Q – Spy Geek
While perusing the guide on my DVR for something to watch while avoiding the NFL playoffs or whatever game is on tonight, I stopped on BBCA because they’re showing the 1963 James Bond classic From Russia with Love starring my favorite Bond, Sean Connery.
From Russia with Love starts out with the typical Bond film formula. A villainous plot is introduced and Bond is interrupted while vacationing with a beautiful woman to report to headquarters. He’s informed of the nefarious plot, flirts with Miss Moneypenny and visits with Major Boothroyd, better known as Q. This is the first bond film where Q is played by British actor Desmond Llewelyn. Llewelyn played Q until 1999, appearing in a total of 17 Bond films.
Q works for the same agency as Bond, MI6, and is in charge of the Research & Development branch of the agency which is responsible for outfitting agents with the equipment, weapons and gadgets that they need to carry out their missions. Just by the job description, you could assume that people from R&D would be geeks, and Q is no exception. Llewelyn sets a geeky tone for the character in this movie that sticks with the character going forward.
In this film, Q presents Bond with an apparently normal briefcase. He sets about explaining all of the additional features that have been added to the case, including hidden gold coins, a take-apart sniper rifle and ammunition, a hidden knife and a tear gas grenade disguised as a tin of talcum powder. Q is quite excited about the items that he’s presenting to bond, he’s a geek who obviously loves the things he’s created and is obviously much more excited than Bond, who doesn’t seem to be quite as impressed. He gives Q the attitude that he really just want’s to get down to the killing and shagging portion of the mission and couldn’t care less about the toys and you can tell by the look on Q’s face that Bond’s attitude makes him more than a bit angry. And that’s the point where it becomes clear that Q isn’t just an R&D guy, he’s a geek.
In last week’s post Life with a Geek, I mentioned the blank stares that I get from my wife when I launch into a long geek rant, and that’s just how Bond looks at Q during his presentation. Geeks are usually way more interested in their particular geekdom than other folks, and Q is all about the gadgets. Q has put a ton of work into these tools and wants nothing more than for Bond to be impressed with his work, and although Bond actually is impressed, he doesn’t let Q know that he is, probably to maintain the cool guy image.
Bond sets out on his mission, dealing with the Russians by killing the ugly ones and shagging the sexy ones, but as usual, it’s Q’s gadgets that keep his butt out of the fire when he inevitably gets in over his head.