A Man Called Sloane (original airdate, October 20th, 1979) is probably the best of the run so far... except for one annoying little thing, which I'll gripe about later.
The episode opens at an airport in some Central American country, where UNIT's gadget girl Kelly (series regular Karen Purcill)
is waiting to board a plane to the United States after enjoying a
long-overdue vacation. Unexpectedly, Sloane and Torque show up, pursued
by armed troops, and, pressing her into service as an impromptu courier,
give her a top secret microchip, which she hides in her ring while the
boys lead their pursuers away.
plane disappears in The Demon's Triangle ("Like the Devil's Triangle,
only not as well known," according to The Director). There's only one
inhabited island in the area – Corsair Island – so Sloane and Torque are
off to the Caribbean to search for Kelly and the microchip, which – not
unexpectedly – could compromise national security if it should fall
into the wrong hands.
Well, the island is lorded over by Morgan Lancaster (Clive Revill)
who claims to be the direct descendant of Sir Henry Morgan. He has a
device that allows him to remotely control aircraft, and he's behind the
disappearance of Kelly's flight. Surprisingly, he has no knowledge of
the microchip nor Kelly's UNIT ties – all he wanted was the pilot, one
of the few men on Earth qualified to fly America's most top secret
aircraft, the XT-100 (which stock footage reveals to be an apparent code
name for the then-new B1 bomber). The experimental plane is scheduled
to make a test-flight over the area, and Lancaster needs a qualified
pilot to bring it down with his machine.
say, Sloane and Torque not only rescue Kelly from the modern-day
pirate's clutches and retrieve the microchip MacGuffin, but foil his
skyjacking plans as well.
"Demon's Triangle" has a
clever, pulpy script and makes good use of the characters. It's nice to
see Kelly out of the lab, and she uses her wits to keep the microchip
out of Lancaster's hands. Revill makes a fine Bondian villain, and
delivers his comic book dialogue with relish. Sloane, Kelly &
Torque escape from a prison cell through an absurd but cleverly-executed plan, and
the producers even manage a fair approximation of a Caribbean island
setting. Hell, the villain's lair is even hidden within "Voodoo Mountain!" That's some fun spy-fi, right there!
only complaint? Why call it "Demon's Triangle?" Did someone at NBC
Standard & Practices think that the names "Devil's Triangle" or
"Bermuda Triangle" were trademarked by a rival network? Cripes!
• This episode was written by Jimmy Sangster, who also wrote the great 60's spy-fi classic, Deadlier Than The Male, and the 1980 telefilm, Once Upon A Spy.
• Clive Revill also played the villain – a different but similar character – in the pilot film T.R. Sloane (a/k/a Death Ray 2000).