AWOL because mothers always are in this show.
Blunders & Bloopers: Hong
Kong and Warfield are on opposite sides of the globe, but Trevor
appears to call Milbanks just after the incident with the robot, and
James and the others have already arrived back at the Academy. It could
be the following day; but in which case, why does Trevor wait a day to
call Milbanks? Have May Ling and her father been waving those puppets
around in the window for the last 24 hours?
Notes: Plank's toy-tampering co-conspirator must have turned
over a new leaf following the events of this episode; he doesn't
feature in the series again. While he isn't strictly named in this
episode, we've assigned him the name he gave to the doll that resembles
him - Babyface - for convenience's sake.
Gordo expresses an interest in video games for the third episode
We learn that James is fluent in Chinese.