An agent is sending a wire from a cabin as a snowstorm blows outside. A man peers in through the window, comes in, and smashes the transmitter.
Steed is accompanying a lady friend Sara to a club when an old friend, Freddy, comes up and hails him. He hopes that he hasn't embarrassed Steed with his presence, and quickly excuses himself. Steed asks if he's all right, and Freddy insists that he's fine. They talk briefly about Freddy formerly working for the Department, and Freddy asks Steed to put in a word to give him a second chance. He then admits that it's unfair to ask Steed, and says that he doesn't need a ride. Steed tries to offer him some money, but Freddy refuses and walks off.
The next day, Freddy is sleeping in an abandoned factory. Several cars pull up and armed men get out. They go in and search the place, insisting that they saw the man that they're looking for inside. The man in charge, Turner, has them spread out and cover the exits. They figure that their target is in a room and Turner tells them that he wants the target alive. The armed men kick in the door and take out… a lab rat. As one man, Tayman, puts the rat into a cage that Turner is holding, the rat bites Tayman through his protective gloves. Tayman insists that it didn't even draw blood, but Turner tells the others to shoot Tayman dead. Freddy watches the whole thing and listens as Turner says that killing Tayman was the kindest way. The security men wrap Tayman's body in a tarp and take it out, and Freddy watches them go.
A wire operator goes to Steed's manor and tells Steed, Gambit, and Purdey that the line went dead and he hasn't been able to reach Ttt since. The incomplete wire says that a "fat man" is arriving at Heathrow that day to negotiate the purchase of "Midas". The Department has nothing on Midas, and Steed figures that it's important. Gambit points out that there's a flight arriving from Peking, and Steed recalls the legendary King Midas who turned everything that he touched into gold.
Turner tells Mr. Vann that they managed to recapture the rat, and assures Vann that the rat is the forerunner of an illustrious line: the Midas prototype. He explains that he's discovered a way to turn dross into gold.
Freddy watches the vehicles at the factory, briefly takes a bottle of alcohol out of his pocket, then puts it back without drinking.
Turner shows Vann his collection of gold relics and explains that gold is important to him, and says that the secret of Midas will go to the highest bidder and Vann isn't the only potential buyer. Vann implies that the buyer might turn up.
At Heathrow, Steed and Purdey watch the terminal but no "fat man" turns up. Steed figures that the man that they're waiting for, Hong Kong Harry, may lag behind to make any watchers think that he hasn't turned up. Harry walks down the hallway and Steed is surprised that he's put on so much weight. They follow him down the horizontal walkway, and an airport security man, Morgan, comes up the opposite walkway. Morgan shoots Harry in the chest as they pass, and Steed and Purdey go to Harry as the security man runs off. Purdey goes after him while Steed discovers that Harry is "bleeding" gold powder.
Purdey chases the killer outside. He drives off in a car, and Purdey gets into the waiting Gambit's car. They follow the killer out of the airport parking lot.
Freddy approaches the unattended vehicles and finds Turner's discarded cigar. He goes up to the apartment where Turner lives, and overhears Vann saying that Harry hasn't and won't show up. He presents Turner his offer: one third of a collection. Turner agrees and takes Vann to see Midas... and Freddy slips in through the window.
Gambit and Purdey pursue Morgan man through the streets
Turner has Vann put on a hazmat suit and dons one himself. Meanwhile, Freddy goes into the next room and finds cages containing rats. He goes through the papers and finds a file, and sees Turner and Vann approaching.
Morgan parks and climbs over a gate, and Gambit and Purdey park and continue on foot into the factory grounds. They split up and Gambit follows Morgan into an empty building. Purdey arrives on the second floor and shouts a warning to Gambit, who rolls aside as Morgan shoots at him. He misses, and Freddy hears the shot. Meanwhile, Morgan hides and draws a bead on Gambit, and Purdey spots him and kicks the gun out of his hand. When he attacks her, Purdey kicks him over a railing to his death below. She says that it was a difficult choice--Morgan or Gambit--and an irritated Gambit walks off.
Steed takes Harry to his manor and relieves him of the gold bags hidden beneath his jacket. Harry insists that he's just a courier and doesn't know anything about Midas.
Once Vann inspects Midas, he and Turner return to the lab. Vann isn't convinced that Midas does what Turner claims, and wants concrete evidence. They go back to Turner's office the lab and Freddy emerges from a closet where he's hiding and listens. Turner gives Vann an invitation to his "demonstration" of Midas.
When Purdey and Gambit return to Steed's home, Gambit shows Steed an invitation to a costume party that he found on Morgan's body
At the party, the masked guests drink and dance. A man dressed as the Red Death enters and dips his ungloved fingers into the punch bowl. Satisfied, he leaves and the guests continue drinking the punch. Outside, Turner and Vann wait and Turner says that two minutes should be enough. They put on their hazmat suits and go inside, and find all of the guests dead. Vann is satisfied with the demonstration and they leave. Turner says that Midas will leave a timed device to destroy the evidence, and Midas comes out still dressed as the Red Death. The three of them drive away.
Gambit pulls up to the house, goes inside, and sees the corpses. He avoids touching any of the bodies and discovers that they're covered in boils and lesions. The incineration device goes off and Gambit puts it out.
