Doctor Who #315: The Sea Devils Part 2

"I always find that violent exercise makes me hungry. Don't you agree?"
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Mar.4 1972.

IN THIS ONE... The Master shows his hand, so the Doctor has to humiliate him in an impromptu fencing match.

REVIEW: We see a little more of the Sea Devils up in the episode's front, and they stand up very well, better I think than the Silurians. Because yes, it seems these guys are aquatic cousins to the rubber suit monsters from Pertwee's first season, which the Doctor has decided would be more properly called "Eocenes". Ostensibly, this is what allows the new series to create their own kind of Eocene/Silurian, as there seems to be a lot of sentient variety on Earth in that period. The Sea Devils have some neat circular weapons that carry an explosive powder charge that's a lot more effective than whatever video effect would have been possible at the time (see the weapons in The Curse of Peladon for example). Like the Silurians, their presence is able to make men lose their wits, including the show's camera men judging by the dutch angles.

Of course we have another villain, and that's the Master, who's quite able to leave his prison cell, impersonate an admiral, and steal electronics from the secret naval base while his minion, Colonel Trenchard, chats up the local Captain about some fool game of golf. It's interesting to note that the Master fails to hypnotize a chief petty officer and has to karate chop him into submission. He's really been out of practice. Which means Trenchard has probably been convinced, and not compelled, to work with his prisoner.

And despite Trenchard's very real tediousness, and Captain Hart's inability to believe anything the Doctor tells him until the proof is reported a few minutes later, the Doctor, still high on sea air, can't be bothered to get tetchy. He's visibly unhappy with them wasting his time, but he doesn't let it get to him, and in return, we get a Doctor who plays the scenes as gentle comedy rather than shouty drama. I quite prefer it. We've got him disappointed when his makeshift radio gives out, playing golf blindfolded to prick Trenchard, using subtle body language to direct Jo (they're a well-oiled machine by this point), and of course that awesome sword fight in which the Doctor takes time out to eat a sandwich. He's having so much fun, he even gives the Master back his sword so they can continue sparring. So I sure do hope he catches that thrown knife.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - A lot of fun and none of the annoying shouting matches that plagued the first year+ of the third Doctor's tenure.


Mitchell Craig said...

That sword fight is, as the youngsters say, da bombarino.

Siskoid said...

They say this? Thanks for making me feel old. ;)


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