The Avengers

Season 4 Episode 1

The Town of No Return

Aired Unknown Oct 02, 1965 on ITV
out of 10
User Rating
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Episode Summary

The Town of No Return
Four agents have vanished, looking for each other, in Little Bazeley-by-the-Sea. Steed and Emma go in for the man who went in for the man who.... and meet the odd local landlord, blacksmith and vicar. Are they more than they seem?

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  • It's a nice little place - but where have all the people gone?

    Emma Peel's first "Avengers" adventure (and the first one done wholly on film) has such chilling implications that the light-hearted tone of the piece seems quite misplaced. The plot has agents of an unnamed foreign power taking over a tiny, isolated coastal village bit by bit - a dozen people at a time, landed on the beach via submarine. But what do they do with the real locals they replace? It is clearly suggested that these unfortunates have all been murdered - but this dreadful probability seems to occupy no-one's attention for more than a moment. The episode is very nicely done, with a particularly good use of coastal locations, but its failure to engage with the plotline's nightmarish aspects is distinctly worrying.moreless
  • Hesitant new start.

    The first episode featuring Emma Peel feels a bit strange. It's obvious that the producers didn't quite understand the power of this new character yet. (Of course, we're looking at it with the knowledge of later episodes.)

    She is introduced quite well, with Steed visiting her flat and finding her in a tight-fitting suit practising her fencing. But then she's turned in a rather dowdy young lady. No sports car yet; Steed and Peel travel to the mysterious town by (steam-powered) train. This is where the episode turns into a Hitchcockian thriller. (Strangers In An Inn.) Only the empty village reminds us of the slightly surreal atmosphere of the later, classic episodes. When Steed and Peel discover the plot, it's silly rather than outrageous. Moreover, we don't get the typical banter between Steed and Peel yet.

    All of this would change in a few episodes.moreless
  • This is the episode that introduces Mrs. Peel to the show. Steed and Mrs. Peel decide to visit an island to see why strange things are happening.

    The episode starts out with an sexy, agile Mrs. Peel challenging Steed to sword fight. He then proposes that she get a job as a school teacher on an island they will be visiting. On the island guests are disappearing and being hunted down in the middle of the night. There is also the mystery of a man named Piggy who may or may not have died in the war. Mrs. Peel reveals her fighting skills and Steed reveals his stealth. Some are better at disguises than others. Mrs. Peel discovers she has a lot to learn. She is very good at driving a scooter which Steed appreciates at the end. This is a great episode geared towards introducing a new character and it is so well done, I never caught on until now that this was her first episode. Great show, great episode.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Patrick Newell, who guest stars as Smallwood in this episode, became a season regular when he played the character of Mother in the final series.

    • The closing sequence of this episode saw Steed and Mrs. Peel departing into the sunset on a moped . This style of conclusion was to be used throughout the series however a different mode of transport was used each time.

    • The tag line used at the end of opening credits: ' In which Steed finds a town full of ghosts and Emma gets into a harness.'

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Steed explains to Mrs. Peel why he should investigate alone:
      Steed: You stay there. Special experience to move without noise. Superior training. I can move like a cat in carpet slippers.
      (Cut to Steed sneaking into the bar where he is immediately confronted by the pub landlord wielding a shot gun.)

  • NOTES (2)