Synopsis: In a busy market street in Shanghai, China, a British secret agent codenamed Marco Polo is involved in a tussle with agents of S.C.U.M., including Odd Job, who finally overpowers and kidnaps him, rendering him unconscious with a gun that fires purple gas. Before he's captured, Polo leaves evidence that he's collected during an investigation of S.C.U.M.'s latest crimes - a small purple rose - on a flower seller's stall, so Odd Job can't retrieve it. Coincidentally, James Bond Jr and co are also in Shanghai with Mr Milbanks, to experience some Chinese culture courtesy of their tour guide, Jasmin.
Odd Job takes Marco Polo back to Doctor No, announcing that thanks to the purple gas Odd Job used to knock him out – the same as the gas released by the rose – he’s now a willing servant of S.C.U.M. While Gordo and Phoebe stay in Shanghai to look after zombie-Trevor, James, I.Q., Tracy and Jasmin set off for the Valley aboard a Chinese junk, but Tracy’s suspicious of Jasmin’s motivations, as she hardly knows them. Soon, we see Jasmin appear on Doctor No’s telescreen, reporting that she’s on her way with James Bond Jr. Odd Job attacks their boat in a submarine, causing it to sink, but I.Q. uses some propane that’s on board to propel them all to safety. They land unhurt on top of a hill, and see a field full of roses just like the one Trevor had. They explore, and soon see several giant yellow harvesting machines collecting the roses.
James sends I.Q. and Jasmin to the gas tank room to ‘rearrange the plumbing’, while Tracy and James head for the antidote. But they’re cornered by Odd Job, who entrances Tracy with the rose gas. He then ties up James in the warehouse and puts Tracy behind the wheel of one of the harvesters, ordering her to drive straight into him. James realises in the nick of time that she’ll obey his orders just as she’ll obey Odd Job’s, and she turns the machine away on his command. Odd Job and his men flee, and James asks Tracy to untie him. They locate the antidote and rendezvous with the others; I.Q. has successfully sabotaged the gas tanks so that the whole palace will fill with the stuff, entrancing S.C.U.M.’s entire personnel.
Review: Garden of Evil isn't going to win any awards for realism, that's for sure - it's quite an unlikely episode to say the least. But having said that, it's rather good. Admittedly, the central tenet of the plot - the mutant roses that turn everyone into zombies - doesn't work as well as it might, largely because (a) everyone wanders around saying 'I obey, master' in a monotone (how can you genetically programme that effect?), and (b) when Odd Job is himself entranced by James over the loudspeaker, Doctor No's subsequent commands to stop destroying the base go unheeded, despite James having previously established that the trance makes its victim obey any order. Secret Agent Marco Polo's presence (see below) is also fairly unnecessary - he's far too clumsy, English and Hugh Grant-like to contribute anything of value to the anti-S.C.U.M. effort. But there's plenty of interesting characterisation going on here that makes the episode more than worthwhile. Doctor No fits perfectly in the oriental setting, as does Odd Job, who comes across with quite an air of worldly wisdom in this script; for the second time, this slightly unorthodox pairing works perfectly well. We also get to see a lot more of Tracy than usual, who's on top form script-wise, challenging Jasmin's motivation repeatedly and with good reason (albeit as a result of her jealousy). And since Trevor's contribution isn't too badly overdone, and manages to contribute to the main storyline, he's more or less tolerable, confined to a Shanghai hotel room with Gordo and Phoebe for the bulk of the twenty-two minutes. Of course there are some (very) dud lines, and of course there are loopholes in abundance, but if you're looking for atmosphere and wit in an episode, you don't have to look much further.
Highs: One scene in which Dr No excuses himself in order to 'have my lunch', before dropping a lettuce in a blender and drinking the resultant liquid, is presumably meant to be funny and, for once, it's just bizarre enough to succeed - the combination of Dr No doing something utterly menial and Odd Job's bemused reaction is absolutely hilarious.
Lows: What is it with Americans about English people wearing bow-ties? This isn't just an issue in James Bond Jr. - I've seen it in several Hollywood films. But whatever the motivation, it does nothing to enhance the character of 'Marco Polo', who's such a distressingly dull individual we can only assume he's bullied relentlessly by 007 at MI6 office parties.
Lines to Remember: Tracy, having heard out Dr No's latest plan for world domination: 'Can he do that?'
Tracy: 'What are you doing, Jasmin?'
Lines to Forget: I.Q., preparing his propane device: 'This could be our ticket off this junk.' Tracy: 'Gee I.Q., it's not that bad a boat!'
Notes: this is Odd Job's final appearance in the show, and marks the second occasion he has paired up with Dr No, the first being Far Out West.
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