Doctor Who #179: The Abominable Snowmen Part 4

"Oh, Great Intelligence, have I served you well? After so many years, can I feel the grip of your power loosen?"TECHNICAL SPECS: Except for about 8 seconds of Yeti footage, this episode has been lost. I've watched a crappy old reconstruction. First aired Oct.21 1967.

IN THIS ONE... The Doctor and Jamie play with the Yeti's balls spheres, and Victoria is hypnotized.

REVIEW: As invariably seems to seems to happen with the missing stories, there's an episode in the bunch that's very visual and hard to follow in audio format without the benefit of narration of the script. This is the one. There are long silences, or rather, sequences with the kind of music you'd listen while meditating, hums and rhythmic beeping and that strange mechanical sound that accompanies the Yeti. What hurts most is losing the Doctor and Jamie's several "action" pieces as they fight the Yeti with their own control spheres. It's classic clever-clown material from the 2nd Doctor, as he "bungs a rock" at a Yeti to check its sensitivity, then walks up to it with a screwdriver (not yet sonic), opens it and steals its sphere, prematurely proud of himself. This is followed by a sequence in which Jamie, holding the sphere, is pulled and dragged towards the empty Yeti, until they substitute a rock in its chest cavity. Later, there's a sequence where all the Yeti converge on a single sphere as our heroes escape. We have some tele-snaps of each, but it's not the same. It's where this episode lives and breathes and we can only imagine it.

The more talkative monastery scenes continue to hold our interest, thankfully. Padma prays to the Great Intelligence, tired and wistful, longing to be free. Khrisong continues to be frustrated by his Abbot's refusal to fight the Yeti. And Thonmi and Victoria have a rather sweet scene in which the young monk intuitively understands the Doctor's moving through space and time as astral travel. This won't be the first time parallels will be drawn between Buddhist philosophy and the Time Lords, so it bears remembering. A Buddhist might have less trouble understanding a box that's bigger on the inside, or a man that regenerates into another. When we approach Doctor Who philosophically, it makes a lot more sense. Victoria, for her part, he becoming the queen of sweet scenes like this where everyone is concerned with her well-being. All the more terrible then when she has a Hamlet moment ("The drink!") and is poisoned only to wake up as a pawn of Padmasambhava, who we finally get to see - a cadaverous creature with long fingernails. Cue credit roll.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - The episode I'd most like to see found, I think, because it seems to have some fun Troughton comedy action. Even without the video, story and atmosphere are both catered to.

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