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James Bond Jr Online


Episode #53
by John Fox

Featuring: James, I.Q., Tracy, Gordo, Phoebe, Trevor, Mr Milbanks, Baron von Skarin, Jaws, Nick Nack.

Synopsis: I.Q. is on board the London Express to attend a Sherlock Holmes convention, in the full attire, and James and the others are travelling with him. The pair get talking to Marsha Law, the daughter of a police inspector. But there's soon trouble, as a tank rolls into view captained by Baron von Skarin. He orders Jaws and Nick Nack to open fire on the train, causing James to climb out onto the roof to find out what's going on. When he's spotted, the tank fires again, causing the train to dangle off the line. James disconnects the baggage car, which is causing the rest of the train to teeter, and the unhooked carriage plunges off the bridge and right into von Skarin's tank. The crooks retreat, but James has another problem - I.Q. has banged his head during the attack and become concussed, so that he now believes he's Sherlock Holmes!

With I.Q. still confused, the gang decides to take him back to Warfield - but Marsha soon tells them he's jumped on a bus to London. Meanwhile, at his hideout, Baron von Skarin berates his henchmen, telling them to be more careful with the experimental tank he stole. He plans to use the vehicle to knock out power stations and transport infrastructure across the city. But James and Marsha are already on their way to the capital to seek out I.Q. On their way they pass the police station where Marsha's father, John Q. Law, works. It's been blown to smithereens, and Law tells them a bizarre looking tank was responsible. Law laughs off James's offer of help, so James and Marsha go off on their own accord, following a set of tank tracks that have been left in the wake of the attack. I.Q. is also following the tracks, complete with magnifying glass.

Meanwhile, back at Warfield, Gordo has won the competition to come up with the annual fundraising project for the Academy - his concept is a 50s-style diner. Trevor is upset that his 'roller-blade rodeo' didn't win, but Milbanks tells him there were health and safety concerns - a fact Trevor promptly demonstrates when one of his roller skates shoots off and smashes Milbanks' window, barely missing the headmaster. He determines to do his best to ruin Gordo's project. In London, I.Q. reaches the end of the tracks, and finds they disappear into a wall. He then spots Jaws and Nick-Nack carrying a suspicious orange sack. 'Holmes' watches in horror from a nearby bridge control box as the two crooks begin constructing a bomb from the sack's contents, then set the timer, with the intention of blowing up the bridge. I.Q. gets stuck in the box, but then falls backwards onto a lever, which begins to lift the two sections of the bridge, causing Jaws, Nick Nack and the bomb to fall into the river below.

James and Marsha have come to the end of the tracks where they disappear into the wall. The building is a toy factory, but the Baron's tank, which soon emerges from it, is far from a toy. It begins firing at them, so James pulls a spare gas canister off a nearby truck and throws it in the path of the tank - which bursts into flames when it hits it. However, the tank simply drives into the adjacent river, which douses the flames, and floats off like a submarine. I.Q. has escaped the bridge control box, meanwhile, and uses a pair of night-vision glasses to spot von Skarin's tank floating up the river. At the toy factory, James picks up a toy sky rocket and a pair of chattering false teeth as a souvenir for Gordo, while Marsha starts placing points on a map to see if any patterns emerge from the locales hit by the tank so far. Back at Warfield, Gordo's 'Fab 50s Diner' opens for business - but somebody (no prizes) has turned up the thermostat on the fridge and ruined all the food. Trevor's gloating, of course - but, still on his roller blades, he ends up face-down in all the melted food.

At the toy factory, Marsha realises that all the tank attacks thus far seem to point to the next attack being at the city's central power station, which would black out the entire city. Meanwhile, I.Q. spots Jaws and Nick Nack disembarking from the submarine-tank, and getting into a truck - so he jumps onto the back. He watches them change street signs to confuse drivers, before the Baron emerges in the tank again and blasts the central power station; but it's I.Q. himself who inadvertently turns off power to the city by flicking a switch. He then deduces that their next attack will be at the airport. The tank goes under a bridge from which Marsha and James are watching - so Marsha jumps from the bridge onto the tank, hiding in a storage compartment. James tries to follow her but is floored as the tank sprouts wings and blasts off into the sky! When Marsha opens the compartment she's shocked to see the city far below...

