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James Bond Jr Online


Episode #44
by Jeffrey Scott

James, I.Q., Tracy, Gordo, Phoebe, Trevor, Doctor Derange, Barbella, Odd Job.

Synopsis: At a US army research facility in New York state, the team detects an unidentified flying object in the sky, travelling towards them at 1,000 miles per hour. The UFO begins firing at the facility, so the army fires back. The craft is hit, and crashes nearby. The military retrieve the craft, believing it to be an alien vessel - and when opened back at base, three sinister pods are discovered, containing what look to be extraterrestrials. Colonel Maguire, the officer in charge at the base, decides to contact the Pentagon. Meanwhile, there's excitement at Warfield Academy as news of the 'spacecraft' is made public. Phoebe explains that her father's Farragut Foundation research lab is sending its special UFO investigator to help, and she's scored herself a seat on the jet. I.Q. is keen to go as well in order to see the UFO. James is sceptical that it's a bona fide spacecraft, but says that's why he wants to join them. Gordo, Phoebe and Trevor arrive and announce that they want to come too - but Tracy and Gordo get glued together by I.Q.'s new 'liquid handcuffs', and have to stay at Warfield.

At the airport, James gets acquainted with Professor Lyn Oleum (yes, really), the special UFO investigator from the Farragut Foundation. Phoebe is immediately jealous. The gang is soon attacked by a man posing as a baggage porter, who fires at them with a laser gun before escaping - leading James to believe he wanted to stop Lyn from being able to investigate the UFO. At the New York military facility, Lyn arrives with James and the gang, posing as her staff. For some reason, Trevor is allowed to assist with an initial examination of the 'alien' pods, but when he clears the mist from the glass and sees one of the green, fanged creatures inside, he makes a dash for it! Lyn advises the army scientist, Professor Steele, that they shouldn't open the pods until they've done extensive biological testing - but then she slips and accidentally presses a button, opening the pods. 

The three alien creatures emerge from the pods, but quickly reveal their true natures - it's Dr Derange, Barbella and Odd Job in disguise! Armed and dangerous, the three begin shooting at scientists and soldiers alike with lasers, and Derange's more effective sonic gun, which seems to render victims unconscious. James makes a grab for the gun but, during the struggle, Derange manages to lock James inside the 'spacecraft' and sets it to auto-destruct! Phoebe, I.Q. and Lyn try to open it from the outside, but to no avail. James uses the laser attachment on his watch to cut his way out, but it's not fast enough - so he ends up having to override the self-destruct timer by connecting it to the timer on his watch, which has been running backwards since I.Q.'s latest modifications. He finishes cutting his way out, and the gang rush off to find Derange. Meanwhile as the crooks change back into their usual attire, Derange throws one of the alien costumes onto a passing robot sentry in order to prevent it from seeing them. The robot then spends the rest of the day terrifying Trevor Noseworthy, who thinks it's an alien.

The S.C.U.M. agents break into a top-secret computer lab where a number of humanoid robots are under development by scientists, and seize control. Derange soon finds what he's looking for - a supercomputer housed in an electronic helmet that hooks into the user's brain, allowing the wearer to expand their mind 'to boundless dimensions of intelligence' and, apparently, to control electronic apparatus at a distance. He puts the helmet on, and uses it to take control of the robots in the lab, setting them on James and his friends when they rush in to confront him. The crooks escape and lock the gang in the lab, leaving the robots to tear them apart. But James tricks the robots into destroying one another, and the locked door, allowing them to escape. James instructs Phoebe and I.Q. to go for help, while he and Lyn search for the S.C.U.M. agents. As the crooks try to leave the military compound, they're set upon by armed soldiers and tanks - but Derange outwits all of them with his increased brain capacity due to the helmet, rendering several footsoldiers incapacitated, and blowing a tank to smithereens. 

When Odd Job and Barbella creep off to steal a helicopter so the three can make their escape, they're cornered by James and Lyn, who overpower them and take the chopper themselves. Derange climbs in, thinking his minions are the pilots - and is furious to discover it's James flying! Derange reveals that he plans to hook his mind directly into the United Nations satellite network, in order to override and control the government and military communications of every nation. He also informs them that he can control the helicopter mentally with his helmet, and sure enough the controls stop responding. The doors open and James and Lyn begin to fall to their doom, as Derange flies off. Luckily, James has a jetpack sewn into his jacket, and the two land safely in some trees. They're soon picked up in another chopper by I.Q. and Phoebe. Derange flies back to the military base to pick up his stooges, before flying to the United Nations building. Infiltrating a control room there, he opens up a computer and hooks the wires in it up to his helmet, allowing him to gain access to the entire international satellite network. The gang follow to the UN building, but Derange sues his helmet to lock out the military personnel and start closing the fire doors, trapping I.Q. and James in one section of the building. 

