Now more than ever, we need your support! Become a Supporting Subscriber today.
THE TOMORROW PEOPLE-Secret Weapon
Evergreen Boswell swings a younger boy on a swing attached to a tree by rope. Two other boys watch, one quite older and with longer hair. Professor Cawston pulls up in a car and gets out. In the background is a trailer camp with one trailer and a few trucks and smoke coming out, laundry hanging on a rope and two dogs attached to the back of the trailer. Cawston inquires about her brother Tyso and with the other three boys, Evergreen runs off, yelling back to him, “He’s dying.”
We hear a subdued and quite nice new arrangement of the theme song…which had different emphasis on different parts than usual…and it has Tyso’s face in the oval shapes…so he’s going to be one of the Tp…
1-Lost and Found
Cawston retrieves his bag from his car and goes into the trailer, telling Tyso’s mum that he is a medical doctor. Tyso is shirtless in bed and tossing, on his back, hearing voices in his head. (On commentary Nick Young says this is the Roger Price version of WHEN HARRY MET SALLY; PVC tells Nick later when they joke about Dean’s delivery as Tyso that Dean is a big boy now and they better be careful). It is Liz, John, and Stephen’s voice calling to him over and over things like “Concentrate, Break out, where are you, we’re here to help, link your mind to my mind.” Tyso’s mum calls herself a gypsy woman and that her children are not like georgio brats or breds and they won’t talk out of turn. She blames the Professor for working him every day at university and filling his head with thoughts that he is special. When Cawston turns Tyso over onto his stomach, he sees wounds from a beating. Tyso’s mum tells Cawston it is his fault that Tyso was cheeky to his father and answered him back so he got what he deserved, they punish their children not like the bratty georgio breds or brats. Cawston gives Tyso a needle in his butt. This calms him down
In the Lab, the trio of TP lose Tyso’s signal. Stephen believes the boy is ready to break out but that John says he lapsed back into being normal. TIM claims with no strong telepathic trace, they cannot find out where Tyso is. The telepathy was too jumbled and too weak. Liz got a mental picture of being in a cabin of some kind and maybe a ship or a boat. She saw through Tyso’s eyes. John tells them it doesn’t matter, they will wait until he starts to break out again and then they will go to him fast. TIM thinks it is cause to celebrate a new Tomorrow Person and so he makes three glasses of something appear on the table. They drink it and toast to the New TP. Stephen realizes he saw through the boy’s eyes as well and there was a face there, one that he recognized as familiar. He can’t remember it clearly though.
Later or a new day? as Tyso in a blue long sleeve shirt comes to Cawston’s lab (a new one not the one in A RIFT IN TIME it seems) and is energetic. He tells Cawston that he’s had rows and beatings from his father before but that one just set him off. Cawston reminds Tyso that he was here with his school and tested all the kids but that Tyso’s was the only one among them that had special brain wave patterns. It was unique or almost unique as Stephen had the same wedge shaped pattern in the brain as Tyso has. Cawston tells him that he still tests thousands of school kids. Cawston believes anyone with the wedge shape pattern in the brain has special powers and abilities. Tyso gets excited and asks like Superman or the bloke on tv show can bend forks (Uri Geller). Cawston tells him like Stephen, who came to him about year ago. He shows Tyso a film of Stephen with edited bits from A RIFT IN TIME and tells Tyso he can’t use Stephen in tests because Stephen disappeared, vanished into thin air right before his eyes.
Stephen recalls the face some more in the Lab. Liz gives him coffee. She has the first two periods free and then she has to get back but she will try to help him remember. Stephen says it is a man in his 30s and clean shaven.
NOTES: on commentary PVC says he never auditioned, Nick makes mention of how colorful TIM’s balls are and that in this ep or story the voice of TIM, quality wise was not loud enough; Nick mentions the new jaunting belts---that they thought the show wasn’t coming back so they got rid of the ones with the big button on them and had to replace them with these checker board effect jaunting belts, which he says are cheaper but to me they look visually better. The Lab’s back projection screens---now there seems to be only one and before there might have been two---the images are not moving but still designs. Everyone feels the direction was tighter and Nick jokes about PVC liking it tighter. Nick thinks their roll back and mix stunt doing the jaunting is much better and people around them can move about while they are vanishing. Nick also mentions that Roger is fond of putting young boys in cages. Rehearsals were in Hampton Wick which is now a nursery school, Anne Curthoys, who played Tricia is on the commentary, Liz is not. Stan Woodward the director is now passed on. Nick jokes about Cawston wanting Tyso to wear leather. Anne tells us she was friends with Trevor Bannister and is ex wife and that is how she got the part. Trevor plays Colonel Masters.
Tyso gets into a cage to do the test Cawston wants to do. When Cawston does the same computer picking number test on Tyso, Tyso makes the dice roll the numbers asked including 5 and 4. He is successful five times in a row. Tyso thinks it is his gypsy magic but Cawston laughingly says no, he is like Stephen and that maybe Tyso will win him the Nobel prize.
