|Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons episode|
|Episode no.||Episode 02|
|Directed by||David Lane|
|Written by||Tony Barwick|
|Cinematography by||Paddy Seale|
|Editing by||Harry MacDonald|
|Original air date||6 October 1967|
"Winged Assassin" is the second episode of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, a British 1960s Supermarionation television series co-created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. Written by Tony Barwick and directed by David Lane, it was first broadcast on 6 October 1967 on ATV Midlands. In this episode, Captain Scarlet establishes his indestructibility as Spectrum attempts to prevent the assassination of the Director-General of the United Asian Republic at the hands of the Mysterons.
Due to similarities between the storyline and the September 11 attacks, "Winged Assassin" was postponed when Captain Scarlet was repeated in the UK on BBC Two in 2001. In 1980, footage from "Winged Assassin" was re-edited and incorporated into the Captain Scarlet compilation film Captain Scarlet vs. the Mysterons.
The Mysterons vow to assassinate the Director-General of the United Asian Republic, who is currently on a state visit to the United Kingdom. An initial attempt to kill Xian Yoh in his London hotel room is thwarted by the swift action of his bodyguard, Spectrum agent Captain Grey (voice of Paul Maxwell). Maximum security is subsequently imposed at London International Airport, where the Director-General is to board his private jet and leave the country. With the permission of Colonel White (Donald Gray), the Mysteron reconstruction of Captain Scarlet (Francis Matthews), which has assumed the consciousness of the deceased officer and is now effectively "indestructible", returns to active duty; Scarlet departs Cloudbase with Captain Blue (Ed Bishop) to head the operation. Meanwhile, the Mysterons use their powers to trigger mechanical failure on board the airliner Delta-Tango 19, which is destroyed on impact with the Atlantic Ocean. A reconstruction of the aircraft, devoid of crew and passengers, continues on the original flight path from New York to London.
A double of Xian is driven to London Airport in a decoy motorcade. The Director-General himself arrives in Yellow Fox, a Spectrum transporter disguised as an aircraft fuel tanker. When DT19 lands a short distance from Xian's jet, Scarlet is briefly overcome by nausea – unknown to him, forewarning that the Director-General is in danger. Breaking away from the terminal building, DT19 rolls forward, poised to crush the jet. Leaving the Control Tower in their Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle, Scarlet and Blue prepare to fire on DT19's undercarriage, only for SPV's cannon to malfunction. Having activated Blue's ejector seat, Scarlet rams the wheels with the SPV; although the airliner is brought to a stand-still, the SPV collides with a radar bunker and Scarlet is fatally injured. The Director-General's jet takes off, but remains too low to avoid the crippled DT19: it clips the other aircraft's wing and crashes into a field with an almighty explosion, killing all on board instantly. As Scarlet's body is taken away in an ambulance, Blue assures the airport chief that, despite Spectrum's defeat, Scarlet will return to fight the Mysterons again.
"Winged Assassin" is the first episode to feature Neil McCallum as a guest actor. He made uncredited contributions to three further episodes: "Big Ben Strikes Again", "Codename Europa" and "Expo 2068". The incidental music – a suite running to 4 minutes 38 seconds – was recorded by Barry Gray in a four-hour studio session on 3 April 1967. According to dialogue, the events of "Winged Assassin" are set on 10 July, supposedly along with those of "Treble Cross" and the conclusion of "Flight to Atlantica". Writer Tony Barwick sometimes inserted references to this date into his scripts since 10 July was his birthday. A flashback to the murders of Captains Scarlet and Brown in "The Mysterons" omits the blue monochrome effect that was originally used to indicate the Mysterons' presence. "Winged Assassin" marks the first appearance of Mysteron "rings", which trail the reconstruction of DT19.
"Winged Assassin" was originally scheduled to be broadcast on 8 October 1967 in the ATV London transmission area, but was postponed due to the death of Clement Attlee the same day. It was replaced by a tribute programme commemorating the former Prime Minister.
When Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons returned to British television in a digitally-remastered format in September 2001, "Winged Assassin" was originally due to be transmitted as the second episode (reflecting the series' continuity, as well as the production order). However, the BBC Two broadcast was pushed back from 17 September 2001 due to similarities between the story, in which the Mysterons effectively "hi-jack" an airliner, and the September 11 attacks of the previous week. The cancellation coincided with the temporary removal of the Captain Scarlet section of the Carlton website. "Winged Assassin" was ultimately broadcast several weeks later in the schedule.
"Winged Assassin" is considered one of the best episodes of Captain Scarlet by Anthony Clark of sci-fi-online.com and Mike Fillis of Cult Times and Ultimate DVD magazines. Fillis in particular praises special effects director Derek Meddings for working "miniature magic" with the scale model of the DT-19 airliner. Rick Sanchez, a reviewer for the website IGN, considers the scene in which Scarlet ejects Blue from the SPV an example of superior scriptwriting for its narrative suspense.
Ian Fryer, writer of The Worlds of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, considers "Winged Assassin" the "key episode" of Captain Scarlet, writing that "no episode ... expresses the horror of the series concept better". He especially praises both the chillingly "deadpan" depiction of the DT-19 disaster and the "genuinely thrilling" climax, the latter of which he considers the best of any episode. Fryer notes that the Mysteron victory over Spectrum serves to "establish this invisible enemy as a truly formidable opponent", also arguing that the episode as a whole "treads a fine line between adult themes and suitability for the young audience".
- Bentley: 2008, p. 121.
- "Captain Scarlet Music CD Release Information". soundtrack-express.com. Archived from the original on 9 May 2006. Retrieved 14 March 2010.
- de Klerk, Theo (25 December 2003). "Complete Studio-Recording List of Barry Gray". tvcentury21.com. Archived from the original on 13 December 2009. Retrieved 14 March 2010.
- Drake, Chris; Bassett, Graeme (1993). Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. London: Boxtree. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-852834-03-6.
- Bentley 2008, p. 134.
- Bentley 2001, p. 78.
- Bentley 2001, p. 60.
- Billen, Andrew (21 February 2005). "Andrew Billen – Red-Hot Hero". New Statesman. London: Spencer Neal. ISSN 1364-7431. OCLC 35012871. Archived from the original on 13 December 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2009.
- "Toonhound.com Entry". Archived from the original on 3 May 2008. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
- "The Hound – October 2001: Scarlet Faces ...". toonhound.com. October 2001. Archived from the original on 9 April 2008. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
- Clark, Anthony (2006). "DVD: Captain Scarlet (New) Series 2 Box Set". sci-fi-online.com. Archived from the original on 16 February 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
- Fillis, Mike (October 2001). "Instant Guide to Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons". Cult Times. Visual Imagination (73). ISSN 1360-6530. OCLC 47688483. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
- Fillis, Mike (October 2001). "Reviews: Region 2". Ultimate DVD. Visual Imagination (22). OCLC 65428612. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
- Sanchez, Rick (19 June 2002). "Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons DVD Box Set Review". IGN. San Francisco, California: IGN Entertainment. Archived from the original on 20 June 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
- Fryer, Ian (2016). The Worlds of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson: The Story Behind International Rescue. Fonthill Media. pp. 127–8. ISBN 9781781555040.
- "'Winged Assassin' rated 'U' by the BBFC". bbfc.co.uk. London, UK: British Board of Film Classification. Archived from the original on 9 June 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2010.
- Bentley, Chris (2001). The Complete Book of Captain Scarlet. London: Carlton Books. ISBN 978-1-842224-0-52.
- Bentley, Chris (2008) . The Complete Gerry Anderson: The Authorised Episode Guide (4th ed.). London: Reynolds & Hearn. ISBN 978-1-905287-74-1.