'THE INHUMAN RACE'
I.Q., Tracy, Gordo, Phoebe, Trevor, Mr Milbanks, Coach Mitchell,
Jaws, Nick Nack, Skullcap.
Synopsis: One night at a science laboratory in Germany, a
team of S.C.U.M. agents comprising Skullcap, Nick Nack and Jaws steal
an experimental laser machine. But the Warfield gang is also in
Germany, for a scholastic competition; I.Q.'s packed some gadgets, just
in case. It's just as well: at a spooky-looking castle in the
mountains, Dr Derange and his accomplice, Professor Frederick, discuss
their plan to create a hundred android mutants to mine the abundant
diamonds they've found under the castle. Yes, you read it right: not
just mutants, android mutants. Professor
Frederick needs the laser machine the crooks have stolen to begin
putting together the animal tissue he's grown. But to bring the
creatures to life, they'll need a human guinea pig for the mutants'
life spark. Nick Nack and Skullcap head out to find one, while Jaws
goes under the mountain to dig the first diamonds. These, of course,
are needed for the mutants' fingertips.
The Warfield gang settle in to the hotel; Gordo's keen on heading out
to check out the surroundings, but Milbanks reminds him that the
competition is tomorrow and that they must stay in the hotel. Milbanks
himself is off to an academy directors' dinner, so he foolishly leaves
Coach Mitchell in charge of the students. Soon, a local woman called
Hilda von Hoffman arrives to speak to James and I.Q. Having concluded
that they must be smart if they're in the competition, she asks them to
help her solve a problem: there have been sightings of vampires and
werewolves roaming her village, and the stories have been scaring away
the miners, meaning the area can't survive economically. James and I.Q.
are sceptical, but agree to help out, sneaking past a snoring Coach
Mitchell. But Trevor realises they've left, and decides to follow in
the hope of getting them into trouble.
James, I.Q. and Hilda head into the forest, which is where the
sightings have been. They find a footprint which James dismisses as
that of a makeshift shoe, used to scare the miners off. Suddenly the
vampire and werewolf appear, and attack them. James quickly realises
they're men in costumes, but before he can unmask them, a load of logs
from a passing truck come loose and come careering towards them,
knocking James into the river - but luckily he uses I.Q.'s spiked shoes
to stay on top of one of the logs. I.Q. and Hilda follow along the bank as
James comes to a stop near a waterfall, but the 'vampire' and
'werewolf' have run away. They come across Trevor, who asks if they've
seen James before realising they're monsters. Of course it's Skullcap
and Nick Nack in disguise, and they decide to take Trevor as their
guinea-pig. Back at the castle, Trevor soon realises he's not having a
strange dream, and shrieks for help.
James and the others have been following the footprints which have led
them a mine shaft underneath the castle. Here they find Jaws, biting
chunks out of the rock with his teeth to find the diamonds. They
confront him but he's soon run over by a minecar whose brakes have
failed. When they check if he's still alive, Jaws attacks, putting them
in the minecar and pushing it down the track - which is more like a
roller-coaster. Avoiding various obstacles they soon approach a pile of
dynamite at the end of the track, but luckily James's spiked shoes save
them again as he uses them as brakes to slow the car. Meanwhile, back
at the hotel, Gordo, Tracy and Phoebe realise that James, I.Q. and
Trevor have gone missing, and decide to go out in the rain to track
As a storm rages overhead, James, Hilda and I.Q. escape the mine and
find a staircase leading up to the castle - but when they enter the
building they're confronted by Dr Derange, who locks them in a room
with walls covered in spikes, that are rapidly moving inwards! James
spots a vent in the ceiling and climbs up the spikes, breaking one of
them off and using it to open the trapdoor. Up in the castle lab,
Trevor begs to be released, but to no avail. Professor Frederick
explains that when lightning strikes the antenna on the castle roof,
the android will come to life - destroying half of Trevor's brain cells
in the process. James and the others burst in to confront the crooks,
however, and a fight commences between James and Jaws, which ends with
the latter stuck by his teeth to a chandelier on the ceiling.
