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THE EDGE OF DESTRUCTION


Chase - Posted on 04 November 2009

1

Well now. That put me to sleep. Rather the first 12 minutes did. It's nice to see more of the TARDIS with machines, couches, and whole walls without roundels. In one scene toward the very end of this ep, the Doctor is at the console and the wall facing him has not one roundel. It has a TWILIGHT ZONE feel to it. This is the first ep to use stock music and American stock music at that. The music reminds me of the later LOST IN SPACE-INVADERS FROM THE 5TH DIMENSION, which was equally effective, and again, some of the better TWILIGHT ZONE and OUTER LIMIT scores.

Susan can be quite scary in this and alone with her in the ship, it might have been worse. Her attacks with scissors are completely unnerving and the usual girl seems possessed by something malevolent. It is also a scary idea that something could infiltrate the ship AND having the doors open is also unnerving. AND that animal sound. Bloody hell, what is happening? Images on the scanner. People not acting themselves. Memory loss. Paranoia. MIDNIGHT uses the idea that something is inside one of the passengers and that idea is brought up here by a scary Susan as she says, quite seemingly possessed herself, "...in one of us."

No one is acting quite right, not even the TARDIS. Ian calls Barbara Miss Wright; she calls him Ms. Chesterton; Susan doesn't even recognize Ian at first. No one but Susan seems that concerned about the unconscious, wounded Doctor, then Susan delays in getting him water. Nice to see other rooms but what are they? Sickbay? the crew quarters? If so, for either they are sparse and could have been better.

The payoff to this makes some sort of sense but not really. It's not really logical and we'll discuss this in the next ep.

Barbara tells off the Doctor and that's the best scene here. He really deserves it. "You ought to get down on your hands and knees and thank us."  Sounds like my mother. Great. Maureen Robinson three years early. She's very good in this though. Glad to see Susan come round and tell the Doctor to make it up with Barbara, just like Ian does.

The Doctor is strange, too. He accuses them of sabotage, then gets them drinks to put them out of action...the melted clocks make little to no sense but agian, they are disturbing. Still, I'd like my horror and mystery to have some kind of sense to them and this payoff is, again, not really one that makes much sense..sort of like Rose leaving her Bad Wolf as a message to warn against the Daleks. Maybe in Time Lord it all makes some sense. Or maybe the Tardis warning mechanism is just alittle off and not working properly.     

Once you know the payoff, the movitation to watch this again, is sorta missing. Still, it is not a bad ep, just unusual and strange. Not even the first two parts of CASTROVALVA come close to this strangeness. Nothing like this is tried again. I'm just not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.  I  mean no guest stars, no monsters and no real touch down on a planet or in history. It was meant that they were in no time, no place. 

Well that was fun. Logic be darned, that was entertaining. William Hartnell runs the range of anger to scariness to charming to irritatable to appreciative. The best sequence has to be the one where the TARDIS shakes the three companions out of the way, the lights go dark, and Hartnell's face is shadowy and illuminated all at once as he expresses his realization of what is happening: the forming of a new sun and the joy of the Doctor is just grand. There's also the very Doctor-ish thing of looking for something in his pockets or jacket while time runs out and the companion, this time Ian, urges for speed. David Tennant has said that it was Troughton who formed what the Doctor is today but he's WRONG, it's Hartnell and maybe also Troughton but everything done in Troughton was started here including this scene. Susan once again goes a little scarier as she blames Barbara while Ian is on the floor. Even though the Doctor put them all to sleep, Ian on the floor, Susan takes the Doc's side but then realizes they were not to blame,either and even then she tells the Doc he can't put them out of the ship, something ruthless and dangerous, for even this Doctor.

It's a very scary thing to have the male comp out of action and the female comp facing both the Doctor and Susan and knowing that they will kick them out of the ship...despite where they might be. The Doctor seems to say something using mind talk to Susan or maybe instead she just guesses from his look. In the first part, Ian told Susan she was maybe clairvoyant and I think the intention is that she was.

The interplay between all of them is strong in this episode, with Barbara about to cry, the Doctor sort of apologizing, Susan urging the Doctor to go make up with them, having said some terrible things, Ian not recriminating and even laughing at the Doctor because the Doctor doesn't know which switch to push. In turn the Doc's irritated by this "young man."  Ian spends most of this in a bathrobe and bare feet.

The scene with the Doctor and Barbara in the sitting room is nice. As is the snow scene beyond the Tardis doors. It's jarring to see the outside from the inside as this rarely happens later on in other Doc's eras although sometimes it did. Despite the illogic of it all, this is good and the power contained in the console could blow Ian to atoms---why doesn't it do that to Rose? In any event why doen'st the TARDIS have something that says, "HEY OLD MAN GOING ROUND THE BEND, YOU LEFT THE SWITCH DOWN OR IT'S STUCK," and so on. Instead of these strange clues that even Auguest Dupin or Sherlock Holmes could not figure out. And how did it effect the travellers' personalities and memories? This the first indication to the viewers AND to the Doctor it seems that the TARDIS is something akin to alive somehow yet it's still a machine.

In all I'd give this a 3/5 or even a 4/5 and on a really good day, a 5/5 

Hi, 

 

I'm doing a new book that involves reprinting reviews and I'd really like to include this. Would that be possible?

Email me at smithr@math.mcmaster.ca and we can discuss it further.

Cheers,

 - Robert Smith?

I wrote you an email

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