'APPOINTMENT IN MACAU'
by Mary Crawford and Alan Templeton
I.Q., Tracy, Gordo, Phoebe, Trevor, Mr Milbanks, Coach Mitchell,
his way back to Warfield Academy, James is forced to intervene when a
new pupil on her way to Warfield, Lily Mai, is victim of a kidnap
attempt by laser-toting ninjas, who paraglide onto the train roof. At
first Lily seems more than adept at seeing off the strangers, using
martial arts to slow them down. But they eventually restrain her,
attempting to force her to jump onto their van from the speeding train.
James's rope skills remove the assailants - but when he asks Lily who
the men were, she's cagey and says she doesn't know. Back at Warfield,
Lily quickly becomes popular with the other students, excelling
particularly at judo and flooring both James and Trevor in a practice
match. Coach Mitchell is preparing the team for an international judo
tournament in Japan, but Lily says it's impossible for her to go.
Mitchell suggests to James that he has a word with her to find out
Still suspicious about the train
incident, James asks Lily to help him with his judo technique in order
to get some time to talk to her. He learns that it was her father, John
Mai, who taught Lily judo, and that due to the nature of his work she
hasn't seen him in two years. Sensing Lily's lonely, James invites her
for out for soft drink later. That evening, after a gadget session with
I.Q., James questions Lily further about why she can't come to Japan.
She explains that she'd rather not make any friends at Warfield, as her
father keeps moving her from school to school and she always ends up
having to say goodbye. As they walk through the park back to the
Academy, the ninjas strike again. At first James and Lily outfight
them, but then they release anaesthetic gas to knock out Lily. As the
fog clears, Doctor No appears, taking Lily and the ninjas with him for
an 'appointment in Macau'.
Back at the Academy, James nurses a sore head - Coach Mitchell tells
him that the police don't believe his story and that they're treating
Lily's disappearance as a runaway. I.Q. accesses the Interpol databank,
and uncovers a file on John Mai: he's a council member of the Raven
Triad, the largest criminal outfit in Macau. Coach Mitchell tells them
to pack their things for the judo tournament. They're heading to Japan,
via Macau - where we soon see John Mai arrive at the White Lotus
Restaurant, a base of operations for the Raven Triad. The leader, Lo
Fat, expresses his condolences regarding Lily's disappearance, and says
they'll do everything they can to get her back. He's identified James
as having been with Lily when she vanished, and, knowing he's on his
way to Macau, promises to interrogate him when he arrives.
As the gang check into the hotel, I.Q. explains that the city is
currently celebrating the festival of A Ma, honouring the goddess after
whom the city was named. While Trevor complains about the stopover,
James heads off to the White Lotus, which I.Q. has identified as the
Triad's base. Mitchell suggests that I.Q., Gordo, Tracy and Phoebe go
with James to see he doesn't get into bother - so they buy a Chinese
dragon costume and follow him. However, James is soon kidnapped by Lo
Fat's agents and taken to the restaurant, where he is threatened with
an acid bath if he doesn't reveal what he knows. James tells Lo Fat
that Doctor No has Lily, which makes the crime boss furious.
At that moment, the Triad's communications network is hijacked and Dr
No appears on their telescreen. It turns out he was once a member of
the Raven Triad but that he betrayed them, and is now on their most
wanted list. No has Lily in a tank that will fill with water in one
hour: unless the Triad delivers him one billion dollars, an official
pardon and ends their vendetta against him, she will drown. Lo Fat
apologises to John Mai, but says there's nothing he can do. He orders
for James to be disposed of in the acid while, in the street, the
gang's Chinese dragon is being challenged to a fight by another dragon,
hampering their search for James.
John Mai comes to James's rescue, saving him just before he topples
into the pool of acid. Mai reveals that he knows James's uncle, and
that he's actually an undercover operative for Interpol. As they try to
escape the White Lotus, they're attacked by Lo Fat's goons, but James
quickly dispatches them and, by hiding under his friends' passing
Chinese dragon, they escape. Back at the hotel, Trevor complains to
Mitchell that he can't sleep due to all the noise of the festival, and
demands that he tell the residents of Macau to bring it to a close!
Mitchell then receives a call from James, and heads out to meet the
At the dock, James has rented a boat and some
scuba gear. While Tracy, I.Q., Gordo and Phoebe head for the British
consulate to meet Mitchell, along with a computer disc from John Mai
that he says will destroy the Raven Triad, Mai and James leave in the
boat and head for the coordinates from which Doctor No's communications
came. Looking at the charts, they see there's nothing at the location,
but presuming No is on board a ship, they head there anyway. It turns
out that Doctor No is operating from a huge artificial island, where
the water in Lily's tank is getting dangerous close to full capacity.
While John Mai introduces himself at the island's front entrance,
asking to see Doctor No, James dives underneath in his scuba gear. In
the control room, Mai tells Doctor No that Lo Fat has pardoned him, and
hands Doctor No a suitcase - but it's soon revealed to contain
forgeries, and No is furious.
