Doctor Who #262: Doctor Who and the Silurians Part 3

"It is rather like the reptile house in the zoo, isn't it?"TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Feb.14 1970.

IN THIS ONE... Dr. Quinn brings a Silurian home, but pays dearly for the priviledge.

REVIEW: The previous episode made allusions to Sherlock Holmes, with the Brig as a parodied Holmes and the Doctor as Watson. The truth is closer to the Brigadier playing Lestrade, of course, the copper who would be competent if it weren't for Holmes' showing off. There's no sign that the Brig resents the Doctor for it, but perhaps at this point, the Doctor hasn't been right enough times to warrant it. So instead, the UNIT leader simply chooses to ignore the Doctor's suggestions. He also has a knack for putting his foot in it, like when he breaks the spell just as Miss Dawson was about to reveal something, drawing the Doctor's ire. While we're on the subject of Holmesian comparisons, full props to the production for allowing Liz to be Sherlock this week. Despite recovering from a mild Silurian savaging, she's still the one who notices the inconsistencies in Quinn's story.

Quinn is one of those characters who thinks he can control the monsters, old hat by now, but he doesn't have the ambition or complete lack of self-doubt Mavic Chen and Tobias Vaughn had. He's only trying to advance his career, not take over the world. Those other villains well more than happy to detail their plans if caught, because they were so proud of them. Quinn keeps piling on the lies, and his cheerful-to-a-fault demeanor breaks under the Doctor's Columbo-esque interrogation. But it's that cheeriness that makes him interesting, waving away at UNIT helicopters as if the destruction raining down upon him is something he welcomed. He'll be missed, but he's not the only person of interest. I'm impressed by the things left unsaid by the script or added by the actors throughout. Quinn and Dawson obviously had a relationship, though there's no actual reference to it. Major Baker could have been a simple dialog-spouting cipher, but the actor makes him fancy Liz in every scene they share. Small stuff, but it makes the world more believable.

Though we're trapped in the studio for many scenes, there's also every indication that the production wants Doctor Who to be filmic. The UNIT exercises on location are huge, with helicopters, dogs, flares, flyby shots, and Bessie's wheel sliding dynamically in the dirt as she breaks. And they SHOULD be huge (although, yes, there's rather a lot of it). This is a story that spans, if the scene about Pangaea is any indication, millions of years. (Just how many is a point of contention and debate, which I'll address in a later Theories side-bar, once we have more evidence to go on.) And to make us come back - as if we wouldn't - they finally show us a Silurian face. Well, I'll let you know how that turns out.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - This isn't just a big production, it also features detailed characterization.


Anonymous said...

I love how this story takes its time and gives us three full installments and over an hour's running time before revealing the monster.

Sometimes I feel like the leisurely building of drama and characterization is something of a lost art.

And I can't blame the Major for fancying Liz. Not at all.

- Jason

Anonymous said...

Liz can enter my dematerialization codes any day.


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