James comes to the same conclusion as I.Q. about the airport being the next target, and the two finally find each other there - although I.Q. is convinced that James is Dr Watson. The tank bursts out of the sky, to destroy the airport, thus completing the Baron's evil plan to cut off London. James tries firing the sky rocket he picked up at the toy factory, but all it does is explode, releasing parachuting animal toys. Von Skarin spots James and I.Q. and comes in for an attack, but gives up and flies off again, leaving some further tank tracks. From the type of engine oil in the tracks, which hasn't been used in years, I.Q. deduces that the Baron must be operating from an abandoned Tube station underground somewhere. He's correct - and in that very location, von Skarin and his cronies find Marsha stashed away in the tank. James and I.Q. manage to track down the hideout, and James stumbles upon the entrance mechanism. They find Marsha tied up, but are soon captured as well, as Jaws, Nick Nack and von Skarin emerge.

James and I.Q. are tied up along with Marsha, as the crooks prepare to depart in the tank-sub-aircraft for their final target. Baron von Skarin has his sights on Buckingham Palace, in order to become King von Skarin, the ultimate ruler of the country. Once they've left, James uses the souvenir he picked up for Gordo - the chattering teeth - to cut through their ropes, and they borrow an underground train to catch up with von Skarin. At the Palace, the Queen's Guards begin to fire at the tank, but to no avail, and are forced to run aside as the tank prepares to blast the gates. But James appears just in time, and goads the Baron into chasing him instead. He leads the tank away from the palace, firing its lasers at him, and lures it towards some roadworks. But it's too heavy for the boards that have been placed over the hole in the road, and disappears into it - as Marsha winches James to safety. But he falls from the winch, straight on top of I.Q. - knocking him out! When he awakens, he can't remember anything that's happened, and wonders why James is calling him 'Holmes'. Back at Warfield and the 50s diner, I.Q. proves Trevor was the fridge saboteur by matching grease on his hand to that found on the thermostat. Gordo presents Trevor with the bill for all the food he's ruined, scoring I.Q. a big hug from Tracy.

Review: All in all, this is a very lacklustre episode - and a clear sign that the writers were beginning to run out of ideas. While the amnesia/Sherlock Holmes plot device is engaging for about five minutes, the novelty quickly wears off and it just becomes tedious. The same can be said for the tacked-on 50s diner storyline, which adds very little to the episode. Meanwhile, Baron von Skarin entirely fails to impress; the only thing he's got going for his plan is a multimodal tank of such breathtaking capacity that it can't even clamber its way out of a pothole, and there's no attempt to explain how he intends to maintain his reign of terror over the UK. Jaws and Nick Nack are no less useless than usual as henchmen, but somehow less amusing. And Inspector John Q. Law seems like an oily and odious character, while his daughter Marsha isn't exactly scintillating company either - she even manages to bore James with her constant reminders about daddy's job. As I.Q. stumbles around making an idiot of himself, and occasionally making things worse for no apparent reason, James himself makes a pretty poor show of things; without I.Q. around to gift him gadgets, he's forced to rely on a pair of chattering false teeth and a toy sky rocket as his aides against evil. The former's inclusion is incredibly spurious, and the latter doesn't even work. Finally, aside from the Tube, which has already been done in Canine Caper, and a brief glimpse of Buckingham Palace right at the end, there isn't a single notable London landmark made use of - so frankly, it could be anywhere. The final verdict? Epic fail.

Tracy and I.Q.'s cuddle at the end. Could there still be hope for James Bond Jr's most unlikely couple?

The moment when I.Q. appears to turn off power to all London of his own volition. What was the purpose of this scene, exactly, given that the same could have been achieved simply by the Baron blowing up the power station?

Lines to Remember:
Phoebe, on I.Q.'s delusion of being Sherlock Holmes: 'Well, at least it's not Napoleon...'

Gadgets & Gizmos:
'Sherlock Holmes' discovers a pair of special glasses about his person, which allow him to see perfectly in the dark.

Blunders & Bloopers:
Whoever did the artwork for the map scene at the toy factory doesn't exactly have a fantastic grasp of geography; Marsha places a pinpoint for London's central power station slap-bang in the middle of Ireland.

This is one of two episodes in which Baron von Skarin attempts to achieve a citywide electrical blackout, the other being the considerably superior Northern Lights.

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