Back at Turner's office, Turner says that it's merely an advance in medical. Midas removes his mask, revealing the face of a handsome young man. Vann touches Midas' face with his gloved left hand, and Midas says that he trusts the professor. The doctor says that Midas was doomed when he first encountered him but now he will have unlimited wealth, tosses Vann's glove in a contaminated waste bin, and goes with Vann to discuss Turner's payment.
A Chinese agent, Sing, comes to Steed's home and thanks him for looking after their Harry. She asks for the gold, and Steed hands it over as Purdey looks on. Once Sing and Harry leave, Freddy calls and says that Steed will have to put a good word in for him after all. Freddy mentions "the Midas touch" and a face he saw at Pilton Down, and tells Steed to meet him at the old place. Once he hangs up, Freddy turns and finds Midas staring at him. Freddy punches him twice and runs out. Turner and Vann come in and Midas says that they had an intruder. He tells Turner that Freddy touched him with his bare fist.
As Steed and Purdey drive to the rendezvous, Steed explains that Freddy's nerve and he tried to get it with booze, and broke down as a result. A clearly ill Freddy arrives at a gravel pit and as he waits, notices lesions on his hands and chest. Steed and Purdey pull up and spot Freddy on the hillside. Freddy gets in his car and drives off the hill rather than risk passing his infection on.
Gambit calls in the Department team and assures the doctor in charge that he didn't touch any of the victims. The doctor tells him that the victims died of every disease that he knows of.
Turner tells Midas that he's sold his services to Vann so they have to practice what Vann wants of Midas. Midas begins practicing kissing the hand of one of the guards, wearing a dress over anti-contamination gear.
At a museum, Vann--a foreign minister--meets with a British general and describes how they will keep the Princess--the last of the line--secure. The general assures him that they've rigged metal detectors to detect any weapon. Vann jokingly says that the anti-monarchists would be torn apart if they tried to kill the Princess, and their greatest enemy is the common cold. Only if she died a natural death would an anti-monarchist group stand any chance at all.
Gambit meets with Steed and tells him how the party-goers died. Steed figures that Freddy was contaminated the same way and killed himself rather than infect Steed and Purdey. They conducted germ warfare at Pilton Down.
Purdey goes to an army base and questions a lieutenant, a former security officer, about the staff at Pilton Down. He leads the soldiers through an obstacle course and Purdey easily follows him. The lieutenant says that there were eccentrics there, and goes up a rope ladder only to find Purdey at the top. He finally mentions Turner and his obsession with gold. Satisfied, Purdey drives off, finds a phone, and calls to tell Steed that Turner is their man. There's been no trace of Turner since he left Pilton Down, and directs Steed's attention to an advertisement in the newspaper. Once she hangs up, Steed and Gambit check the newspaper.
Purdey is at the museum, and overhears Vann. He sees Turner and approaches him, and Turner explains that he had to see the collection that Vann is paying him with. Purdey is watching, and a man comes up to her and puts a gun in his back, and then calls Turner over.
Steed and Gambit arrive at the museum and find Purdey's car parked outside. They go in and confirm that Purdey isn't there.
Turner and Vann take Purdey to his office. He dismisses Purdey's beauty next to that of gold, and tells Vann that they won't shoot Purdey because they'll be gone in a few hours. Midas comes in and admires Purdey's looks, and says that Turner promised him that one day he would have a woman. Turner tells Vann that they'll give Purdey to Midas after he's done with his work, and that will kill her.
Gambit breaks into Sing's office and demands to see Harry. He reminds her that she owes him a favor, and wants to know where Turner is. Gambit explains that Turner has Purdey and there's no time to make a request through proper channels. Her guard Choy comes in, and Sing advises Gambit to leave before he's hurt. Gambit easily knocks out Choy and repeats his request to Sing, and explains that Midas is a "Typhoid Mary", a walking germ warfare missile immune to the diseases that he carries. He then asks if Sing is going to help them find Purdey.
Turner ties Purdey to a chair, and after he leaves Purdey looks into the next room where Midas is practicing his hand-kissing.
Following Sing's directions, Gambit and Steed drive to the factory and split up to look for Purdey.
Turner tells a guard to keep an eye on Purdey but not to touch her, and then leaves with Vann and Midas. The guard goes into Turner's office and says that he can look but not touch. Meanwhile, Gambit sees Turner and the others depart and then goes to the office window. She spots Gambit coming in and distracts the guard, flirting with him. Gambit jumps the guard and his gun goes off, and Steed comes to investigate as Gambit knocks out the guard and unties Purdey. Purdey describes the hand-kissing and Steed realizes that they were rehearsing for a meeting with the Princess.
At the museum, Vann describes the protocol to the curator. He assures the curator that rumors of an anti-monarch group are just rumors.
The agents speed through traffic to get to the museum, Gambit cheerfully describing all of the racetracks where he crashed.
The Princess arrives at the museum and Vann takes her to see their honored guests. Each one kisses her hand. Turner has Midas step out of a sarcophagus where he's hiding and join the reception line. The agents crash through the front doors and run inside, and yell at Midas to stop as he prepares to kiss the Princess' hand. Steed tackles the Princess, and Gambit knocks out Vann as he goes for a gun. Purdey kicks Midas, knocking him back into Turner and touching his face.
Purdey kicks Midas back and Gambit opens the sarcophagus, then closes it securing Midas inside. Turner dies of disease, and Steed suggests that the Princess present them with three rewards.
Written by Gadfly on Jan 14, 2019