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Episode #39
'QUEEN'S RANSOM'
by Terence McDonnell and Jim Carlson

Featuring: James, I.Q., Tracy, Gordo, Phoebe, Trevor, Mr Milbanks, Coach Mitchell, Captain Plank, Jaws, Nick Nack.

Synopsis: James is sightseeing in Hong Kong, taking some snaps, when he notices a young woman being chased through the streets below by Captain Plank and a band of river pirates. He quickly intervenes, sliding down some telegraph cables on a tablecloth. Having splattered the crooks with eggs, James follows the woman onto a cable car. Plank sabotages it in an attempt to finish them off, but the two jump to safety, straight into the swimming pool of James' hotel - soaking Trevor in the process and ruining his new suit. James calls Coach Mitchell to explain that the woman, Jade, was kidnapped by Plank along with her father, Sir Alex Green, who has been involved in the development of 'silk-worm' missiles. But the call is interrupted by Mr Milbanks, and has to be cut short. Jade explains her father is being held in a hut at a pirate camp by the river. Plank has Sir Alex tied up there, and also has the silk-worm missiles in his possession; but Jade managed to escape because Jaws and Nick Nack left her unguarded.

That evening, while Trevor shows off more new suits, James and Jade take a slow-boat into China and locate the river-hut where Sir Alex is held captive - as well as the missiles themselves on board a junk. The floor of the hut is booby-trapped with dynamite from below, so they formulate a plan. Luckily for them, Plank has left Jaws and Nick Nack in charge (again) while he retires for forty winks. James and Jade set up a portable stereo and a series of I.Q.'s pyrotechnic cameras to create a distraction, planning to rescue Sir Alex, destroy Plank's speedboats and escape with the missiles on board a junk. Heading back to the hut, they overpower a guard and untie Sir Alex. Jaws and Nick Nack catch them in the act, but are so busy bickering that James is able to use another of I.Q.'s cameras to temporarily blind them. They fall through the hut floor, setting off the dynamite, as James, Jade and Sir Alex escape. Hearing the bang, Plank and his pirates wake up and rush to the site of the disturbance. But the other cameras and the stereo activate, surprising the pirates and causing them to flee to the speedboats. James and his friends head for the junk, but are spotted by Plank as they sail away.

The pirates follow in speedboats, and James finds some spare roman candles to fling at the pirates' boats, causing distracting explosions which send the speedboats crashing into the river bank. Some of the pirates, as well as Jaws, Nick Nack and Plank, manage to get on board the junk - but are quickly despatched in a team effort. To thank James, Sir Alex invites his group to a party on board the QE2 ship that evening. But there's bad news as Sir Alex arrives, and reveals that the containers which James thought contained the missiles have turned out to be empty. At that moment, the QE2 is surrounded by a fleet of junks controlled by Plank - he still has the missiles, and has them aimed to fire at both the ship and the city. He demands that all the money in Hong Kong's banks is handed over to him in 30 minutes - or else he will fire. He demonstrates his sincerity by destroying an abandoned junk. As the guests on the QE2 panic, James swims over to Plank's ship and manages to climb onboard undetected. He locates the missile control system, and contacts the Governor's office to inform him of the situation, before being captured by Nick Nack and Jaws.The bunglers don't take long to mess things up, however, and fall on top of one another, giving James the chance to overpower them and escape.

Plank is furious to find the pair locked in a cabin, and confronts James himself - only to get his hook caught in the chain on the anchor, along with which James promptly winches him overboard. Bond then climbs the ship's mast, pursued by Jaws, who brings the structure crashing down. James dives into the ocean and swims back to the QE2. Plank resurfaces, but a government helicopter arrives, and he's told to surrender. Furious, Plank sets the first set of missiles to fire at the QE2, but it soon turns out James altered the course of the missiles when onboard earlier. When Plank fires, he only succeeds in destroying his own fleet of boats - including the one he's standing on! The gang enjoy the rest of the party - except Trevor, who gets punch on yet another suit, causing it to shrink. James almost shares a kiss with Jade, but is interrupted by Sir Alex, prompting a suitably terrible pun.


Review: It's James Bond Jr's second visit to Hong Kong, but this time the show more starkly demonstrates its age; here, the city still has a governor, due to its pre-1997 status as a British dependency (no doubt this fact, as well as the setting of the QE2, contributes to the choice of episode title). But otherwise Queen's Ransom has aged rather well, with Plank's missile theft a good deal more credible than some of S.C.U.M.'s other schemes. While Jaws and Nick Nack are on hand to play their usual parts, it's refreshing to see Plank get more directly involved in the action than usual - he himself leads the chase for Jade in the opening sequence, and later on pursues James dressed amusingly in only a nightshirt. Some plot details are fairly vague; why Plank had to kidnap Green and his daughter in order also to steal the missiles is unclear, for example; and I.Q.'s gizmos are poorly conceived. But nonetheless an enjoyable and engaging episode, which appears almost to end in actual romance for James - a highly unusual occurrence.

Highs: Having saved Hong Kong from destruction, James climbs back onto the QE2 drenched and dishevelled, only to be berated by Trevor for letting the side down by not wearing full black tie. James then briefly breaks the fourth wall, staring straight towards camera in bemused despair.

Lows: Having no rope to hand with which to tie up James, Nick Nack suggests they use Jaws' belt instead. Jaws duly takes it off, causing his trousers to fall down, which in turn causes him to topple directly onto Nick Nack - whom James then locks in a filing cabinet for good measure.

Gadgets & Gizmos: It's a fairly lazy week as far as gadgets are concerned. I.Q.'s only contribution of note is a set of cameras that let off fireworks when activated either remotely or manually - and even they don't make a great deal of sense.

Lines to Forget: Jaws, grabbing James: "Now I'm going to show you how my teeth work." James: "Let me show you how a shelf brace works," before kicking a shelf on top of him.

Notes: This is the second episode to be set in Hong Kong, following Nothing to Play With; both feature Plank, so evidently he's developed a taste for the place.

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