by Francis Moss and Ted Pedersen
Featuring: James, I.Q., Tracy, Gordo, Phoebe, Trevor, Mr Milbanks, Coach Mitchell, Baron von Skarin, Jaws, Nick Nack, Scumlord.
Synopsis: En route to the Old Town district of Toronto, Canada, to take part in a beautification project, the Warfield gang's bus is attacked by a posse of S.C.U.M. agents on ATVs, led by Jaws and Nick Nack. Firing lasers, the crooks near the bus, and Jaws clambers onto the top, ripping off the vehicle's roof and throwing the driver into the adjacent river. James is forced to take control of the bus, and stops his pursuers by slamming on the brakes - so that they hit the back of the bus and rebound into the river. The local police chief congratulates James on his driving and explains there have been a lot of attacks in the area since the beautification project began. In order to protect them, he assigns Sergeant Victoria Province to the group as an undercover officer.
The gang heads onwards to the hotel, where they're met by project coordinator Claude and his assistant, Bettina, who takes an immediate shine to Trevor despite his breathtaking rudeness. As Milbanks goes off to live it up in a more upmarket hotel, the gang settles in. Meanwhile, at an abandoned cinema nearby, Jaws and Nick Nack report back to Baron von Skarin. He's furious with them, since they've failed to eliminate the bus - and among its passengers, James Bond Jr. Scumlord then appears on the telescreen, warning the Baron that he'd better not ruin his plan, which he says will be among S.C.U.M.'s greatest triumphs. Handing the crooks a map showing the locations of the city's power stations, von Skarin tells them to keep Bond and his friends away from them.
After I.Q. demonstrates his latest gadgets at the hotel, the gang goes to the local park and begins cleaning it up. Trevor hides in the rubbish bin in an attempt to elude Bettina's affections, but fails, as she simply lifts him out and carries him away. Meanwhile, Jaws and Nick Nack are outside the hotel, preparing to destroy it with a potent mixture of old film from the abandoned cinema and standard-issue S.C.U.M. explosives. But James spots them fleeing the scene on an ATV and tries to stop them from leaving. Failing, he then hears the blast from the rear of the hotel and rushes back to help I.Q. and Victoria, as the hotel trembles precariously. Using I.Q.'s rope crossbow and Victoria' handcuffs, the trio swing to safety as the hotel collapses to the ground.
When Coach Mitchell and the others return to find the hotel destroyed, they opt to sleep at Project HQ for the night - while James, I.Q. and Victoria stay behind to investigate. I.Q. finds some of the old movie film in the wreckage, and Victoria realises that S.C.U.M. may be using an abandoned cinema for their hideout. They go to investigate possible locations, while Victoria tells them that the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, is due to appear tonight. But the phenomenon is all part of von Skarin's plan, which he demonstrates to Scumlord via videoscreen. The Baron intends to use his generators to collect the 'awesome power' of the Aurora Borealis, before sending that power into the main electricity grid, causing an overload and a blackout. They can then hold Toronto's power hostage for $1 billion ransom. Scumlord tells von Skarin that he'll be there personally to oversee the attack.
James and the others stumble on the correct cinema, and they're duly attacked by Jaws and Nick Nack. In the ensuing ATV fight, Jaws ends up crushed under a wall and Nick Nack is briefly captured by James. He escapes, but accidentally drops von Skarin's map of the power stations on his way. Rejoining the others at Project HQ, James realises that the lines on the map connecting the power stations all converge at one central point: the park. As I.Q., Claude and the gang head to the park to check it out, James and Victoria go to the nearest power station to find out what's happening. As they arrive there, the Aurora Borealis appears overhead - giving von Skarin his signal to set his plan in motion. He flicks a switch, causing the power from the Aurora to feed back into the electrical power grid. As the power station explodes and lights begin to go out across the city, James realises what the Baron's up to.
