One of the less involving episodes, `Three Handed Game` is a drawn out story of a brain drain machine that a villain is using to try and obtain three separate messages that only together make sense. The ideas are somewhat preposterous though they come from a pre-digital era so I suppose this was the sort of thing governments did to keep information secret. It would probably work better as a book but for a tv drama it seems bitty and not that interesting when its not being ridiculous. The trouble is the tone which has the cast trying to be serious while doing unlikely things while the three Avengers never seem that worried about anything. What memorable sequences there are come thanks to director Ray Austin who always has an eye for the unusual shot or close quarters combat. A fight on the stage of an empty theatre is the highlight and there are playful scenes with Purdey made up as a clown but even the director can’t avoid the moments when people’s minds are drained from looking silly. What the episode lacks is a better way of explaining what this message is actually about, we never hear it properly and are left wondering could it really be worth all this fuss? Also the triumvirate system is said to have been invented by Steed but surely the government has a whole department for this kind of work.