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James Bond Jr Online


Episode #27
by Jeffrey Scott

Featuring: James, I.Q., Tracy, Gordo, Phoebe, Trevor, Mr Milbanks, Dr Derange, Ms Fortune, Snuffer, Jaws.

Synopsis: I.Q.'s cousin Randolph is climbing in the Himalayas when he's attacked and taken by what appears to be a yeti! Meanwhile, the Warfield chums rehearse their performance of Romeo and Juliet, with James and Tracy as the protagonists. Trevor is furious to be James's understudy, and a highly-strung drama teacher is compounding a problematic session. When I.Q. receives a call to tell him that Randolph has gone missing in the mountains, James decides to accompany him to Nepal, leaving Trevor to play Romeo alongside a furious Tracy, who was rather enjoying James's attention. Phoebe books them a flight, and the three of them head to Nepal. But when they get there, the tour guide says he's closed for business due to unusual sightings of a nine-foot-tall 'snow beast' in the mountains. He warns them to stay away from the mountain.

The gang decide to go it alone and pick out some climbing equipment to take with them, but are soon attacked by two thugs who've been spying on them. They overwhelm and capture one of the crooks, who claims they were paid to make sure nobody made it to the mountain. Suddenly a local girl, Orana, appears on the scene. She seems to know more than she's letting on about the mysterious events on the mountain, but says she is climbing up herself and offers to be their guide. They set off on the climb - but on a particularly steep section of the mountain they're accosted by the same 'snow beast' that took Randolph. James fights the creature but is thrown over the edge by it. It then turns on I.Q., Phoebe and Orana. As James falls he activates the retractable cord device in his belt buckle, which shoots into the mountainside, saving him.

Back at Warfield, Trevor is gleeful at the prospect of kissing Tracy, and wants to rehearse that particular scene over and over again - but Tracy's not so keen. He also annoys Gordo by fussing over the lighting, demands his own dressing room, and suggests they rename the play Romeo and Romeo, to make him the sole star. Meanwhile, the beast closes in on the gang and is about to overwhelm them, despite I.Q.'s noble attempts at Ju-jitsu and Phoebe and Orana's effort to scare it off with flares. But James reappears, and lassoes the creature with a rope before unmasking it as Jaws! Pouring water from a flask over Jaws's feet which freezes in the open air, James proceeds to hack off the bit of cliff the crook is standing on, sending him plummeting over the edge. In a higher area, a sledge on which Ms Fortune and a captive Randolph are riding is being pulled along the mountain by Snuffer. Dr Derange is with them too.

Derange is none too pleased when Ms Fortune wants to stop for tea, as he's eager to find the Hidden Valley, to which Randolph knows the way. Forcing him to give up the information, the crooks receive a call from Jaws telling them that he's run into James. While Derange forges ahead, Ms Fortune and Snuffer stay behind to lay a trap for James and the others, placing a sheet of thin ice across a ravine then covering it with snow to disguise it. Sure enough, the gang walk right into the trap and tumble into an icy cavern. Suspiciously, Orana knows which of the tunnels to take to escape, and they use a slab of ice as a bob-sled. Sure enough, they come across the valley, which conceals a small, secret township. Derange and Ms Fortune are already there: they attempt to force a village elder to tell them how to find the secret spring, which is what they've been seeking.

As Orana wanders off, James, I.Q. and Phoebe rescue Randolph from the village jail, where the crooks have him locked up - but they're interrupted by Ms Fortune and Snuffer, who hold them at gunpoint. They're taken into the temple where Derange has set up a nasty death-trap - he ties them up and pours acid around the base of a huge statue, which will topple over and crush them in a few seconds. The crooks rush out, taking the elder with them, but he refuses to tell them the location of the spring. Orana bursts in, and reveals the elder is her father: she'll take them to the spring as long as they don't hurt him. James escapes the statue by redirecting the flow of the acid to burn through his ropes, and frees the others; they head outside in pursuit of the crooks.

The S.C.U.M. team arrives at the site of the spring with Orana; we learn that the spring water is magical and bestows eternal youth on anyone who drinks it. But before long the crooks are squabbling over who gets the first sip - Jaws pushes Ms Fortune out of the way. James and Randolph cut Jaws off just as he reaches the spring, and a battle ensues; Derange flings a huge ball of ice at James, but he dodges and it hits Jaws instead. The gang is overwhelmed, and Derange shoots a laser beam that causes a cage of icicles to trap them. But James uses I.Q.'s amplifier device to make his voice boom, causing an avalanche that sends the villains falling into a steep ravine. Back at the village, Orana and her father explain that the water only works on the villagers anyway, and James agrees to keep the spring a secret - but he asks Orana if she'd like to come back to England with him. She explains her father is 300 years old, and she's more than 100, so the age difference would be prohibitive! The gang head back to Warfield just in time to see Trevor humiliate himself on stage as the tower set collapses on top of him.