In the Lab, in a bed, Stephen recalls the name: “Professor Cawston!” He gets up and tells Liz who remembers the parapsychologist. TIM looks for the coordinates of Cawston so Stephen can go see him.
On the phone in his lab, Cawston talks to the Vice Chancellor of the school. They talk about the meeting of the finance committee next week or something. Cawston tells the Vice to bring along a certain Colonel Masters noting that the American military puts a lot of money into developing ESP research. When he gets off the phone, Stephen appears in the room in a lite cream colored jacket with wool lining. When Cawston is amazed and turns on a recorder, Stephen turns it off, preferring if their conversation were not recorded. Cawston asks if Stephen will help him and tells him about the meeting of members of the finance committee and the Vice Chancellor. He also tells him about someone from the Ministry of Defense. Stephen inadvertently mentions “us” and this leads Cawston to question about him about there being more of him. Stephen tells him, reluctantly, that there are two friends who are in London. Stephen asks if he’s been on a boat recently but Cawston tells him he’s not a good sailor. Stephen asks if Cawston will help him with a person who is becoming one of them. Cawston says he might but he might not since they are not willing to help him with his research. They would only convince the person who is breaking out into not cooperating with Cawston. Stephen says it is very important if he comes across anyone like him and gives him a telephone number…one that doesn’t exist as far as the phone company is concerned and which is untraceable. The conversation is both friendly and tense, with neither side knowing what the other is truly thinking. At times, Stephen won’t look directly at Cawston and sometimes they talk with the cage in between them. When Stephen leaves, Cawston ponders, “I wonder if Tyso is one of them.”
Stephen returns to the Lab where Liz and John are. Stephen tells John that Cawston wasn’t really that helpful and Stephen didn’t expect him to be. Stephen didn’t want to say too much to him, he tells the other two. “He doesn’t know about us yet.” John asks, “Yet?” John ignores this and says that the next time this kid starts to break out, they will go him fast.
Next week? Colonel Masters and his young 20something pretty girl assistant Miss Tricia Conway arrive at the demonstration. Also present is the Vice Chancellor, two other men, and one lady. Masters has read Cawston’s work, and is interested in his papers about his belief that the next stage of human evolution is already living among us. They start the test on the long haired and blond Tyso, who goes into the cage to have the test done on him. The computer is not used this time. Instead, Col Masters picks the numbers at random and one time, he even asks Tricia to give the numbers. Tyso makes the dice roll on 3 and 4 twice, then 5 and 4, then 4 and 2. Masters thinks it is most impressive and suggests, jokingly, that Cawston bring Tyso to Monte Carlo and then he’d no longer have worries about research grants.
In the Lab, TIM relays a message from Prof. Cawston: he wants to see Stephen. We see an odd angle from below. Stephen gets up, “Right, I’m off.” TIM and John stop him: it could be a trap. John tells them that Stephen has to go since he is the only TP that Cawston knows about. Stephen says that that is not necessarily the case and that he knows there are two more of them. Stephen sinks down in between John and Liz. On commentary, Nick Young asks, “Are you trying to appease me?”
As Cawston sits, holding the dice, thinking, Liz comes in and acts like a Jamaican clean-phone lady using an accent that at times, turns Welsh-ish. She tells him she comes once a month to clean the phones. “Every phone is a haven for countless germs.” He initially turns her down but then lets her. She tells him she will put the phone back after cleaning it without getting her messy fingerprints on it. She makes the phone handle float in the air and then lower down. She starts to leave but Cawston asks her to do that again. She asks what and he tells her. She does it again, “Can’t every one do that, sir?” He tells her she knows darn well they can’t. Liz says, “My friend Stephen can, sir.” He smiles that she is one of them, one of Stephen’s friends from London. At first, he thought he made the ESP discovery of the century. Liz apologizes for doing it this way, they had to make sure this wasn’t a trap. Cawston is curious, naively not understanding about a trap. He just wants to know what they’ve done with young Tyso Boswell. He’s disappeared.
John, Liz, and Stephen (with wild, wind blown hair) appear on a hill over the caravan trailer. John instructs Stephen to wait until he and Liz go the trailer and then jaunt back to the Lab and wait there. Before he leaves, John pats him on the shoulder or back. John and Liz go to the trailer. In what’ s strange and effective use of the theme music, the first few strands are played over and over and over and it really works well. Tyso’s mum opens the door and at first, denies being Tyso’s mum, or that she even knows Tyso. She grabs what seems to be a ten pound note and John tempts her with another but first she has to answer some questions. She finally admits them into the trailer and that she is Tyso’s mum but only after John threatens to call the police. Outside a couple overhears some of this conversation. A part of the gypsy band or family? An aunt and uncle? She tells the pair of John and Liz to go or she will put a gypsy curse on them. John tells her that he and Liz have magic too and to prove it, they jaunt exchanging places (on commentary, Nick Young says he’s just changed sex!). John also points at and stares at her tea pot and makes it rise in the air. It is sort of obvious that Nick Young is looking at the wrong place, perhaps the monitor or prompter? It still works though. Ms. Boswell breaks down, realizing that they are what she called Chauvakhans. Liz tells her that Tyso is like them, one of them and that they need to teach him the old knowledge. Ms. Boswell cries realizing that Tyso is a Chauvakhan and that his father beat him so. She tells Liz and John that as gypsies they should love all their children but Tyso’s father has always hated Tyso. She tells them that Tyso’s father sold Tyso to a certain Colonel Masters.
