'IT'S ALL IN THE TIMING'
by Francis Moss and Ted Pedersen
I.Q., Tracy, Gordo, Phoebe, Trevor, Coach Mitchell,
Synopsis: James and the gang are in
Bern, Switzerland, to support Gordo (and to a lesser extent, Trevor) in
an Alpine bicycle rally. But as the students watch Gordo during a
practice run, a familiar face appears. It's Skullcap, and he feigns a
car crash in order to steal a courier's van, tying up the driver in the
middle of the road. James gives chase on a bike, and leaps on top of
the van. But Skullcap leaps clear, taking a parcel from the van with
him. The van crashes off the cliff, with James still on top - but he
manages to escape and rejoins his friends, where Special Agent
Onthecase of the Swiss police has arrived to investigate. She says
there's been a series of similar crimes recently. James explains to her
that he saw the address on the parcel Skullcap stole, and Onthecase
agrees they should go and investigate.
Skullcap returns to base to present Dr Derange with the parcel: it
contains some special diamond clockworks, which are the final
components of the atomic clock Derange is creating. In turn, the atomic
clock is the key ingredient in Derange's momentum nullifier, a device
which he explains will react with the Earth's magnetic field to slow
down the planet's rotation, causing untold environmental chaos until
the world's governments cough up billions to S.C.U.M. But first he
orders Skullcap to go and finish off James. Meanwhile, the Alpine rally
is about to begin, and Trevor overhears I.Q. telling the others about a
bike motor he's invented, and decides to 'borrow' it for illegal use in
the race. As the contenders set off on the race, James and Onthecase
head to the address that was on the parcel.
It turns out to be a clock shop. Nonplussed, they go in to explore -
but Skullcap spots them from outside and throws a grenade through the
window. James puts the grenade inside the shop's safe, so it explodes
safely - and the pair get in Onthecase's car and follow Skullcap, who
speeds away by bike. Onthecase shouts to Skullcap to pull over, but he
merely activates a device on his bike that slashes their tyres and
almost causes them to crash with a truck. James borrows a moped from
the back of the truck and they continue chasing Skullcap up the
mountainside - he gets in a cable car, so James smashes through the
railings on the moped with the hope of landing on the top. He
miscalculates, but I.Q.'s paraglider wings save the day.
The chase continues by road at the top of the mountain, Skullcap
throwing grenades to deter them. They finally catch up with him,
causing him to crash. But they're quickly accosted by Derange and his
S.C.U.M. stooges, who take James and Onthecase back to Derange's
mountain lair. Skullcap ties them up, and Derange explains that they're
about to test out the momentum nullifier which he has now completed.
James manages to free himself and Onthecase with the buzzsaw on his
watch, and they escape the base with some blueprints of the nullifier,
using Onthecase's pocket mirror to sneak past the laser forcefield,
then bending back a tree to catapult them over a ravine before
Derange's men are able to catch up with them.
In the race, Trevor has won the first section of the contest, much to
everyone's surprise. Gordo is disgruntled, but hopes to beat him in the
upcoming final. Back at the hotel I.Q. examines the blueprints and
begins to understand how the nullifier works. He realises that the
device must be activated at a 'magnetic vortex', a location where the
planet's magnetic lines of force meet, and soon narrows the location
down to an old clock tower just a hundred yards away. Sure enough,
James and Onthecase find Derange, Skullcap and the nullifier in the
clock tower - with the machine, Derange will slow down the Earth's spin
and also, time. He explains that his mountain base is built on bedrock
between two magnetic lines, so won't be affected by the catastrophe his
device will cause.
The crooks leave, tying James and Onthecase to the gears of the clock
tower, so that when they meet the horizontal gears, they will be
crushed. But James uses I.Q.'s glue-gun to stop the gears moving, and
soon I.Q. and Coach Mitchell turn up to release them. The nullifier is
booby-trapped, so they can't disable it - they realise Derange must be
planning to activate it remotely. Soon he appears on the screen of the
clock tower, and begins the first shockwave. It causes earthquakes and
storms across the city - I.Q. worries that it could destroy Bern. The
effect subsides, but Derange says it will repeat every two hours until
the governments of the world pay up. I.Q. goes over the plans again and
realises that Derange has miscalculated: if he continues to use the
nullifier the world will stop spinning altogether!
