Doctor Who #645: The Two Doctors Part 2

"I was him, he will be me." "Who will I be?"
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Feb.23 1985.

IN THIS ONE... The 6th Doctor, Peri and Jamie follow the villains to Spain where they're trying to extract what makes a TARDIS go out of the 2nd Doctor.

REVIEW: Part 2 treats its characters pretty well, I think. Troughton takes a while to wake up, but once he does, he gets all the best lines, taunting Dastari, Chessene and the Sontarans. I wish the latter had taken him up on his challenge and wonder if it would have been a duel of words. The sixth Doctor gets a summer look to go with this Spanish outing (above), and it may well justify going to Spain despite its near-irrelevance in the script. It's still colorful and eccentric without being a hand-me-down from Joseph's Technicolor Coat. And it makes Colin Baker look so much more sympathetic, relaxed and natural. Jamie is hilarious, great at delivering deadpan humor, and made me laugh out loud at least twice (the line above, and calling Androgums "Hungrymen", for sure). Peri, well, I like how the sunshine brings out her freckles, but she's mostly there to lean in and show cleavage, or run from unwanted attentions (Shockeye wants her for her body, though gluttony, not lust, is his deadly sin). At her best, she's a distraction, that's it. There is this one strange moment where she seems to mouth the word "asshole" at the Doctor, but surely, that can't be it, can it?!

Of importance to the canon is the introduction of the Rassilon Imprimatur. According to this episode, the only reason a TARDISeers survive time travel is that the TARDIS is symbiotically linked to a Time Lord. In other words, if a Time Lord isn't aboard, moving though time will be fatal. Well, the back catalog has something to say about THAT, buy Holmes glosses over any contradiction by saying a Time Lord's friends are also covered by the Imprimatur. Since Chessene's time machine must be "primed" with this biological element, it seems to be something that needs to be done to the vessel as well as its pilot. It's not real clear, sadly, only marginally more so than the chronobabble spouted by Doc6 early in the episode about reality imploding or whatever. It just sounds like the wrong conclusions to me. Not for the first time, Bob Holmes is adding to Time Lord lore without really considering the program's past (as with Rassilon replacing Omega, and so on). But it's the MacGuffin. Let's accept it and move on.

I AM still ill at ease with Shockeye, a fairly human-looking character, being a cannibal. Looks like he ate the Dona Arana, and talking about it isn't funny, it's tasteless (please forgive the pun). His biting into a rat is just as disgusting. And yet, this monster is well-educated, able to read human cookbooks and muse philosophically about our place in the food chain. Of course, when it turns into vegetarian propaganda, I just tune off, exasperated. Not because I'm a meat eater (I eat relatively little meat, actually), but because it's so trite. Maybe the problem is that Shockeye is essentially a comedy character, going so far as picking a comedy suit for his Part 3 outing. It's comedy that falls flat on its face, or else he's a real threat that's hard to take seriously.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - The new stuff about the Time Lords is interesting if not completely sensical, but the uptick in quality is entirely due to how well the stars (from both eras) are treated, in terms of script and/or aesthetics.


Anonymous said...

I'm starting to notice that Colin Baker reminds me a lot of Matt Smith: a lot of the same fast-talking energy. Very glad they had the sense to make Smith drop that manner often enough that we could feel like he wasn't just a smart alien; he's a smart alien who, in a lot of ways, sees himself as one of us. He's not above dancing (badly) with children at a wedding, now how can ya not love that?


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