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2.05 - Obsession
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Darren
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:31 am    Post subject: 2.05 - Obsession Reply with quote

Written by Brian Clemens
Directed by Ernest Day
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Rhonda
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

9 for me
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is the general consensus on this episode regarding the ending with Gambit killing Purdey's fiance? Did you think it fit? If those 2 ever got married she would have to say, "Oh yes my husband killed my ex? I personally think it's a wee bit strange.

This episode was kind of interesting from the perspective of learning more about Purdey. It certainly had potential. But I was not really happy with the execution of it. I did not feel it really held together too well. The relationship between Purdey and Duma, her fiance was very stilted and his character was very one dimensional.
And that wig at the beginning did not come off well IMHO.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not too critical of this episode because :

"She's Purdy" "She's a woman".
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Darren
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if it's just the line or the way that Macnee says it but it just comes over as a bit naff and condescending.

There's some good scenes in this but it's no especially a favourite.

7/10
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Timeless A-Peel
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

anti-clockwise wrote:
What is the general consensus on this episode regarding the ending with Gambit killing Purdey's fiance? Did you think it fit? If those 2 ever got married she would have to say, "Oh yes my husband killed my ex? I personally think it's a wee bit strange.

This episode was kind of interesting from the perspective of learning more about Purdey. It certainly had potential. But I was not really happy with the execution of it. I did not feel it really held together too well. The relationship between Purdey and Duma, her fiance was very stilted and his character was very one dimensional.
And that wig at the beginning did not come off well IMHO.


TNA's characters were supposed to be "thicker cardboard" than their original series predecessors, and I don't think the cardboard ever comes thicker than it does in this one. It's a gut-punch of an episode--it blindsided me and left me gasping. It doesn't fit with the usual format--there's not a lot of humour to offset the grimness, the case of the week is mostly pushed into the back in favour of a character piece. It's hard to "like" it because there's a lot of unpleasant stuff going on, but I think it's well-done and hugely significant.

This was the series' "Purdey episode", and it sketches her character out hugely. We learn so much about her and who she was pre-TNA. Purdey circa 1970 wants to build a perfect fairytale with Larry Doomer (not Duma, although a lot of people mishear it as Duma(s)). Given that those scenes take place not that many years after Purdey lost her father, I find her relationship with Larry entirely believable--she wants an idealistic family life, and she feels like Larry can give her that and take care of her. She's so starry-eyed, she doesn't catch the subtle hints that he's not the best guy to get into a relationship with.

When Larry slaps her, it's hugely significant for two reasons. One, because having the Avengers woman in what amounts to an abusive relationship is huge. I was shocked when I first saw that scene. It's completely unexpected, and a very brave choice on Brian Clemens' part. Two, because it shows not only why it is that Purdey became so self-sufficient, but also why she's so leery about relationships. Her engagement ends horribly. It'd do a number on anyone.

For that reason, I think it's hugely significant that it's Gambit who kills Doomer. Given that his relationship with Purdey has consisted of her keeping him at arm's length, he's probably had his theories about why she acts the way she does, but I don't think Doomer occurred to him. Neither Gambit nor Steed knows that they were engaged, and they certainly don't know about the slap. Both of them probably would have acted differently during the course of the episode if they did. But whether he knows it or not, Larry's the biggest obstacle between any further development in Gambit and Purdey's relationship. Purdey can't shake Larry's ghost anymore than she can kill him during the stand-off, so Gambit does it for her. I think it makes complete sense symbolically.

Also, kudos to Gareth and Joanna for their acting in the immediate aftermath. Joanna does a great job of portraying Purdey as she unravels--we don't get raw emotion often in Avengerland, but Joanna doesn't hold back. Gareth is at the other end of the spectrum, quietly taking whatever Purdey dishes out, even when Joanna's screaming really, really loud right in his ear, which really had to hurt. It's a great scene. It's the sort of episode that makes me desperately wish that this wasn't an era where there was continuity between stories to keep the broadcast order flexible. Hitting the reset button instead of dealing with the aftermath feels like a cheat. It's the sort of episode the original series never would have done.

Joanna's flashback wig is lousy, though, I agree.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lesson to all. If you want an ideal life, never marry a guy name Doomer. Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And as you say Timeless it's kind of amazing for her to have been in an abusive relationship. Especially with a terrorist. I mean this guy was not just the average abusive husband.