I.Q. tries to override Derange's helmet via another computer terminal, but Derange sends Barbella and Odd Job to finish them off. James overwhelms both of them, however, and rushes upstairs to confront Derange while I.Q. keeps working. Derange has now managed to infiltrate the world's stock markets and banking systems using his helmet. James creeps up on him, but Derange's helmet detects James approaching due to a small rise in room temperature - and the pair battle it out, leaving James hanging out of the window by a computer cable, far above the ground. Derange proceeds to cut the cable, but in doing so gives James his chance of salvation, as James sticks the cable into Derange's helmet, frying the circuitry. I.Q. overrides Derange's control at the same moment. A confused Derange, minus his enhanced mental powers, doesn't recognise Barbella when she comes in. Nonetheless he flees from the open window with Barbella into Odd Job's waiting helicopter - just as the army bursts into the room. James is rescued, and they head back to the military compound just in time for a good laugh at Trevor, who's finally captured his 'alien' opponent. But the robot sentry terrifies him even with the costume removed.

Review: It was just two episodes previously, in Invaders from S.C.U.M., that Derange last tried to fool people into thinking he was an alien - but repeat material aside, A Derange Mind is a vast improvement on its predecessor for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the plot doesn't hinge on the alien hoax being sustained throughout - it's simply a means to give Derange access to the military base. Secondly, the Odd Job/Barbella combo is far more menacing than that of Jaws and Nick Nack in the previous episode, wreaking havoc on the military base with Derange in a manner which comes closer than most episodes to suggesting the bad guys could win. That said, it would have been good to see Barbella take on a less subservient role to Derange than she does; she seems to act more as a minion in this episode than in her other appearances, where she shares a more or less equal partnership with Goldie Finger and, in Barbella's Big Attraction, even challenges Scumlord's authority. Thirdly, there's a lot more action here thanks to the setting; New York lends itself much better to this sort of story than the home counties did. Derange's mind-enhancing helmet may not win this episode any awards for subtlety or realism, meanwhile, but it's crazy enough to suit the character perfectly and ends up working rather well. Overall a satisfying episode both visually and in terms of the plot.

Derange is at his unhinged best here - still amusingly OTT, while adopting a more sinister edge thanks to his newly enhanced brain power.

Lows: Lyn Oleum is one of the worst double entendre names for a junior Bond girl in the entire run; what the character has to do with a kind of floor covering is anyone's guess.

Lines to Forget: Derange: 'I'm hookéd in! I can see the entire international computer network in my mind!'

Gadgets & Gizmos:
I.Q.'s 'liquid handcuffs' super adhesive is almost impossible to extricate oneself from - as Gordo and Tracy discover! Meanwhile James' trusty watch features a laser attachment; the downside is, it now runs backwards, although ironically this proves a godsend when he's able to connect it to the 'spacecraft' self-destruct mechanism, causing the countdown sequence to do the same. I.Q. has also installed a jetpack in James's jacket, which saves him and Lyn when they fall from the military chopper.

S.C.U.M. on the Surface: Taking off his alien mask, Dr Derange declares the encounter the scientists' "first contact with S.C.U.M.".

Blunders & Bloopers: In one sequence at the UN building, James attacks Odd Job using a flag that the script would have us believe is a Union Jack, given James's declaration of "rule Britannia!" afterwards. But in fact the colours on the flag are reversed out (blue crosses on red background), which, combined with other sloppy inaccuracies, leaves it looking nothing like the Union Jack whatsoever.

Notes: Derange would next attempt to artificially increase his brainpower just two episodes later in The Last of the Tooboos.

In some airings of this episode, the scenes in which Derange, Barbella and Odd Job terrorise soldiers at the army base, including by blowing a tank to pieces, are excised altogether, possibly owing to sensitivities regarding depictions of terrorism, particularly within the military context.

Unusually for the show, death is referenced, when Trevor finds the military personnel unconscious from Derange's sonic gun and concludes that the aliens have "killed everyone". The reappearance of Colonel Maguire and Professor Steele at the end seems to suggest the effects were only temporary, but until then viewers may well have jumped to the same conclusion as Trevor.

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