by Mary Crawford and Alan Templeton
Featuring: James, I.Q., Tracy, Gordo, Phoebe, Trevor, Coach Mitchell, Mr Milbanks, Goldfinger, Odd Job.
Synopsis: In orbit around the Earth, the space shuttle Copernicus performs a spectral analysis of an asteroid named 'Diablo' - and discovers it is composed of 98% pure gold. As the shuttle prepares to return to Earth, an unidentified craft appears on the radar. The shuttle's captain, Maria Pallas, says it appears to be a sub-orbital transport vessel; and it looks to have a rather golden glint about it. The huge vessel speeds alongside the shuttle, before opening up to reveal giant grabber claws - which close around the shuttle, pulling it into the larger craft. Piloting the shuttle-grabber is Odd Job, with Goldfinger by his side. They activate an electrical device to shield them from ground control's radar, giving the impression that the shuttle has simply disapeared.
At Warfield Academy, the gang is watching the shuttle's progress with interest - since I.Q. has created one of the computer programs on board the shuttle, to collect data on cosmic rays. As they watch live coverage of the shuttle's activities, the reporter receives word from mission control that the Copernicus has been hijacked in mid air. I.Q. uses his PC to interact with the program he created for the shuttle in order to home in on the craft's location - it's in Iceland. To be precise, the shuttle has been taken to a small, volcanic, uninhabited island off the Icelandic coast. Goldfinger has constructed a massive base inside the volcano, with pipes of molten lava powering the complex and providing heat and light. Captain Pallas and the other crewmembers are placed in a cell within the complex. Meanwhile James and I.Q. visit a military facility near Warfield to tell the army what they know, but aren't taken seriously and are forced to leave.
Back at the dorms, James and the others decide there's no other option than to go to Iceland themselves - but Trevor is listening in. He runs off and tells Coach Mitchell what they're planning, while behind him James and the others escape the grounds disguised as members of the Warfield brass band. Seeing the gang climb on the bus, the Coach ignores them and encourages Trevor to help him roll up the gym mats while he tells him all about it. Meanwhile, at Goldfinger's lair, Pallas and her crew watch in awe from the cell as a giant mechanical antenna emerges from the centre of the base. Goldfinger tells them that it's the centrepiece of Operation Skyhammer. He explains that Skyhammer is an immensely powerful tractor beam which, once programmed with the Diablo asteroid's coordinates from the space shuttle computer, will lock onto the asteroid and pull all 10,000 tonnes of gold to the earth to be rounded up by his men. Pallas warns that the impact could wipe out a 10 square mile area - a fact which seems only to increase Goldfinger's pleasure.
The gang arrives in Iceland to a great deal of commotion, and news cameras - Gordo is named as Reykjavik's millionth visitor! He's met by tourist board rep Kirsten Goodwardson, who tells him he'll be treated to everything Iceland can offer as their honoured guest. Phoebe and Tracy are eager to reap the benefits too, while James and I.Q. try to slink away inconspicuously, lest Goldfinger should see them on TV. I.Q. uses his portable computer to get an exact fix on the shuttle's location, and he succeeds in identifying the small island. But in doing so he triggers an alarm on Goldfinger's computer, meaning Odd Job can also track I.Q.'s location. Back at Warfield, Trevor sees the TV footage of Gordo, James and the others coming off the plane. Putting a tape in his VCR, he chuckles evilly to himself at the thought of showing it to Mr Milbanks.
As James and I.Q. rent a boat to go and explore the small island, Odd Job catches up with them, attempting to run them down in a forklift truck. James dispenses with him by jumping in a crane, using it to lift the forklift away from the floor, and dropping it in an open-topped truck full of fish. I.Q. and James escape in the speedboat before he can catch up with them. As they approach the island, lasers begin to fire at their boat; it's Odd Job again in a hydrofoil. But James throws life preservers overboard which Odd Job's lasers hit at close range, causing them and his boat to burst into flames. Meanwhile, Gordo's celebrity treatment is not going quite as he had planned, as he's forced to drink cod liver oil and attend an Icelandic opera. And back at Warfield, Trevor tells Coach Mitchell he's got a tape of James in Iceland which he plans to give to Mr Milbanks. The Coach offers to look after it for him, saying he'll pass it to Milbanks.
James and I.Q. arrive on the island, and follow Odd Job through a secret passage in the rockface - but they're being watched by security cameras. They climb onto the monorail system which Goldfinger uses to get around his base, spotting the Copernicus as they drift past. They soon glide right into Goldfinger's hands. He explains that his tractor beam is now locking onto the asteroid, before ordering Odd Job to take I.Q. and James to 'Young Faithful' - a lava plume that erupts every two hours. They're placed in a cage and hung over the bubbling pit. As it begins to erupt, the cage rocks from side to side, but James uses his belt to hook onto the rocks on the side of the cave, holding the cage away from the plume - which also has the effect of breaking the chain from the ceiling. The cage crashes safely to the floor, and James uses I.Q.'s 'slashlight' device to cut through the bars and free them.