The intruder alarm sounds, and No orders his ninjas to find the
trespasser, as Lily struggles for air. Underwater, James has dodged
missiles and managed to gain access to the underside of the 'island',
climbing on board when he uses his watch to send one of the missiles
back to blast a hole in the hull. As the craft fills with water, James
breaks into No's control room. Lily's tank is smashed during the
fracas, and the three escape as the island explodes - as does Doctor
No, in a minisub. Mai explains to Lily that he was never a Triad
member, but that he couldn't tell her for her own safety. With his
blessing, it's agreed she can stay on at Warfield - and they go on to
win the judo tournament in Japan, despite Trevor's personal failures.
Opening with an action-packed railway
rescue, this episode starts as it means to go on. It bears all the
hallmarks of a James Bond Jr classic,
not least a likeable and capable female lead in Lily (despite spending
much of the episode flailing around in a glass tank), a great location
in Macau, and a formidable foe in Doctor No, who is truly sinister in
this episode as he settles a personal score with the Raven Triad,
possibly the only criminal organisation other than S.C.U.M. to feature
in the series. The villain brings atmosphere to the
table with another diabolical scheme and his usual grandiose posturing,
his dialogue sizzling with unpleasantness throughout. The Triad
backstory provides additional intrigue to his character, too - not
content with simply destroying innocent people, No is apparently
equally vicious towards his former accomplices, bringing to mind all
kinds of questions about the detail behind his defection (see 'S.C.U.M.
on the Surface', below). Lo Fat, the Triad leader, works incredibly
well too as a one-time crook and No's nemesis, meanwhile, holding his own in a
two-way war of words with No and gurgling with glee as he prepares to
dissolve James once it's apparent he'll be of no further use. The
script is generally very good as far as early nineties animation goes;
even Trevor is thrown a couple of good lines. With most of the Warfield
gang sidelined, and doomed to walk around Macau in a Chinese dragon for
the bulk of the show, there's a higher than average amount of emphasis
on James himself. Although it's not used to explore his own character
in much detail, favouring action sequences instead, it does allow for
some depth to his and Lily's relationship, as he tries to convince her
of the importance of lasting friendships following a long series of
upheavals and disappointments in her life. In summary this episode is
among the best in the series, and a highly worthwhile watch.
The ambience of this episode is spot on, particularly the scene in the
park where Doctor No emerges from the mist, thus encroaching on what's
supposedly safe Warfield territory. It's a pity he spoils the moment by
revealing exactly where he's taking Lily.
Lows: Would the police really not believe James's story that Lily was kidnapped by masked men? Is it so implausible? What reason would James have to lie?
Lines to Remember: Trevor, on judo:
'Oh, really, James; letting a mere girl beat you! Now she's face to
face with a living weapon. I'd like to see you throw me around.'
Gordo: 'Yeah, I'd like to see that too.' Phoebe:
'We'd all like to see that.'
Doctor No: 'Good evening, Lo Fat.
I wish you a happy festival of A Ma.'
Lo Fat: 'And I wish you an eternity of
Doctor No: 'Enough of the niceties.'
James, as No's base explodes:
'They just don't make artificial islands like they used to.'
Phoebe, as James leaves to rescue Lily: 'If I were in trouble, would James rescue me?' Everyone else: 'Nah!'
Trevor: 'Mr Mitchell! The hotel
restaurant only serves Chinese food; it's totally
Lines to Forget: Gordo
questions Lily on why she can't go to Japan: 'You got
something against sushi?'
Doctor No, to John Mai: 'You are a fool to try and deceive
me. I am the master of treachery!'
Gadgets & Gizmos: Added
to James's wristwatch this week is I.Q.'s 'variable frequency
interference inceptor' (or 'electronic poltergeist'), which interferes
with all electrical equipment in the area.
S.C.U.M. on the Surface: Unusually, S.C.U.M. is
not the primary focus of this episode, with the plot centring on No's
personal grievances with the Raven Triad. All the (non-Triad)
bad guys are No's own ninjas, although at one point John Mai does say
to two of them: 'Let me go, you scum,' suggesting that they may also be
S.CU.M. agents. Indeed, it's possible that No's past betrayal of the
Triad involved defecting to S.C.U.M. It would be interesting to learn
more about this backstory.
Loco Parenthesis: Coach
Mitchell really does plumb the depths of irresponsibility this week,
not only by allowing James to wander into Macau's criminal underworld
unsupervised, but by actively encouraging his other charges to follow
young Bond towards what Tracy calls 'a hoodlum's den', while shrewdly
keeping himself out of danger by volunteering to stay behind and keep
an eye on Trevor.
It's explicitly stated that James and Lily are going for a 'soft drink'
as opposed to just a 'drink' - and to hammer the point home, they're
seen leaving a building marked 'soda shop' as they head into the park.
In the UK, such establishments don't really exist, however; an
ice-cream parlour (which are rare outside seaside towns) or a café
would be the closest equivalents.
Story: Slightly retitled 'Appointment at Macao', this story
was adapted for the Merlin
Notes: Why are the police so reluctant to believe James's
story given his exemplary past record?
The ending to this episode is unusual in that James doesn't get the
last line - it's left to Mr Milbanks, watching the team dismount from
the van outside, to surmise to an unknown person on the telephone that
the judo tournament went 'quite well indeed'.
not feature again in the series, despite her father's assurances that
she can stay on at Warfield. Perhaps James simply snubbed her once she
no longer needed rescuing.