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James Bond Jr Online


Episode #11
by Steven J. Fisher

Featuring: James, I.Q., Tracy, Gordo, Phoebe, Trevor, Mr Milbanks, Coach Mitchell, Dr No, Jaws, Nick Nack.

The students of Warfield Academy enjoy a week's holiday, and decide to spend one day at a seaside amusement park. As they arrive, however, James spots a mysterious black figure climbing up the side of the rollercoaster, who proceeds to remove a section of track with a blowtorch. Realising that there is a woman riding alone on the rollercoaster, James rushes to her aid with the help of a security guard's scooter. Managing to catch up with the cars, he attempts to convince the woman to follow his instructions, but being a princess, she is unwilling to do what he says. Luckily, he convinces her to lean towards the safe side of the track just in time, and the pair watch as the other cars plunge into the ocean below.

At the base of the ride, Princess Yasmine's father, Sheikh Yabootie of the country Al-Khaline, thanks James for saving his daughter and invites him and his friends to dine with them on their royal yacht. There they have dinner with the royal family and meet Fatima, Yasmine's servant, who praises Gordo for burping after the meal as this is in accordance with Al-Khaline's customs! After dinner, James speaks to the Sheikh, who explains that his family have received numerous threats recently due to his discovery of a vast underground reservoir of water; he wishes to give it to the people of the desert for free, but S.C.U.M. wishes to sell it for high prices. As they're talking, they find a note from S.C.U.M., stuck to a desk with a dagger, warning the Sheikh that unless he sells them the water, they will try to harm his daughter again and this time she won't be so lucky. The Sheikh is angry to see that S.C.U.M. have been on board; James thinks there may be a traitor on the yacht, but Yabootie insists his staff are loyal.

On board a nearby submarine, Jaws and Nick Nack listen into the conversation, proving that the yacht has somehow been bugged. James offers to help the Sheikh defeat S.C.U.M., and so the Sheikh calls Mr Milbanks, arranging a leave of absence for the gang from Warfield. Trevor isn't at all pleased that the others get to go to Al-Khaline, while Coach Mitchell knows it will be much more than a holiday. Meanwhile, under the desert, Doctor No drills pipelines, preparing to steal vast quantities of water from the reservoir and store them in his secret lair. He is furious to learn from Nick Nack that the Sheikh is still refusing to sell the water, and orders his henchmen to destroy the yacht. Nick Nack shows unusual concern for their operative onboard, but No reminds him that S.C.U.M. agents 'know the risks'.

While Fatima supplies Tracy and Phoebe with princesses' clothes, James and Yasmine go for a stroll on the deck. However, I.Q.'s watch modifications soon pick up the S.C.U.M. laser torpedo heading in their direction. He uses a mirror to reflect the laser back at the sub, totally destroying it and forcing Jaws and Nick Nack to swim to shore. Some time later, the gang arrive in Al-Khaline, where the Sheikh takes them to visit the water pumping plant. Although only one pipeline is currently operational, James catches one of the operatives, Kasim, monitoring a second pipeline, leading him to realise that Kasim is pumping the water for S.C.U.M.. He makes a quick getaway but James uses a rope and some oil-drum lids to sand-ski after his jeep.

Kasim drags him across the sand dunes, causing James to fall off - and when he climbs over into the next valley, the jeep has inexplicably vanished! Underground, Dr No admonishes Kasim, who tells him that, although they've lost control of the pipeline, they can regain it by tapping into the Sheikh's communication system - made possible by stealing some software from his palace. Jaws and Nick Nack are assigned the task; Doctor No tells the mystery traitor among the Sheikh's staff to make access to the palace easy for them.
Meanwhile, Yasmine and James study a map, and she concludes that the area in which the jeep disappeared is called the 'Valley of the Hungry Dunes', where, legend says, people are sometimes swallowed by the sand. She offers him a tour of the area, but James reminds her that she cannot leave the palace as she may be in danger.

Elsewhere in the palace, Jaws and Nick Nack arrive to steal the pipeline software. Jaws rips the safe open with his teeth, and although the pair are confronted by Gordo and I.Q., they soon do away with the teens by throwing them down a nearby trapdoor. Later, James waits in the corridor to meet Yasmine at an arranged time, but she doesn't turn up. Instead, she is being led into the garden by Fatima, who insists that James asked to meet her outside. James rushes out and finds them, only for Fatima to reveal herself as the S.C.U.M. traitor, grab Yasmine, and cart her off at knifepoint in another jeep, claiming she is treated like a slave and that 'S.C.U.M. will pay me well for my treachery'. James follows in a sandmobile and walks along their tracks straight into the Valley of the Hungry Dunes.

He soon finds himself sinking into the sand, and ends up deep in Doctor No's underground base, where he is confronted by Jaws, Nick Nack, Fatima and Doctor No. As a true Bond villain should, No insists on showing James around his lair, telling him that unless the leaders of the region pay him a trillion dollars, he will flush the entire water supply into the sea. He then locks James in a cell with Yasmine, whose capture he will use to make sure the Sheikh cooperates with his scheme. The pair use the laser on James's watch to escape, and they begin to sabotage the pipeline operations. James is surprised to know that Yasmine knows how to use all the pumping equipment. She increases the pressure in order to break the water tanks, while James fights Kasim and his buddy.