Review: Most episodes of James Bond Jr. are far-fetched in some respect, but there's a particular class of episode, involving plot devices purely in the realms of magical fantasy (as opposed to science fiction) that, despite their unlikeliness, actually don't work too badly. This is one such episode (Lamp of Darkness may be considered another), and there's certainly a good deal of atmosphere brought about by the unusually remote setting for this story, that's nicely counterbalanced by the comic capers of the villains of the piece. Derange and Ms Fortune make an interesting crooked combination and actually complement each other rather well, despite their differences; as ever it would have been nice to see Skullcap too, but since Jaws far better fits the bill for the Yeti costume it was a bit too much to expect. It's an action-packed episode for our hero, too, in the romance department - having won a kiss from Tracy during the play rehearsal, he sets his sights on Orana, whom he invites to come back to London with him! She eventually tells him that she's over one hundred years old, however - which quickly puts him off. For every peak in this episode, there's a trough - usually inhabited by the theatrics back at Warfield. Also, it's an episode that inherently demands more story time than the slot allows; as a result the ending is rushed, anticlimactic and fairly silly. Orana's odd behaviour throughout is alluded to none too subtly at every opportunity, meanwhile, and the script boasts some of the worst dialogue in the entire run - while some of the plot developments are so contrived (the ice-trap, the statue, the avalanche, and so on) it's impossible at times to suspend disbelief. Nonetheless, an intriguing and unusual episode.

Highs: You don't get much higher than the snow-capped peaks of Nepal - this is a great setting for a story, and for Ms Fortune, who still insists on her home comforts as Snuffer drags her dutifully along. It's always nice to see alternative-climate stories if only for the obligatory 'woolly' versions of all the regulars' outfits.

Lows: The scriptwriter patently didn't have a copy of The Complete Shakespeare to hand when writing this episode (see 'Lines to Forget'). Meanwhile, the 'falling-statue-surrounded-by-acid' scene is terrible - why take the time to set up such an elaborate contraption if the villains are as eager to find the spring as Derange suggests?

Lines to Remember: Tracy, in character: 'Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? ... Romeo, wherefore art thou? ... Well, where the heck are you?'

Ms Fortune, atop the Himalayas: 'Snuffer, my tea seems a trifle cold.'

Ms Fortune, pulling an old-school rotary-dial telephone from underneath her fur coat: 'Snuffer, I think my phone is ringing!' Snuffer, answering: 'Ms Fortune's residence? ... It's Jaws, for you, ma'am.'

Lines to Forget:
James, winching himself up to Juliet's balcony with a device on his belt: 'Herefore am I, Juliet!'

Trevor to an increasingly incensed Tracy: 'Trace, babe, what's shaking? That's showbusiness slang for 'how are you doing?'

Derange, to Orana's father: 'We know all about your secret spring, you incredibly agéd peasant-person!'

Derange, leaving James and his friends under the acid statue: 'Sorry we don't have time to stay around and watch, but we have some magic spring-water to attend to!'

Gadgets & Gizmos: James's belt buckle shoots a retractable cord whose end sticks to surfaces, allowing for easy ascent. I.Q. has also equipped him with a miniature amplifier.

S.C.U.M. on the Surface: Both Derange and Ms Fortune name-drop S.C.U.M. during the course of the episode, as does James himself.

Blunders & Bloopers:
There's a good deal of inconsistency surrounding Jaws' outfit in this episode - he switches from his standard-issue blue suit, to his woolly alternative, to his Yeti costume; on more than one occasion they are used interchangeably in the same scene.

Notes: This is the first appearance in the series of aristocratic crook Ms Fortune and her sycophant butler Snuffer.

Gordo makes us all feel old by announcing that James's belt-gadget brings Romeo and Juliet into the nineties.

Following the events of Never Give a Villain a Fair Shake, this episode marks another occasion on which Jaws is less than loyal to his superiors, as he pushes Ms Fortune out of the way in order to drink from the fountain. Snuffer, in comparison, is unflinchingly loyal; he wears a sash marked 'Fido' as he pulls Ms Fortune's sledge along the mountain.

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