I love this episode, it is like an encapsulation of everything Avengers in one hour! Eccentrics, romance, dastardly plots, and parody of our glorious nation. Actually I was reminded of it when watching Clue (one of my favourite films, along with Murder by Death), when Tim Curry told one of the guests that a butler 'butles'.
There is an irony - Steed understands 'service' so well because of having been brought up on the other side of the counter. He fits in by actually being an obvious fraud and therefore a shifty character - I love that the nobles in his forged references are the names of pubs!
Normally I don't take to familiar faces but like that John le Mesurier turns out to be the baddie here. I love his quote to the effect that his roles were usually of a decent man at sea in a chaos of his own making - which presumably means this isn't a usual role for him. He did actually see himself as a jobbing actor of the sort I'm usually irritated by and has a huge list of roles on IMDB. I was surprised to find not only that he was married to the wonderful Hattie Jacques, but that he also lived in a menage à trois with her younger lover.
Nor is this episode limited to Avengerland but references the spy craze then at its height and the accompanying media. Bond in the use of 00 numbers, The Man from UNCLE in gadgets, and Get Smart in the soundproof bubble thingy.
My absolutely favourite element is Emma in seductive mode.
If you want criticism of this episode - you're not watching it in the right spirit!
That said it is apparent that it can be understood differently by different people - despite not being the sexy heights she shows elsewhere in reading around for this I have found a clip of the fight scene on a fetish site about women fighting men lol.
Image credit: dissolute.com.au