When Last We Left Our Story: Spike followed after Vrooner, one of Abel’s henchmen, down to a small underground chamber leading to the tunnels under Garr Castle. Sadly for our hero, it was a trap. Finding the door before him locked, and with the ladder leading back to the grounds removed, Spike could only look at horror as a pipe started blasting a torrent of water into the tight, sealed chamber, heralding for our hero a horrible and seemingly inescapable death…
Cliffhanger Resolution: Seeing that the situation is well in hand, Abel, Savini and Vrooner leave. Seconds later the Green Archer apparently just happens along. He turns off the water, drains the chamber and frees Spike.
Cheat Factor: None really, but this ‘Green Archer to the Rescue’ bit is getting kind of monotonous.
“Boy, these exercise equipment informercials are getting dumber all the time.”
Upstairs, Abel learns that his henchman have captured Valerie for like the ninth time. Unfortunately, he wants her brought in through the tunnels. And so his men come across the Archer in the tunnels, and a fight breaks out. The Archer is outmatched by their numbers, but a waterlogged Spike emerges to join the fray. Since there are only four of them, Spike yells for the Archer to book it, which he does, although he does thrash an arriving Dinky on the way out.
With the hoods subdued, Spikes sees to his own escape, although he ends up smacking Dinky around too. Needless to say, ten seconds later Brad the Ersatz Green Archer, again wearing his facemask for no reason, happens upon the dazed Dinky. The two exchange blows until again Brad identifies himself, growling “This is no time to play!”
In an exact reply of a situation we’ve already seen, two guys are bringing Valerie across the Garr Castle grounds just as Spike emerges outside via a secret passage. Needless to say, he runs over there and beats their ass. As he does, he yells for Valerie, standing there like a lump, to run and get the police, who after all are stationed right across the street at Lady’s Manor.
Unbenowst to Valerie, Vrooner sees her running across the lawn and draws his revolver, intending to shoot her. Luckily, the Green Archer is also lurking around, and kills Vrooner with an arrow to the back. Again, if you take out the supposed and unseen victims of the train crash in the first episode, I think not a single person who wasn’t a bad guy has been killed yet.
Cut to Abel again chewing out his men—what’s left of them—for failing. This is pretty rich, coming from the guy who left Spike unattended in an overly elaborate deathtrap. When was the last time that worked?
Then it’s back to Lady’s Manor, where Odious Comic Relief cop Thompson reclines on a settee to take a nap. However, he’s just laid down when an arrow embeds itself in the wall above his head.
Irate, he draws his revolver and looks for Henderson, who we do see in another room carrying a long bow. (?) I guess the idea is that Henderson shot an arrow through his employer’s wall in order to bait the insufferable Thompson. Maybe he can set the place on fire next time.
As he looks around, Thompson surprises Howett entering via the front door. Thompson learns that Howett has sent all the uniform cops home because they too were napping. Ha, the police suck, don’t they? Thompson is so irked and disbelieving of the whole Archer thing that he prepares to leaves, vowing not to return no matter what Howett or Spike reports. However, before he can leave Spike returns and hauls him back into the house.
Hoping to head off Spike going to the local police—if I’m following this right, Thompson might be a village cop, while Ross is with the “city” force—Abel has hit upon a scheme. We cut over to Garr Castle where his men are loading a bunch of furniture into a truck. Inside, Abel explains his scheme to Savini. (Man, Savini’s sure been downgraded from the book. He hasn’t done a damn thing of note in 8 chapters so far.)
He’s having his “heavily insured” goods ‘stolen,’ and then will call in the robbery. This will suggest that the guys Spike had a run-in with on the Castle grounds were not Abel’s men, but the thieves. Finally, to add insult to injury, Spike’s company is the one he’s insured with. OK, that’s not a completely ridiculous plan, at least by the standards of the serials.
Sure enough, Spike has all but convinced Thompson to check out his story when Bellamy calls in the robbery. Abel even cynically uses Vrooner’s death to further confuse the issue, suggesting he must have been one of the robbers. This serves to revert Thompson to his default setting, that’s it Spike who’s up to mischief and not respected businessman Abel. Still, he can’t keep Spike from coming along, as it’s Spike agency on the hook for the insurance.
Soon Thompson and Spike are sitting in the front office of Garr Castle, as Abel spins his tale to the dopey cop. Spike can only assume a tight-lipped, cynical smile as he scans the long list of ‘stolen’ items Abel has given him to submit with his insurance claim.
Abel suggests that Thompson go examine Vrooner’s body for clues. This leaves Abel and Spike alone, and the cards are laid on the table. Spike admits that Thompson appears to be buying Abel’s story. He warns Abel that he’ll slip up eventually, though—well, duh, he’s slipped up like half a dozen times already—and that when he does, Spike will be waiting. Abel basically responds by saving, “Fat chance.” This is the first real scene Abel and Spike have had together, and it’s actually pretty good. Not deep, certainly, but well played, especially by Victor Jory.
