In episode 1, we dove straight into the action with a thrilling Thrush invasion of U.N.C.L.E. During episodes 2 through 7,
however, viewers of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. were greeted with the following pre-title introduction:
The scene opens with an image of a stylized globe, emitting radioactive waves, while a man with a gun stands guard beside
it. The background is a political map of the world.
Your intrepid reviewers wonder if this symbol has a teensy-weensy fascist overtone to it. But the music is so jaunty, and
everyone knows fascists don’t dance, so it’s probably just our evil hive mind.
|U.N.C.L.E. ensures the trains will run on time. Worldwide.
The narrator begins:
In New York City
Ah, The Naked City. The City that Never Sleeps. The Big Apple.
We discuss what’s more fun, being naked and sleepless, or sleepless and eating an apple. However, the brief glimpse
we’re shown of the United Nations buildings reminds us to keep our clothes on and behave ourselves.
On a Street in the East Forties
Now we see two dapper gentlemen exit a convertible and march into Del Floria’s Tailor’s Shop. Clearly, they’re
up to no good. We’re very suspicious of the way that shady blond is adjusting his sleeves. Perhaps it’s a hit,
as the shop owner has failed to pay his protection monies.
There’s an ordinary tailor shop
Where “honesty is the best policy” according to the sign above the door. Tall(ish), dark(ish), but definitely
handsome pulls a face as he enters. We wonder if this indicates he’s less than honest. Cute and blond’s expression
is stoic. Either that or he’s not awake yet.
Or is it ordinary?
In 1964, it wasn’t exactly ordinary for two men to get into the same change room together, and disappear for a couple
of hours. However, the smile on the tailor’s face as he taps the steam twice indicates this kind of depravity is standard
fare at Del Floria’s.
However, they’re not in the change room to play post office, for there’s a coat-hook that opens a secret door when it’s turned to the left. That door must have heavy duty
hinges as it opens very easily despite being thick enough to protect the inhabitants from a nu-cu-lar attack, as our heavily
armed American friends like to say.
We entered through the agents entrance
Napoleon Solo (yes, we’re already tired of calling them the brunet and the blond, the American and the Russian, the
taller agent and the pocket-sized agent... where were we?) leans over and the receptionist pins his badge on his suit jacket
as he smiles smugly. Illya Kuryakin has his badge desultorily handed to him. Apparently, Napoleon is the better lay in her
There are different colour badges displayed in beautiful black and white. The lighter colours tend to go to agents and other
staff, while the darker ones are sometimes given to visitors.
|Paging number 31 leads to all sorts of wacky mix-ups.
We notice that Napoleon doesn’t actually trust the sliding door to open. He leads with his finger tips looking a tad
nervous. Captain Kirk wasn’t afraid of the occasional face plant against malfunctioning doors! True, he had a toupee
to soften the blow, but still. . .
|Illya keeps telling him that saying "Open Sesame" isn't necessary.
And we are now in U.N.C.L.E. headquarters. That’s the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.
Well, that sounds like a peace-loving organization. And there’s nothing like steel corridors with flashing lights to
reinforce that warm and fuzzy feeling.
The lights along the ceiling are flashing, but there’s no accompanying alarm and everyone’s ignoring them. We
speculate whether every so often the lights go on the blink or if it’s just a signal that Mr. Waverly’s pipe tobacco
has run out again.
We watch as Napoleon and Illya march up the corridor side by side. Heroic! Pretty!
U.N.C.L.E. is an organization consisting of agents of all nationalities.
Specifically, the blond and brunet nationalities.
It’s involved in maintaining political and legal order anywhere in the world.
Because maintaining political and legal order could never mean supporting an unjust system of government. Oh well, so we won’t
get to see "The Apartheid Affair", but at least they’ll never undertake a mission just to keep the value of diamond
engagement rings stable. What, they did it twice in less than four years? Damn.
Moving on, they enter a big office where an older gentleman with a pipe is seated behind a space-age looking panel of lights.
