Doctor Who #121: The Savages Part 2

"Do you not realise that all progress is based on exploitation?"TECHNICAL SPECS: Missing from the archives, so I've used a reconstruction (Part 1, Part 2). First aired Jun.4 1966.

IN THIS ONE... After he attempts to help a Savage, the city dwellers condemn the Doctor to having his life force drained.

REVIEW: As off-model as the main characters seem in this story, I've got to respect Ian Stuart Black's writing for actually making The Savages about something. Through my powers of hindsight, I can see how each of his stories (The War Machines and The Macra Terror, after this one) are about progress and exploitation. In a way, The Savages seems relevant to the 60s youth movement, except the ages are all reversed. The "young" society (the Savages) is mostly composed of old men, while the city, the more mature society, is youthful and energetic. Of course, the latter is sapping the former of its vitality, its talent, its intelligence and its beauty. Exploitation taken to its SF extreme. The Savages are unable to fight "the Man" because the Man has taken even their ability to fight.

Poor Dodo, the representative of Youth in the TARDIS crew, spends half the episode being told she's stupid and imagining things, her companions acting almost hypnotized by the city dwellers. Thankfully, the Doctor reveals he was faking it and doesn't really put his trust in this utopia, eventually showing outrage at the dark secret holding this society together, long before he realizes he's about to become its victim. So what's Steven's excuse? Well - spoilers! - he's leaving at the end of this story, so some disenchantment with his traveling companions isn't untoward, but perhaps it's more than that. Perhaps this future reminds him of his own. We can't know because we never saw Steven in his own environment. As disgruntled as he is with Dodo, it's still a harsh indicator of what the production team thinks of her character. "Not even Dodo would be as stupid as that!" So that's the characterization you're actively going for, eh?

Thinking on the ending, with the Doctor in a plexi box getting his vitality drained, gets me thinking Time Lords would make nearly limitless power sources. Their lives are so much longer, even before you force regeneration. Of course, none of that lore yet exists, and we'll see how the Doctor might have been replaced without regeneration ever having been invented in the next review...

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Though you almost wonder one whose side Steven is on, Dodo isn't unresourceful and the Doctor actually gets to be doctorly (as opposed to Doctorish).

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