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James Bond Jr Online


Episode #39
by Jim Carlson and
Terrence McDonnell

Featuring: James, I.Q., Tracy, Gordo, Phoebe, Trevor, Mr Milbanks, Coach Mitchell, Captain Plank, Jaws, Nick Nack.

Synopsis: James is sightseeing in Hong Kong, taking some snaps, when he notices a young woman being chased through the streets below by Captain Plank and a band of river pirates. He quickly intervenes, sliding down some telegraph cables on a tablecloth. Having splattered the crooks with eggs, James follows the woman onto a cable car. Plank sabotages it in an attempt to finish them off, but the two jump to safety, straight into the swimming pool of James' hotel - soaking Trevor in the process and ruining his new suit. James calls Coach Mitchell to explain that the woman, Jade, was kidnapped by Plank along with her father, Sir Alex Green, who has been involved in the development of 'silk-worm' missiles. But the call is interrupted by Mr Milbanks, and has to be cut short. Jade explains her father is being held in a hut at a pirate camp by the river. Plank has Sir Alex tied up there, and also has the silk-worm missiles in his possession; but we learn that Jade managed to escape because Jaws and Nick Nack left her unguarded. 

I.Q. decides to head to the shops to buy some supplies for his gadgets, accompanied by Gordo, Tracy and Phoebe. Trevor is annoyed at being left out, so steals a rickshaw and follows them. Naturally, an American tourist mistakes Trevor for a taxi driver, and bullies him into taking him back to his hotel. The brakes fail on a steep hill and they end up crashing. That evening, after Trevor shows off more new suits, James and Jade take a slow-boat into China and locate the river-hut where Sir Alex is held captive - as well as the missiles themselves, on board a junk. The floor of the hut is booby-trapped with dynamite, so they formulate a plan. Luckily for them, Plank has left Jaws and Nick Nack in charge (again) while he retires for forty winks. James and Jade set up a portable stereo I.Q. bought and a series of his pyrotechnic cameras to create a distraction, planning to rescue Sir Alex, destroy Plank's speedboats and escape with the missiles on board a junk. 

Heading back to the hut, they overpower a guard and untie Sir Alex. Jaws and Nick Nack catch them in the act, but are so busy bickering that James is able to use another of I.Q.'s cameras to temporarily blind them. They fall through the hut floor, setting off the dynamite, as James, Jade and Sir Alex escape. Hearing the bang, Plank and his pirates wake up and rush to the site of the disturbance. But the other cameras and the stereo activate, surprising the pirates and causing them to flee to the speedboats. James and his friends head for the junk, but are spotted by Plank as they sail away. The pirates follow in speedboats, and James finds some spare roman candles to fling at the pirates' boats, causing distracting explosions which send the speedboats crashing into the river bank. Some of the pirates, as well as Jaws, Nick Nack and Plank, manage to get on board the junk - but are quickly despatched in a team effort by James, Jade and Sir Alex.

Meanwhile, I.Q., Phoebe, Tracy and Gordo are out to dinner, wondering why Trevor hasn't turned up to join them. His watch has stopped due to his earlier drenching, making him late, so he steals yet another rickshaw. Predictably, it gets caught in a rope, and Trevor ends up colliding with a merchant's egg cart, before hurtling past his dining friends and into the sea. He turns up sopping wet shortly afterwards, much to their amusement. To thank James, Sir Alex invites his group to a party on board the QE2 ship that evening. But during the party, there's bad news as Sir Alex arrives, and reveals that the containers which James thought contained the missiles have turned out to be empty. 

At that moment, the QE2 is surrounded by a fleet of junks controlled by Plank - he still has the missiles, and has them aimed to fire at both the ship and the city. He demands that all the money in Hong Kong's banks is handed over to him in 30 minutes - or else he will fire. He demonstrates his sincerity by destroying an abandoned junk. As the guests on the QE2 panic, James swims over to Plank's ship and manages to climb onboard undetected. He locates the missile control system, reprograms it, and contacts the Governor's office to inform him of the situation, before being captured by Nick Nack and Jaws. The bunglers don't take long to mess things up, however, and fall on top of one another, giving James the chance to overpower them and escape. Plank is furious to find the pair locked in a cabin, and confronts James himself - only to get his hook caught in the chain on the anchor, along with which James promptly winches him overboard.

Bond then climbs the ship's mast, pursued by Jaws, who brings the structure crashing down. James dives into the ocean and swims back to the QE2. Plank resurfaces, but a government helicopter arrives, and he's told to surrender. Furious, Plank sets the first set of missiles to fire at the QE2, but it soon turns out James altered the course of the missiles when onboard earlier. When Plank fires, he only succeeds in destroying his own fleet of boats - including the one he's standing on! As Plank and his minions dive to safety, the gang enjoy the rest of the party - except Trevor, who faints at the realisation they almost got blown up by missiles. To revive him, Gordo pours punch on him, causing another suit to shrink. James almost shares a kiss with Jade as they part ways, but is interrupted by Sir Alex, prompting a suitably terrible pun.

Review: It's James Bond Jr's second visit to Hong Kong, but this time the show more starkly demonstrates its age; here, the city still has a governor, due to its pre-1997 status as a British dependency (no doubt this fact, as well as the setting of the QE2, contributes to the choice of episode title). Otherwise Queen's Ransom has aged rather well, with Plank's missile theft a good deal more credible than some of S.C.U.M.'s other schemes. While Jaws and Nick Nack are on hand to play their usual parts, it's refreshing to see Plank get more directly involved in the action than usual - he himself leads the chase for Jade in the opening sequence, and later on pursues James dressed amusingly in only a nightshirt. Some plot details are fairly vague (why Plank had to kidnap Green and his daughter in order also to steal the missiles is unclear, for example); and I.Q.'s gizmos are poorly conceived. But nonetheless an enjoyable and engaging episode, which almost ends in an actual kiss for James - a highly unusual occurrence.

Highs: Having singlehandedly saved Hong Kong from destruction, James climbs back onto the QE2 drenched and dishevelled, only to be berated by Trevor for letting the side down by not wearing full black tie. James briefly breaks the fourth wall in response, staring straight towards the viewers in bemused despair.

Lows: Having no rope to hand with which to tie up James, Nick Nack suggests they use Jaws' belt instead. Jaws duly takes it off, causing his trousers to fall down, which in turn causes him to topple directly onto Nick Nack - whom James then locks in a filing cabinet for good measure.

Lines to Forget: Jaws, grabbing James: "Now I'm going to show you how my teeth work." James: "Let me show you how a shelf brace works," before kicking a shelf on top of him.

Gadgets & Gizmos: It's a fairly lazy week as far as gadgets are concerned. I.Q.'s only invention of note is a set of cameras that let off fireworks when activated either remotely or manually - and even they don't make a great deal of sense. He also buys a portable stereo complete with a tape of 'military bugle calls and battle sound effects', to help frighten Plank and his men.

Notes: This is the second episode to be set in Hong Kong, following Nothing to Play With; both feature Plank, so evidently he's developed a taste for the place. 

Writer Terrence McDonnell is miscredited as 'Terence' at the start of this episode. This is the second consecutive episode penned by McDonnell and Jim Carlson, following Avalanche Run.

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