It's now raining so hard that Gordo and the girls are about to give up
and go back to the hotel, when they suddenly hear Trevor screaming and
rush to the castle to help. I.Q. unbuckles Trevor from the machine, but
he's still wearing a helmet that's attached by wires to the machine. He
ends up toppling out of the window, hanging only by the wires. At that
point lightning strikes, and the mutant comes to life - Derange
immediately sets it on James. But I.Q. manages to reverse the polarity,
asking Gordo to attach wires to the mutant, just as the creature is
about to fling James from the window. It suddenly becomes docile and
childlike, turning on Derange and requesting a 'big hug'. The mutant
chases Derange and Professor Frederick out of the castle, and Jaws
crashes from the ceiling after them. The following day, the gang lose
the scholastic competition thanks to Trevor, who gets a question wrong
about the olfactory system - leading to a slew of inevitable Noseworthy
One of the sillest episodes in the first half of the series (okay, if
we're honest, in the entire series), The Inhuman Race
clearly draws most of its inspiration from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
- and the rest of it from Scooby-Doo. Doctor
Derange and his ever-so-stereotypical co-conspirator Professor
Frederick make for a cringeworthy pair, with the latter's German accent
almost as unbearably caricatured as the former's French. Unusually, we
see Jaws, Nick Nack and Skullcap all doing Dr
Derange's bidding. While Jaws bites through solid rock with his teeth
to retrieve diamonds (for the mutant androids' fingertips, so they in
turn can dig for more diamonds), Nick Nack and Skullcap borrow the
tried-and-tested method of scaring away the locals by dressing up as
(fairly unconvincing) monsters. It's difficult to see how youngsters of
any age could take this story seriously - the lack of basis in fact
would not matter so much if the episode had a genuinely scary
atmosphere to it. As it is, it's turned into somewhat of a parody of
Shelley's story, and a poor one at that. But on the other hand there
are plenty of amusing moments, particularly involving the villains - as
well as Trevor, who's a good deal more likeable in this episode than on
most occasions, so that after his ordeal we almost feel sorry for him
as he flunks the competition the next day and is relentlessly teased by
his peers. Overall a fairly outrageous episode, with just enough
hilarity not to scare off the viewers.
Highs: Despite having been dangled from a castle window and
experimented on by master criminals, all Trevor Noseworthy is anxious
about is being caught out of the hotel by Mr Milbanks - and he's
eternally grateful when James says he won't mention it.
Lows: Before making his getaway from the laboratory with the
laser surgery machine, Nick Nack acquires a chalkboard on which he
writes 'S.C.U.M. one, Good Guys nil.' 'Looks like we're going to the
superbowl,' he cackles.
Lines to Remember: Nick Nack, justifying their
capture of Trevor since James got away: 'So we had to take
second best. Or third.'
Trevor, on Professor Frederick: 'This
chap looks like a real killer. It's a good thing I'm only dreaming!'
Trevor, proving his loyalty: 'Please, let
me go. If you need a human guinea-pig I've got lots of friends.'
Lines to Forget: Dr Derange: 'Excellent
choice of door, Bond. You've chosen my favourite room - I call it the
shish kebab suite. Pleasant screams!'
The mutant android, turning his attentions on Derange: 'Me
give Dadda big hug!'
Gadgets & Gizmos: I.Q.'s inventions are all
fashion-themed this week: he has woven James's duplicate jacket from
titanium, which apparently means that scissors disentegrate when they
touch it. And there's also a pair of trainers with retractable spikes -
good for keeping upright when riding a section of log along a river.
S.C.U.M. on the Surface: See 'Lows'. Also, James refers to Jaws and his 'scummy friends' at one point.
Loco Parenthesis: Coach
Mitchell falls asleep reading a magazine while he's supposed to be
watching the students, the upshot of which is that one of them is
kidnapped and experimented upon by mad scientists. And still he doesn't get fired.
Vault: This episode appears alongside It's All in the Timing
on a compilation kids' TV video entitled 'Saturday Morning Heroes'.
Notes: Despite being prominent in proceedings earlier on in
the episode, Nick Nack and Skullcap disappear just prior to the
denouement without any explanation.