The Tripods Season 2 Episodes 11 & 12

Beanpole’s back! Turns out he’s spent his time playing chess and knitting an enormous patchwork coat. Will is back from the city with handwritten plans that have somehow remained totally dry despite his immersion in water. After another bread stealing plan goes awry (you do start to feel some sympathy for bakers in the future) the duo head for the Freemen’s headquarters but end up  in a circus. 
It’s run by despotic Abel Pasha who is portrayed with theatrical relish by Bruce Purchase and manages to keep a dozen ragamuffin orphans under his thumb with a whip and a snarl. Yet it provides a sanctuary for Will and Beanpole as they are able to apply some pan stick and loon about in a manner so haphazard I’d be asking for my money back if I went to this particular show.  It is a bit of a rubbish circus which the surprisingly large audience seem to enjoy nonetheless.
Despite being the only person who knows how to potentially defeat the Tripods, Will places himself in danger by volunteering to have knives thrown at him. If he’s expecting Beanpole to step up and offer to take his place he’s disappointed. They end up leading the kids out of the circus and into a thrillingly staged sequence where Tripods unleash a salvo in the night-time woods. This is so effective with explosions and lights galore that it provides a great climax and might be a better cliff-hanger Instead there is the downbeat resolution of discovering the Freemen’s camp has been destroyed.
And that is the end of The Tripods. A third series was planned but was unable to secure enough finance to be made so we never discover how things turn out, unless of course you read the books. It is within those novels that any major weaknesses in the story are apparent, as are its many derivations.
There is a clear divide between the two seasons with the first being rather repetitive and somewhat trivial. The second however is far more exciting and extremely well staged so that by the end a sense of what this future world is like comes across clearly. Given the confidence of the production team a third season could have been a classic.

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