by Jeffrey Scott
I.Q., Tracy, Gordo, Phoebe, Trevor, Mr Milbanks, Dr Derange, Ms Fortune, Snuffer, Jaws.
Synopsis: I.Q.'s cousin Randolph is climbing in the Himalayas
when he's attacked and taken by what appears to be a yeti! Meanwhile,
the Warfield chums rehearse their performance of Romeo and
Juliet, with James and Tracy as the protagonists. Trevor is
furious to be James's understudy, and a highly-strung drama teacher is
compounding a problematic session. When I.Q. receives a call to tell
him that Randolph has gone missing in the mountains, James decides to
accompany him to Nepal, leaving Trevor to play Romeo alongside a
furious Tracy, who was rather enjoying James's attention. Phoebe books
them a flight, and the three of them head to Nepal. But when they get
there, the tour guide says he's closed for business due to unusual
sightings of a nine-foot-tall 'snow beast' in the mountains. He warns
them to stay away from the mountain.
The gang decide to go it alone and pick out some climbing equipment to
take with them, but are soon attacked by two thugs who've been spying
on them. They overwhelm and capture one of the crooks, who claims they
were paid to make sure nobody made it to the mountain. Suddenly a local
girl, Orana, appears on the scene. She seems to know more than she's
letting on about the mysterious events on the mountain, but says she is
climbing up herself and offers to be their guide. They set off on the
climb - but on a particularly steep section of the mountain they're
accosted by the same 'snow beast' that took Randolph. James fights the
creature but is thrown over the edge by it. It then turns on I.Q.,
Phoebe and Orana. As James falls he activates the retractable cord
device in his belt buckle, which shoots into the mountainside, saving
Back at Warfield, Trevor is gleeful at the prospect of kissing Tracy,
and wants to rehearse that particular scene over and over again - but
Tracy's not so keen. He also annoys Gordo by fussing over the lighting,
demands his own dressing room, and suggests they rename the play Romeo
and Romeo, to make him the sole star. Meanwhile, the beast
closes in on the gang and is about to overwhelm them, despite I.Q.'s
noble attempts at Ju-jitsu and Phoebe and Orana's effort to scare it
off with flares. But James reappears, and lassoes the creature with a
rope before unmasking it as Jaws! Pouring water from a flask over
Jaws's feet which freezes in the open air, James proceeds to hack off
the bit of cliff the crook is standing on, sending him plummeting over
the edge. In a higher area, a sledge on which Ms Fortune and a captive
Randolph are riding is being pulled along the mountain by Snuffer. Dr
Derange is with them too.
Derange is none too pleased when Ms Fortune wants to stop for tea, as
he's eager to find the Hidden Valley, to which Randolph knows the way.
Forcing him to give up the information, the crooks receive a call from
Jaws telling them that he's run into James. While Derange forges ahead,
Ms Fortune and Snuffer stay behind to lay a trap for James and the
others, placing a sheet of thin ice across a ravine then covering it
with snow to disguise it. Sure enough, the gang walk right into the
trap and tumble into an icy cavern. Suspiciously, Orana knows which of
the tunnels to take to escape, and they use a slab of ice as a
bob-sled. Sure enough, they come across the valley, which conceals a
small, secret township. Derange and Ms Fortune are already there: they
attempt to force a village elder to tell them how to find the secret
spring, which is what they've been seeking.
As Orana wanders off, James, I.Q. and Phoebe rescue Randolph from the
village jail, where the crooks have him locked up - but they're
interrupted by Ms Fortune and Snuffer, who hold them at gunpoint.
They're taken into the temple where Derange has set up a nasty
death-trap - he ties them up and pours acid around the base of a huge
statue, which will topple over and crush them in a few seconds. The
crooks rush out, taking the elder with them, but he refuses to tell
them the location of the spring. Orana bursts in, and reveals the elder
is her father: she'll take them to the spring as long as they don't
hurt him. James escapes the statue by redirecting the flow of the acid
to burn through his ropes, and frees the others; they head outside in
pursuit of the crooks.
