The pun made me wince, though I'm not sure why. It's quite clever, really.
Somewhat to my surprise, I enjoyed this episode. It has its faults (including one well nigh unforgivable continuity error: the Ranger says twelve elephants were shot: Curtis says there were at least twenty...), but it also has a lot of appeal - especially, I think, for the female viewer - in the relationship between Curtis and Keel...
I had determined to do my best to treat The New Professionals as a discrete entity, resisting the urge to compare the old and new series as best I could. Both are, after all, children of their times, and the world has changed dramatically in the twenty years that separate them. However, interpersonal relationships are timeless - even if their outward expressions differ throughout history. And in Tusk Force we have the most telling example yet that the relationship between Curtis and Keel is as strong as Bodie and Doyle's ever was. They're just a bit more open about it!
(There is something very appealing about men (or women, for that matter) who aren't afraid to show real emotion, especially if they are also easy with each other's touch. To me, it implies an acceptance of people as people, rather than as male and female, and a corresponding relaxed and honest attitude to all relationships. Nice. A little rare in real life, but it does exist. Honest...1)
Poor Keel. He's the one in trouble, again. (At least this time it wasn't his fault...) And Curtis ends up carrying him. There's a real partnership for you... And let's face it - we love seeing our heroes get hurt. It a) makes them more human and therefore more accessible, and b) (an option perhaps mainly for the females) wouldn't we just love to take care of them!
I suppose they didn't have a lot of choice but to leave the plane, though how they thought they might actually make it is beyond me. I mean, I know CI5 is supposed to be tough, but in the African bush, without water and (presumably) only limited ammunition?...
And then they run into Mavoy (and end up caught between a cheetah and a cheater?) I'm afraid the episode relies too heavily on this coincidence for it to really work for me. I also wondered about CI5 being called on to deal with a problem such as large scale elephant poaching in the first place. Don't get me wrong, I'm pleased to see that they did. It just feels a little... odd... somehow. Although given the technology and high level corruption involved, I suppose it made sense.
Fortunately we don't have to suffer Malone's ambulatory bar-code impersonation for long (whoever chose the spotted tie to go with that suit? They should be shot.... This being CI5, perhaps they were. Then again, CI5 has never exactly been the fashion police....) Backup's goldfish impression was more irritating. I was disappointed (no, make that annoyed) to see her relegated to the little woman back at the office, agonising over the fate of 'her boys'. And did Geary really call Mavoy "Sahib"? I thought this was supposed to be South Africa, not India... And yes, there was another graveyard, albeit an elephant's graveyard. (And no, that's not supposed to be a joke. As an undercover eco-warrior I don't joke about such things.)
Despite its faults, overall I found Tusk Force a rollicking adventure. Lovely locations too. And Keel can fly planes and helicopters. I'm sure that will come in very useful in the future...
I wondered if the suit was originally chosen because Cowley loathed stripes (striped shirts, anyway)...
Phoenix (Episode 2)
Hostage (Episode 4)
Of course, there is an alternative line of reasoning. But let me be absolutely clear about this - I am not for one moment suggesting that Curtis and Keel, any more than Bodie and Doyle, have anything more than the normal, 'I'll die for you if you'll die for me' relationship of any two secret service partners. But so far we haven't seen them with any women (the ones at the pool don't count. Keel seemed curiously reticent with them. And Backup is a member of the team - at the moment, she doesn't count either...) They seem to care quite deeply about each other... They're pretty... It's always interesting to speculate... Ach, ignore me. I've been writing too much slash fiction just recently!
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Phoenix (Episode 2)
Hostage (Episode 4)