In the Lab, after the other two have told Stephen he says, “That’s crazy. You can’t sell people in this day and age, not in England.” John pouts that from what he saw Tyso couldn’t be worse off. Liz takes offense at that and says a gypsy may not want to live in a stinkin’ old underground railroad rail way either. TIM takes offense at that, “Do you mind, Elisabeth, I keep the Lab spotless?” Liz acknowledges this.
Cawston, in his office/lab, feeds a gerbil/hamster. Masters and Conway arrive and Masters thanks him for seeing them on such short notice. Conway says almost nothing but keeps staring at Cawston, unknown to him, reading his mind. Masters wants Cawston to come work for him. He will start in a month’s time.
In the Lab, John reads the Army List where several Col Masters are listed. Liz thinks they should go see Cawston and the others agree. Cawston sees Liz and Stephen appear but Stephen nods to John, who is behind Cawston. Cawston meets John. Cawston tells them that Masters offered him a job. They tell him that they know Masters has Tyso. Cawston figures that makes sense.
In the Weapons Research Unit’s bunker like room which has television security cameras (CCTVs), Masters and Conway enter. He asks her if she could read Cawston’s mind. She tells him yes and that there are other telepaths and that the Professor is holding out on them. She sees in her mind Liz and Stephen and that they can vanish. “They’re young. Colonel, they can disappear and reappear in another place.” Masters calls them teleporters who would be worth having as if they are material commodities although he doesn’t use those words. They have a drink.
Masters, Cawston tells the TP, works for the Office of the Ministry of Defense telepath Research Project. When one of the TP uses the word Sap, Cawston asks what that means and Liz explains. It is a bit insulting, really, she says, homo sapiens. He asks if they see themselves as Homo Superior. John doesn’t know about superior but he says “we are undoubtedly the next stage of human evolution.” Cawston reveals that in a months time he will start and then they see what has happened to Tyso, sure that Masters needs Tyso safe and sound and that he will look after Tyso and take good care of him. John tells Cawston that Cawston himself described the final stages of a break out and that Tyso only has two or three days. Cawston insists that Masters will look after the boy and then they can get to him in a month’s time. John says, “I don’t think you understand Professor. If we don’t get to Tyso in two or three days, he will die.”
REVIEW: What can I say? SECRET WEAPON is arguably the best TP story ever. While it certainly is not representative of the series as a whole, it does bring up issues that were discussed briefly in the past and touched upon in the future and several stories later on rise to the level of this but never quite reach it totally, THE DIRTIEST BUSINESS comes to mind. More of this would have been warranted but instead we got A MAN FOR EMILY. Certainly there was plenty of room for sequels and in a small way DIRTIEST BUSINESS might be one. Later on in this story there is a subplot about a Russian device smuggled out that could control human thoughts and control actions, monitoring the person the device is inside. TIM indicates there were more in Russia. The guest actors here ALL do a great job except maybe Tyso’s mum but she’s not terrible, certainly there were worse performances on the show. Trevor Bannister the jokester of ARE YOU BEING SERVED who is so funny there is here, a sinister, cold hearted and mean conniving man who doesn’t give a fig for children, teens, or anyone except possibly Miss Conway. Anne as Tricia is just the right mix of spy and telepath, strangeness and beauty, serving country. Cawston returns and he’s just great in this and for this ep, no one really seems to know if he will betray the TP or not but honestly Stephen’s original A RIFT IN TIME summation of Cawston, “Oh, but he seems such a nice man,” holds true here. Yet was he being nice as an act? I really didn’t know at first. I wasn’t sure if he would betray the TP. The story is almost perfect. If one can bring any criticism against it, it’s later on and only that two of the TP are out of action for most of the story and the story starts to get taken over by the guest actors and characters. There is also a lot of talk but what tension filled talk it is. More of that stuff later. This ep, the set up, is just well done; more mythos of breaking out, moving between Tp and normal; seeing through his eyes, etc. It STILL does not quite make sense that he hears the TP (in a later episode) when they are not calling to him (in THIS ep they are calling to him) and that their calling to him (in this ep) seems to make things worse for his head. This is later addressed in ONE LAW.