'GOLDIE'S GOLD SCAM'
by J.R. Morton
Featuring: James, I.Q., Tracy, Gordo, Phoebe, Trevor, Coach Mitchell, Goldfinger, Goldie Finger, Odd Job.
Warfield is in Africa on a safari trip, led by Coach Mitchell. They're
heading across the plains in a jeep when they're suddenly charged at by
a rhinoceros. James saves the day by luring the rhino into water with
the blast of a horn, but something suspicious is afoot - there's a
small, bleeping wristwatch-like device attached to the rhino's ear.
Later, he gives it to I.Q. to examine. He rules out a homing device
straight away, then sets to work. James suspects the device was being
used to control the rhino, and when a bug with a similar-looking
attachment crawls into his tent late at night, his suspicions are
Nearby, a S.C.U.M. agent pilots a boat
containing Goldie Finger along a small mountain river. With a briefcase
marked 'radioactive' and 'plutonium' in her hand, she enters a mine
shaft at the base of a huge waterfall, but her presence causes alarms
to wail and a gate to slam down behind her. Various S.C.U.M. agents
then attack her, but Goldie knocks them out one by one using mine cars
and a laser gun. She soon comes to a huge control room, where her
father Goldfinger is waiting, along with Odd Job. She remarks that his
security is fairly lax, and presents him with the plutonium case. He's
horrified, telling her she has to get rid of it - but she calmly opens
the case and takes out a lump of shining rock. It acts like it's
radioactive, but she assures him it only has the characteristics of
plutonium and isn't the real deal.
Goldie's plan is to use the fake plutonium to make local gold mines
appear contaminated, so that once they're abandoned S.C.U.M. can go in
and clear out the gold. Goldfinger's impressed, and takes Goldie to the
heart of his Midas Mountain lair to see his own criminal contribution -
a sonic wave machine that allows him to control any animal wearing his
special control bracelets, so they can mine gold for him and scare off
intruders. First, he wants to use them to get rid of James. Back at the
camp, I.Q. has taken Trevor's tent to build a paraglider for James, and
has modified the bracelet they found on the rhino to track the source
of the control signals. James flies out towards the source, and soon
located Midas Mountain - where he sees the waterfall suddenly stop and
a golden helicopter fly out of a secret hole in the cliff.
It's Goldie Finger, and she begins to fire missiles at James's
paraglider, sending him plummeting towards the river below - but he
activates the parachute feature and manages to float silently into
Goldie's chopper, hanging on to one of the helicopter's legs. Goldie
heads to a nearby gold mine and fires two missiles containing the fake
plutonium into the mine shaft, causing the miners to flee in panic. She
then returns to the falls, with James still hanging on - but Goldfinger
spots him over the videoscreen, and Goldie tries to drown him in the
waterfall. She then lands the chopper in the secret passage, unaware
that James has managed to swing to safety through the waterfall and is
also in Midas Mountain.
Goldfinger reveals to Goldie that Odd Job has staged a theft of some
real plutonium to add credibility to their ruse - he's now keeping the
real plutonium in his base in a sealed glass chamber. On the news, they
learn that as a result of the mine attack, the price of gold has gone
through the roof. Back at camp, Mitchell heads into the nearest town to
get supplies, somewhat irresponsibly leaving his pupils, not least a
terrified Trevor, to make friends with the wildlife - including a chimp
intent on stealing his clothes! At Goldfinger's base, James soon spies
the bracelets being put on human slaves and realises Goldfinger can
control people as well as animals. He radios I.Q. for backup, who
agrees to meet him at the river. But as James leaves the base he sets
off an alarm, alerting a bickering Goldfinger and Goldie to his
James takes a lift down to the base's dock, where he's confronted and
captured by enslaved miners and Odd Job. Goldfinger decides to fit a
bracelet on James so he'll become a slave too - Goldie is delighted,
commenting on the irony of James Bond Jr doing their dirty work for
them. The crooks decide to send 'enslaved' James down the river to
deliver a shipment of gold ore, but James has stuffed polystyrene
packing in his ears to prevent him from being affected by the sonic
waves. He soon reconvenes with I.Q. and the gang, and asks them to take
the stolen gold to the authorities, while he heads back to take care of
in Midas Mountain, James attacks the sonic wave machine with a pickaxe,
causing all the slave workers to go berserk, smashing the base up -
including the glass area where the real plutonium's being kept. The
base is soon highly radioactive, and Goldie and her father flee onboard
the helicopter. James turns the fake waterfall back on just as they're
leaving in the chopper, however, and they splash into the river below.
James rejoins the gang just as Coach Mitchell returns from town, and
they all laugh at Trevor and his new monkey friend.
Review: An enjoyable episode and one of the best in the later part of the series, Goldie's Gold Scam was
likely intended to be aired much earlier in the run given its apparent
introduction of Goldie Finger, and her relationship with her father
(though according to the script both are evidently known to James
already). Characterisation of the villains is a strong point, with
their nauseating mutual congratulation rapidly descending into
bickering as their plans collapse around their ears. Odd Job,
meanwhile, is understated here, with a minimum to do - which is
possibly for the best as his character is most threatening when he's
quiet. The plot is a few notches above passable; Goldie's eponymous
scam, while not perhaps sufficiently explained, is original enough and
works well with this backdrop. The slavery theme is also interesting -
though the word itself is not used, the episode does have somewhat of a
colonial feel about it, foreshadowed perhaps by Gordo's opening comment
about the 'dark interior', which has unmistakeable Heart of Darkness
connotations. While the mind control of elephants and rhinos may seem
pretty silly, the control of the human slaves is considerably more
disturbing and very much serves to highlight the extent of Goldfinger's
unpleasantness. The soundtrack to this episode is another plus point,
with some of the series' best background pieces used to great effect,
particularly in the action scenes.
Highs: The mountains, jungles and plains of Africa (though
we're not told exactly where) make for a refreshing and exciting
setting for this episode.
Lows: Goldfinger's sonic wave machine appears to be a modified church organ, complete with piano keyboard.
Gadgets & Gizmos: I.Q.
constructs a paraglider from bits of Trevor's tent - it can also turn
into a parachute when you pull the cord. He has a grappling gun too,
strong enough to haul in small boats. But for Gadget of the Week
there's a surprise coup by Goldfinger, whose sonic wave machine and
control devices not only compel animals to obey his every command, but
S.C.U.M. on the Surface: Yes. Midas Mountain is packed with uniformed goons - and the pilot of Goldie's boat at the start is also S.C.U.M.-branded.
VHS Vault: This episode received a standalone VHS release, in NTSC format only.
Sticker Story: Under the name 'Goldie's Dream', this story was adapted for the Merlin Stickers album.
Notes: Despite their father-daughter relationship, this is the only episode in which Goldfinger and his daughter both appear.
Where did Odd Job disappear to at the end of the episode? He isn't seen escaping on the helicopter with his boss.