The precursor to that scene in Heat in DeNiro and Pacino.
An excited Thompson returns, waving a piece of paper with the feckless fervency of Neville Chamberlain. Clearly planted by Abel, it’s a note from the deceased Tardoni supposedly ordering the equally deceased Vrooner to raid Garr Castle. Spike looks on with a pained expression, accepting that Abel is basically in the clear.
After Spike and Thompson have left, Abel calls down to the covert conference room, where Brad, Dinky and another henchman named Jake are—I swear—playing tiddlywinks. Seriously. Abel orders Jake sent across the street to Lady’s Manor, to do a little spying. Over at said abode, meanwhile, an aggravated Spike is explaining to Howett and Valerie Abel’s success in fooling Thompson.
Nothing spells villainy like a cutthroat game of tiddlywinks.
Suddenly they are interrupted by a cry from outside. Apparently Henderson had seen Jake skulking around and jumped him. At this point my earlier theory that Henderson was working for Abel seems to be out the window. And kudos to the filmmakers, as they set up our suspicions of Henderson quite ably.
At this point I can only assume Henderson is in fact working for Michael Bellamy, the brother that Abel framed and then appeared to successfully murder, but who just may be alive, and *cough* perhaps even assuming the role of the Green Archer.
Oh. ‘Spoilers.’ Sorry.
Howett wants to call the police—that’s his answer for everything—but needless to say Spike prefers to handle the situation himself. Soon Jake is tied to a chair in the living room. I can see how this might be nerve-wracking. Barely ten minutes goes by without an arrow flying into the room and smacking into a chair, so really, this is a pretty dangerous situation.
Spike, meanwhile, engages in some enhanced interrogation techniques. Firing his revolver twice—sure, who wouldn’t shoot a gun off in their own living room?—he nonchalantly blasts off each arm from Jake’s chair. “The next one is coming straight!” Our Hero growls. At his nerves’ end, the panicked Jake gives in and reveals that Abel’s ‘stolen’ goods are being held at Sampson’s Warehouse on the waterfront.
Spike naturally takes off, sans help, to check out the warehouse. Jack is left in Howett and Henderson’s care. Soon he’s arrived at the designated building. Inside of two of Abel’s hoods, who themselves are plotting to make off with a couple of Abel’s paintings before the loot is loaded on an outgoing ship. You just can’t find good help anymore.
Spike rushes into the room, his gun drawn. However, he gets jumped and—are you sitting down?—an undercranked fistfight ensues. Bet you didn’t see that coming. Of course, nobody would believe Spike would have trouble with only two guys, so soon three more hoods show up.
Spike puts up a typically doughty fight, but of course is eventually knocked out.
The crooks call Abel, who screams, “Shoot him! All of you!! Right now!! Empty your guns into him!” Nah, just kidding. Instead, he orders Spike tied up and then thrown off the pier. And so things proceed. Spike escaped drowning once this chapter already, but as the episode draws to a close we watch as his body slips from sight, promising our hero a horrible and seemingly inescapable death.…
Boy, the one time Aquaman would come in handy….
Join us in two days for Chapter 9: The Mirror of Treachery.*[*Again with the treachery. Maybe the Mirror came in a matched set with The Necklace of Treachery.]
Let’s check to see if there’s a pattern here.
1 The Green Archer saves Spike completely by accident
2 Spike leaps from a car
3 Spike uses truck to save himself and Valerie
4 The Green Archer saves Spike, on purpose this time
5 Spike survives van crash and fire by pure luck
6 Spike survives fall from high story by pure luck
7 The Green Archer saves Spike, again
Now, admittedly the Archer is sort of the second banana hero, so there’s no reason he shouldn’t get a share of the heroics. Even so, I’d say there’s a certain pattern evident here. Out of the first seven cliffhangers, Spike saved himself a grand total of twice. And that was in back to back instances early in the run of them. I don’t know, I personally like my heroes to be a bit more proactive than that. Spike’s currently saving himself about 14% of the time. That’s pretty lame.
Wallace-O-Meter: Three guesses.
Fights: The Archer fights some hoods right after freeing Spike, then Spike fights them, then Dinky and Brad go at it by mistake, then Spike again out on the lawn, then in the warehouse…yeesh!
Car Crashes: Nope.
Gunplay: Spike shoots at Jake to scare him.
Easy Opportunity to Just Shoot Hero Ignored: Definately.
Valerie Endangered: Yes.
Chair Murdered: No, but one is dismembered with a revolver.
Big Explosion: No.