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dissolute
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ian, I think we're meant to be unsure and wondering whether Mrs Peel has just been dragged away - until the denouement when Mrs Peel appears, rubbing her head.

My episode synopsis reads :
" ... Steed pours the herbicide on Mrs Peel's leather jacket and they take shelter in the corridor. A tendril creeps in and drags the prostrate form away, and we see the beleaguered humans behind half a mannequin. ..."

And in my episode detail page, I enumerate the case for the mannequin scenario:

There's a bit of debate about the scene where Steed kills the giant plant with the weed killer. Some believe him to be dousing Mrs Peel with the stuff, so when she's dragged into the gaping maw of the horrific beast the beast will die, but I think that's not the case, and here's my reasoning.

45:50 - Steed and Emma clash heads, knocking Emma out.
46:00 - Steed orders Sheldon to fetch the herbicide while he heads off to stage left.
46:12 - Peterson, who has gone to guard the door says, "For heaven's sake, hurry", - there's a strange cut in the scene which suggests a minor passage of time - Steed is suddenly elsewhere, things have moved, and then Steed starts pouring herbicide, apparently on Mrs Peel's unconscious body...
46:32 - but! we only see top half of the 'body' as it's doused and then dragged away by a tendril.
46:38 - we see, on stage left (the direction Steed headed earlier), a mannequin which was previously whole, with its top half missing.
46:47 - Miss Sheldon, cowering behind Steed in the doorway asks, "Do you think it'll work?"
48:02 - Steed turns around as the plant starts to convulse and die and goes into the room behind, where Emma is lying on the ground, face up and not wearing her jacket, recovering from the head-butt received in the fight - too quickly for her to have returned from the plant's grasp.
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Ian Wegg
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dissolute wrote:
Ian, I think we're meant to be unsure and wondering whether Mrs Peel has just been dragged away - until the denouement when Mrs Peel appears, rubbing her head.

Ah yes, of course you are correct. I can see now that we are supposed to be shocked at Steed's action of seemingly sacrificing Mrs Peel. It's a clever twist but unfortunately there is so much happening so quickly that the "reveal" was just too subtle for me and I completely missed it. From the other comments here, it seems I'm not alone.

Thanks for the details.

~iw
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Mona
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lhbizness wrote:
Yeah, definitely the mannequin. That's why she's missing her leather jacket at the end.


Exactly! She's not wearing the jacket that Steed quickly placed on the mannequin. Between there being a mannequin, Emma being jacketless, I always thought it was obvious what happened. Plus, it surprised me that people though Steed, our cunning secret agent, would not think up anything else aside from pouring toxic poison on his beloved partner.

I mean, I'm sure everyone recalls Steed's "pea on the table" brilliance. He's smart, quick-witted and cunning. Steed was on his game in this episode, figuring things out. It makes no sense it was Emma, and every sense it was the mannequin. After all, there WAS a mannequin right there.
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Mona
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cyberrich wrote:
I've had this episode ever since I recorded it on VHS from Channel 4 in 1985, and for the last few years on the Studio Canal set. I've watched it countless times over the last 31 years, but it has never occurred to me Steed was dousing a mannequin. It has always looked like Emma being doused, something that has always jarred if I'm honest. Surely something Steed would never subject Mrs Peel to, and now it seems he didn't. I will have to watch this again, and I will be scrutinising that particular scene very closely. Laughing Rich.


Right, Rich. Remember, TV is very careful with shots, not wasting any. In the mansion note how the camera shows the mannequin, and even zooms in on it a little. That is a vital clue for the audience in understanding that final fight scene, to make the important connections.

Otherwise, there would be no mannequin in the hallway! We see plenty of other mansions in The Avengers and....no mannequins. It's not like the English naturally keep one in their entrance foyers, say, instead of a coat of arms! Wink
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Mona
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dissolute wrote:
Ian, I think we're meant to be unsure and wondering whether Mrs Peel has just been dragged away - until the denouement when Mrs Peel appears, rubbing her head.

My episode synopsis reads :
" ... Steed pours the herbicide on Mrs Peel's leather jacket and they take shelter in the corridor. A tendril creeps in and drags the prostrate form away, and we see the beleaguered humans behind half a mannequin. ..."

And in my episode detail page, I enumerate the case for the mannequin scenario:

There's a bit of debate about the scene where Steed kills the giant plant with the weed killer. Some believe him to be dousing Mrs Peel with the stuff, so when she's dragged into the gaping maw of the horrific beast the beast will die, but I think that's not the case, and here's my reasoning.