All the water tanks begin to burst across the base, causing the entire lair to flood. No confronts them just as the water rises, but is swept away into the sea along with Jaws and Nick Nack as a torrent of water engulfs them.James then uses the remote signal on I.Q.'s watch to close the doors so that the water is not lost. Back on the surface, the Sheikh thanks James again for all he has done. James says he couldn't have done it without Yasmine whom, despite being forbidden to do 'male' work by her father, could not be stopped from looking over his shoulder at how the pipelines are operated. The Sheikh decides it may be time for some changes in the ways of Al-Khaline. And at Warfield, Trevor guffaws when Milbanks makes the gang write essays about their time in the desert, but they present Trevor with a gift in return - a bag of sand over his head!

Review: This, the second episode in the run to feature Doctor No, is a real classic, boasting great action sequences, a hugely better than average script, and a bit of social commentary too. Although Sheikh Yabootie is decidedly vague about the nature of the 'change in Al-Khaline' following Yasmine's aptitude with the pipeline controls ('it is not a woman's place'), it certainly seems that, when combined with Yasmine's comments about the Sheikh only allowing her to dress as she does outside their country, the writer of this episode feels strongly about women's equality, and is keen to confront the issue. Of course, it seems highly unlikely that a whole country would suddenly change its attitudes as a result of one incident - but at least the thought is there, and some form of moral lesson is clearly intended.The inclusion of Fatima is equally interesting; her fate following the flooding of No's complex is unclear, which is arguably somewhat of a cop-out, but her mere presence in the episode is praiseworthy. Of all the S.C.U.M. agents, we can sympathise with her character the most, and she highlights the gap between the richest and poorest people in the world. While Yasmine clearly considers her a member of the family, Fatima feels differently and comments that 'slave is more like it'; being lifted from poverty is her only ambition and, if crime (through S.C.U.M.) offers her the opportunity to achieve this, she is prepared to go along with it. Therefore, although James ranks Fatima alongside the 'pair of jokers' that is Jaws and Nick Nack, the line between out-and-out good and evil is inevitably blurred somewhat. Elsewhere, the more conventional villains work perfectly in a darker-than-usual narrative. Doctor No's scheme is unusually believable and suitably fiendish, while Jaws and Nick Nack, paired here on the first of many occasions, are also portrayed in a slightly less comic (and more sinister) light than later in the series, as evidenced by Nick Nack's questioning No over his decision to destroy the yacht, including Fatima, and, conversely, his willingness to go ahead with it. James's character is also more fleshed-out here; his ongoing concern and affection for Yasmine is evident more than is usually the case with the 'guest girl', and his awareness of the contradictions in her culture mirrors the writer's own concerns. It's a pity they had to include that terrible pun at the end ('Lines to Forget'), but then, Bond wouldn't be Bond without them. A fantastic episode, and an indisputable ten out of ten.

Unlike in the 007 films, betrayal is rare in James Bond Jr, and Fatima's treachery brings extra depth and complexity to the episode, thus exploiting an opportunity that is more often than not missed by the show.

S.C.U.M. may have tried to kill Yasmine, but the real villains of the piece are the proprietors of that amusement park - the rollercoaster runs on a skeletal wooden track completely unattached to the wheels of the passenger vehicles, which incidentally don't even appear to feature safety bars. Sheikh Yabootie could have paid off Doctor No with litigation money alone...

Lines to Remember:
I.Q. on the amusement park: 'Look at all the opportunity to advance one's knowledge of the laws of physics! There's centrifugal force, gravity... James, as some pretty girls walk past: 'And let's not forget geometric curves!'

Gordo, on the 'luscious babes' in the Sheikh's palace that he insists on following with I.Q.: 'Their veils might have said no-no, but their eyes said si-si!'

Doctor No, having just tried to kill the Sheikh's daughter: 'So much for doing business fairly!'

Doctor No, confronting James as his base floods: 'Now you will pay for having meddled in the plans of Doctor...' The torrent hits him: 'Noooooooo!'

Lines to Forget:
Mr Milbanks, receiving a telephone call: 'Who? The Sheikh Yabootie?!'

James, to Mr Milbanks, after Gordo empties a bag of sand on Trevor's head: 'At least Trevor won't be hungry, sir.' Milbanks: 'Oh, why not?' James: 'He can just dig into his pockets for the sand which is there!' Get it? Sandwiches? No, we didn't think so, either.

Gadgets & Gizmos:
I.Q. has modified James's watch to alert him to the presence of explosives, to operate any electrical motor from a distance, and to emit a powerful laser beam that can cut through inch-thick steel. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it no longer tells the time.

S.C.U.M. on the Surface:
Yes; S.C.U.M. is explicitly mentioned several times as the organisation behind the blackmail, and at least one uniformed S.C.U.M. agent can be seen legging it from Doctor No's subterranean lair when it begins to flood (although the skull logo appears to be missing).

The note that James and the Sheikh find appears to be written in Arabic - another language in which James is fluent!

This marks the first appearance in the show of Nick Nack, one of the five villains from the film series to make the transition to the cartoon. Though it's barely apparent here, later in the series he would often be used for comic relief, usually (but not always) in partnership with Jaws.

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