Sunday, 18 August 2013

Big Gay Longcat reviews Dark Towers (part three)

The Old Coach House

"Some books are so old they are rarer than diamonds. The Golden Book of the Tall Knight is said to be a thousand years old. If we find it, some museum might give more than a million pounds for it."

Miss Hawk is obsessed with finding the Golden Book, though it is clear she really wants it for herself.

Edward and Miss Hawk look in an old well but all they find is an old boot.

That's not treasure. "Wah-wah-wah-wah," goes the incidental music.

Towser and Tracy think that "old wheels" refers to the coach wheels of the coaches they saw in part two (Chekhov's Coaches?) and go to look. Towser looks for clues but it is Tracy who finds a bit of paper inside a coach.

Before she can read it, Benger and Bunce come in so Towser and Tracy have to hide. Benger and Bunce loudly discuss their plan to steal things and then set the house on fire, in case it wasn't yet clear enough how much they are obvious baddys.

Tracy sneezes and gives herself and Towser away. They are caught by Benger and Bunce. Bunce puts something in her pocket and they take her to Lord Dark so they can frame her. Because we, the audience, know what Bunce has done but Tracy doesn't, the anticipation of what will happen next makes for an effective cliffhanger.

The Tall Knight's Folly

When they see Lord Dark, they make Tracy turn out her pockets so Lord Dark thinks Tracy was trying to steal from Dark Towers. Lord Dark sends her (and Towser) away and says that if she comes back then he will call the police.

The trope of main characters being framed for a crime they did not commit is very, very common. Everything from The A-Team to Judge Dredd to Star Trek has used it sometimes. But the simplicity of they way it is used here in Dark Towers, along with the realistic reactions of all the characters concerned, makes this one of the best uses of this trope ever.

Towser and Tracy are sad as they leave Dark Towers, while Benger and Bunce are happy and congratulate each other at having outwitted a young, barely literate manny.

Edward looks in the coach house and finds the bit of paper that Tracy found earlier but left behind. It is a clue.

With no Towser or Tracy to help him, Edward goes to the friendly ghost for help. After being filled in on what has happened, the friendly ghost works out straight away that Benger and Bunce are the "two bees buzzing together" in the riddle, demonstrating that he is good at solving clues. Edward shows him the paper and between them they work out that the missing words are "tall" and "wall" because they rhyme.

At "the end of the wall" is the Tall Knight's Folly, and Edward thinks the next clue will be there. At this, the friendly ghost - and the incidental music - changes tone to once again emphasise how scary the Tall Knight is.

"You may meet the Tall Knight. Are you brave enough to go alone?"

Edward is brave. As he walks towards the Tall Knight's Folly there is a scary, ominous background noise and everything goes dark.

"Who comes to the Tall Knight's Folly?"

Mew! The Tall Knight of Dark Towers appears and is as scary as Balok, Pipes and Hoover combined. What's more, that is the end of the episode!

What a terrific cliffhanger ending, managing the incredible feat of having the Tall Knight's appearance be scary but intriguing at the same time. Because, while the story has repeatedly emphasised how scary the Tall Knight is, it has never suggested that he is evil.

These two episodes, forming the middle of the series, are simply amazing. The quality of the storytelling on display here puts so many other films and TV dramas to shame, it is time Dark Towers got the recognition it deserves.

Continued in Part Four.

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