Traitor In Zebra (Episode 02-11, December 1962)
Traitor In Zebra or, as I like to call it, Steed In Uniform. This episode follows Steed and Cathy as they infiltrate a government facility currently at work on a new satellite tracking system. The system keeps on being jammed, and the Avengers are on hand to ferret out the real traitor. A man has already been arrested for the crime, but Steed’s not certain that he was the one that did it.
Traitor In Zebra is a middling but amusing episode that allows for both Steed and Cathy to step outside of their closed apartments and get to work in a new milieu. There’s an entertaining sequence in the pub, many gratuitous shots of Steed looking truly spectacular in uniform, and some excellent repartee. Macnee and Blackman have hit their stride as partners. Steed and Cathy evidently enjoy each other’s company by now, their earlier conflict turning to good-natured ribbing. Cathy responds to Steed’s insinuations with a well-placed glare, but neither does she seem to feel badly towards him.
I’ve found that I enjoy the Season 2 episodes with Blackman a bit more than the Season 3, when Steed especially begins to iron out his rough edges and the plots grow more and more outlandish. There is a likable noir-ish feeling to Season 2 that all but vanishes later on. Even the rough camerawork and at times stilted dialogue is charming. You can tell when actors miss their queues, contributing more to the sense that the actors embody their characters, and are forced to adapt to changing circumstances. Season 2 might be for the strong-willed Avengers fan, but it’s well-worth a watch, and Traitor in Zebra one of the more enjoyable episodes.