"Bad laws were made to be broken."TECHNICAL SPECS: The episode does not exist in the archives. As usual, a reconstruction has been used. First aired Apr.1 1967.
IN THIS ONE... Our heroes blow the Macra up and there's rather a lot of cheerleading and dancing.
REVIEW: There are a lot of visuals I'm keenly missing in this episode. The Doctor is obviously being a pest, but we can't see his antics. There's Jamie's protracted escape through the tunnels. There's whatever sense of scope was achieved with the room full of Macra. And there's Jamie dancing the "Highland Fling". Whereas the first episode of The Macra Terror sounded like it was made with audio in mind, the story's gotten progressively visual, all the more a shame that it's entirely missing. Some of the things that remain thanks to the audio don't exactly make it shine, especially early on - the overly technical talk of math and pipes, and Polly's high-pitched whimpering (where is the sassy character Ian Stuart Black wrote in The War Machines?).
It's a good thing then that the back half makes up for it. There's the cheerleading team joyfully chanting fascist slogans, but just as dissonant is Control's increasingly strident voice, Control out of control if you will, completely hysterical from behind the still photo of its Big Brother figure. And despite the whimsical jingles and giant crab monsters, make no mistake, this is a story about fascism - state authority taken to its terrifying extreme - first and foremost. It's very hard to see anything but a parallel to Nazi Germany when our heroes are trapped in a gas chamber for being "strangers".
I think I like this story so much because it makes the Doctor a real force for anarchy, which is the defining trait of the second Doctor. His simple presence in an ordered utopia is so completely disruptive that the highest authority melts down and rather wonderfully, the Doctor even has to call Ola out for being unhappy. Tut, tut. Why the Pilot turns in the end is a bit of a cheat, however, but then the Doctor's convinced people to follow him in similar situations before. To show that the Doctor is a true anarchist, he doesn't just overthrow Control, he makes a quick exit as soon as he hears a rumor that they want to make him leader of the Colony. The Doctor will overthrow corrupt and totalitarian regimes, sure, but you will never be able to qualify such as a "coup".
VERSIONS: The Target novelization expands on the holiday camp, but there are no notable differences between it and the broadcast episode I am aware of.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - From the technical business left over from the previous episode to an anarchic victory over the forces of order, the episode grows to feel more like Part 1 as it moves along. And that's a good thing in my book.
STORY REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - Though there's a lull in the middle when the regulars are forced to work in the mines, The Macra Terror is, overall, a real statement about what this Doctor is all about. Troughton quickly found the character in his first few stories, but this is where the program decides on a theme for him (shades of which have been present since Power of the Daleks, of course). He'll be fighting mind control a heck of a lot from now on.