"No man is free who works for a living . . . but I am available." (-- Illya Kuryakin, "The Bow-Wow Affair")

These reviews/commentaries on the show's 105 episodes originally appeared in slightly different form on the Yahoo! Groups website Channel_D, from 2008 to 2010. If you're new to MfU fandom, these may give you some idea of the flavor of the series, which is still famous and beloved more than 50 (!) years after its premiere in 1964. Enjoy!

News: Decades Channel is running a "Weekend Binge" of MfU episodes on July 2, 2017. Check the schedule here.

(Except where otherwise noted, images are used with permission of the exhaustive site Lisa's Video Frame Capture Library. Thanks to Lisa for all her work!)

Friday, February 19, 2010

"The It's All Greek to Me Affair" (ep. 3/21)

My notes from the Eighties sum this one up with "Gawd!!" (yes, two exclamation points).  It's a smidgen better than that, a comedy in which every step our heroes take gets them deeper and deeper into trouble, garnished with the colorful character of Stavros, the "terror of Thessaly (semi-retired)."

Illya, he of the steel-trap mind, forgets a password?  But it's a neat interchange (see below), surpassed only by the memorable character of Illya's contact, the schoolteacher/exotic dancer agent, Miss Prendergast.  Her few moments on screen remind us again that Solo and Illya are part of a far-flung organization, and that Waverly asks a lot of his men and women.  (We never see her again; I hope Manolakas didn't kill her.)

Harold J. Stone's Stavros is a delight, an unashamed robber and paterfamilias, determined to protect his daughter -- and make a living -- no matter what.  How interesting it would have been, though, if he had known Waverly in the days when the old gentleman was "an independent agent" in Greece!

Manolakas is a thug; he's no Brother Love or General Yokura; but you get the distinct impression he'd kill Nico, Kyra, and anybody else who got in his way without hesitation.  At other times he seems given to bluster and vainglorious threats.  He hardly deserves the knifing he gets from the Thrush chief -- unless he did kill Miss Prendergast. 

"424046" is apparently Illya's serial number.  Why would he not say "of the U.N.C.L.E.", or include his rank?  And why does he not explain what Thrush is to Stavros and Kyra, who almost certainly would not have heard of it?

The page Kostas, the young shepherd, finds with the Command logo on it looks like a physics exam.

Illya says that Command agents don't carry a lot of cash; they use credit cards.  Diner's Club or American Express?

"Megalopolis"?  What does Solo mean when he says that to Kyra?

Verdict: A lightweight story in which Solo and Illya don't really solve the case; it features a lot of scenes of people standing and talking at each other, and has a far-too-comic climax.  But Stavros's lines are often funny, and scripters Robert Hill and Eric Faust keep the complications coming at a fast clip.

Memorable Lines:
Illya (via communicator): "I think I've located my contact for tonight."
Solo (smiling at lovely brunette): "That makes two of us."

Illya: "How do you remember [the passwords]?  Are you reading?"
Solo: "No, no.  Are you kidding?  I memorized all of Euripides when I was just a toddler."

Illya (captured, kneeling in the cave): "I have a great many sins for which to atone, you know."

Stavros (excitedly, to his daughter): "You're just in time.  I'm about to murder your husband.  Come and watch!"

Stavros (after Waverly has refused to ransom Illya): "What kind of friend and employer is that, I ask you?"
Illya (grimly): "Parsimonious."

Illya (re: the impressive approaching Cadillac): "Why is it [Thrush] always get[s] the bigger cars?"
Solo: "Well, when you're number two, you have to try harder."
(A play on the then-current Avis Rent-a-Car commercials)

Waverly: "Sic transit gloria."
Stavros: "Who is Gloria?"


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