Doctor Who #161: The Faceless Ones Part 3

"I must warn you of the long arm of the British law." "I don't think it'll reach where you're going."TECHNICAL SPECS: The second of 2 surviving episodes of this 6-part story, found on the Lost in Time DVD boxed set. First aired Apr.22 1967.

IN THIS ONE... Inspector Crossland gets the Doctor 12 hours to investigate unmolested, but gets abducted by Chameleon Tours.

REVIEW: I plum forgot to talk about the Doctor Who theme yesterday, but yeah, Delia Derbyshire's new arrangement made its first appearance. The main change? Less shushing, replaced by a high, glittery sound. (I'm not very good at describing music, am I?) The overall effect is to make the music cheerier, like something out of fairyland, which I think fits our impish new Doctor where the previous, hushed sounds fit the more secretive original. Speaking of music, I'm pretty much done with the alien whine of the overused musical sting that's meant to underscore mystery in The Faceless Ones. So done with it.

Do I need to mention how done I also am with the Commandant? The need to explain Chameleon Tours' scheme once again, and his still refusing to believe a word of it - his mid-sentence realization of what the Doctor just said is indicative of a man who has his mind made up in advance - means the Doctor will try the explanation again in the future. Sigh. At least Crossland is more open-minded... so of course, he must be put out of action. I can't say the Chameleons are very good at hiding evidence, but they are good at covering things up each time they're discovered. Of course, that strategy must bring diminishing returns as more and more people go missing, both in the airport and in that very messy airplane (those kids are just throwing dirty laundry in the overhead compartments, aren't they?).

Sam and Jamie make a fine duo with the ability to get themselves into trouble. I have a young niece who can goad her brother into mischief just like Sam does to Jamie here. It's definitely a relationship that would work to most stories' advantage. But it's the Doctor who's most watchable here. He delights in calling the Chameleon out ("Haven't I met you before? You must have a double!") and with quick thinking, escapes from the Chams' cold trap (who else but the Doctor would take off his coat while being frozen solid?). His wit keeps the scripted repetition from getting too dull - it might have been acceptable recapping week to week, but at one a day, or God forbid, all in one go, the mind starts to wander.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Despite the redundancies, the fact that someone finally listens to the Doctor allows him to take control and avanced the plot.

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