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The Man From UNCLE 4x01-4x06 Reviewed

The Summit-Five Affair
There is techno-babble and a leak in UNCLE Berlin. Season 3 lacked dynamism and tension and was all aching tedium that was not emotionally captivating. So the comedy is ditched and drama brought back. Also Illya has a new haircut. Season 3 lacked plausibility, natural dialogue and human behaviour.

A dude makes dubious assertions and Solo is suspected of dark motives. I can’t believe this show once caused national mania and cult fascination and was the ‘Game Of Thrones’ of the 1960s. Still this is a return to form after the critical disfavour of season 3. Morally dubious things happen as Solo’s moral standing is castigated.

Illya is on combative form. Sadly the truly atrocious and preposterous season 3 had ditched the lethal silkiness of season 1 for uncharming comedy. Try as it might, the show would never recover from that disastrous season. It was the calamity of popular opinion that left viewers unrepentantly bored. Anyway, the egocentric Solo has moral shortcomings so a braying swotty oik flips his bastard switch to on to take him down. Illya has unshakeable loyalty to Solo.

Solo’s heroics don’t insulate him against suspicion. Stuff explodes. The grudge-ridden egoist has serious suspicions. There is sexism, things go horribly awry, there is overacting, a triumphant tone and unflinching looks. This was bleakly compelling as contentious claims are made.

Solo and Illya fake a fight. To add verisimilitude, Solo punches Illya in the face and the poor Russian ends up facedown on Solo’s cot. Solo shrugs off the scurrilous lies he told. The endearing Solo & Illya closeness is on display. There is violence against a woman and the swotty oik who was right about a Thrush mole in UNCLE Berlin but wrong about their identity is fired after getting pretty hysterical. This undermines any significant point.

Whilst not organically compelling, this was good. The duo object to intellect. Everyone overlooked the obvious traitor and the swift and furious response of the swotty oik aka the one efficient agent was right. No moral questions are asked. Solo and Illya brook no disavowal of their commitment and determination to each other.

Thrush are disdainful. This was cheerful trash. Solo is lucky to be forgiven, after all he did make a (fake) confession to being a Thrush agent. A bad dummy floats in a pond. The duo treats the swotty oik as a personal enemy and his firing is little to their dismay.

Best Lines:
“Remember me to your husband.”

“Name them.”

“After years of dedicated service, you’re telling me Napoleon Solo has defected?”


The Test Tube Killer Affair
The duo creep around in drabness. This is a vast improvement on season 3 which appeared as if written in green crayon. Thrush plot and they have no friendship or decency. They’re uncompromising. Thrush go all the way and don’t compromise and are all remorselessness. This is not nimble-witted. Solo is uncaring and is all callous selfishness. The duo drive their ugly flash car. Cunning and very wicked types find unparalleled evil a galvanising passion.

A sinister beguiling fencing master nods sagely. Season 3 was an egregious screen presence with no psychological continuity. This has an evil blonde woman and is okay if not emotionally resonant. A stupid woman is attracted to a Thrush super-solider. There are dire ramifications as Thrush gets away. There is bad acting, no gentle melancholy and an attempted redemption arc as the Thrush super-solider is waylaid by morlaism.

Best Lines:
“Reflect credit upon a group.”

“Defective trait.”


The “J” Is For Judas Affair
The duo do advanced hooliganism whilst Solo’s love of applied debauchery seems to have vanished, for now as they hunt a killer after a rich family. The flip attitude and tolerance for the incredible of season 3 have been replaced by thoroughly miserable types. Thrush has a new logo. This is of debatable merit as Thrush are meaningful aggressors. Season 3 served viewers badly and sadly this ep has no story, humanity, event or wonder. Still it is better than the aimless and undirected season 3.

Solo speaks every line with arrogance or scorn. Ungrateful types lurk. There are bad VFX and Solo has a new unflattering haircut. This show’s cancellation led to ‘Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In’ of all things. There is shirtlessness and constant paranoia and no nuanced conversation.

Best Lines:
“Looking like a sick goat.”

“Mr K.”

“Invisible alarm rays.”

“You’re hard to convince.”

“Where do you get off making fancy moral judgements?”


The Prince Of Darkness Affair, Part I
People die of red paint (which is supposed to be burns caused by a new weapon). Illya sports a wet shirt and blathers about a thermal prism. There are devious intellectual pursuits. A thief wears a stick on beard. There is blathering about Iran. The thief is recruited by UNCLE. Solo skips about pre-Revolution Iran. This is not emotionally involving. Iran looks just like the MGM backlot and Southern California.

The show was no longer immensely popular this point. Solo is erotically soporific again. A really annoying woman is an imposition and can’t see beyond her own needs. There is bad acting and it is never explained how the relentless competition between the duo lead them not to speak for 15 years until the reunion movie.

This is socially useless. Solo is scanned by a body scanner. This was implausible with bad VFX. This had no deep appeal. Sense is studiously ignored and the annoying woman demands care and attention. This is not nuanced or powerful. The thief does a ‘Mission Impossible’ cable drop - I guess we know where DePalma ripped it off from. There is an inevitable betrayal and a guest spot by John Carradine.

Best Line:
“Violence is your department.”


The Prince Of Darkness Affair, Part II
This is not truly sinister and has no malice or intimidation or commanding presences. This was nonsensical and not visually stunning. There is repeated footage and Waverly is a dick. The annoying woman won’t SHUT HER MOUTH! This does not garner credibility.
The woman is soul destroying in her stupidity and opionated disruptiveness. This causes no breathless exuberance. White haired men plot. Illya wears his black turtleneck. Someone wears poo coloured tights. This was not even ominously ridiculous. A cult plot. There is no ferocious aggressiveness or concept of social space. No, just no.

Best Lines:
“We never forget.”

“False values.”


The Master’s Touch Affair
Illya wears a bizarre hat. A Thrush defector (Jack Lord) and his silly accent and ugly sunglasses prances. Dot matrix printouts are waved. Illya is in peril and Solo wears hideous short shorts. People know they can manipulate Solo by threatening Illya.
There is no gentle hopelessness or lasting consequences. Despite being drugged and battered, Illya retains his innate individuality and cognitive awareness. This is not a life-enhancing ep. Season 3 changed the show completely and it could never go back to the quality of season 1.

Does Solo feel existential unrest at Illya’s vulnerability and the attempted depersonalisation of him? No. A bad guy is ANGRY and SHOUTING. Solo squirts what looks like toothpaste to blow open a door. Thrush bikers wear leather jackets with the Thrush logo on the back and their bikes are ridic. Why do the 2 evil dudes hate each other? White trousers are worn. There are no conciliatory bad guys. Just death. Illya ends up as Solo’s driver. FFS! Solo and Illya fawn over the useless innocent du jour.

Best Lines:
“Save your friend.”

“Is my name Illya?”
“Who cares?”

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