I'm not sure I was convinced by the actor playing Doomer. He did not seem emotionally "obsessed" or maybe did not seem crazy enough for the part. Not sure. But most terrorists are fanatics and Doomer did not seem to quite have the right personality for that part.
Maybe he was obsessed with Purdey. I guess I missed the part where Doomer himself goes off hating all these people enough to kill them. It seems that Purdey is the one to explain his actions.

Once again TNA is before it's time. Today this behavior of terrorist bombing sadly seems to be a common occurrence in the world. Back then, it was much more rare.

You know early on that Doomer has to die. What do you think would have happened if Gambit or Steed had not come along? Would Purdey have intercepted his plan?
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

anti-clockwise wrote:
And as you say Timeless it's kind of amazing for her to have been in an abusive relationship. Especially with a terrorist. I mean this guy was not just the average abusive husband.

I'm not sure I was convinced by the actor playing Doomer. He did not seem emotionally "obsessed" or maybe did not seem crazy enough for the part. Not sure. But most terrorists are fanatics and Doomer did not seem to quite have the right personality for that part.
Maybe he was obsessed with Purdey. I guess I missed the part where Doomer himself goes off hating all these people enough to kill them. It seems that Purdey is the one to explain his actions.

Once again TNA is before it's time. Today this behavior of terrorist bombing sadly seems to be a common occurrence in the world. Back then, it was much more rare.

You know early on that Doomer has to die. What do you think would have happened if Gambit or Steed had not come along? Would Purdey have intercepted his plan?


Well, Larry's motivation was revenge for the death of his father, so it wasn't as if he was living a double life the entire time. He's already hinting at some none-too-positive character traits, but his dad being killed pushes him over the edge so that he shows his true colours. The fact that he doesn't *look* crazy doesn't contradict what he does, at least for me--he's plotting revenge, and he's doing it quite deliberately, which is even worse than him just flying off the handle. Even Purdey says he's not mad. He's definitely single-minded, definitely obsessed--both with Purdey and his mission. Losing one no doubt contributed to his drive to follow through with the other. It's only when Purdey turns him down again that he seems to quit caring about what'll happen to him if his plan succeeds.

What would have happened if Gambit and Steed hadn't showed up? It's hard to say for sure, but one of them would have to die. Despite Purdey's protestations to the contrary, there's no doubt in my mind that Larry was about to shoot her before Gambit took him out. The last time she rejected him, he finally managed to tear up her pictures, which suggests a mental break on his part. He'd given up on ever getting Purdey back, so killing her wouldn't be a problem. It'd all come down to whether Purdey could make herself pull the trigger and take him down first. Otherwise she'd have ended up dead, and the rocket would have gone off.

I've always thought that her past with Larry made Purdey mistrustful of men to a certain extent--she seems leery of letting anyone get to close. Through the nature of their work, she's learned she can trust Gambit and Steed. It's interesting to note that the way Purdey relates to both of them deteriorates as Larry's presence in her life reasserts in her life. She argues with Steed more than once and shoots out his tires. She snaps at Gambit and won't tell him anything. Everything they try to do to help just makes her cut them off more, as though all her old mistrustfulness is coming back. It's also interesting to note that both Gambit and Steed put their arms around her and stand quite close when they're telling her about the "plum job", which is slightly unusual. But the way they do it is friendly and companionable, whereas every time Doomer does it, itís forceful and possessive. Iím wondering now if that was an intentional choice on the director/writerís part. Itís as though theyíre subtly drawing parallels between Gambit and Steed on one hand, and Larry on the other. And yet Purdey just canít shake Larry.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice observations Timeless. That makes more sense. She behaves so very differently in this episode. That likely explains why. I wasn't sure if thye had time to think it through so carefully but maybe they did.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

anti-clockwise wrote:
Very nice observations Timeless. That makes more sense. She behaves so very differently in this episode. That likely explains why. I wasn't sure if thye had time to think it through so carefully but maybe they did.


Thanks! Very Happy I think it's pretty much guaranteed that they thought it through enough to work out how it would affect Purdey, and what the consequences of that would be. It's a well-constructed episode in that way.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

9.