Napoleon hesitates and looks disconcerted. He glances at Illya as if to say, ‘fiddlesticks, it looks like poisoning
his pipe tobacco didn’t work.’ We now have confirmation that our second theory regarding the blinking lights
Illya immediately marches over to the table beside the panel. He draws his gun and affixes what looks like a silencer. Clearly
more overt methods are required to take out the old guy.
Napoleon saunters over to a big machine and flips it on. It resembles a 1960s computer only with a lot more blinky lights,
presumably for inducing epilepsy in enemy agents. Don’t try this at home.
|Napoleon tries once again to surf for porn.
Belatedly noticing the camera crew that’s been following them, Napoleon says:
My name is Napoleon Solo.
He looks somewhat gob-smacked. Clearly he didn’t think that Waverly would use the media to prevent another assassination
I’m an Enforcement agent in Section 2 here.
Hey, Napoleon didn’t say he was in charge of Section 2! Guess the promotion hasn’t come through yet. Presumably
his assassination of whoever is currently number one, section two is still in the works.
Oh wait, that’s how the Klingons move up in rank. Never mind.
That’s Operations and Enforcement.
We’re wondering why Waverly has badge number 1, Illya has number 2, but Napoleon’s number is 11. At first we try
to make it work on some sort of binary system, but that soon breaks down utterly. We then theorize that the numbers were
initially awarded in the order of joining (with Waverly being the founder).
Over the years, as agents are blown up, bludgeoned, incinerated, eviscerated, lapidated, drowned and defenestrated, they recycle
the numbers. Therefore, the previous Agent 2 bought the farm just before Illya was recruited, assigned, defected, or dragooned
We refuse to speculate as to whether Illya was responsible for the previous Number 2's untimely lawnmower accident. Especially
as it was a push mower. We just hope that badge number 99 was retired when Agent Wayne Gretsky left the Canadian branch.
The camera now abandons NS to focus on IK.
I am Illya Kuraykin.
We’re momentarily distracted by the sound of thousands of fangirls screaming.
I’m also an Enforcement agent.
We wonder why neither of them refer to themselves as an Operations agent. While Enforcement definitely sounds more manly,
it’s also a tad secret police-ish.
Meanwhile, Illya caresses his growing larger by the moment. . . gun! People, it’s 1964! Sex hadn’t been invented
yet. Babies were brought by the stork. Our moms told us so.
Like my friend, Napoleon, I go and I do ... whatever I am told to ... by our Chief.
Or whomever I am told to do. Oh no, Waverly’s running a high class rent-boy operation! He tells them they’re
secret agents, but Illya knows the truth. Meanwhile, Napoleon hasn’t caught on and constantly complains about having
to do honey traps every week.
The camera now pans over to Mr.Waverly.
Huh? Oh ... yes.
Waverly suddenly ‘notices’ the camera crew he hired to keep his homicidal enforcement agent rent-boys from assassinating
him. Our admiration for the wily old fox grows.
Alexander Waverly. Number One, Section One.
Awww, he looks so grandfatherly, and there’s a twinkle in his eyes. He must be super nice. Certainly, he would never
put his agents in danger, lie to them, or order them not to be rescued. What? That many times? Er... damn. He is good!
In charge of this, our New York headquarters.
We notice what looks like an alien probe staring at Waverly, over his shoulder. Are the Daleks a part of U.N.C.L.E.? They’d
be very effective as Enforcement Agents, if a bit overenthusiastic.
It’s from here that I send these young men on their various missions.
Unfortunately, we’re now imagining that at least half of these missions involve pasties in strategic places.
Napoleon walks over and joins Illya and Mr. Waverly. Illya continues to make his gun bigger, but Napoleon doesn’t look
|"You know, Illya, it's not size that counts."
Pulse pounding music and the episode begins. We climb into our dancing cages and start doing the watusi with wild abandon
as the show’s title blasts forth from the core of the planet. Not the End.
The Season One Opener Affair, Part Two