Thursday, February 24, 2022

Revisiting The Wild Wild West: The Night of the Cossacks

"The Night of the Cossacks"
Written by  Oliver Crawford
Directed by Mike Moder
Synopsis: West and Gordon must protect the royal family of Karovnia who have traveled to the U.S., fleeing an assassination attempt in their homeland. They are pursued by Count Balkovitch who seeks an icon he needs to possess in order to usurp the throne.

Trey: It seems to me episodes with Russian/Eastern European visitors often have decent action, but are otherwise lackluster. I feel like this one fits that pattern.

Jim: Lackluster? I think that's a harsher criticism than this episode deserves! I actually found the character drama, political intrigue and use of Eastern Slavic culture in this episode a welcome change of pace. It gave the story a bit more depth than the average would-be tyrant storyline.

Trey: Slavic culture or Slavic caricature?

Jim: Well... Anyway, I did find amusing  how West has to really play diplomat here. He's got to tactfully correct his visitors who lack cultural fluency with American customs and are perhaps a bit rustic without insulting them. It strikes me as one of those quaint examples of the paternalistic notion of America during this era as the more experienced, older brother on the world stage that was so dominant in television at this time.  

Trey: It's a quaint notion at the best of times, but it's downright anachronistic here! It's the 60s seeping through. 

There are a couple of guest stars of note, here. Aliza Gur plays Maria. She was Miss Israel 1960, and perhaps best known for her role in From Russia With Love. The Prince is played by Guy Stockwell, younger brother to Dean.

Jim: When you say that, I can see the resemblance, but I would have never got there on my own.

Trey: That's what I'm here for! Well, one of the things.

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