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James Bond Jr Online


Episode #20
by Jeffrey Scott

Featuring: James, I.Q., Tracy, Gordo, Phoebe, Trevor, Mr Milbanks, Goldfinger, Odd Job, Nick Nack.

Synopsis: In the North Atlantic Ocean, a US air force pilot completes a routine patrol of the area surrounding the Bermuda Triangle; he jokingly tells his colleagues over the radio that there are 'no UFOs today'. But he speaks too soon: seeing a glint on the ocean surface, he swoops down to take a closer look. A dark, ray-shaped shadow moves under the surface, and suddenly fires at the plane, causing the instruments to go haywire. He fires missiles at the object, but in vain - it blasts his wing off, and the pilot ejects as the plane crashes into the water. The shadow comes to the surface, and the pilot is sucked into a huge yellow submarine.

At Warfield Academy, the gang is packing up for their latest jaunt abroad: Mr Farragut has invited them all to be on board the maiden voyage of his new cruise ship, named the SS Phoebe after his daughter. I.Q. finishes off his latest gadgets before the gang head for the plane to Bermuda, where the ship sets sail from. But off the coast of the island group, the air force pilot is put in the brig of the submarine by its owner, Goldfinger. Accompanied by Odd Job and Nick Nack, he's in the area to salvage a wealth of gold he's located in a sunken galleon. He first tries to raise the galleon using pumps, but the gold in the ship is too heavy and the pumps short out.

At Bermuda, the gang is welcomed on board the SS Phoebe by Debbie, the cruise director, with whom James quickly bags a dinner date - much to Tracy's annoyance. There's trouble ahead, as Goldfinger picks up the SS Phoebe on his radar. He orders Nick Nack and Odd Job to go out in a minisub and head out to the cruise ship, to see if there's any equipment that might help him get at the gold; using sucker pads, they climb up the hull of the ship. Quickly spotting James, I.Q. and the others, they report back to Goldfinger - who's particularly interested that I.Q. is onboard. Aware he's a genius, Goldfinger decides he may be able to help with the galleon. While Nick Nack grabs I.Q. and takes him to the sub, Odd Job goes after James and Debbie, ruining their date and locking them in the food freezer, before turning the power to full.

Luckily James remembers I.Q.'s camera film with flammable magnesium backing - it allows him to burn a hole in the floor so the pair can escape into the room below. But it's too late for I.Q., who's already back on Goldfinger's submarine. He refuses to help raise the galleon, until Goldfinger threatens to sink the SS Phoebe if he doesn't. I.Q. reluctantly agrees, and looks at a map of the area that shows a nearby oil rig. He tells Goldfinger that if he attaches chains to the galleon and drapes them over the rig, all he'll need to do is sink a heavier weight on the other side, and the gold will rise to the surface. But I.Q.'s plan backfires, as Goldfinger realises that the only thing heavier than the galleon in the vicinity is the cruise ship! Goldfinger decides to do so, despite his deal with I.Q., and orders Nick Nack to set a course for the oil rig while Odd Job takes I.Q. back to his cell.

Meanwhile, James, Debbie and the others have searched the ship for I.Q., to no avail, and decide to call in the US navy, while James and Debbie take a boat out to see if they can find him. Picking up the oil platform on the sonar, James ecides they should check there, to see if anyone's spotted anything unusual. When they arrive, the crew haven't seen anything odd - but Goldfinger's sub emerges suddenly, firing lasers at the platform. Odd Job and Nick Nack climb onto the rig, almost making mincemeat out of James, before holding him and Debbie at gunpoint. Goldfinger arrives, explaining his plan before sending out a distress signal, claiming the rig is on fire. The crew of the SS Phoebe pick up the signal and head towards the oil rig.

When it's close enough, Goldfinger's scuba team dive underwater, secretly welding huge chains to the hull of the cruise ship. Debbie and James escape from their shackles but there isn't enough power in James's watch to cut through the chains, so they decide to head back to the SS Phoebe and get the passengers into the lifeboats. Nick Nack fires the first torpedo at the ship just as James and Debbie approach the ship in their boat. Using I.Q.'s electronic fishing rod and magnetic hook, he manages to destroy the torpedo - so Goldfinger fires the next torpedo at James's boat! Realising they have to let it hit in order to save the cruise ship, James and Debbie are winched to safety by Gordo just in time. The smaller boat is destroyed - but a piece of it pierces the hull of the Phoebe, causing it to start taking on water.