45:50 - Steed and Emma clash heads, knocking Emma out.
46:00 - Steed orders Sheldon to fetch the herbicide while he heads off to stage left.
46:12 - Peterson, who has gone to guard the door says, "For heaven's sake, hurry", - there's a strange cut in the scene which suggests a minor passage of time - Steed is suddenly elsewhere, things have moved, and then Steed starts pouring herbicide, apparently on Mrs Peel's unconscious body...
46:32 - but! we only see top half of the 'body' as it's doused and then dragged away by a tendril.
46:38 - we see, on stage left (the direction Steed headed earlier), a mannequin which was previously whole, with its top half missing.
46:47 - Miss Sheldon, cowering behind Steed in the doorway asks, "Do you think it'll work?"
48:02 - Steed turns around as the plant starts to convulse and die and goes into the room behind, where Emma is lying on the ground, face up and not wearing her jacket, recovering from the head-butt received in the fight - too quickly for her to have returned from the plant's grasp.


Exactly! Well described!
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Spaceship Dispatcher
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mona wrote:
Right, Rich. Remember, TV is very careful with shots, not wasting any. In the mansion note how the camera shows the mannequin, and even zooms in on it a little. That is a vital clue for the audience in understanding that final fight scene, to make the important connections.

Otherwise, there would be no mannequin in the hallway! We see plenty of other mansions in The Avengers and....no mannequins. It's not like the English naturally keep one in their entrance foyers, say, instead of a coat of arms! Wink

Chekhov's mannequin?! Laughing

TV Tropes
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Mona
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spaceship Dispatcher wrote:
Mona wrote:
Right, Rich. Remember, TV is very careful with shots, not wasting any. In the mansion note how the camera shows the mannequin, and even zooms in on it a little. That is a vital clue for the audience in understanding that final fight scene, to make the important connections.

Otherwise, there would be no mannequin in the hallway! We see plenty of other mansions in The Avengers and....no mannequins. It's not like the English naturally keep one in their entrance foyers, say, instead of a coat of arms! Wink

Chekhov's mannequin?! Laughing

TV Tropes


Yes! Thanks for the link. I had no idea about Chekhov's gun as a TV Trope.
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Dfrise
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 1:04 pm    Post subject: Emma or Manikin Reply with quote

I must admit that I was confused when I first saw this episode. I thought Steed was dumping the poison on Emma. I was thinking, "What did I just see?"
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frank
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always thought it was emma aas well. which makes perfect sense

the poison would not be harmful to her and the plant would de when trying to consume her

EDIT: okay I just watched the scene again. it IS Emma who he pours the poison on. The plant drags her away to try and eat her and

Her coat leather coat is gone because that's as far as the plant got when trying to consume her

what contradicts your interpretation in my opinion is that an full size body is being dragged not just a top half. there is no scene showing steed pulling the jacket off after he pours it on her

further the plant would not be fool by a mannequin. everything prior clealrey indicates it knows the diference
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Spaceship Dispatcher
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the sequence to work, it has to be Emma. As pointed out, animals and plants in the natural world know what to eat by instinct and you can't fool a carnivorous plant into eating a plastic fly as far as I'm aware; and that's the inspiration for the story. Again as pointed out, Emma would not be harmed by the chemical and Steed's saving her by the only means left to him at the eleventh hour. Every time I have watched the story, I have viewed the scene as 'Steed saving Emma' and I'm not sure I would change that to simply 'Steed kills the monster'

Edit: for obvious reasons it would make sense in production terms to substitute a mannequin for a live performer, but it makes more sense to me in narrative terms to be a person in danger from the creature.
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Lhbizness
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Um...many of the mannequin's are full body. There's no problem there. It's quite obviously intended to be the mannequin - there's no reason for Steed to toss Emma down the plant's gullet.

I've seen a very long and convincing interpretation of this scene and I'll post the link when I find it again. But it makes neither character nor narrative sense for Steed to fling his partner to the plant.
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frank
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me a key element that would support the position that Steed is forced to use an unconscious Emma as bait is the nature of the alien and the crisis at hand.

Levene's script spends a great deal of time establishing that the plant is intelligent enough to mediate its own survival, telepathic and can control minds. The episode also shows it knows instinctively what the local food source is for itself.

It has also been established it can use its mental powers as a means to capture victims for sustenance. Therefore viewers can infer that its ability to hunt for food can be connected to its mental abilities and that it can identify "food" by virtue of brain activity. The creature went for Miss Sheldon even though it could not mind control her.

Steed and Emma both knows this by the time it confronts the plant.

Further there is a reference that the plant is already growing at an exponential rate or beyond enough of an arithmetic rate to frighten our heroes (and Miss Sheldon). Probably the only time we see that level of collective fear in the show.

From a narrative point of view, it's a desperate situation with the safety of the entire world on the line. The only means left to administer the poison is to use bait.

