Tropes and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

So all of our shows are going on their winter breaks, so my husband and I are back to some of the things we have on the back-burner, one of which is the original Man from U.N.C.L.E season 1, made in the 60s.

We both enjoyed the movie and my mother-in-law loved the show, so we figured we would give it a shot.

So for those of you who don’t know, the premise is a spy agency made up of people from all over the world who deal with things that are a threat on a global scale. Our main characters are Napoleon Solo (An American who likes his women and is suave.) and Illya Kuryakin (A Russian who has a myriad of skills).

It has been quite an interesting ride. Some of the episodes are better written than others.

Last night we watched “The Double Affair” in which the bad guys replace Solo with a double in order to get access to codes to a vault that has “something world changing” while they are being transported.

So this episode was bad for a number of reasons.

1) The opening sequence was the bad guys trying to kill Illia, since he knows Solo and would possible be able to out the fake. Illia knowing Solo did not play into the episode at all. He raises an eyebrow when Duo (what we called the fake Solo) does not mack on every woman he sees, and that’s it. If you’re going to have a Chekhov’s Gun, then fire the thing!

2) We assumed, because it was the 60s, that the ‘world changing power’ would be nuclear, it turns out instead to be, I kid you not, some sort of glowing energy (from space?) that if you look at it without protective glasses, will take over your mind and make you walk into it. This is what befalls the one poor chap who figures out that Duo got into the briefcase holding the codes. Yeah, it was basically a genre break, though TV Tropes doesn’t have a page for that one. Basically, we’re watching a spy show and then suddenly SCIENCE FICTION!

3) And, at the end of the show, the resolution is ‘hey, the real Solo didn’t get shot, everything is great because Duo couldn’t kiss well, and now the woman are happy’. Not: ‘btw, the bad guys actually did get the codes to the vault, is anyone even going to mention that we’re taking care of that?’ No? Okay‚Ķ

It’s handy to be able to point out the blatantly bad writing and plot holes (along with MST3King it) because we also discuss how we would’ve written the episode. Luckily the next episode was far better, and not only because few minutes into the episode my husband said ‘Is that Leonard Nimoy?’, to which I replied in the next scene: ‘Maybe, but that is William Shatner. Man, he was hott when he was younger.’.

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