James decides it's time he dived down to Goldfinger's submarine to confront him head on - and Debbie insists on going with him. She reveals herself as a CIA agent, who's been investigating the disappearance of the US air force jet. Under the sea, they struggle with some of Goldfinger's scuba divers, armed with knives, just as Goldfinger's loading the next torpedo. But Debbie manages to send one of the divers hurtling into the torpedo tube, jamming it. While Nick Nack tries to fix the problem, James, Gordo and Debbie make their entrance to the sub; Gordo and Debbie rescue I.Q. and the US air pilot, while James confronts Goldfinger.

Using I.Q.'s fishing rod again, he controls the direction of the next torpedo so that rather than destroying the cruise ship, it severs the chain. At that point a fleet of divers from the US navy arrive to apprehend Goldfinger, but he, Odd Job and Nick Nack manage to escape in a minisub. With the threat from Goldfinger extinguished, the gang enjoy the rest of their cruise worry-free - with the exception of Trevor Noseworthy, whom to everyone's amusement is having terrible bouts of seasickness, deliberately brought on by Gordo's graphic description of an eel colony on a nearby island.

Review: The great thing about Cruise to Oblivion is that it's a very visually appealing episode, right from the dramatic outset; Goldfinger's manta-ray submarine is very nicely designed both inside and out, and the colours are a lot bolder and brighter here than on other similar, ship-based episodes, complemented perfectly by some of the choicest sections from the musical score. The plot works fairly well too, all things considered; although it isn't explained exactly why Goldfinger's scuba team can't simply swim over to the galleon and retrieve the gold by hand, the rest of the story almost makes sense. There's a disappointing lack of focus on most of the Warfield regulars, but I.Q. benefits from a scene to himself with Goldfinger - S.C.U.M. picking on James's individual friends is almost unheard of, and Goldfinger's familiarity with I.Q. adds an entertaining dimension (even though they didn't meet in Earthcracker and Goldfinger hasn't featured on screen since). Junior Bond girl Debbie is also a strong character, and the CIA twist is quite unexpected, bring a nice circularity to the story that ties up the loose end of the US air force jet. In terms of the villains, Goldfinger is on top form - his dialogue is spot-on, and his accomplices Odd Job and Nick Nack are more creepily effective than the Jaws-Nick Nack combo often is. Another golden success.

The pre-titles teaser sets the episode off to a great start: it's dramatic, intriguing and to-the-point.

In Never Give A Villain A Fair Shake, James berates Trevor for deliberately trying to stimulate seasickness in I.Q. - but here he thinks it's quite justified for Gordo to do exactly the same to Trevor.

Lines to Remember: James, on hearing Goldfinger's scheme: 'You're mad, Goldfinger!' Goldfinger: 'If you mean mad about gold, then you're right...'

The captured air force pilot to Goldfinger: 'You'll be sorry when air-sea rescue gets here.' Goldfinger: 'Hmm. You'll be sorrier if you don't shut up.'

Gadgets & Gizmos: I.Q.'s pocket-sized, electronic, telescopic, radar-controlled rod and reel - phew! - is such an efficient sport-fishing accessory that it even baits the hook for you. There's also an underwater camera, and a special reel of film for it with a conveniently flammable magnesium backing.

S.C.U.M. on the Surface: On seeing Goldfinger's sub, James comments that 'something tells me that S.C.U.M. has just floated to the surface' - although no uniformed agents are present, and most of Goldfinger's henchmen are wearing black scuba gear with gold stripes. Nick Nack's presence also arguably suggests S.C.U.M. involvement.

Loco Parenthesis: Mr Milbanks is concerned for Tracy's interests as a father as well as a teacher, when he spies a skimpy bikini among her luggage, and reminds her that she'd promised to pack a "more substantial bathing suit."

Although James would never visit Bermuda again during the course of the show, he does come up against a vicious Bermudian ski team working for Doctor No, in the comic story Absolute Zero.

A scene in which James produces a book of matches in order to set fire to the flammable magnesium backing on the photo film was cut in some airings, presumably on safety grounds - so there's a quick fade from James laying the ring of film down to footage of it already on fire.

It's the maiden voyage of Phoebe's father's new cruise ship, but Mr Farragut doesn't appear to be onboard himself - possibly because he buys a new cruise ship every other week, or possibly because he's still feeling nauseous after his exploits in Never Give a Villain a Fair Shake.

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