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The Two Doctors


Chase - Posted on 26 July 2009

1

It's hard to hate this story more than I hated it in the past. That said, the first part, while somewhat confounding, somewhat boring, isn't as inept as one might think. Yes, the Androgums are introduced in a boring way, yes, the Sontarans are mentioned and then mystery is to be had when we see one of their hands, yes, they are taller and less menacing than they used to be and are being bossed around by a skinny Servalan and a disgusting, ugly Androgum with warts and a fat stomach...and yes, the story starts out in black and white to "evoke" a sense of the Patrick Troughton era. If they wanted to do that, then why did they have him working for the Time Lords? If they wanted to do that, then why have him able to steer the TARDIS? If they wanted to do that, why take out almost all the humor from him? And why does Jamie wield a knife like a school girl? 

Add to that a distinctly WRONG feel to the story and to the DoctorS in general: they both seem to say that the Androgums don't matter! That they are just the waste they were always thought of being. Then the Second Doc makes fun of Jamie's slang and not in a jovial way but in a mean manner. It's right that a Space Station under attack should feature as the second Doc had plenty of those in his time. Uhm, Victoria is studying graphology is she?

Then there's the traps trap again: none of them seem very urgently dangerous although moreso than in VENGEANCE ON VAROS. And despite what fans think and what TIMELASH might tell you, Peri and the Doctor don't spend a lot of time fighting. In fact, they are often congradulating  one another and Peri drums up alot of the Doc's methods for getting out of things and gives him ideas almost without knowing she's doing it. ANd he often gives her the credit, worries about her, and soothes her. He even, against JNT's wishes, touches her gently. Yeah, TIMELASH makes them fight a lot and it's annoying but more on that later.

Oh and this story is just mean. I mean an old blind woman is hit down, killed and her brain matter used by Chessene. Does that mean she ate it? YUCK. The sets are okay and the effects are okay as well.

As mentioned, the Sontarans are ALL wrong, too tall, too wimpy, too second fiddle...

It has been suggested that Robert Holmes was once again subverting the DW format, even ridiculing it or mocking it but I don't know. I seriously doubt that this (and his later stuff for TRIAL) is his at all. I wonder how much was rewritten by Saward and others. That said, the execution for Part One is not as bad as I remember but I don't understand why Jamie is stalking the Doc and Peri in a cloak in Mutos from GENESIS OF THE DALEKS fashion. Ahh, yes remember GENESIS and ARK IN SPACE and HORROR OF FANG ROCK and TALONS OF WENG CHAING and the INVASION and MARCO POLO and...HORNS OF NIMON and CITY OF DEATH? What is wrong with that? The show, while not off the rails yet as much as I thought it was...and maybe with part two and three it will be....is not what it once was. There's a feeling that things are just thrown at us.

The Doc is sent by the Time Lords. Dastari is making time travel experiments. I guess people still do care about this show, the ones making it I mean but somehow it just doesn't feel like it used to. More on this later. The themes here are mean spirited, gross and almost racist. Perhaps that's why I wasn't a big fan of the first part and I know I'm not of the last part.        

2

Wow, sometimes a reeval can surprise. Certainly that is the case here. Oscar and his gal are not as annoying at a I recall. Despite what other reviews say, the location work here reallyl works well and does the story justice, the sets, the buildings, the grounds, all give this story a freshness that had it not been filmed in Spain, would not have been present. The Second Doctor does what he does and he is actually funny in this ep. Shockeye is a GREAT villain and despite me being disgusted by the rat scene (did they really need that?) he makes the story, at least in this part. Chessene and Dastari are well developed AND this cliffhanger is one of the best, if not THE BEST of the entire Colin era, probably thanks to Holmes. That said, I sort of grow tired of his double act stuff but it's not too evident here.

The bad stuff: the Sontarans are crap here. They're too tall, the masks stink and dn't seem very mobile and the aliens are not scripted with any menace or power...mostly due to the plot. Despite what others wrote or write or say, there is a plot...it's just that the script and the pacing are slow slow slow slow. Things that could take five min to happen take about 20 or 30. The Doc's sleep method and his "BING BOING" stuff is tedious. Jamie: he's kind of okay in this but not really thrilling. I do like his interaction with Peri, the 6th Dcotor and Oscar. And his not being kissed by the Spanish girl...gosh, she preferred the 6th Doc over Jamie? Is she nuts?

Peri's bluff, of course, put her in danger so that's sort of stupid but it made for that aforementioned cliffhanger. The Doc's bragging sort of gets on one's nerves but it's been worse and the "zebra can't change it's stripes" is proving all too true with Chessene. Not sure about the theme and tone of the story still but...this was not as bad as  I remember. Now about that last episode...we shall see.     

3

Well quite frankly I was dreading this and while I still don't think it's a good showcase for Patrick Troughton, it's not as bad as I thought when I first watched this. Perhaps because I watched it during one of those PBS pledge drives which made it like four hours. Anyway there's a GREAT deal of tastelessness going on here: The Sontaran's blown off leg, Chessene licking the Doctor's blood off the stone cobble after smearing it, the death of Oscar...

Still in these days of tasteless movies such as HOSTEL and THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY where we see it all, this is tame by comparision. The chase around Seville was not bad and the death of Oscar, while hard to watch, was not as awful as I remember. I'm also glad the Doc kills Shockeye and with Oscar's own moth killing stuff. I also don't think Shockeye/Second Doctor banter is at all funny or fun or even interesting to watch. And all the villains seem to turn on each other...a bit. So nothng new there but still, not the mess I once thought this was. That would be next...    

 

by the way, Jamie's last outfit looks awful with that great big red thing he has to haul over his shoulder; by contrast, Colin looks rather good in just this new waist coat without that huge jacket...he almost looks skinny...and rather dashing here.   

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