James decides to sabotage Goldfinger's base by closing the valves on the magma pipes, causing a build-up which will lead to a massive explosion. The island quickly begins to shake, and rocks fall from the ceiling. While I.Q. frees the astronauts from their cell, Odd Job and James battle it out; Odd Job flings his hat but it misses James and hits one of the magma pipes, spurting magma all over the Skyhammer and causing the tractor beam to be disrupted. But as the Skyhammer is destroyed, Goldfinger notices that it's pulled the asteroid off course - so it's now heading straight for New York. As I.Q. and the crew head for the boat, Captain Pallas leaps from the monorail and floors Odd Job, allowing James to get away from him.
Goldfinger and Odd Job bail as the island continues to collapse, while Pallas and James rush to the control panel. Pallas launches the shuttle remotely, causing it to hit Diablo at full speed and shatter the asteroid, saving New York. But one of the chunks is heading towards the island - so they make a quick exit, crossing growing pools of lava by hanging from the monorail track and inching along. They join I.Q. and the crew and speed away in the boat just in time, as the asteroid chunk destroys the whole island. A tidal wave then occurs, sending their boat sweeping into the harbour and landing on the jetty, where they meet Gordo and the others. Back at Warfield, Trevor has gathered Mr Milbanks, Coach Mitchell, James and all his friends in a room for a viewing of the video he recorded showing them in Iceland without permission. But Coach Mitchell has switched the tape for a wildlife video. Trevor gets detention for the rest of the term, and throws up after James gives him a cup of cod liver oil.
Review: This episode marks Goldfinger's fourth and final appearance in the TV series and, as usual, it's an action-packed and enjoyable outing, featuring what is possibly the crook's most ambitious plan to date. While the asteroid plot element is slightly (but not completely) recycled from an earlier installment (see 'Notes'), this episode is entirely original in most other respects - the space shuttle theft is a nice twist, and although the plot is outlandish, Goldfinger is the best-placed bad guy to pull it off. He spends most of the episode revelling in his own unpleasantness, which is always a quality to be admired in a villain - and can only be described as gleeful on announcing that the asteroid is now headed on a collision course with New York, even though it means his precious gold will be unsalvageable. His lavish volcanic island base, complete with golden monorail and sustainable energy provision, is also a nice touch, if a little unlikely. The B-plot with Gordo and Kirsten is clearly rather silly - how on earth would they know Gordo was the millionth visitor to Reykjavik? It's so silly, in fact, that a C-plot is put in play to compensate, with Mitchell secretly outdoing Trevor back at Warfield in what is possibly his most serious breach of staff protocol yet. But putting minor niggles aside, Killer Asteroid is a more than worthwhile watch, and certainly gets the thumbs-up.
Highs: Captain Pallas is one of the series' most likeable guest characters. Unlike most junior Bond girls, she's both agile and intelligent, and doesn't rely on James to save her skin - indeed, she's rather better at saving his.
Lows: the episode presents a fairly clichéd portrayal of Icelandic culture, namely as consisting wholly of bad opera and cod liver oil.
Lines to Remember: Trevor: 'Subject - James Bond Junior. Item - James Bond has not been seen at Warfield for exactly six hours and eleven minutes. Question - where the dickens is he?'
Goldfinger: 'Odd Job! Give these gentlemen a warm, Icelandic welcome. And I don't mean a smorgasbord.'
Lines to Forget:
James, dangling over a bubbling pit of lava: 'You know I.Q., it's not the heat I mind. It's the humidity.' And having escaped: 'At least we were just shaken, not stir-fried.'
Gadgets & Gizmos: I.Q. outdoes himself in the scientific research department today. His cosmic ray data collection programme is so efficient it's been installed on a space shuttle. But that's not all - his 'slashlight' (a buzzsaw concealed within an electric torch), while strangely sinister, also comes in handy.
S.C.U.M. on the Surface?: The organisation is not mentioned at all in the script, and it's worth noting that Goldfinger's island base appears to be completely devoid of staff aside from himself and Odd Job.
Notes: Captain Pallas is named after the asteroid (2) Pallas, one of the earliest to be discovered, which is in turn named after the Greek goddess of heroic endeavour, Pallas Athene. How very apt. Continuing the space theme, both Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei get a mention - as does the planet Jupiter.
'Diablo' was also the name of Ms Fortune's mountaintop hotel in Mindfield.
Once again, Bond delights in making Trevor throw up.
This episode should not be confused with an earlier asteroid-related instalment, Barbella's Big Attraction.