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BATTLEFIELD, the review


Chase - Posted on 13 August 2009

1

I've had a lot of reevaluating of this story. I hated it when we first watched it at Gallifrean Embassy meeting when it first came out or was first broadcast in the year 1989 or 1990. In any event I told only one other person how much I hated it. I hated it for years. Then in the late 1990s I watched the video version with restored cut footage and I thought, that it was not that bad, it was okay with some poor parts and some good parts.

Ep1 is not bad. It's nice to see the Brig again and not at that silly school, that was NEVER right for his character to begin with and that should have been Ian Chesterson. Anyway it was nice to finally see Doris who was mentioned in PLANET OF THE SPIDERS and the actress is pretty good. It was nice to see UNIT, too. It was NOT nice to get Bambera. I know she has a large fan following but I thought she was all wrong, slouching against a jeep; snapping orders, and saying shame instead of Sh$% or damn. The actress was poor, too, sorry, she just was. She was not believable as a Brig or even a soldier. Another reason this ep is poor at times is Ace. What the hell? Did someone not get the brief that she wasn't an idiot any longer? Was this script written a year or two ago? It seem to have the hostile Ace from DRAGONFIRE and the unlikable Ace. Her talk of bombing up someones' art projects makes her very unlikable. I don't like her in this at all and she's abrasive to almost everyone ("Tinhead"). Would you call Ancelyn a tin head? He's okay and Shou Yuing was okay, too if a bit stiff in the acting ability.

The location work just works so fantasticly here and this looks good. I'm not sure I like the idea of having the Doctor be Merlin. It's just...I dunno...wrong somehow. It does open up possibilities and making him Merlin in an alt universe or parallel uni is a good idea rather than OUR Merlin. Somehow it seems just wrong, perhaps because unlike the Doctor of GREATEST SHOW IN THE GALAXY, the Doctor can't really do magic but maybe his science looks like magic. Either way, i'ts, say it all together, not really fully explained yet. Will it be? I wasn't holding out after GREATEST SHOW and a few others.

On the surface it's an okay idea, knights carrying guns and I'm sure all this is ripped off of something else. I seem to remember a graphic novel series called HERO with a buff man being the reincarnation of Arthur. That was great. It had a lot of shadowy strangeness and some satire comedy from the situation but for some reason, I lost interest after the second or third graphic novel. It might have been only three novels long, I don't know and I believe it had a comeback sometime in the 2000s (possibly 2005). Frankly, Arthur, Merlin, Morgaine, etc have been done to death and the best I felt at the time was EXCALIBER. Today, MERLIN has a fresh, innovative young approach to things with strong storytelling. That doesn't really happen here.

Again, we have a witch (SILVER NEMESIS), an artefact (SILVER NEMESIS, REMBRANCE OF THE DALEKS), an evil from another time, the Doctor knowing something about it but a Doctor from the future, and...it's all starting to wear thin despite the twist of the Doctor from the future being Merlin and leaving himself notes...and being mysterious. For this ep, it sort of works. The Knights aren't particulary menacing to be honest, not yet. I like the set of the Gore Crow inn/pub and the blind woman (didn't we have one of those someplace too) and her husband and in fact, there are some nice characters ambling around and they almost ease the blow of the silly, unbeliveable, badly acted Bambera and Ace.

Not a bad first ep but the feeling, then and now, was it could all go silly very quickly       

Well this ep was an improvement: less Bambera and more of the real Brig, more of the Doctor and McCoy does a great job in this episode. Jean Marsh too. Marsh can make us believe anything and she certainly knows how to do these parts without going over the top. Speaking of which, why does Mordred's laugh have to go on so long for? And why is he laughing so much over his mum coming? Ace is a bit better here but she still seems to be her impulsive self from DRAGONFIRE, pulling out the sword in the lake. The cliffhanger is great, the Doc caught in his own future self's trap.

The Brig and Morgaine meet and have a fun little chat ("I respect you but the next time we meet I will kill you"). It seemed silly in the first viewing but now, with respecting the dead, it seems an interesting way for them to meet.

I love the Doc popping a chips bag and waking up Ancelyn and Bambera and love his "NOw's not the time to panic" and "Now it's time to panic!" Very Tom Baker and McCoy is up to it this time.

Oh and his jacket, new jacket and I think pants: don't like them!

Good episode though!

    

3

"There will be no bad episodes here!" 

We're 3 for 0 in good eps vs bad eps. So far all three eps have been pretty good and this one stands out. The rescue from the lake by the Brig, the chases, and the first sign of the Destroyer. All well done except some hokey stuff from Bambera (of course) and Ancelyn, who's portrayer seems rather comfortable playing a knight or a Lancelot type. Even that's not as bad as I once though but the romantic moments in the middle of a  battle are close to unwatchable and poorly played. Other than that, this ep is not at all bad. Shame the female UNIT officer had to die but someone had to. Also note: what happened to the UNIT guy Husak at the hotel? Is that explained in the novel? He and his men just seem to vanish. The script, the DVD text tells us, had them "meet their fate" in the next episode. I also wish they left in the Brig's comment to Ace, "So you're the latest model,"  to Ace. Did he say the same thing to Tegan?  I can't recall. They seem to have cut a lot of stuff out. From the scripts and the filmed versions. There was some nonsense about the Doctor controlling a dog, too. They were trying to make him literally a magician in this era. And McCoy just about pulls it off in this ep, he's pretty good throughout this story to be honest. The Doc moving between the sword fighters and yelling was also good if a bit...implausible. Nice to see Bessie again...and UNIT"s preparations...and a chalk circle. Wasn't there one in the DAEMONS?

Anyway another good, entertaining, visually fine ep.  

4

Wow, that was excellent. Amazing what 20 plus years can do to your perspective. I like this much better than THE GREATEST SHOW IN THE GALAXY. Bambera isn't too over the top here but her swordfighting? Okay. Others complain about the Destroyer showing up and not doing much and I can concede that arguement but for the most part he's chained in silver. When he's set loose it takes him a few moments to start shaking the ground and making green lightning but...if you use your imagination, it's really quite a startling moment and the Doc, Ace and the Brig make it so. McCoy is at his best in this episode and in this story, actually. I find it interesting that Morgaine is talking into pressing the deactivation button herself. I'm not sure of her reasoning though...and her plan might be a bit crap but I"m not sure why she's even here on Earth: to find and kill Arthur. Why didn't she know he was already dead?

Anyway, what's here is interesting, fun, and entertaining and even makes a sort of sense. That she let Ace and Shouing live was cool; the Brig goes to shoot Mordred but lets him live. It seems that to answer my own question Husak and his men are killed by the Destroyer or Morgaine; it also seems that all the others in UNIT might be dead too by the end except for Bambera (nice leader there innit she?). Some fans also find fault with the last scene but I think it's nice to show the Doc and the Brig at his LARGE house or rather Doris's...she's probably supporting him and enjoying what appears to be some time while the girls go out in Bessie...and to be honest, Doris seems to be the FIRST real feminist the show has ever shown as she tells the Brig to mow the lawn and to have something delicious waiting for them to eat when they get home. The Doc will cook. A nice ending to a good story...oh and Morgaine and Mordred are...going to jail? WTF? For how long?  

Okay there were some faults but on the whole a good episode and a good story and alot less annoyances than almost all the other McCoy stories up to now, not including his Dalek story, REMEMBRANCE. All the others...well, even DELTA had some annoyances but was just as entertaining as this. BATTLEFIELD has been totally reassessed by me and I've changed my mind totally on it. I really enjoyed that. Who would have thought? So three more CLASSIC series stories left to go and then the TV MOVIE! 

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