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James Bond Jr Online


Episode #56
by Jeffrey Scott

Featuring: James, I.Q., Tracy, Trevor, Coach Mitchell, Dr Derange, Jaws, Nick Nack.

Synopsis: As a freight train carrying a load of coal trundles through Yellowstone National Park, Jaws and Nick Nack leap onto the roof and take command of it, forcing the driver and crew off the vehicle before driving it off into the distance. At the same time, James and his schoolmates arrive at the park, and pay a visit to Old Faithful, the park's most famous geyser. The gang come across Vicki Jones, a geologist, who asks them if  they want to help her search for crystals in the geyser before it blows again. Tracy snubs her, taking Trevor on a hike instead to make James jealous – but it ends up backfiring as the pair run into a hungry family of bears.

Meanwhile, Jaws and Nick Nack report back to Dr Derange with their trainful of coal, but he tells them he needs something else for his plan, to be found in Old Faithful. At the geyser, I.Q. attempts to help Vicki, who seems very eager to retrieve a crystal - but Dr Derange and Nick Nack turn up and fire lasers at them. When the gang escapes, the crooks lower Jaws, wearing a heatproof suit, into the geyser and he retrieves the crystal. Just as the geyser's about to blow, Vicki grabs the crystal – and Jaws grabs her. Vicki escapes, leaving James hanging over the geyser. As it blows, he activates his inflatable river raft and rides the plume.

James and Mitchell tail Derange's vehicle, which is chasing Vicki. James manages to pull Vicki and the crystal on board, while Derange's vehicle crashes into the bog. In Mitchell's car, the group wonder why S.C.U.M. is after the crystal. Vicki says she doesn't know, and rather jumpily asks if they can take her back to the university science labs so she can get on with her research.
As the car nears the labs, Derange appears in a helicopter, and begins firing lasers at them, causing them to crash. Creating a makeshift cannon with a log and a geyser, James and I.Q. fire a rock, damaging the helicopter – but Jaws lowers Nick Nack from the chopper and he grabs the crystal.

Derange fires a laser at a tree, sending a log hurtling down towards the cliff edge where James and Vicki are. At the last moment, James uses I.Q.'s boots to lift them off the ground into the air. I.Q. fixes the car, and they track Derange with the radar on James’s watch. At a nearby science facility, Derange ties up the staff and unloads coal from the chopper. Derange explains that if he puts the coal and the crystal inside the particle accelerator there, and bombards them with protons at nearly the speed of light, the combination of the two should form diamonds worth billions. James and his friends arrive too, having (somehow) realised what Derange is up to.

I.Q. finds the accelerator controls, while James and Coach Mitchell head to confront Derange. As I.Q. tries to stop the machine, Vicki ties him up! Apologising, she explains that she wants the crystal for the same reason as Derange - to make diamonds - and that she'll have to stop James in his tracks. James and Coach Mitchell catch up with the crooks just as they're about to begin the procedure; James hoses Derange down with a high-pressure hose. He notices Vicki running past and follows her into the proton room, where she steals the crystal, claiming it's hers. Derange seizes his chance and locks the two of them in, preparing to start the device and fry the pair at the same time.

Jaws and Nick Nack chase Mr Mitchell, who heads back to untie I.Q., who deactivates the accelerator by relaying the power back to the console he's working from. The two take cover as the the timer reaches zero, the device blows and the crooks flee. Mitchell and I.Q. release James and Vicki from the particle chamber. James says Vicki has explained why she wanted the crystal and she asks him to forgive her. Coach Mitchell returns the crystal to Old Faithful, while James picks up Tracy and Trevor - who are still hiding from the bears!

Review: As a late-in-the-run Dr Derange episode, this is fairly unremarkable in most respects. It's nice to see quantum theory getting a mention - a true rarity in cartoons these days. Although, nice as it would be to think that most of the James Bond Jr. target audience has a fundamental grasp of particle physics, they don't - and it's probably just as well given the abject nonsense of Derange's latest plan. Not that it matters; the diamond thing more or less works as a plot device if you choose to swallow the premise. But the creative setting, Coach Mitchell's extremely rare involvement in the action, and the fact that Jaws and Nick Nack seem to be working better with Derange than on previous occasions (Invaders from S.C.U.M. springs to mind) save Quantum Diamonds from utter mediocrity. The most interesting thing about this episode, however, is the status of the female lead, Vicki. Unusually for a junior Bond girl, Vicki is revealed to have the same base motivations for wanting the crystal as the villain of the piece - to make diamonds. Disappointingly, this isn't elaborated upon any further. She's more ashamed of her behaviour than Derange is, clearly, but the issue is neither properly explored nor resolved. At the end of the show, James doesn't answer Vicki's question of whether or not he forgives her; although given the fact that she's grinning away as they collect Trevor and Tracy at the end, we can fairly safely presume they're not en route to the police station. Why Derange doesn't deserve to get away with it and Vicki does remains a mystery - possibly it's because she's a pretty girl and Derange is an ugly man, or possibly it's because she didn't steal a trainload of coal. But other than this plot device she's a totally uninteresting character, so there'll be little viewer concern regarding her fate at the end.

Highs: Nick Nack and Jaws are actually quite amusing in this episode; but the absolute highlight is Trevor's awestruck reaction to the idea that Tracy actually wants to spend time with him. She doesn't of course; she's patently using him to bug James. It's actually one of Trevor's most endearing outings in the show so far - even if he does commit a faux pas by feeding the bears against park guidelines.

Lows: Speaking of bears, who did the artwork for this episode? They looked more like teddies.

Lines to Forget: Jaws, preparing to hijack a train: 'Ready, Nick Nack?' Nick Nack: 'As soon as I've tied my shoes!'

Gadgets & Gizmos: I.Q.'s miniature river raft attaches to James's jacket, while his boots have been installed with 'adjustable compressed air cushioned soles' - in other words, he can fly. I.Q. also carries a walking stick with a retractable claw on the end - ideal for grabbing crystals.

S.C.U.M. on the Surface?: If we weren't already fairly confident that Derange, Jaws and Nick Nack are all fully paid-up S.C.U.M. operatives, Coach Mitchell clearly states the organisation's name when asking why they're after the crystal.

Blunders & Bloopers: At one point, the timer on the particle beam accelerator starts going up instead of down. But then, maybe that's just Heisenberg's uncertainty principle at work. We wish.

Derange's S.C.U.M. chopper is customised with the tail section in his own green and purple colouring.

Phoebe and Gordo are both AWOL in this episode.

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