James, I.Q. and Onthecase head back to Derange's mountain hideout to
confront the crook head on. Travelling by moped, they decide to use
I.Q. as a distraction, sending him in to get caught by a S.C.U.M. agent. Then, James and Onthecase
crash into the base on the moped, locking Skullcap and the other goons
in a cupboard and gluing Derange to the floor so he can't move to
operate the machine. I.Q. manages to reprogramme the device, but
Skullcap frees himself and activates the machine, despite Derange's
warnings. I.Q. explains that he's focused all the nullifier's power on
the mountain, and the base begins to tremble. Everyone runs, and
Skullcap has to piggyback a barefoot Derange across the snow as he's
had to leave his glued boots behind. With the crisis averted, James and
I.Q. get back to the race just in time to see the battery on I.Q.'s
motor fail, and Trevor lose the race to Gordo. Trevor's in trouble with
Coach Mitchell, and Gordo brings home the trophy for Warfield.
episodes of James Bond Jr have at least one
dubious or nonsensical plot element - it's all part of the fun. But
it's incredibly difficult to identify any plot element of It's
All in the Timing that isn't dubious
or nonsensical. It seems from the title and the endless clock
references in the script that time is supposed to be the theme of the
day, but aside from the tenuous link with Switzerland it's not entirely
clear how or why time is involved in Derange's master plan. In
particular, it's unclear why Derange claims at one point that using his momentum nullifier, a
device of catastrophic unlikeliness,
result in the slowing of time as well as the planet's rotation, or
indeed why he thinks this would be of any tangible benefit to anyone.
Putting aside more or less all the 'science' in the episode as
certifiable nonsense, there are some good points. The action sequences
are extensive and particularly effective given the mountain backdrop.
But although this episode's perfectly watchable, it's probably fair to
say that it's Dr Derange's presence that saves it from mediocrity; his
dialogue with Skullcap is amusing as ever, but it's more or less all
that's keeping us interested. Agent Onthecase is fairly dull, as is
Bond himself in this episode, while the rest of the Warfield gang are
relegated to B-plot bike races and Trevor-baiting.
Highs: Dr Derange's ongoing puns about time
are amusing in an ironic sort of way, we suppose, even if they bear
little relation to the story at hand.
Lows: 'Special Agent Onthecase'. I mean,
really. It doesn't even sound Swiss.
Lines to Remember: Phoebe: 'I'm so glad
the police are here!' James, as an attractive female police
officer approaches: 'My sentiments exactly, Phoebe.' Phoebe:
'Never mind, I take it back.'
Gadgets & Gizmos: I.Q.
creates a bicycle motor that negates the need for pedalling, as well as
a pair of paraglider wings that can also clip to a bicycle. James also
makes use of the previously introduced buzz-saw built into his watch.
Lastly there's a laser-powered glue gun.
S.C.U.M. on the Surface: Yes -
James, Onthecase and Derange all mention the organisation specifically
and there are several uniformed agents lurking around Derange's
Loco Parenthesis: This
is one of the rare occasions on which Coach Mitchell becomes (briefly)
involved in the action, when he helps rescue James from being ground up
in the gears of the clock tower. He soon scarpers once again, however,
the denouement at the mountain lair, preferring to let the teenagers
deal with the international crisis on their own.
O Mother, Where Art Thou: At
one point Derange cackles: 'My mummy always said I'd be a success!'
Vault: This episode appears alongside The Inhuman Race on a
compilation kids' TV video entitled 'Saturday Morning Heroes'.
is the second time Trevor uses one of I.Q.'s devices to cheat in a
sports contest, the first time being in the golfing tournament in No