At the municipal headquarters, Scumlord hovers outside in his helicopter, reading out his ransom note in person. He warns city officials that unless they pay him $1 billion in gold, they'll never have electricity again. Meanwhile, at the park, a large antenna begins to rise from a disused shed, and I.Q. realises S.C.U.M. is using it to boost their power. I.Q. tries to key in on the antenna's radio control frequency, while Claude, Bettina and the others create a diversion with rocks and tyres to scare off the S.C.U.M. guards. At the abandoned cinema, James and Victoria burst in on an ATV to stop the crooks, and are pursued by Jaws and Nick Nack. They elude them, but are eventually captured by Baron von Skarin, who has them winched up to the roof - so that they'll be fried by the electrical energy in the air. At that point, I.Q. takes control of the antenna, and James frees himself and Victoria with his watch. I.Q. reverses the polarity and sends the electrical power feeding back into von Skarin's base, causing it to explode. As von Skarin, Jaws and Nick Nack are berated by Scumlord, James and his friends head home - and Bettina's particularly sad to say goodbye to Trevor!
Review: Although this is the third time that the 'Baron cuts off the power' storyline has been used in the series (following Sherlock I.Q. and, less blatantly, Dance of the Toreadors), this episode is actually one of the better in the second half of the run, with a suitably menacing feel throughout - intensified of course by the presence of Scumlord. Although Jaws and Nick Nack are to be found bickering in the background as ever, there's less gratuitous comedy here than is sometimes the case elsewhere. With blackouts, bus hijacks and blown-up hotels, there's a slightly darker-than-average feel in the air - punctuated at timely intervals by a genuinely amusing B-plot featuring Trevor and the Canadian tomboy who appears to have fallen in love with him. The abandoned cinema is a nice touch as von Skarin's hideout - beating by miles the custom-built, hi-tech bases normally favoured - while the Aurora Borealis plot is wonderfully creative (though whether entirely scientifically sound is another matter). The somewhat delapidated Toronto suburb in which the action takes place is far more effective a backdrop than Sherlock I.Q.'s cliché-ridden London, meanwhile. Overall, it's an enjoyable last outing for the Baron, and a very watchable penultimate episode.
Highs: So repulsed is Trevor by the amorous Bettina that he hides in a skipful of refuse to elude her.
Lows: Coach Mitchell's borderline indifference at the sight of the hotel reduced to rubble is only compounded by his irresponsibility in leaving two of his pupils to investigate the bomb site.
Lines to Remember: Baron von Skarin, on Jaws and Nick Nack's dismal attempt to claim they scared away the Warfield bus: "Those tourists, among them James Bond Jr, are still here. And you lost four of our vehicles! If you vere any more successful, ve'd all be arrested!"
Mr Milbanks, opting out of the 'character-building activities' he's assigned his pupils: "My character is already built, thank you darling."
James to Coach Mitchell, on the destruction of the hotel: "We got a bit carried away on our clean-up detail..."
Gadgets & Gizmos: A rope-firing crossbow and jet-powered skateboard are I.Q.'s gadgets of the day. He also boasts an RC gizmo and modifies a S.C.U.M. ATV by adding an oil slick feature.
S.C.U.M. on the Surface?: Most decidedly - in fact Scumlord even turns up in person to ensure the plan goes smoothly.
Blunders & Bloopers: When most of the Warfield crew go to the park to clean it up, James and I.Q. opt to stay at the hotel to keep an eye out for S.C.U.M. But following a scene with I.Q.'s gadgets at the hotel, both he and James are clearly visible tidying up at the park. Then in the very next scene they're back in the hotel again, finishing up where they left off.
The dog which is seen by Scumlord's side on the telescreen is not Scuzzball (from The Beginning) but von Skarin's own hound, Schnitzel. Maybe he is on loan.
Notes: This is the penultimate TV episode of James Bond Jr., and the final appearance of Baron von Skarin, Jaws, Nick Nack and Scumlord. It is also the last time Phoebe and Mr Milbanks appear in the cartoon.
One of von Skarin's scientists here has appeared before, in the episode Barbella's Big Attraction.