Synopsis: One night in London, Jaws and Nick Nack prepare to gatecrash a secret meeting of the Government Technology Committee, when they are distracted by the arrival of James on the scene. Turning their laser gun on him instead, he escapes over the rooftops via a telegraph line. When the crooks sever the line with laser fire, James swings down towards them, knocking them through the glass ceiling of the conference room much to the amazement of the assembled officials. The crooks escape and report Bond’s intervention via videolink to Baron von Skarin at his castle, who is accompanied by new mad scientist accomplice Dr Veerd. It transpires that the committee was discussing an invention by Professor Rupert Farragut (Phoebe's uncle): a modulated microwave jammer created in his lab on the island of Malagama. The jammer could be useful in the right hands - but dangerous in the wrong ones, as it could be used to interfere with air traffic control signals.
Some time later at Warfield, during Coach Mitchell’s gym class, Phoebe tells the others that she's worried about her uncle as she hasn't heard from him in a long while. James suggests they go on a beach holiday near the island over half-term to check he's okay. With gadgets packed, they head off on vacation. While Gordo, Tracy and I.Q. hang out on the beach, James borrows a boat straight away to take them to Malagama. They are joined by a young lady called Ruby, who volunteers to go with them. Phoebe disapproves, and stows away on board the boat as well to keep an eye on James. On the island, von Skarin, Dr Veerd, Jaws and Nick Nack have Uncle Rupert held hostage in his lab, and spot James approaching on the security monitors. As they come ashore, the group is attacked by a model airplane, with miniature laser beams!
James takes the plane out by launching a palm tree at it, and it bursts into flames on the beach. Later, the Baron releases another model plane, which this time drops bombs on them as they approach the mountain where the lab is situated. Dodging these and the Baron’s laser defence system, they continue towards the lab. Uncle Rupert notices that his niece Phoebe is among the group, but hides the fact from the crooks. James uses I.Q.’s laser binoculars to target a satellite dish on von Skarin’s listening system, sending audio feedback into the lab and temporarily deafening the crooks. Meanwhile, I.Q. builds an elaborate sandcastle, and Gordo tries his hand at both surfing and water-skiing, with amusing results.
As more miniature planes are released, James rewires I.Q.'s radio controller for his own model plane and uses it to seize control of them, turning their firepower back on the Baron’s facilities and bombing his communications system. James then dodges past a new round of laser fire controlled by Jaws and Nick Nack, and pilots the remote control plane straight into the jamming system, disabling it. The crooks then attack a rock James is hiding behind with their laser, but it overloads and sends smoke billowing back into the lab. James reunites with Ruby and Phoebe and they set out to rescue Uncle Rupert. Von Skarin orders Jaws and Nick Nack to start up the helicopter – while Scumlord appears on the video screen demanding to know what is going on. He instructs the Baron to use the microwave jammer to hold the world's air traffic control system to ransom.
James and the gang gain entry to the lab. They are confronted by Jaws and Nick Nack but quickly manage to despatch them. They find Uncle Rupert in the control room and untie him, just as the crooks escape in the helicopter: from the chopper they plan to broadcast the ransom message and deploy the jammer, which would effectively put a stop to all international air travel. James and Rupert use I.Q.'s remote control to disrupt the jammer's microwaves. The machine overloads and begins to spark, causing Dr Veerd to lose control of the helicopter. Baron von Skarin, Schnitzel, Dr Veerd, Nick Nack and Jaws all parachute to safety, but their plan is foiled. The gang bid goodbye to Professor Farragut and to Ruby, and head home.
Review: A fairly engaging and entertaining episode, Catching the Wave touches once again on the 'deadly toys' theme covered more comprehensively in Nothing to Play With - although the ultimate focus here is on real planes, and the potential consequences of Professor Farragut's jammer being used to interfere with them. The fictitious island of Malagama and its lavish mountain laboratory act as an effective backdrop, bringing to mind the earlier episode Never Lose Hope - although this installment is perhaps less novel, with the bog-standard Baron as head villain, and Jaws and Nick Nack's incessant bumbling ensuring proceedings remain moderately humdrum. Scumlord's cameo raises the tone slightly, however, as does Dr Veerd - another example of the effective (if overused) evil 'guest scientist' device, which permeates a number of other episodes in the run. Unusually, Trevor Noseworthy is entirely absent, with alternative comedy provided by Gordo and I.Q.'s antics on the beach.
S.C.U.M. on the Surface?: Yes. Aside from Scumlord’s direct involvement, the organisation is referenced in the script - and a large S.C.U.M. insignia is prominently visible on the wall of the Baron's castle.
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