Monday, January 9, 2012


Susan was unsucessful in teaching her companions
the new dance craze called 'The Norman Bates'....
"You have no means of telling what's out there! There may be no air, it may be freezing, it may be too hot to exist!"
"Yes, or it might be Earth in the 20th Century. Hasn't it occurred to you? My ship is very valuable, remember."

1) This is the kind of episode that could never have been done with many of the Doctor/companion combos that follow--it certainly couldn't have been done with the revived show. The plot relies totally on the tension that has developed between this iteration of the crew, and capitalizes on it in an incredibly effective way.

2) You know what's creepier than Susan? Susan in a snuggie stalking around with a pair of scissors.

(Although to be fair, not even that is as creepy as modern-day Carole Anne Ford, who looks like a demon trying to pretend to be human).

3) This is the first time where we see overt evidence of Hartnell's increasingly faulty memory, as he stumbles over a number of lines, but it works to shore up the strange behavior of the TARDIS crew.

Wow...William Hartnell lying on the ground...he's going
to be doing that a lot....
4) But even with Hartnell stumbling over those lines...that monologue. Good Lord, is that a great performance. Hartnell just plays out the story of what happened magnificently, and we are totally carried away with the increasing excitement and enjoyment of his voice. It's the highlight of this episode and sort of helps give us new insight into the Doctor while giving us a transition into the softer, more genteel Doctor of later stories.

5) Am I the only one who was amused by the fact that William Russell spends the bulk of the show lying on the ground, only pulling himself into a sitting position to utter a half-assed 'No, Doctor, don't' and the like such?

6) I really enjoy how we're still at a point where the production crew is feeling around trying to define the show. On one hand, that creates the moment where Susan alludes to a previous adventure on an alien planet; on the other, we have all this trouble caused by...a faulty spring?

7) And as long as I kept in mind that this two-parter was done on literally no budget, I have no problem with the goofy clock, which I assume had been corroded and not melted.

"I have this persistant urge to sing 'Yankee Doodle
8) I'm not as accepting of the 'costumes' for this episode--those weird snuggies that seem to be made of foam plastic for Barbara and Susan and that goofy bandage for The Doctor that makes him look like he stepped off that painting of the pipers and drummers leading the troops during the American Revolution.

9) I think that the 'well, now we're all cool with each other' coda that eases us into the next story would not have worked if it wasn't for the way the Doctor and Barbara had seemed to gain respect for each other in the previous two stories. It makes what should be a dubious about face on the Doctor's part plausible--and it helps that Jacqueline Wright is able to signify her emotional sea changes subtlety but effectively.

10) Good Lord, that cloak is ginormous on Ian in that last scene. I understand that they were probably cobbling stuff together from pieces still lying around in BBC's Wardrobe Department, but he could hide a couple of midgets inside it and not break the lines.

Overall...all told, a pretty remarkable piece of work given the lack of budget and the last minute nature of David Whitiker's script--a place setter of a story that manages to advance the character arcs and gives Hartnell one truly amazing moment in that monologue.

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