Doctor Who #180: The Abominable Snowmen Part 5

"Evil. A feeling of evil. Like a shadow on my mind."TECHNICAL SPECS: Another episode missing from the archives, and another reconstruction used to view it. First aired Oct.28 1967.

IN THIS ONE... As the Yeti attack, Padmasambhava puts Victoria in a trance, makes the monk prepare for evacuation, and meets the Doctor again after 300 years.

REVIEW: Padmasambhava makes for an interesting ally. An old friend of the Doctor's from centuries ago who made contact with the Great Intelligence during his astral travel and became its puppet. Now he does its bidding, but realizes too late that it has led to the end of the world... but could he have resisted? In his own way, he tries to help. Though he hypnotizes Victoria (I guess she was only faking in the previous episode - so hard to tell with video), and uses her as a mouthpiece, part of his message is that the TARDISeers are not to be harmed. And of course, he tries to tell the Doctor everything he knows. It's certainly a nice change from the megalomaniac nutbars the Doctor's had to deal with lately, something closer to The Macra Terror, but played with more pathos.

The centerpiece of the episode is Victoria's possession. While her lip synch has been lost to the ages, it's really after Padma stops speaking through her that it gets creepy. She's on a loop, triggered by the Doctor's voice, repeating the same pitiful words. A companion reduced to an abbreviated role would be almost funny if it wasn't so distressing. Thankfully, there's comedy in how they break the spell. The Doctor's hypnosis techniques making Jamie fall asleep for a second is a classic Troughton-Hines bit of business, and there's a fun interplay between the Scotsman and Victoria when she seems to remember something and he tells her not to think about it too hard lest she fall back into a trance. Travers' mind has also been tampered with (so it's both Watlings, then), but that has a more Lovecraftian vibe, his sanity slipping away for merely having been exposed to the Intelligence's gooey physical form.

In the middle of all that is a Yeti attack that pushes the Buddha statue down and crushes a monk, so it's not all talk. This is an episode that ends with goo oozing down a mountain towards a Tibetan monastery, after all. A model for the kids to build for show and tell.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - An interesting henchman (for an invisible villain), a violent Yeti attack, and one of the best possessed companion episodes in the canon.



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