Some of the best action scenes of any TNA, albeit a lot of it courtesy of stock footage from the RAF but hugely enjoyable all the same.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Timeless A-Peel wrote:
What would have happened if Gambit and Steed hadn't showed up? It's hard to say for sure, but one of them would have to die. Despite Purdey's protestations to the contrary, there's no doubt in my mind that Larry was about to shoot her before Gambit took him out. The last time she rejected him, he finally managed to tear up her pictures, which suggests a mental break on his part. He'd given up on ever getting Purdey back, so killing her wouldn't be a problem. It'd all come down to whether Purdey could make herself pull the trigger and take him down first. Otherwise she'd have ended up dead, and the rocket would have gone off.

I've always thought that her past with Larry made Purdey mistrustful of men to a certain extent--she seems leery of letting anyone get to close. Through the nature of their work, she's learned she can trust Gambit and Steed. It's interesting to note that the way Purdey relates to both of them deteriorates as Larry's presence in her life reasserts in her life. She argues with Steed more than once and shoots out his tires. She snaps at Gambit and won't tell him anything. Everything they try to do to help just makes her cut them off more, as though all her old mistrustfulness is coming back. It's also interesting to note that both Gambit and Steed put their arms around her and stand quite close when they're telling her about the "plum job", which is slightly unusual. But the way they do it is friendly and companionable, whereas every time Doomer does it, itís forceful and possessive. Iím wondering now if that was an intentional choice on the director/writerís part. Itís as though theyíre subtly drawing parallels between Gambit and Steed on one hand, and Larry on the other. And yet Purdey just canít shake Larry.


After our discussion last week, I went and re-watched this one. It is a fascinating if slightly flawed episode - I think the flaws lies in the changes in Purdey's character that aren't really built upon in later episodes. It never occurred to me until I read this that Purdey becomes more mistrustful of men as the episode goes on, and that some of her defensiveness/reticence around men might have to do with her past experience with Larry (who, it seems, she still loves in some sense).

The issue of "would he have shot her/would she have shot him" changes every time I watch Obsession - the first time I was convinced that Larry would have killed her, the second time that he could never bring himself to. It's interesting that it comes down to Gambit basically making the choice for her - which can be taken two different ways (at least). On the one hand, Gambit responds in the way that anyone would, killing a man who was threatening his partner. On the other hand, and on a thematic level, the episode takes that choice away from Purdey - rather than enabling her to eliminate the abusive male in her life (one which, as Larry claims, is a part of her), she loses that act of sovereignty to another man. Gambit, the good man, eliminates Larry, the bad one. As such, it becomes an exchange between men with the woman powerless in the middle - she is unable to enforce her own desires or conclude her own narrative. This isn't a fault of the characters per se, but the structure of the show. I think it would have been far more effective, and poignant, if Purdey was the one to shoot Larry. As it is, she still remains in limbo, still attached to a man who abused her and now unable to achieve closure of her own accord.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

anti-clockwise wrote:

Once again TNA is before it's time. Today this behavior of terrorist bombing sadly seems to be a common occurrence in the world. Back then, it was much more rare.
It wasn't very rare in the UK, sadly. Ever since 1969 the IRA had been bombing the British Mainland, blowing up shopping centres, pubs, stations, hotels, airports... indiscriminately killing women and children as well as innocent men. They also conducted mortar attacks (including memorably on the roof of Heathrow Airport terminal building and the Prime Minister's residence), blew up the Conservative party conference hotel, and also attacked several military bases. This was nothing compared to Northern Ireland itself, though, which was a bloodbath (and occasionally still is). Sadly, a huge amount of funding for armaments and explosives for the IRA terrorists came from America (NORAID) as well as munitions provided by Libya and other dodgy states.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankymole wrote:
anti-clockwise wrote:

Once again TNA is before it's time. Today this behavior of terrorist bombing sadly seems to be a common occurrence in the world. Back then, it was much more rare.
It wasn't very rare in the UK, sadly. Ever since 1969 the IRA had been bombing the British Mainland, blowing up shopping centres, pubs, stations, hotels, airports... indiscriminately killing women and children as well as innocent men. They also conducted mortar attacks (including memorably on the roof of Heathrow Airport terminal building and the Prime Minister's residence), blew up the Conservative party conference hotel, and also attacked several military bases. This was nothing compared to Northern Ireland itself, though, which was a bloodbath (and occasionally still is). Sadly, a huge amount of funding for armaments and explosives for the IRA terrorists came from America (NORAID) as well as munitions provided by Libya and others dodgy states.
Thank you for reminding me. That hands down is horrific. Thanks for correcting me on that. Pretty sad and disgusting that other countries were funding this.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wish we could say we live in more enlightened times! At least the calming-down of Ireland and the Basque separatism terrorism in Spain is a step in the right direction. Other parts of the world are getting more uppity though...

