Thursday, 31 December 2015

Nerdversity Reviews: Joe 90 Series 1, Episode 13 - The Unorthodox Shepherd


The Unorthodox Shepherd aired on December 22nd 1968.

It's Christmas once again. Joe as his family are practicing carols in the church of St, Davids. The vicar is deaf and lets the carol practice run on for far too long. A series of forged United States dollar bills have been traced to an unlikely counterfeiter – the Reverend Joseph Shepherd, vicar of the village church St David's. WIN's suspicions are raised, and Professor McClaine, Sam Loover  and Joe 90  are dispatched to investigate in the days building up to Christmas. Equipped with the brain impulses of a World Bank vice president, Joe confirms that the bills have been printed within the last two weeks, despite the facts that the last official printing in Washington, D.C. was 17 years ago and the plates were subsequently destroyed in a fire. The trio decide to confront the Reverend, who is apparently half-deaf, at his vicarage. There, the suspect amazes the WIN agents by identifying the make of Loover's concealed gun based on nothing more than the click of the safety catch.
The Reverend reveals that his deafness is an act, and that the plates were not destroyed – they have been smuggled into Britain by two criminals, Kline and Mason, who are using them to print $6 million in forged bills. The plates arrived in the coffin of Mason's uncle, Clem Mason (known on the West Coast of the United States as a cunning racketeer, Carlo Masoni) who wished to be buried in the village of his birth. Kline and Mason's hideout is the crypt underneath Clem's tomb. To divert attention from the counterfeiting operation, Mason has installed electronic devices inside the church, causing the bells to ring at unusual hours and the superstitious villagers to believe that the building is haunted. The verger, Thomas, has been kidnapped and will be killed if the Reverend betrays Kline and Mason; desperate for money to save St David's from dry rot, he had no option other than to comply.
Loover conceives a plan to thwart Kline and Mason's scheme by using Mason's fears against him. That night, with the $6 million target fast approaching and the church now empty of gadgets, the criminals are puzzled to hear the bells ring out across the grounds. Searching for trespassers, Mason is horrified when Loover, hiding in the darkness with a megaphone, declares himself the spirit of Carlo Masoni and warns that the Angel of Death will shortly arrive to avenge his "desecrated" memory. Holding Thomas at gunpoint, Kline and Mason emerge from the crypt to confront the "ghost"; under Mac's instruction, Joe, wearing a jet pack underneath white robes, takes flight and moves towards them. While Mason flees, Kline fires repeatedly at Joe until he is knocked over. At the Reverend's request, Police Constable Lewis has stationed himself nearby and is on hand to arrest the counterfeiters.
By a snowbound Christmas Day, the combination of two rewards for assisting in the recovery of the plates - £8,000 from WIN and £2,000 from Interpol – has given the Reverend the funds necessary to restore St David's. The episode closes with the sounds of the carol service congregation singing "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing", the hymn's final lines dubbed over shots of the snow-covered fields surrounding the village.