Doctor Who #187: The Ice Warriors Part 6

"What are your qualifications for existence?"TECHNICAL SPECS: As it's not yet on DVD, back to the Internet for viewing. First aired Dec.16 1967.

IN THIS ONE... The Ice Warriors are defeated when someone finally makes a decision and uses the ionizer on them.

REVIEW: The base personnel simply can't take the computer's waiting game, and there's dissension in the ranks as the conflict between true, intuitive humans and circuit board-clad logicians flares up. Clent is a man on the cusp of throwing off the computer's shackles, but ultimately unable to break protocol. I'm sensing a generation game here. Miss Garrett puts all her faith in the computer, but the older Clent might remember a time when computers weren't so infallible. As we find out in the last scene, he's always written his reports himself without help from the machine. As crazy as it sounds, Clent is a traditionalist within his computerized society. There's a sort of desperate bravery to him when he confronts the Ice Warriors and smiles when they let slip the ionizer could destroy their ship. But once all the data has been accumulated, he hits a wall and can't commit to taking a big risk. Even after the decision is made by others, he freaks out much as the computer did. It seems neither were programmed for this extraordinary set of circumstances.

It's up to Penley, the true man, to do something. There are some random heroics (raising the temperature, revealing a second Ice Warrior weakness, and an odd one for reptilians), but he's also the hero in the real climax, which is all about choosing to take a risk. He pretty much paraphrases Captain Kirk's "Risk is our business" speech, and the theme blossoms - in his ability to gamble, Man can both fail disastrously or succeed beyond anyone's hopes, something the sum zero mind of a machine cannot do.

While that's a lesson for the humans of the 51st century, it's par for the course with the Doctor who is always taking risks. In this episode, he fires a sonic blast at the base, intuiting that the Ice Warriors will be more gravely affected than the humans, though admits it could kill them all. It takes Victoria to remind him that Jamie's in there, but it doesn't change the plan. It works, but the Ice Warriors wake up before the humans do, which means his intuition was actually wrong. And poor Victoria! For some reason, Deborah Watling couldn't be there to film the final scenes, so she becomes an off-screen voice told to get back to the TARDIS just before the climax. Not that she would have had much to do going by what Jamie was given. In the end, it's really more about Clent and Penley, and they get the final scene, a rather sweet one where they come to terms with each other. It's probably the best scene of the entire serial, and the regulars have nothing to do with it. Ah well.

THEORIES: Another step closer to the sonic screwdriver as the Doctor modifies the Ice Warriors' sonic cannon and explains its principles to Victoria. We're very close to a pocket version now.

VERSIONS: In the Target novelization, the computer is called ECCO and is treated as a character readers can empathize with.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - Making the climax about the humans vs. the machine as much as it is about the Ice Warriors carries the theme to term, and there are some great scenes featuring the guest cast. I just wish our heroes had a less peripheral role to play.

STORY REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - The Ice Warriors are introduced, the production values are high, and the theme of man vs. machine is reasonably well explored. High marks to Mr. Barkworth who makes Clent more than Just Another Base Commander(TM). I hope New Who brings back the Ice Warriors soon so BBC World has a reason to animate the two missing episodes and put the story out on DVD.

0 comments:

 

Blog Archive

Category

5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zine