I remember having to check my car for bombs all the time in the 1980s - not fun really.

The original Avengers didn't seem to do terrorists much, though it had its share of gun-runners, and assassins.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most terrorism in The Avengers is home-grown, very often from within trusted circles (mercenaries in the British Army, Doomer as an RAF pilot). And very often it's for petty or personal reasons: money or personal revenge.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lhbizness wrote:
After our discussion last week, I went and re-watched this one. It is a fascinating if slightly flawed episode - I think the flaws lies in the changes in Purdey's character that aren't really built upon in later episodes. It never occurred to me until I read this that Purdey becomes more mistrustful of men as the episode goes on, and that some of her defensiveness/reticence around men might have to do with her past experience with Larry (who, it seems, she still loves in some sense).

The issue of "would he have shot her/would she have shot him" changes every time I watch Obsession - the first time I was convinced that Larry would have killed her, the second time that he could never bring himself to. It's interesting that it comes down to Gambit basically making the choice for her - which can be taken two different ways (at least). On the one hand, Gambit responds in the way that anyone would, killing a man who was threatening his partner. On the other hand, and on a thematic level, the episode takes that choice away from Purdey - rather than enabling her to eliminate the abusive male in her life (one which, as Larry claims, is a part of her), she loses that act of sovereignty to another man. Gambit, the good man, eliminates Larry, the bad one. As such, it becomes an exchange between men with the woman powerless in the middle - she is unable to enforce her own desires or conclude her own narrative. This isn't a fault of the characters per se, but the structure of the show. I think it would have been far more effective, and poignant, if Purdey was the one to shoot Larry. As it is, she still remains in limbo, still attached to a man who abused her and now unable to achieve closure of her own accord.


It might have been more cathartic if she'd been the one to shoot him, I agree. I do think it's had an impact on all her relationships, and it reinforces the bond she has with Gambit and Steed, because she trusts them in spite of her past. When Larry returns, it starts to undermine that trust, and her relationship with both of them. And yet Gambit and Steed still come through for her in the end, whereas Larry is willing to kill her after being rejected. I really don't doubt that Larry was a second away from killing her when Gambit shot him. He levels the gun at her, and his finger's tightening on the trigger. Purdey doesn't seem to have the wherewithal to do the same. She has plenty of time to either kill or disable Larry before Gambit arrives, and she doesn't. Gambit arrives on the scene, makes a split-second decision, and kills Larry before Larry can kill Purdey. I don't see it as Gambit choosing for Purdey, because he does what she can't bring herself to do, and he does it to save her life. His course of action flows from hers. Steed then does the same when he stops the rocket--foils Larry's plot which Purdey almost let unfold right in front of her. So in both cases, they react to Purdey's choices rather than make them for her. This isn't to heap blame on Purdey, because she's the injured party, but shows that she shouldn't have faced Larry alone, the way she did last time. Gambit and Steed have her back and make the hard calls that need to be made when she can't. The fact that she needs their support doesn't undermine her autonomy--they give to her rather than take away, which was all Larry ever did. If it had been Gambit or Steed in the same situation, Purdey would have made the same calls for them, and she would have done it without question.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow Franky. That is really heavy. We are fortunate here to not have had a civil war for over a century. Checking for bombs as a way of life has got to be overwhelming. But glad you are here to tell us about it!
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankymole wrote:
I wish we could say we live in more enlightened times! At least the calming-down of Ireland and the Basque separatism terrorism in Spain is a step in the right direction. Other parts of the world are getting more uppity though...

I remember having to check my car for bombs all the time in the 1980s - not fun really.

The original Avengers didn't seem to do terrorists much, though it had its share of gun-runners, and assassins.


I think I remember reading somewhere that a plot involving terrorism (for the original series or TNA, I can't recall which) was rejected for being too close to home given the IRA bombings (probably TNA, then). The show did like to play on Cold Wars fears and the like, but maybe that sort of plot was just too grim/serious for the writers to be able to put a light Avengersish spin on it in good conscience?
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