I'm quite bored by the Purdey/Steed relationship, to be honest. It seems too much like a retread of the Steed/Tara relationship, with Purdey all admiring of Steed all the time. And it inevitably means that Gambit gets the short end of the stick because it doesn't matter how much he gets clobbered saving everyone's skin, it's Steed who gets the accolades. Plus, the writers went for more Purdey/Steed in season 2, and that really hit the humour factor for the episodes. There just isn't much of a spark between Patrick and Joanna, the way there was between Patrick and Diana, or Honor, or even with Gareth, and between Gareth and Joanna. It actually gets a bit annoying after awhile.
Does Purdey admire Steed? Definitely. Does Steed admire Purdey? I'd say almost certainly. Does Purdey have feelings for Steed? Well, yeah, I think so, but in a sort of "Oh, wow, it's John Steed," goggle-eyed hero-worship sort of way. Some people are quite convinced Purdey starts sleeping with Steed during season 2 (she's hanging around his flat in Medium Rare
, tells him "something" in Angels of Death
, and there's the Dead Men
sequence you mention). It's all up to interpretation, but I think if Purdey did have a thing with Steed it's the sort of thing that would happen and then pass, leaving them just good friends. Does Steed have feelings for Purdey? Well, Steed likes women, and he likes Purdey, but there's something about his reaction in Dead Men
that always makes me think he's not really interested in taking things further with her. Steed's been around the block. He's seen off three other women, one of which, Emma, was really the closest he ever got to finding someone he clicked with. I think he's tired of playing the game with his partners and just wants a friend to be honest. And I think Purdey, because of her failed relationship with Larry, flirts with him somewhat because she knows Steed is safe ground--nothing'll happen because Steed seems reluctant, whereas Gambit's more "let's go!" and she's afraid to take the leap. Plus, Purdey's reaction to Steed's "death" is to say he was a good man, partner, and friend, whereas her reaction to Gambit's seeming demise is to bawl uncontrollably, and then run around screaming about how he's dead and how he was 1000x better than "Terry Walton," then push him into a door in a "don't ever do that to me again" way when she finds out he's alive. That says it all for me.
So I'm not a fan of Steed/Purdey really. Steed's interactions with Gambit are much more interesting.