Doctor Who #84: Trap of Steel

"I noted, observed, collated, concluded... and then I threw the rock!"TECHNICAL SPECS: Part 2 of Galaxy 4. This episode is entirely missing. As with the first, I will use the Loose Canon reconstruction on Dailymotion. A shortened version, collapsed into the first episode, using those elements, can be found on the Special Edition DVD of The Aztecs, as context for the newly-found third episode. First aired Sep.18 1965.

IN THIS ONE... More Chumbly (in)action, Steven is the Drahvins' hostage, and the Doctor and Vicki visit the Rill ship.

REVIEW: More of the same, with additional interminable Chumbly scenes noising things up, so maybe I should talk about the design, since I somehow skipped it yesterday. Well, while the flora is kind of interesting, the technology is not. The Drahvin saucer is all white walls and bric-a-brac, and Maaga sports a Flash Gordon-type raygun. It's all very cheap and cliché, with the bright spot being the soldiers' big net bazookas. As for the Rills, their ship doesn't even look like a ship. I'm not even sure its interior looks like an interior, at least, not from the few production photos available. I really regret complaining about an attempt at creating something truly alien, but it just doesn't read as anything other than studio space with a diaphanous tent. That last crash-zoom to the hideous Rill is quick, so we'll wait for the next episode to discuss just what an ammonia breather looks like.

There continues to be little trust between the Doctor and the Drahvins, but I suppose we still have to see if the Rills are any better or if the TARDISeers are caught between two evil forces. I suppose the Doctor lies about the number of days left before the planet explodes to avoid bloodshed. If the Drahvins knew they had less than two days, they might attack the Rills immediately. By allowing himself to lead an expedition to the Rill ship, he puts himself in a position to solve things without violence. And Vicki once again becomes his proper sidekick, leading to a fun bit in which she uses the Doctor's analytical process to justify violence. It's the kind of thing this story needs more of (in terms of both comedy and theme).

As for Steven, he's left with the man-hating Drahvins where he turns rabble-rouser. By highlighting inequities between the soldiers and Maaga, can he somehow mount a mutiny? He does make some good points. Ok, so Maaga has better food than her Drahvins, but why would they all have inferior guns? Why equip your army so abominably that they can't defeat a single Chumbly - must less lay siege to the Rill ship - and then have the gall to dress them down for failing, all while you sit on the best weapon available? It doesn't make sense, but then, this is a story where we are told things and asked to take them at face value, except for the one thing it's clear we shouldn't (Rills = bad).
REWATCHABILITY: Low - A couple of character moments can't save another episode of back and forth between the TARDIS and various ships accompanied by bleeps and bloops or occasional, ludicrous conversations.

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