From a technical viewpoint, it is Emma he is pouring the poison on. When the frame pops up the vent of her jacket is included. You can see the vent is parted and leather of the pants underneath is exposed.

And if you really want to get nitpicky, you can see the breathing from the stuntman as the poison is being applied
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Mona
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

frank wrote:
For me a key element that would support the position that Steed is forced to use an unconscious Emma as bait is the nature of the alien and the crisis at hand.

Levene's script spends a great deal of time establishing that the plant is intelligent enough to mediate its own survival, telepathic and can control minds. The episode also shows it knows instinctively what the local food source is for itself.

It has also been established it can use its mental powers as a means to capture victims for sustenance. Therefore viewers can infer that its ability to hunt for food can be connected to its mental abilities and that it can identify "food" by virtue of brain activity. The creature went for Miss Sheldon even though it could not mind control her.

Steed and Emma both knows this by the time it confronts the plant.

Further there is a reference that the plant is already growing at an exponential rate or beyond enough of an arithmetic rate to frighten our heroes (and Miss Sheldon). Probably the only time we see that level of collective fear in the show.

From a narrative point of view, it's a desperate situation with the safety of the entire world on the line. The only means left to administer the poison is to use bait.

From a technical viewpoint, it is Emma he is pouring the poison on. When the frame pops up the vent of her jacket is included. You can see the vent is parted and leather of the pants underneath is exposed.

And if you really want to get nitpicky, you can see the breathing from the stuntman as the poison is being applied


I appreciate your points but I do completely disagree with them. (Although, yes, the stunt person does breath, but that is part of the poor editing of the scene--after all, do we really believe that when Steed went into a building in a blue suit and came out in a brown one he had actually ran home to change suits at some point we didn't see? Editing faults do not necessary have to interfere with plot analysis).

My friend's dog eats socks and pantyhose--but it is a living animal, shouldn't it know what a dog naturally eats? Yes, he mainly wants to eat whatever is in his dog bowl, but he'll take other things by hand or also eat things he shouldn't. All living things will dive at easy food.

Emma is unconscious to boot. Are we sure the plant can sense her brain when it is not awake and conscious? It is unconscious so would not respond to the brain waves; neither would the mannequin.

Toxic chemicals actually ARE harmful to humans, people! Acute exposure to these nasty chemicals can be seriously damaging, and could even be fatal. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22480254

Of course, folks thinking it is Emma miss the entire point of the mannequin, which makes no sense. As is clear, tight storylines do not include such extraneous items for no reason at all.

Plus, yes, it does kind of annoy me that people think Steed is some sort of totally lame secret agent and cannot save the world AND protect his partner and the woman he loves.

Apparently this would be Steed's though process during those moments: I will drag Emma, my unconscious beloved partner and, without her okay, without her allowance, I will use her as a guinea pig to attempt to kill some alien plant. I will ignore the mannequin right there, drag Emma to a clearing, pouring super toxic chemicals all over her, and hope it WILL be effective because it MIGHT kill the alien, but I'm not SURE it will, and then Emma will be killed by the plant. And, if it is effective but Emma develops serious complications because of the herbicide exposure, so what, I don't care.

I don't buy it at all. Steed is a much better agent, much more cunning, much smarter, much more nimble in thought than using Emma. The mannequin is there and the step by step process dissolute wrote above seems to be exactly clear on what happened.
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dissolute
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everyone is welcome to their own opinions and this episode polarises that quite a bit!

It's a shame the only script we have of this one is the 1980 transcript - so we lose any camera directions or notes that might clear this up.

I do note that the original synopsis document that we do have simply says it's poured on the giant growth.

To my mind, it's a mannequin, even though they use a stuntman for the shot. Perhaps the director thought an actual mannequin would "give it away" to early and he wanted to build suspense, or perhaps the mannequin kept falling apart when they dragged it.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since the original broadcast in 1966 I had always thought it was Emma being dragged away to be devoured by the monster plant . But now, having viewed it closely in HD I see how it's very ambiguous and possible to view the scene either way.

The bottom half if the mannequin coupled with the 'do you think it will work?' dialogue are seemingly definitive clues to the mannequin - and yet the dialogue could similarly be a cue to Emma"s unconscious body.

It could be that both the mannequin and Emma were sprinkled with herbicide and used as plant bait. I agree the if the 'intelligent plant 'creature' is a meat-eater it would probably not be deceived by a plastic mannequin - therefore Emma would be the most effective live meat bait. Were both the mannequin torso and Emma's body entwined by double tentacles, dragged away as sacrificial yet lethal plant bait?

Therefore I think we could assume both mannequin dressed in Emma's leather jacket was bait 1 and then Emma herself in catsuit was mildly 'herbicided' as emergency back-up bait 2 - this could satisfy both interpretations.
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