Note: I’m abandoning the Roman numerals way of IDing these entries … because I can!
After Steele leaves Laura and Bernice dazzled, and Murphy disgusted, we see him walking down a dimly lit corridor.
Mysteries abound here: Why are Pearson’s trousers suddenly so snug in the crotch area? What is he doing with his hand in his pocket? Could the two phenomena be related? And most inexplicable of all … who picked out those hideous drapes!
Ah, one mystery solved: He’s digging in his trousers for his room key. He enters …
… then beats a hasty retreat, just ahead of an unfriendly welcoming committee!
Who’s behind that door? Could it be …
Nah. It’s just Switchblade and Mustache. Pearson pushes open the door, sending Switchblade flying across the room. Flush with his triumph, Pearson does a little jig!
Wait a second … do they do the jig in South Africa? Suddenly I’m not so sure Agent Pearson is legit! Oh – turns out Pearson wasn’t actually doing a jig … just making a dash to jump on Switchblade. Sadly, he fails to notice Mustache lurking. Mustache announces himself with a punch to Pearson’s kidney:
Both Pearson and Switchblade seem disconcerted! Mustache shows no emotion. He’s one cool customer!
Is Pearson staying at a Super 8? South Africa’s economy must be in dire straits if they have to make their top agents stay in dumps like this. Well, as soon as Agent Pearson returns the jewels to the government, I’m sure all will be well! (And by the way … would somebody please turn on the lights?)
Mustache reveals that he’s no cheap thug; he straightens his tie before demanding, “Who are you?”
In response, Pearson straightens his own tie (these guys are so genteel!) …
… before declaring himself to be “just a happy-go-lucky tourist.” Wait! I thought you were an agent of the South African government!
Switchblade points out that Agent Pearson is in possession of “five different passports in five different names.”
Oh, Agent Pearson! I wanted to believe!
“Pearson” (yes, he gets quotation marks now, because frankly I’m beginning to suspect he isn’t really an agent), is still fiddling with his tie. Well, he may be an imposter, but at least he’s fastidious in his dress! He responds to Switchblade with a wry one liner: “Trying for a good picture.”
But Mustache ain’t buying it.
“Those gems belong to us!” he growls. When “Pearson” protests that they belong to the South African government, Mustache explains that the courier who originally smuggled them out of the country worked for them. At this shocking news, what can “Pearson” do except …
… continue to fiddle with his tie. “Pearson” notes that the courier subsequently “got greedy and tried to sell them on his own” (thanks for the exposition, “Pearson”!), and Mustache notes, ominously, that the courier has been “properly chastised for his indiscretion.” My! It becomes clear that these fellows are not boorish thugs. They use words like “chastised” and “indiscretion.” Almost as high falutin’ as “wont”!
“Pearson” asks if he can get up, or if Mustache prefers him in the “groveling position.” Good heavens! Astonishingly, we discover that “Pearson” apparently is a superhero, possessed of lightning speed! In the space of less than a second his tie goes from flopped over his shoulder to neatly in place!
I know if I were in this position, and had the super power of lightning speed, fixing my tie would be the FIRST thing I’d do!
Anyway, Mustache further demonstrates his good manners by helping his victim to his feet.
It seems they are all good friends after all! Perhaps
“Pearson” er … Lightning Man … er … NotPearson will invite them to a warm beverage from the lovely silver tea service on the table behind him. Gee, I didn’t even get one of those little bottles of free shampoo the last time I stayed at Super 8.
Mustache continues to fill in the details for NotPearson, perhaps fearing the bogus agent suffered a head injury when he knocked him down. He tells the potential amnesiac that he and Switchblade have been chasing the Royal Lavulite all over Europe, but that NotPearson shows up every place they do.
“Perhaps we have the same travel agent,” the phony agent says, with Bond-like insouciance. Good try, NotPearson, but James Bond is a better dresser. Still, keep dreaming! Perhaps someday …
Then Switchblade reveals he is not quite as well bred as his partner when he suggests they “kill ‘im and get sumfing to eat.” Not sure how to place Switchblade’s accent. Australian? That might explain the knife. But Switchblade, that’s not a knife …
THIS is a knife!
NotPearson suggests that, though the trio have been at cross purposes up to now, perhaps they could work together!
He even tries on a bad-guy pout to impress Mustache with his sincerity. But it looks like Switchblade ain’t buyin’ it.
And neither is Mustache! Still, instead of killing him, the baddies abruptly leave. They still seem a little angry, but look!
Switchblade’s puny knife has suddenly sprung erect again! (I think that means he really likes notPearson a lot!)
I’ll leave it here with a few questions. We now know that “Pearson” isn’t who he seems. But it’s still not clear if he’s working for the South African government in some capacity. If NotPearson is aware that these two baddies are in cahoots, shouldn’t he have anticipated when he went after Switchblade that Mustache must be somewhere close by? How do you read NotPearson’s reaction here – is he really as cool as a cucumber, or scared spitless? And why is NotPearson staying in this dive?
I look forward to your thoughts on this scene!