The S.C.U.M. team arrives at the site of the spring with Orana; we
learn that the spring water is magical and bestows eternal youth on
anyone who drinks it. But before long the crooks are squabbling over
who gets the first sip - Jaws pushes Ms Fortune out of the way. James
and Randolph cut Jaws off just as he reaches the spring, and a battle
ensues; Derange flings a huge ball of ice at James, but he dodges and
it hits Jaws instead. The gang is overwhelmed, and Derange shoots a
laser beam that causes a cage of icicles to trap them. But James uses
I.Q.'s amplifier device to make his voice boom, causing an avalanche
that sends the villains falling into a steep ravine. Back at the
village, Orana and her father explain that the water only works on the
villagers anyway, and James agrees to keep the spring a secret - but he
asks Orana if she'd like to come back to England with him. She explains
her father is 300 years old, and she's more than 100, so the age
difference would be prohibitive! The gang head back to Warfield just in
time to see Trevor humiliate himself on stage as the tower set
collapses on top of him.
episodes of James Bond Jr. are far-fetched in
some respect, but there's a particular class of episode, involving plot
devices purely in the realms of magical fantasy (as opposed to science
fiction) that, despite their unlikeliness, actually don't work too
badly. This is one such episode (Lamp
of Darkness may be considered another), and
there's certainly a good deal of atmosphere brought about by the
unusually remote setting for this story, that's nicely counterbalanced
by the comic capers of the villains of the piece. Derange and Ms
Fortune make an interesting crooked combination and actually complement
each other rather well, despite their differences; as ever it would
have been nice to see Skullcap too, but since Jaws far better fits the
bill for the Yeti costume it was a bit too much to expect. It's an
action-packed episode for our hero, too, in the romance department -
having won a kiss from Tracy during the play rehearsal, he sets his
sights on Orana, whom he invites to come back to London with him! She
eventually tells him that she's over one hundred years old, however -
which quickly puts him off. For every peak in this episode,
there's a trough - usually inhabited by the theatrics back at Warfield.
Also, it's an episode that inherently demands more story time than the slot allows; as a result
the ending is rushed, anticlimactic and fairly silly. Orana's odd
behaviour throughout is alluded to none too subtly at every
opportunity, meanwhile, and the script boasts some of the worst
dialogue in the entire run - while some of the plot developments are so
contrived (the ice-trap, the statue, the avalanche, and so on) it's
impossible at times to suspend disbelief. Nonetheless, an intriguing
and unusual episode.
don't get much higher than the snow-capped peaks of Nepal - this is a
great setting for a story, and for Ms Fortune, who still insists on her
home comforts as Snuffer drags her dutifully along. It's always nice to see alternative-climate
stories if only for the obligatory 'woolly' versions of all the
scriptwriter patently didn't have a copy of The Complete
Shakespeare to hand when writing this episode (see 'Lines to
Forget'). Meanwhile, the 'falling-statue-surrounded-by-acid' scene is
terrible - why take the time to set up such an elaborate contraption if
the villains are as eager to find the spring as Derange suggests?
Tracy, in character: 'Romeo,
Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? ... Romeo, wherefore art thou? ...
Well, where the heck are you?'
Fortune, atop the Himalayas: 'Snuffer, my tea seems a trifle
Ms Fortune, pulling an old-school
rotary-dial telephone from underneath her fur coat: 'Snuffer, I think my phone is ringing!' Snuffer,
answering: 'Ms Fortune's residence? ... It's Jaws, for you,
Lines to Forget: James, winching himself up
to Juliet's balcony with a device on his belt: 'Herefore am
to an increasingly incensed Tracy: 'Trace, babe, what's
shaking? That's showbusiness slang for 'how are you doing?'
to Orana's father: 'We know all about your secret spring,
you incredibly agéd peasant-person!'
leaving James and his friends under the acid statue: 'Sorry
we don't have time to stay around and watch, but we have some magic
spring-water to attend to!'
Gadgets & Gizmos: James's
belt buckle shoots a retractable cord whose end sticks to surfaces,
allowing for easy ascent. I.Q. has also equipped him with a miniature
on the Surface: Both
Derange and Ms Fortune name-drop S.C.U.M. during the course of the
episode, as does James himself.
Blunders & Bloopers: There's a good deal of inconsistency surrounding
Jaws' outfit in this episode - he switches from his standard-issue blue
suit, to his woolly alternative, to his Yeti costume; on more than one
occasion they are used interchangeably in the same scene.
This is the first appearance in the series of
aristocratic crook Ms Fortune and her sycophant butler Snuffer.
Gordo makes us all feel old by announcing that James's belt-gadget
brings Romeo and Juliet into the nineties.
Following the events of Never Give a Villain a Fair Shake, this episode marks another occasion on which Jaws is less
than loyal to his superiors, as he pushes Ms Fortune out of the way in
order to drink from the fountain. Snuffer, in comparison, is
unflinchingly loyal; he wears a sash marked 'Fido' as he pulls Ms
Fortune's sledge along the mountain.