Assignment: Earth IX Story Generator, Jamming 16/11/2013

The fourth season finale of Assignment: Earth opens with an action sequence of course, as Gary Seven flees through the twisting corridors of the Untied Nations. This is a scene of pure chaos, the perfect hook for the beginning of an engrossing episode. We cut wildly back and forth to Gary trying to find Roberta and Isis in the massive building, then to Isis trying to track down Gary and Roberta, and Roberta generally just trying to get the hell out. This is all while surrounded by thousands of people running wildly through an enormous confusing building doing basically the same thing.

Of course it’s Roberta who finds in all that chaos, one actually calm person, the immaculately dressed Louis Ten. After an initial comic scream and a slapstick attempt to put him in a headlock (Did I mention that Roberta’s occasional tries at something approaching martial arts generally result in physical comedy? I didn’t cast Barbara Feldon for nothing.), she flees from him elsewhere in the building. She manages to run out of the building to find that most of Manhattan is under the shadow of the giant Aegis ship. But the first thing she sees is Gary’s old Foto Hut van from his own sabbatical after season three. She looks back to the UN and starts to put the pieces together.

Francis Eight meets with the other leaders of his conspiracy, all Aegis operatives and their familiars, some of the latter in human form and some animal. This is a parade of ethnicities, genders, and species (on the part of the familiars at least), so the extent of Francis’ cabal is clear. There are operatives from all over the Earth. But the limits of their reach is clear when one conspirator asks in a Nigerian accent, “But have any of them responded to our demands?”

“They’ll have to respond after what we’ve done today!” Francis barks. “They’ll realize that this is the only way to succeed in their plan of controlling humanity’s morals!” At this point, it’s clear to the audience that the Aegis have nothing to do with the plan to invade and conquer Earth militarily. “And we certainly won’t have to deal with interference from Gary Seven much longer.”* Morrigan, in a quick cut, transforms into a raven, flying through the corridors after him.**

* Pure cheese, I know.

** We would never actually have the money to show anything like a morphing sequence on the show, and with the technology of 1974, it would be absolutely dreadful to watch anyway. Whenever a familiar changes, we just cut across the 180º from one form to another.

Even when running a Foto Hut van, Louis Ten is
remarkably stylish.
Isis finds Louis when he’s in a service elevator on his way to the top floors to find Francis and his gang, dropping in on it as a cat through a vent in its ceiling. Despite his protests against being “constantly manhandled by Seven’s women!” Isis has no problem getting him in a chokehold against the elevator’s wall. She warns Louis that if he deviates from the plan, she’ll kill him extremely painfully.

In the Secretary-General’s office, Louis meets with Francis Eight. They talk about Gary Seven, who hasn’t been seen since the chaos at the start of the episode. They talk about why Gary didn’t kill him, and Louis evades the question, shifting the subject to talk about the Aegis, and what their reaction will be. Francis has sent them a detailed and comprehensive argument for the inadequacy of their own plans for moral influence of humanity, that they are only breeding competitors and rivals instead of people subject to their power. Louis and Francis spend several minutes in conversation about the morality of empire and the worth of peoples and planets. Francis speaks of these in entirely material terms. Louis is cagey. While they speak, all the other conspirators and familiars except Morrigan file into the room to intimidate him. Then Louis addresses them, “I’m so happy to see us all here together.” 

And as Francis fumes with anger, they’re transported to another Aegis ship overlooking the planet. We see Roberta and Gary in the Foto Hut van with a CB radio, having sent a signal to Aegis authority. The giant ship has disappeared from the skies of New York. “They have you now, Francis,” says Louis, laughing.

Isis the cat, meanwhile, has found Morrigan the raven on the roof of the United Nations, and they transform into humans. Isis confronts Morrigan with the evidence she’s been searching for all season, particularly in very tense scenes of confrontation between them, that Morrigan was the one who killed Louis’ familiar Osiris. Because Morrigan knew that Osiris would never go along with the plan. 

As they’re about to fight, we cut to Gary and Roberta in the van where Gary is explaining that Osiris had discovered Francis’ conspiracy to turn Aegis into a proper imperial power, and Morrigan had killed him to silence him. Louis was understandably freaked, and ran away, having been declared a fugitive and believing himself to be a suspect in Osiris’ death. 

“But how do you kill a familiar?” Roberta asks. Gary answers, “With great difficulty.” And another firestorm erupts from the roof of the UN. 

Patrick Troughton had a wonderful face for gurning and
screaming in terror.
And up on the ship, an Aegis finally appears to the viewers of Assignment: Earth, an enormous feathered quadruped with sharp mandibles ringing its mouth and antennae sprouting from all over its body. Francis sputters in front of his masters, who he has betrayed. He can tell that they didn’t accept his arguments, and he demands to know why. BECAUSE YOU ACT WITH GREED, WITH PERSONAL DESIRE, FROM THE INTERESTS OF YOUR OWN SELF. WE ARE NO SELF. WE DO NOT THINK WITH SUCH PETTINESS AS TO DESIRE POSSESSION. So the full gurning powers of Patrick Troughton are turned up to the highest intensity as a powerful bright light fills the screen, washing away the closeup on his face. The only sound we can hear is Louis Ten laughing.

We next see him later, knocking on the window of the Foto Hut van with Gary and Roberta still inside. He’s carrying a sleeping cat, and says she’ll need to rest for a few days, but will be fine soon. As for Morrigan, “I think our kitten had a lovely meal of squaw today.”

To Roberta’s question of what happened to him, Louis explains what happened when he fled Aegis. He started searching for other operatives, and found many of them involved in the conspiracy. When he eventually found Gary, he thought he was part of it too, but when Louis and Gary finally were able to talk in the industrial park’s field, Louis realized that Gary had absorbed some much more noble human values. Louis went undercover, Gary having helped fake his death. When Roberta asks him what he’ll do now, Louis says that he’d like to start his business with a photograph developing van again. But with almost all the Aegis operatives compromised by Francis’ imperialist conspiracy, there are only a few of them left on Earth. And none of them have much of a heart for conspiracies anymore. The Aegis plan may really have been destroyed, or at least set back considerably.


  1. I seriously wish this series had actually existed; at least if it had been written like this...